Thursday, November 22, 2007

No Country for Old Awesome

I went and saw the Cohen brothers' "No Country for Old Men" tonight. It was seriously awesome. I happen to be in Portland right now and since I've never been to an art house theater that wasn't located at 300 S. and 300 E. in Salt Lake, I thought it'd be cool to visit one here.

Although I had an enjoyable time, I must admit, I noticed several differences in movie watching etiquette between the two states.

The theater wasn't that large, but it was almost full. I would guess that another hundred people decided to attend the same viewing that my cousin and I attended. During the time between the end of the previews and the beginning of the ending credits, I was able to hear 7 different ring tones from seven individuals.

This isn't that big of a deal, it's just a big change from the things I'm used to back in the beehive state. To these Oregonians' credit, not one of them answered the call to say, 'Dude, I'm in a movie, what do you need?'

There was a couple sitting directly behind me and my cousin. The violence in this awesome movie came as quite a shock to these two, despite the MPAA's clear warning that the movie is rated R for 'strong graphic violence.' Several murders are witnessed in the first few minutes of the movie and each time a shot was fired or blood splattered, the girl behind us would cry loudly, 'No, baby, NO!' And her man-friend would hiss, 'What the f@#% is this s$%t?' Two animal killings, 3 counts of manslaughters and 10 corpses later, the man-friend had had enough and they got up to leave.

All movie-going observances aside, 'No Country for Old Men' is darker, weirder and funnier than 'Fargo.' Go see this movie. It's definitely a career high for the Cohen brothers. Well done Joel. Well done Ethan.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

What the hell?

So, I was googling one of my many online monikers and under a search for 'byuistheshiz,' an American Express website came up.

Why are my mission pictures on the American Express website?

My Ear As A Suction Cup

I wasn't really sure which words should be capitalized, so I capitalized them all.

Last night, I fell asleep around 1:45. At least I think that's when I fell asleep. At any rate, I woke up right around two. I was slightly disturbed to hear someone bawling in the living room. It didn't surprise me that one or all of my roommates were up, we don't go to bed very early, but the sobbing was a foreign sound, one not heard in my apartment.

I couldn't just open my door to investigate. For one, I wasn't dressed for such an occasion. Also, this episode was probably a private one for those involved. I couldn't rule out the option of the noise coming from the television. Based on all this, I pressed my ear up against my door to more clearly decipher the goings on in my living room.

After a few seconds of listening, I was fairly certain it was in fact coming from the TV. Satisfied, I wanted to get back in to bed. As I moved my head away from the door, my ear created a rather strong vacuum of air. As the seal broke, it made a quiet popping noise and it felt as if my ear drum may have exited my ear canal and remained on the door. It hurt.


I've been sick for over a week now. It's not much fun. I feel like one of the 'infected' in '28 Days Later' and '28 Weeks Later.' Everywhere I go, I seem to spread my illness to everyone. For your own good, stay away from me. I can't help but hurt you.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Radiohead, Park City and Prostitution

Radiohead's new album came out today. God bless those people. I have been listening to it non stop since I got it. Just like all the other albums, this has a completely different style of it's own. Thom Yorke is a God.

Go to and download it. Radiohead only asks that you pay what you think it's worth (including the option of downloading it for free). Please pay for it though. It's definitely worth it.

My sister and I went to Park City on Thursday. It was bitchin'. I love that place. We walked around and mocked all the tourists (which seems ironic because I think technically we are tourists). We chose to eat lunch at what seemed like a charming brewery. The overwhelming smell of yeast wasn't so charming, nor was the lack of service, but the food was decent, and the atmosphere beats Applebee's any day.

Then we went to the outlet malls. Partly because of the Banana Republic and Gap stores, but mostly because there's a store there that lets you play with puppies for free! Unfortunately, there weren't any available puppies that day, but we did get to look at some dogs that haven't received their shots yet and therefore were unfit for hands on public interaction. I love dogs.

My fam and I went to this swap meet thing this weekend. It was about as horrible as the name implies. We were walking along the booths that offered lucky raccoon feet (I'm not kidding) and old Osmond family vinyls when we came to a sword/knife/geek display. I'm sure you can imagine it. Something put on by avid Magic players and World of Warcraft gurus. We stopped to admire a cane that had a tiny little snake (may have been real, maybe not) encased in an amber like substance that made the handle of the cane.

Out of nowhere, this...boy covered in acne (not that I'm making fun, but is important to judge his age) popped out from behind several torture devices and said, "I've got a question for you," looking at me. He asked me how old I was. I was confused by the question and couldn't remember exactly how old I am having had a birthday recently. "22," I said, "No, wait, 23," I'm pretty sure this was the reason for his smirk. He replied, "These are hidden sword canes and you must be over 18 to look at them." He insisted on seeing my ID.

I'm glad I had my attorney with me (my bro-in-law). He quickly advised me to not answer any questions and told the pubescent boy that we'll just stop looking at them. We walked away and laughed about it the rest of the day.

Today I was thinking. I was thinking about how I would like to go see a play at the Rose Wagner theater downtown in Salt Lake or to go see the Utah symphony at Abravanal Hall. Of course I would never be able to get one of my guy friends to attend such an event and I definitely wouldn't want to go alone. The other option would be family or a date. The family near by is my sis and bro-in-law who probably wouldn't be against such a thing, but they're super busy attorneys and work late, this just wouldn't work. The last option would be a date.

I'm not opposed to this option. But tickets to these things are expensive, even with a student discount. It seemed to me that paying for a date would be at least an extra 60 or 70 bucks. Then it hit me, taking a date is pretty much like hiring an escort. You don't want to be alone so you hire social company. The only difference (and sometimes this doesn't even apply) is that there is no obligatory sex, and if you do end up having sex, you don't break any laws or feel bad about it. Dating is pretty much prostitution with no sex. What a lame loop hole.

Admittedly, a relationship with one of these escort girls might go all 'Pretty Woman' and feelings might develop. At which point, dates might become 'dutch' or at least financial responsibilities become shared. But any way you look at it, she started out as a hooker.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Friends and laugh tracks

I had an outline for this blog, but I have to comment on this movie that's on TV. I'm at work and the guys have chosen to watch CMT. I'm personally afraid of this channel. I'm afraid I'll fall asleep watching country music videos and wake up racist. Yes, if you listen to country music, you're racist.

The music videos ended and an old western came on. It's showing a group of white taskmasters supervising a group of black railroad workers. As a side note, they're censoring the word 'nigger' left and right. Well, somehow, racial tensions escalated and now they're in an accapella sing-off. Boy can those boys sing.

Since the premiere of The Office, I've been a little pouty. I feel that the creator's of this show have become too greedy. When NBC purchased 30 episodes, I had complete faith that the writers would be able to keep up the level of comic genius that trademarks the previous season. I've heard different opinions of the premiere, but I thought it was excessively mediocre.

Because of this, I'm turning to Friends, the show that never let me down (except for that one episode where Joey could speak French by making random noises). I've watched half of the first season and it's hilarious. The only issue I have with this show is the laugh tracks. It's driving me insane!

I don't watch much TV anymore, but the things I do watch are in similar format to The Office--mockumentaries, reality TV, things not accompanied by a laugh track. Now every time that annoying sound comes on, I cringe and it's stealing the humor right out from under me. I've only watched 12 episodes and there's still 9 1/2 seasons left. I can grow accustomed to it, I'm sure. Plus, I'd do anything for Chandler and Phoebe. They light up my life.


When I arrived at work today, I found at that Dwayne had decided to confess to his crimes today. At the police station, they decided to hold him over night until a preliminary hearing tomorrow. His case worker with Chrysalis will be attending the hearing and requesting that the prosecutor keeps him in custody (up to three months) until Dwayne's trail. Chrysalis will not be welcoming him back in to the program and because of his extensive criminal history, the state has cut his funding for such programs. Things are not looking good for him.

Monday, October 1, 2007

9600mg of Ibuprofen and Radiohead

There was an actual interesting event in my life today. It's going to take a little bit of explaining so strap in and enjoy the ride, it will be worth it.

I work for a company named Chrysalis. This is a privately run organization for the mentally handicapped. In order to be in the program, you must have an IQ less than 70, or be court ordered into it. Chrysalis sets three or four mentally challenged individuals up with an apartment. They live a mostly normal life, going to work and just plain living. I work as a staff at one of these 'houses.' House 3 to be exact.

I've worked at the same house for one year. Three guys live there, Dwayne, Steve and Mike. Mike just entered the program about 6 months ago shortly after getting out of jail. He's 45 and is handicapped from a serious car accident. He is a pretty fun guy but has some serious mood swings. Steve is about 35, was born handicapped and is the most pleasant guy to work with ever. He's so calm. He loves to make dinner for his roommates and has never created any problems with roommates or staff. Dwayne is 21 and is the highest functioning of the crew. Because he's so smart, he manipulates, steals and lies. He's pleasant about half the time and impossible the other half.

Dwayne has a history of stealing credit and debit cards. Earlier this year, he had strict money guidelines that said he was never allowed to hold his own money, all purchases must be made under staff supervision. Even then, he managed to get around the rules. He threw constant fits to his guardian about his lack of freedom concerning money and finally, Chrysalis gave in and allowed him the privilege of handling his own money. Since this point, he has stolen literally thousands of dollars and we the staff are powerless to do anything. His most recent crime involved stealing his boss's credit card. Over the last week, he's spent about $800.

He was finally confronted with all the evidence against him today. The detective assigned to him told him that because of his criminal history, they were pushing for two counts of felony fraud. This terrified Dwayne. He finally admitted to me and my manager that yes, he had stolen the card and used it to purchase several things. Of course, he tried to push the blame off to another, but he actually confessed. Because of this, staff was told that under no circumstances was Dwayne allowed to go to any stores or have any friends over.

Being so terrified, Dwayne needed his support group so he called his girlfriend Lindsay (a former Chrysalis resident who had 'graduated' the program and now lives on her own). She had already been questioned about the credit card and was furious with Dwayne that he had gotten her into trouble as well. Dwayne, being rejected from every side, became hysterical. I've never seen him so upset. He was bawling on the floor of the kitchen while talking to Lindsay. He was literally hysterical and threatened over and over that he was going to kill himself.

Dwayne's behavior plan included strict suicide watch. He's not allowed to have any sharps in the house at all, meaning knifes, scissors, etc. Some how, he managed in the last few months to acquire a large pocket knife, and all though staff has known about it, they haven't managed to locate and confiscate it. After screaming at his girlfriend, he ran upstairs to his room and locked his door. I tried to talk him down as much as a could. He finally came out of his room to call Lindsay again.

At this point, he told me he had taken 12 pills of something he had found in his room. I ran to his room to find out what he took. It turns out, they were 800mg pills of prescription Ibuprofen. I called my manager and he told me to follow exactly the plan outlined for this situation in his record book. The book told me to call poison control, which I did. The man from PC told me that although the dose wasn't lethal and wouldn't even seriously make him ill, they are required by law to send an ambulance due to the suicide threats.

The man from poison control transferred me to 911 dispatch. They asked for my address and a myriad of other details. I gave them the address as 329 N. 800 E. I stayed on the phone with dispatch and she told me the officers were pulling up to the house. I didn't see anything... Then I realized that the actual address is 329 N. 800 W. Oops.

Soon enough, I could hear the sirens coming. Dwayne was really stressed he was going to jail. He was crying so hard and just grabbed on to me anyway he could. Finally, the fire engine (what?), two patrol cars and an ambulance pulled up. Dwayne did not want to be separated from me at all. I spoke with all the appropriate officers, gave them my information and then followed the ambulance to the hospital.

There, I sat with Dwayne in his room. I had to give the doctor a detailed account of his previous suicide attempts which was unbelievably awkward (the things he did were unbelievably horrible). I had planned on hanging out with my sister tonight so I asked if another staff could come and stay with him for two hours while I went to dinner. I was replaced and went to dinner. I was assigned to spend the night with Dwayne in the hospital if the social worker assigned to the case felt that he was still a danger too himself. I was heading back to the hospital at 11pm when I got a call saying that Dwayne had been released and I didn't need to go. I went to the house, talked to Dwayne and came home.


Now, on a completely separate, completely not serious note, let's talk about Radiohead.

Radiohead has finally announced the release of their 8th album. It's called 'In Rainbows.' Radiohead, being as progressive as they are, they are trying a completely new business model. It's called, 'pay as much as you want.' Radiohead head is releasing two new products. The first is a digital download, available from in ten days. This is downloadable at any price. Radiohead is asking fans to pay what they feel they should. This includes the option of downloading it for free!

The second product is a 40 British Pounds ($82) box set. It includes the digital download on CD, an extra disc that includes more new music, and two 2x12 vinyls. Of course I'll buy both. I just love Radiohead so much it hurts.

Resident Evil Crap-tinction

I went and saw Resident Evil: Extinction tonight. It made me sad.

The action was awesome, and the dead people were kind of scary, but like most zombie sequel movies, the farther on the series go, the more outlandish it becomes. Now, I realize the irony in expecting realism in a zombie movie. The thing that's interesting to me in zombie movies is the natural vs. supernatural. Why do sequels have to keep adding more and more advanced zombies and giving the humans supernatural powers? This is how the movie was ruined. Well, that, and the complete lack of character development. And a story line. And good acting.

I was thinking about an awesome movie and at the time, I was really tired. I was thinking about how I have never seen Asian zombies. Have you? What if we called my movie, "Zombasians," you know, the words zombie and Asian mixed. And in this movie, I thought that the entire world was clueless to the fact that Japan, or China (we'll call it Japan since they're a little more friendly towards tourism.) was a big farce. Any sort of advertisement or movie that has to do with Japan isn't really, and really, it's a big trap for humans. Tourists would come and they (the zombasians) would just eat you! I hadn't really thought this through because even now, I know it's just too fantastic to work. If I did write this script, it would be horrible and I'd have to get someone crappy like Michael Bay to direct it.

I've gained a new appreciation of Utah's outdoors...outdoorsness. The other night, I stayed up until 4 in the morning, and I sensed I was bothering my roommates since I was on the phone. Because of this, I went out side and laid in the grass. The wind was blowing and it was really nice. I was also really tired at this point, maybe I'm just stoned. Then the next day, it rained/snowed all day and quickly lost my appreciation for Utah weather.


Saturday, September 29, 2007

Poems about my family


Jessica is my sister's name
She's a big shot attorney
She likes to play lots of games
But wouldn't enter a tourney.

She really likes Guitar Hero
Although I can beat her
On a scale of one to ten,
I give her a big ONE ZERO
That's ten.

My mom:

My mom likes to travel all over the world
She leaves behind a puppy all cute and curled
in his bed he waits for her to come
back to him so he can lick her with his tongue.

She lives up north where I live no more.
But often, so often I call her to bore
her with my rants and bitches and whines
She takes it in stride and keeps me in line.


Matt's my bro-in-law and I like that
We get along great like the Cat in the Hat
He really likes movies and has rubbed off on me,
Now I watch movies like the movies that watches he.

He has a new job in Salt Lake City
It's great for him but sometimes I pity,
When I go to his house and he's not there,
Because he's riding a bus instead of paying cab fare.

There might be more to come, then again, tomorrow when I'm not so tired, I may delete this post all together.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Me vs. The World

There are several things that have really been annoying me today. I realize that this may become some sort of rant and while I don't want to sound bitchy, I think this is probably the best forum to channel my intense feelings of hate and anger.

Conflict 1

Apparently, NBC and iTunes had a big fight over the cost at which iTunes has been selling their TV shows. Apparently $1.99 per episodes wasn't enough money for NBC and because Apple refused to hike prices, the two simply did not continue their mutual contract. What does this mean for me? A lot of bull crap. Although the NBC contract doesn't end until December, iTunes decided it would be best to make a clean cut and not sell any new episodes from the new seasons of shows like My Name is Earl, The Office, 30 Rock etc. iTunes has decided to sell these episodes on Amazon's 'Unbox.'

Conflict 2

'Unbox' is the dumbest name in the world. It's also very representitive of the quality of the program itself. It's pretty much a cheap knock off of iTunes but it doesn't work as well at all. I had to download the f-ing software four times before it finally worked on my computer. Then I had to tell Amazon I wanted the first episode of The Office twice before it started downloading at a painfully slow rate. I'll be lucky to have it downloaded by the time I go to work tomorrow at 2pm.

Conflict 3

My internet is really crappy. In fact, at this very moment, I'm stealing internet from a neighboring apartment complex. The problem seems to be our wireless router which goes out at the most inopportune times. Like when I'm trying to download the dumb-ass 'Unbox' from dumb-ass Amazon. The problem can usually be fixed by going into the living room, unplugging the router, waiting 5 seconds and plugging it back in.

Conflict 4

As I went into the living room to fix the router (in order to resolve conflicts 1-3) I turn on the living room light to see that my roommate had chosen to sleep on the couch tonight. In a rude twist of fate, the router was right by his head. Now, I like this roommate, in fact I like him a lot, but I don't know him that well yet. I feared that if I had tried to reset the router mere inches from his head and on the off chance he woke up and saw me, things might get awkward. I swore silently in Russian and returned to my room.

Conflict 5

All of this started because my roommates seem to refuse to embrace all that The Office has become to millions of Americans. Tonight, when I should have been watching the long awaited season premier of the office, my roommates were watching reruns of Arrested Development. It's a charming show as well but I only have enough room in my heart for one sitcom. It was hard enough to move on from Friends. I didn't care too much that they weren't watching The Office because I thought I'd be able to download it from iTunes tomorrow morning, but Noooo.

Conflict 6

Somehow, on the 30 foot trek from my front door to my mailbox, I managed to lose the only existing key to my apartment's mailbox. Because I have a subscription to Netflix and I get a lot of mail here, I went to the post office and paid the $15 fee to have a new lock placed on the mailbox.

Good things about today 1

Although I did have to pay $15 at the post office, my American Express Sky Miles Gold card gives me double miles when used for US Postal Services!

Good things about today 2

I had two Slurpees today. One was a mix of Coke and Fanta banana, the other was a mix of Coke and some mysterious blue vanilla. They were both exceptional examples of what a Slurpee should be.

Good things about today 3

I finally got Amazon's gay-ass 'Unbox' working and there's only 6 hours and 24 minutes remaining until I can finally see the season premier of The Office, season 4.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

My horrible, horrible dream.

Lately, I’ve been having trouble falling asleep. I’ve been tossing and turning until 4 or 5 in the morning only to drag myself out of bed in time to be only 20 to 25 minutes late to my 10 o’clock class. Last night, I thought I’d be on the offensive. I took two sleeping pills as per indicated on the side of the bottle. I figured this would make getting up a little more difficult, but at least I’d get more sleep.

I took the pills around 1:30am. I waited and waited, wrote a blog and waited. Finally around 2:45 I started to feel a little tired so I shut off the lights and started an audiobook on my laptop. I specifically noticed that I started the first track at 2:55am. I promptly fell asleep and experienced the following dream. The odd thing is, I woke up at 3:04am and apparently experience this whole dream in less than 9 minutes of sleep.

I was driving through a wooded area on my way from Boise to Salt Lake City. Or Salt Lake City to Idaho Falls, or some other 4 hour drive. I fell asleep driving and when I woke up, my car was skidding out of control. I was still so tired that I couldn’t open my eyes. I just braced myself and just hoped that my car didn’t hit anything at the high speeds I was spinning. I never really hit anything at this point.

Then I was driving again. I’m not sure if this was after the previous skidding or it’s simply that I have a second chance. Well, I was asleep while driving again at any rate. This time, when I woke up, I was able to open my eyes as I skidded off the highway and landed under an overpass. Under this over pass was a group of bears including a mother and two large cubs which I had frightened. As I left the car, the group of bears charged me. As I was running away, another bear was coming from the direction I was running. The mother bear bit my hand.

I was driving again with no injuries. Of course, I was asleep this time as with the others and when I woke up, I was unable to open my eyes. I had driven into an extremely icy lake and I could feel the freezing water pouring into my car. I grabbed the door handle but I couldn't get the door open. I knew this was it and I was going to die.

Then I woke up.

Things heard around my apartment

At 12:30AM last night, I was sitting in my living room with my three roommates: Ben, Darrin and Mark. Although I was taking part in the sporadic conversations, (everyone was studying so these conversations were separated by silent periods) I took the opportunity to listen to the speech patterns of my three friends.

At one point, I closed my eyes to rest them and for a split second, I thought I was in a Mormon film. The following phrases were used during these conversations at least once:

  • 'He was suck a friggin' ace.'
  • 'Oh my flippin' heck.'
  • 'Fudge!'
  • 'Abso-friggin'-lutely
  • 'Fetch! Are you serious?'

Welcome to Utah, where even profanity is done in moderation.

Now, I'm a fan of euphemisms just like most Mormons, but it seems to me that these particular displays of self-control weren't so much a sign of devotion to certain principles, but the mark of a society that's forgetting the beauty and power of a four letter word.

It's my belief there are certain times where profanity is not only necessary, but can add a delightful sense of humor to any situation. For example: I stubbed my toe getting out of bed the other morning. At that moment, it wasn't just the pain that was getting to me, it was the overwhelming feeling that this was a sign of things that would come to pass that day. I promptly yelled, 'Shit!' thinking the apartment was empty. At that same moment, my roomie Ben was outside my door and burst out laughing. I couldn't help but laugh myself at my situation as I grabbed my foot and fell back on my bed.

Now if I had chosen a slightly different lexicon, we'll take one from the examples from above, and had yelled, "Fudge!" I believe things would have been different. First, I would have felt oppressed, or repressed, or whatever the correct terminology is. Not allowing myself to express...well...myself should be a sin. It's like placing a big black censorship bar over the breasts of Venus De Milo. Language, like other mediums is art and we all know that censorship is bad in any form. If everyone kept repressing themselves, eventually someone would take it upon themselves to enforce this repression and then we'd have the next Joseph Stalin right here in Provo, sending anyone with the heuvos to drop the B-bomb (bitch) to Siberia (or perhaps Moab in Utah's case). A step like this is one step closer to fascism.

Also, Ben probably wouldn't have laughed at my response to my own pain, I wouldn't have been able to laugh it off myself, and because we all know The Secret works, my negative expectations for that day would have manifested themselves (yeah, thanks universe) and my mood would have become worse and worse--not to mention I probably wouldn't have got any checks in the mail that day.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Blogging is the new movie review.

My sister suggested I started blogging again. I used to do it pretty frequently. It seemed like I had more interesting experiences at that point in my life. Jessica (the sister) says it's all about turning the mundane into something witty and interesting.

Today I had lunch with that sister. She's a lot of fun. When we were both studying at BYU, we'd have lunch twice a week, Tuesdays and Thursday at 11am. We skipped the optional devotionals and forums after being dramatically disappointed after attending a few.

Since those times, she's graduated law school, passed the bar and become a super attorney that's just a little too busy for two lunches a week with a lowly undergrad majoring in a lame emphasis. She still makes time for a good lunch date a week.

Today we went to The Smokehouse. I nice little barbecue restaurant in downtown Provo. The food was delicious and we treated ourselves to a desert named Toughies. After lunch, I went grocery shopping and picked up a few necessities like milk and string cheese. When I arrived home, I promptly put away the perishables, went into the bathroom and emptied my stomach of all it's contents the opposite way they were supposed to come out.

Could this have been food poisoning? The flu? I dare say it was the Toughies which may just have been too tough for my stomach. Does this mean I'll give up The Smokehouse or their delicious fried deserts? I don't think so.

After this, I took a quick nap and now I'm at work where I care for the mentally handicapped. I am only able to rob neighbors' Wi-Fi from the porch so here I am, sitting and typing, trying to be witty and entertaining but fearing I probably failed on this first attempt. This doesn't trouble me however. I now have my own page at blogspot and will continue until I am the Mormon version of David Sedaris.

While writing this blog, I'm chatting with a friend of mine from Kolpino, Russia. We met while I was living in St. Petersburg. A year and a half later, we met up in Samara while I was doing poverty research and she was vacationing. Could this be something? I'm not sure yet. I'm conflicted with the part of my brain that cares what people think. All my life, I've been unpleasantly aware of those returned missionaries who bring back the locals to enjoy wedded bliss for all eternity. I've always hated these former elders. To add to this conundrum, I've become somewhat opposed to and biased against Russians, whom I found generally distasteful. All these things against us. But what if it's true love? Like Romeo and Juliette--The Claire Danes version.