Sunday, March 30, 2008

Maybe I've lost it

I dunno, maybe it's good. I just haven't had the inspiration lately to write. I don't know if it is because I'm caught up with dating the most wonderful woman in the world, or if it because I am tied up planning a banquet for 600 people this week in the Wilk.

I think I have something to say though. I guess this is kind of a life tip.

When I was on the mission it was easy to allow your emotions to get tossed to and fro. It was easy to get down when 5 of your 6 appointments flaked on you that day. This is what I learned though: Life is always changing. And I don't just mean a slow steady change from A to B. I mean rapid, violent, every day changes from A to Z to T to R. And there is usually no indications of what is ahead. So I learned that while life can very easily change from being on the top to being on the bottom, it can just as easily change from the bottom to the top. It wasn't until the end of my mission that I realized that there wasn't much point in getting down, because the next day everything could change. So, you wait. You wait for the next boat to come in.

On a related note, and this is the heart of the matter, time is almost always our friend. I've found myself in some difficult situations lately. Situations where you have no clue what to do. There you are, life seems to be crashing down and seems to require you to act. Don't.

I have a climbing book and it includes a section on what to do when you hear someone above you yell "Rock!" Well, what you don't do is look up to try to see where it is coming and avoid it. you cover your head and hope it doesn't hit you.

So when you are there and life seems to be falling to your feet, sometimes the best thing to do is to wait. It's often our instinct to make a decision on the fly. This is hard for me because I "pride" myself in my ability to make quick decisions in the heat of the moment. I actually think I suck at it. Often times we are there with limited information. It is naive to think that by making responding and making a decision, that we will be any better than where we currently are. Sometimes we just want to get out of the current situation, but often times those decisions are made in a severe dearth of information. Often when we act, we commit ourselves to a decision and close of options that if we had only waited a moment or two more, we would have seen were the wisest decisions.

They say silence can never be misquoted. Similarly, I think that in a majority of tense situations there is wisdom in sitting back, taking your time, assessing the situation, gathering more information, reassessing, and then acting when you are more sure that your decision is the correct one. Sometimes, you have to go the extreme of just doing nothing, playing chicken with life, sitting down and saying "Yeah, I don't like this hand, and I'm not gonna play until I get a better one."

In conclusion, while it is true that each situation is largely unique and may require specialized consideration, there is something to be said for considering the possibility of inaction. Next time you are stressed and you don't know what to do, there are pretty good odds that perhaps the best thing you can do is wait. Do nothing while you wait for more information, inspiration, or indication that leads you to believe the considered plan of action will put you in a more beneficial spot that you currently are. I can't count how many times I have made a quick decision under the pressure of a tense moment, only to later regret that decision and spend a considerable amount of time seeking to undo it.

Sit back, remove yourself from the situation, and gather more information.

Though I alluded to the game of chicken, please don't take this advise if you actually are playing a traditional game of situation. I can guarantee you that anything you consider doing would put you in a more favorable position than in front of a speeding train. Trust me.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Picture therapy

I've had a bit of writer's block lately. Maybe pictures will help me ease back into it.

This is a painting in the Soviet Art exhibit at the Springville a
Uhm... I don't really think there is anything more I can say that would make this picture make sense.

Does anyone think they could make this sign any more creepier? Seriously, streaky white paint, hand-written tall capital letters, and an ellipses at the end?

So yeah, that's it. Hopefully when life gets less stressful I will put some more stuff up.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Driving Lessons with a 5 year old

Yesterday I spent some quality time with my nephew Joshie. He's a funny kid. You see, he's learning to drive at the age of 5. Who's teaching him you ask? Well, he's actually self taught.

Earlier this week his mother was out in the van with the 4 boys dropping of Visiting Teaching assignments. She pulled into a driveway. Since she was only going to stick a note on the door, she decided she'd leave the door open and the car on.

Joshie, being the helpful young chap that he is, decided that he would do a little life optimization for his mom. According to him, he figured he would "unlock the gears" so that his mother had one less thing to do before they left. So, sitting in the front seat, he leaned over and pulled the gear shifter into reverse. At this moment the van started rolling backwards as both Joshie from in the car, and his mother from outside the car started screaming. The car managed to roll backwards and crash into a white fence before Joshie, who had very quickly transformed into the antagonist, wrenched his destiny towards protagonist and put the car back into park before they went any further.

So, when we hung out for a couple hours yesterday, I decided to give him a few more formal lessons behind the wheel:

Joshie and I went to mentor Fernando. Afterwards we decided to pursue Lucky the Leprechaun. Lucky is, according to Joshie, a "messy leprechaun" that they have at school. Apparently on St. Patrick's day, Joshie started attributing every misplaced item and unaccounted for missing ounce of milk to Lucky the Leprechaun.

At school Lucky wrote Joshie and told him that he "live[s] under a waterfall and it is beautiful." So I suggested we go look for him at Bridal Veil Falls up Provo Canyon. Despite my attempts to paint Lucky in an ill light with comments such as, "Joshie, what are you going to do if he pulls you under the water?" Joshie's view of Lucky was untainted.

We went to the falls only to find the access road closed due to avalance danger. Once again I tried assailing Lucky's character by suggesting that perhaps they are afraid that Lucky would start an avalanche if people tried to find him. My attempts to cast Lucky as a would-be murderer were met with Joshie saying, "No, he probably lives at Thanksgiving point." I agreed and said that was a more central location to both his school and house. Heck, Lucky probably walked to his house. Once again Joshie dissented by informing me, "No, it would be too late for him to walk. He probably drives a little truck."

Apparently I don't know anything about leprechauns.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

A bag full of thoughts

When I got on the plane to come back from California last weekend, I was standing in the aisle waiting to be seated when I noticed some loose change in the overhead compartment. I nervously looked around to see if anyone appeared to be the owner, but decided since nothing had been put in that bin yet for this flight, it was my booty. I counted it, $0.77. How much did I pick up? $0.75. I still refuse to pick up pennies. In fact, my reticence in doing so was confirmed a day or two later. I was waking home and some guy crossing the street cut across the sidewalk at a diagonal. He didn't really see me until he was right in front of me. He had bent down to pick up a penny. In a moment that I could only explain as insecurity in the value of his most recent action of stopping, bending over, and picking up $0.01, he said, "Pick up a penny and you'll have good luck all day." He walked on into his apartment building while I thought to myself, "Yeah, if you believe the load the big Penny industry is trying to feed you!"

I've decided that if I don't get married, I would want to bachelor it up with a good friend. So what if people would think I was gay, I don't really care. But really, I think that living alone would be really boring. I'd mention some friends that would be first choice housemates, but I am afraid that doing so would be interpreted as a lack of faith in their marriage abilities. Anyway, I think it would be fun still.

It is kind of amusing that half of my friends think that my heart is broken and the other half know how very well it is doing. Life is incredible right now. I am dating the girl I've liked since I was 14, preparing for the DAT is going well, I have incredible friends, my family lives 10 minutes away, school is going well, I love my calling. There isn't anything more I could ask for. That's a good spot to be in.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Unpaid Endorsement

Anyone who doesn't hate life and at least partially enjoys laughing should read James' most recent posts.

Though seemingly altruistic, my reasons are selfish. I know that if he is encouraged by visitors and comments, he will be more apt to continue to post, providing more enjoyment and avenues to procrastinate for me. Please go, read, laugh, and comment.

My life

I have just lived a movie, probably a chick flick. But all that matters is that it worked out. I'm with the person that I want to be with. Life is great isn't it?

Friday, March 7, 2008

Cloak Boy

There's a new phenomenon sweeping BYU. His name is Cloak Boy (he also said he sometimes goes by Nathan). I wasn't formally aware of him until this semester. You see, last semester I remember seeing this hunchback on campus every once in a while. Well, I thought he was a hunchback, until I realized he was really wearing a cloak over his backpack. Anyway, I didn't think much of it except for occasionally hoping to see him so I could snap a picture.

It wasn't until this semester that I found out how much of a celebrity he is. I walked into my Rhetoric and the Law class the other week to hear a lively discussion on a certain "Cloak Boy." Apparently this individual not only wore a cloak but was known to sing outside the JSB and HBLL. I say "known to sing" because the discussion was focused on his recent silence. A few weeks ago he had the cops called on him for singing. The officer concluded there was nothing amiss. Then a week later they were called again. This time the same officer threatened to cite Cloak Boy for disturbing the peace with his folk songs and hymns. Since then he's sung no more. Well, it wasn't long into this discussion until I realized Cloak Boy was the hunchback I had seen.

After a few more class discussions on the injustice of Cloak Boy's silencing, I picked up the paper on Thursday to read an article about a small rally of solidarity hosted by the "Revive Cloak Boy" facebook group that would take place Thursday at 11. Small it was. There were only a couple people there, but there was some singing. Not by Cloak Boy, however.

I eventually mustered up the courage to meet Cloak Boy. I introduced myself and told him we talked about him every day in class. He was amused. We proceeded to have a pleasant conversation. I found out the following:
  • Reasons for wearing the cloak are twofold. It keeps him warm and is "aaawwweeessome" (per Cloak Boy himself)
  • One time someone tried to steal the cloak
  • The only time his dress fits in is at science fiction and fantasy conventions
  • He has two cloaks, the other one is lighter and more formal
  • His mother made him this cloak in high school
  • He is a freshman
Anyway, it was a splendid conversation. I was subsequently interviewed by KBYU Daily News about my thoughts on Cloak Boy's silencing. I told them my main thought which was, "What type of person walks by a freshman with a cloak singing a folk song and feels threatened enough to call the police?" I am still looking for an answer to that question.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Tuesday's list

  • Abbie from Target is sending my $7 or so in vouchers to reimburse me for the 5 cans of orange juice I was dissatisfied with. Don't get orange juice from them, it has parts of the orange that aren't juicy... unless you are planning on calling them and getting your money back. Then I guess you would be getting free low quality juice. Maybe your into that type of stuff.
  • Thomas says fear of loss is 2.5 times a more motivating factor than the desire to gain.
  • I'm disappointed when my bank screws up with my trades. What do I get if I call and complain... coupons for free money? No. Just an apology.
  • Real life Gabe is living in Tuesday today, but academic Gabe is actually caught up till partway through the day Thursday. I hope to be in next Tuesday by the end of the day.
  • I see a fork in the road, and the roads diverge at a very obtuse angle. Very obtuse.
  • I found out yesterday that I can understand what I read, I just have to pay attention.
  • I think I'm burned out on politics.
  • I've taken more naps in the last month than I think I did all last calendar year. I believe it has really helped my productivity. Speaking of which, I am going to take 20 right now. Minutes, not naps.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Monday's list

  • I finally ordered my contacts today. It will cost me half the price of the normal person because I only wear a contact in one eye
  • I should be working on schoolwork right now
  • I got out of my $5 cleaning check fee last week
  • I am flying to California in 4 days to see a girl I am not dating