Monday, March 31, 2008

Gems from the Pens of Students (Part 1)

In honor of his retirement at the end of this semester my Dad sent out his collection of Gems from the Pens of Students. This is an exhaustive collection of great sentences from history term papers and exams. Because there are so many I will share some of the highlights in several installments. Enjoy!

His decline reached its height when his mother died.

In general, Peru was a peaceful country with people that were into each other.

Suicide was viewed as an even greater evil than getting married.

Peasant villages could contain a number of people or they could be a collection of hovels.

History in the past has become a very dull and boring subject to read about due to the materials being published in the past 20 years.

But no matter which way history is defined, it is history.

As children were served as an economic elements, procreation was fertile among the society.

I contribute the mundane and violent quality of life to the general subsistence of the people.

Peasants had no opportunities to build up their immune systems making it easier to be susceptible to disease.

They opened fire and riddled him with bullets. He had been shot.

He supported marriage for people who had participated in consummation as early as age seven.

Hygiene became important with the development of time.

As patriarchal controls relaxed, sexual freedom was explanded, shown by a sharp rise in prenuptial marriages and illegitimate children.

A clan can exist independantly of its members.

Mothers anticipated childbirth with much anticipation.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Draft Padeken

We all know The Provonian is cool. But how cool would it be if Mikey actually commented or, dare we hope, posted on this fine blog? Of course, there are other members of our community who are MIA (Ollerton, Sanderson, Brandie of late, Guido, Brims, Naoto, Cloak Boy), but let's take our battles one at a time. What can we do to recruit this incredible talent to The Provonian?

Flattery? Sorry, I already tried it here.

Bribery? Perhaps, but Mikey has never seemed materialistic.

Guilt? This might work. "Why don't you ever visit the blog? I thought you were my friend." Or appeal to his sense of duty. "You were once proud to be a member of a fine acting troupe. Have you no sense of duty? Have you no esprit de corps?" This is good because it mixes nostalgia and guilt.

Threats and insults? No, he's too unflappable. He could take any of us in a fight anyway (maybe it's a toss up with Moose).

Gentle persuasion, long-suffering and love unfeigned? Perhaps a campaign of imploring emails could tip the balance.

The floor is yours. What shall we do?

P.S. I just emailed this post to Padeken.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Hulu anyone?

In case you're unaware, is a website that shows complete TV shows and some movies online...for free.

It's pretty amazing. You can lose hours at this place.

Please follow this link, fast forward to 13:55, watch to about 16:30...and enjoy.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Revelation

Easter Sunday brought hoards to sacrament meeting, but the numbers had dwindled by Sunday School to a handful of familiar happy faces. I took my place at the pulpit with scriptures open, ready to blow some minds with the profundity of my Easter Musings. I couldn’t see that there was anyone new to introduce and I said as much, when a young lady peeked from behind a man seated in front of her. She was new, as was her husband who had also managed to hide himself behind another. They introduced themselves as somebody somebody bla bla bla, and this was their son, Beck.

Pause. Should I say something? I’ll try it.

“Beck. Is that short for something?”
“Nope. Just Beck”
“Great. Just wondering.”


“I ask because my friends and I did this play wherein there was a character whose name was Beck and he had a recurring nightmare that it was short for Rebecca.”

Class titters. New couple looks shocked.

“You put it on at BYU a few years ago” says the goatied man holding the child named Beck. This is not a question. He’s telling me that he saw the play.

“We named our son after the man in that play.”

Blink. Blink.

I can’t close my mouth. Nothing comes out. I don’t have words for this moment in my life. I motion to the boy, and then back to myself, and then back to the boy. I leave my hand in the air and blink again. The class is roaring and I can’t tell if it’s because of the surreality of the event, or because their exhaustively verbose teacher is finally speachless.

The man speaks up again to tell me he is Tom Hiatt’s brother and I can only sort of hear him out of the fog I’m swimming in. And while Tom was in the play, he was not Beck. I wish Tony were here. He may be the only other person on earth who could feel what I am feeling.

Later in the hall, the man presented his child to me and said to the boy, “Beck, meet your namesake.” And I wanted to cry. One day, somebody is going to have to tell him that his name is, indeed, short for Rebecca.

Y'all, Rejection and "Still Got It"

The kids and I went for a little walk in NC State's teaching forest yesterday after church. As we were walking along Jane and Paul were whacking limbs and weeds that stuck out in the trail. Jane kept saying, "Y'all branches are rude!" I said, "Jane where did you learn all of this y'all stuff?" "The kids on the bus. They are always saying 'y'all, y'all, y'all.' Like, 'Y'all be stupid!'" Y'all branches are rude? It's tough to sound any more Southern than that.

A couple of weeks ago I got my first rejection letter for a job application. I didn't mind; in fact, I was glad this school was courteous enough to send the letter. I've had other applications out for longer than this one and have yet to hear anything. So they were still good in my book until I got another rejection letter . . . from the same school. I guess they didn't want me to even dream of considering working for them.

Still Got It
I sang a solo with the ward choir yesterday for our Easter service. I had a cold, so we had to lower a few of the notes, but it still turned out really well. Singing in church is one of my favorite things to do. It's a blessing to have church as an excuse to sing solos a few times a year.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Jane Says . . .

Jane: You bought these chicken nuggets instead of making them?

Taliatha: Well, they were frozen and then I cooked them.

Rob: Mom, could make chicken nuggets if she wanted to. Mom can do anything.

Jane: If Mom can do anything then why isn't she flying right now?

Dating Litmus Tests

Did you ever set up ridiculous litmus tests for your dates to see if they really had what you were looking for? (Speaking of litmus tests, check out Sorro debunking some water pH bunk somebody sold his Mom.) I can think of a couple.

The first was a test that I never actually used. There was a dead tree sticking out over the banks of the Provo River down near Utah Lake that we would throw rocks at to knock off branches. We spent considerable time throwing A LOT of rocks at that tree. We decided that any girl with real potential (like marrying potential) would have to enjoy a date where the main activity was going down to the river and throwing rocks at the tree.

The second litmus test involved Savers. Taliatha and I had just started dating and I wanted to get her something from Savers for Christmas. I found her a shirt/sweater that was pretty cool and boxed it up. Her family wasn't impressed that I gave her a present from a thrift store but she wore it with pride anyway. She passed with flying colors.

The third litmus test wasn't mine, it was Tony's. The test was that at some point on a date you would ask your date, "So do you like stuff?" If a date was truly the marrying kind she would have some cool answer. I know, it's a tough test. In fact, some of Taliatha's roommates were indignant at the thought of a man employing such a stringent test--but dating is a high stakes endeavor and you can't be too careful. Did you ever actually use that one Tony?

So what were your litmus tests? I know a lot of girls had "the list." You know, the list of ideal qualities a young man of the marrying kind would possess. And more importantly, did you ever apply any of your tests?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Thank You

I have to give some props especially to Rob for getting this blog going and to all others who contribute. I admit I haven't been the most faithful blogger (isn't weird how the Internet has led to the development of new words, if I had told someone I was or was not a faithful blogger 20 years ago what would they have thought? Anyways...), I have good intentions but I never get around to writing amidst the craziness that is life right now.

That being said I do frequent the blog quite often and always provides me with a very refreshing and needed break. Case in point, I just got out of three hour class on racism. This class is INTENSE. Right now I'm not sure if I'm depressed, optimistic, angry or racist. I'm pretty sure I'm not racist but I'm white and that's strike one. Anyways, I got back to my office in this intellectual depression and decided to check out the good old provonian blog. Suddenly I'm reading this amazing post about gayness and learning about noodling (Kirk recommended this movie to me before so now I've really got to check it out, and if you're looking for a good documentary consider King of Kong, good stuff). It's good stuff.

The enjoyment of this blog has a lot to do with nostalgia for me. I'm not talking just about old memories, though I have to admit the blog's good for that too. I haven't thought of bizzing behind the Omni in awhile. It's more so that it feels a little like we're all hanging out again when I read y'alls' (Texas influence creeping into my life, I'm sure Aaron knows what I mean. He's probably wearing a bolo tie and wranglers as he reads this) posts and comments. Although now we mainly "hang out" on the Internet, reading the blog in a way is like staying up late at Cinnamon Hole talking about dating (mainly the lack there of) frustrations, or tackling people in the commons at PHS, or making pop can suits for the BYU football game. It's just good for the soul to have a little comradery with y'all now and then, so thanks.

Monday, March 17, 2008


There are many things that I can't really picture myself, or anyone else, doing. Eating fire, jumping buses on a motorcycle, catching giant catfish with my bare hands...

That last one is the subject of a documentary called Okie Noodling that I recently saw with Lesley over at Kirk and Marilyn's house.

'Noodling' is when you catch fish using your fingers as bait. When an ENORMOUS catfish bites your hand you grab him and wrestle him to shore.

To give you an idea of what it looks like, here's a youtube clip.

Now keep in mind, this clip is not from the film and is about a minute too long, but it gives you an idea of what noodling is all about.

I enjoyed the film for various reasons, certainly I liked the redneckiness and the humor that comes from watching those with red necks. But, there was more than just that. The filmmaker, Bradley Beesley, treated the subjects with so much respect and dignity. It seemed like he started the film with the intention of filming these weirdos who fish with their hands, but it turned into a portrait of some very likable guys doing something they genuinely love.

And that's what really surprised me. These guys have a deep passion for what they're doing and you can't help but admire it. I could tell that if they could make a living out of noodling they would. And they would love every minute of it.

It's certainly a very romantic ideal, commune with nature to transcend everyday life and find some sort of spirituality. It sounds like a Goethe poem.

And at only about 50 minutes long it's just the right length. Great film. Certainly worth the time.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Does that make me...?

So, I’m confused. I’m not quite straight on something and I think I may have always had a queer angle on it. It’s not my fault, as I think I was born this way. But this issue has always been something of a bugger for me, and I feel like I’ve closeted these feelings long enough. I’m just going to come out and say it: I don’t get March Madness.

I know it’s a big deal for college (?) basketball, and every business across the nation is using it like a holiday. RC Willey, and other fashionable outlets, are having collossal sales on TV’s and furniture that relates somehow, I’m sure, to basketball. Even the company I’m working for is running an obscenely low subscription price during the famously masculine season. I was invited to a creative brainstorm on the campaign yesterday, and I found myself with precious little to offer. Headlines naturally centered around basketball terms-- a lexicon so unfamiliar to me that I sat mute in the corner with my legs crossed, waiting out the clock. The only basketball terms I can remember were shouted at me by red-faced PE coaches and angry teammates: Stay out of the key! Get rid of it! Whatever you do, don’t shoot!

What does it mean that I’ve never watched an episode of Sports Center? Do they even call them episodes? How come I’d never heard of PTI before Tone mentioned it on this blog? Why didn’t I understand the first word that came out of Carlos Boozer’s mouth when he was apparently so eloquent about the Jazz’s chances for... a slot in the... victory over... valuable asset to the division semi-final Western Athletic Conference? What?

Ask me what I wore every day last week. I can tell you. And I can tell you which of those clothes needed and received laundering and if they were subsequently folded correctly or placed on the proper hanger in my closet. Ask me if I still sweat over the fact that I have more brown belts than black, and the black belts that I have are too formal for everyday wear. What if i want to wear black leather shoes with my jeans? I have to wear a sweater that will cover my waist all day, eliminating the possibility of exposing the overaggressive sheen of the leather there. Or I go without the belt all together, an equally embarrassing predicament to be caught in if the sweater comes up while I’m sitting down. Am I gay?

Ask me, when I’m wearing a printed top, if I will also wear a hat with print. The answer is no. No navy and black either.

And it’s not that I am obsessed with clothes. I don’t even have enough money to wear really nice clothes (although a boy can dream). But I find I can keep track of that stuff, and I can’t keep track of sports statistics. I wanted the Giants to win the Superbowl because I think they have the best logo in the NFL, but I didn’t stick around to see if they won. I don’t know who plays for the Jazz. I can’t tell you who Shaq plays for and when people bring up the Shaq-Kobe rivalry like it’s a thing of the past, I think, when did they part company? I can tell you that Jack Nicholson is a Lakers fan. I can tell you who starred in any number of sports movies over the last few decades, whether I saw them or not. I can tell you enough of Hollywood-related trivial facts to make your eyes roll. I can keep track of that stuff-- I‘m interested in that stuff. Does that make me gay?

I am still very happily and actively married to a woman that I have loved for almost 15 years now. I am still ravenously attracted to that woman, to her enduring relief/dismay (depending on the day) and, sometimes, to her fatigue. I have always liked girls. I maintain that in the first grade, my fondest and most ardent wish was that one day, all the girls would have to come to school naked. First grade. In kindergarten I used to find obscure and secreted surfaces whereon I could scribble the initials of the girl I liked. Many of them are still there as proof in my parents’ home-- under tables, on opposing bedposts, inside the bathroom cupboards-- you know, all the places a love-sick 5 year-old can reach.

I’m crazy about this new Goldfrapp album. If you’ve heard it you might think that’s another strike on the gay side. But how many points do I get for thinking that Alison Goldfrapp is gorgeous enough to stare at? I defy any straight man to give it a listen and not wish that she would sing you to sleep every night.

And it’s true that if I were offered tickets to a Jazz game or Rachmaninoff at the symphony, I’d take Rachmaninoff every time. Especially if Pavel Kogan is conducting because he seems to bring more out of the orchestra than Lockheart. But what about the passion it breeds in me for my wife? And let’s not forget that one of the reasons I’d choose the symphony is that I am more likely to get Jayne to come with me, and there is no one I like better than she. And settling into those seats in Abravanel Hall, regarding her in her Symphony Formals, taking her hand in the dark... there is no greater peace in the temporal world.

Is that gay?

So I’ve decided maybe I’m part gay. Just like I’m part Norwegian, from my mom’s side, and part Welsh, from my dad’s. I’m part gay, part straight, and part arson (don’t ask). Is that so bad? The idea of intimacy with another man is repulsive to the point of shivers. In fact, in a conversation with a gay friend, he asked if I could live with my best friends, and I said yes. He asked if i could make out with any of them (he named Tony, because he’d met him) and I wretched. Sorry, Tony. But the gay part of me will gladly go shopping and cluck her tongue at every bad piece of design she sees along the way.

So, if anyone is having any March Madness or Final Four parties, I’d love to come. I’m always game for comradery and male bonding (not that kind of male bonding, you filthy beasts). But don’t expect me to contribute to any debate about the merits of a given team or player. And you can’t coax it out of me with gay jokes. I’ve come to terms with my part-gayness. Maybe some of you should take a good long look as well, and embrace that inner queen. We might find that some of us that went into March as lions, may come out as lambs.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Demographic Winter

Check out this website and the trailer for Demographic Winter and let me know what you think. I can't remember where I stumbled upon this, I think it was, but I thought I'd pass it along. Amidst the various gloom and doom scenarios for the planet's future this was a new one to me. It also offers additional support to the family as the building block of society beyond the usual morals and values based reasoning. It appears to have some LDS backers but is produced for the general public.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Biology 101: First Exam

Whoever guesses closest to the average on my first test gets five extra credit points.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Jazz on PTI? Wha...?

In case you missed it a refreshingly articulate Carlos Boozer was on PTI on Tuesday. Is PTI the best sports show on TV? I'm gonna say yes. Do I watch it whenever I can? Again a yes. Would I murder someone for a job at PTI? Well...that's a toughy...but I'm gonna say yes.

If you're not paying attention, the Jazz are right in the mix of a historically good Western Conference right now. But with all the blockbuster trades going down they're still the 'sleeper' in the conference. I myself have ticks to the Laker game on March 27th. If you read a report that a crazed Kobe Bryant charged the stands and tried to assault an annoying fan that night, rest assured he was wearied to madness by my incessant boos and jeers.

Won't You Wear a Sweater, Neighbor?

I'll let Mr. McFeely do the talking.