Saturday, December 4, 2010


I always looked up to artists
people that could channel their emotions
into something beautiful
something new
something novel
and yet,

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Beach: Music 1

Life is a relentless tide of new experiences. With terrific force, each wave crashes down and transforms the beach on which one stands. The old geography is washed away, pushing the old beach into memory and drawing out of the sands a new reality. It's not necessarily sad - each new wave reveals parts of the beach that were previously hidden - but so many waves can knock one of his feet and drag him into the depths.

How does one remain upright in the midst of such a tide?

This is a topic on which I would like to spend considerable time. I will probably return to it periodically from different angles. Tonight, however, I want to focus on the role of music.

Like an old friend, good music consoles and inspires in times of trial and change. Good music is ever ready to listen; its interpretation and creation bow to one's emotions and cognitions. When creating music, the result is an expression of the self and becomes an understanding friend. When listening to music, the interpretation is also an expression of the self and bridges the space between the observer and the performer.

Good music also plays the role of the persuasive friend. Its character, whether bright, energetic, thoughtful or tranquil, can invoke cheerful thoughts, stimulate activity, prompt serious reflection or generate calm acceptance. Just as a diverse pool of friends enriches our life experience, so too does a diverse music collection. With each new friend, we are able to see life in a new and different way.

As the tides of life come crashing down, music reminds us of our unique nature and gives us strength to stand firm.
Music is not a replacement for God, but it is one of his gifts. There are so many things which we have been given to help us stand firm and upright in the tides of life. For me, music is but one. When I feel heavy with emotion or sorrow or concern or stress, my musical instruments invite me to share what I am feeling. They respond to my dictation, and the creation becomes an expression of the inexplicable reality. What I could not express through words takes shape in the form of a melody or rhythm and affirms the reality of my emotions. Being able to hear the expression of my feelings fosters acceptance, which gives me strength to carry on and move forward.

What role has music played in your life? Are there any artists or songs or albums that have been especially influential?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Night With the Philosophers: A Case Study

Hobbes, Locke, And Kant

In the following dialogue you will observe the actions of three characters: Hugo, Lucy, and Kris. Each of the three represent the idea of *human nature expressed by the philosopher whose shares their first initial. Pay close attention to their actions and observe how they interact.

*Hugo is a human in name only.

2:13 AM. A cozy little home in suburban Provo. Hugo is climbing out of the front window with a very full knapsack hung over his shoulder. He quietly shuts the window behind him and tiptoes across the lawn.

Hugo: That was some haul! I love Provo! Not much cash, but there's always plenty of food storage. Good thing APX hasn't completely taken over the neighborhood yet.

Just then, Lucy walks by. She looks over at Hugo suspiciously.

Lucy: um... what are you doing over there?

Hugo jumps, nearly dropping his knapsack.

Hugo: Oh! Well... I'm doing what Hugo does best!

Lucy: And that would be...?

Hugo: Well duh! Preserving my life! Fulfilling my self-interests!

Lucy: By stealing food storage? Don't you think that's a little ridiculous?

Hugo: I don't understand... you're weird.

Lucy: Well, what about God?

Hugo: who?

Lucy: God. You know, the ultimate enforcer? The Punisher? G-O-D. God!

Hugo: Sorry, I'm not reading you.

Lucy: Well, aren't you afraid of getting punished?

Hugo looks around, then back to Lucy.

Hugo: Well who's gonna stop me? You?

Lucy laughs nervously.

Lucy: Ha! I'll let God take care of that.

Hugo shrugs... He looks back up at Lucy, and stares. A creepy smile.

Hugo: I like you. You're mine now.

Lucy: Wha... what?! Look, I'm all about self-interest, but if you do that you're gonna be in big trouble.

Hugo: Why are you out here anyway? It's 2:00 AM!

Lucy: I had a nightmare, which wasn't very pleasurable, so I decided it would be in my best interest to take a walk. I figure that's what God wanted me to do. Besides, I've never been up at this hour before, and I wanted to see if it really existed. Now I know that 2:00 AM is real, because I experienced it for myself.

Hugo: Well, better for me. I'm going to take advantage of you now.

Hugo approaches Lucy, who screams and tries to run. Suddenly, a shot is fired and Hugo falls to the ground, dead. Lucy gasps and turns around. Kris walks slowly over to her, smoke floating up from the end of her pistol.

Lucy: … um... thanks

Kris: Anytime. I'd never shoot a man, but he forfeit his humanity.

Lucy: um... what?

Kris(rolling her eyes): Categorical imperative! Hello! It's what makes us humans! Rational thinking?

Lucy: That's funny, I thought acting in our own self-interest is rational.

Kris(under her breath):

Lucy: What was that?

Kris: Nothing.

Lucy: So... how can I repay you? Want to get some frozen yogurt?

Kris: Hmm... let me think... can I will frozen yogurt upon the whole world?

Lucy: Yeah, it's delicious.

Kris: Okay. Let's go.

Kris and Lucy walk down the street toward the yogurt shop. A bat flying by sees the two ladies, gets distracted, and flies into a pole. He spirals down to the ground and stops moving.

Lucy: Did you see that?! That bat just ran into the pole!

Kris: You don't know that.

Lucy(taken aback): Uh, yeah I do. I just saw it. Hello?

Kris: No, you can't really know what happened. You just saw a phenomenon that our universal category of mediation allowed us to see.

Lucy: … um... I saw the bat hit the pole. Really. That's the way it is.

Kris: Whatever.

The two continue walking in silence. They enter the yogurt shop. The screen fades to black. A disembodied voice chuckles in the background...

Voice: Ha ha ha! Doesn't she know that categories of mediation are contingent on culture?


Monday, September 20, 2010

a spooky tale (or, things that happen after midnight that wouldn't happen during the day)

I was up late writing in the kitchen because I couldn't sleep. It was a long day, a long weekend, and I had a lot on my mind. I looked lazily out the window to my left...

and froze in terror!

I gasped, and jerked my eyes away from the figure staring at me from outside the window.

Then, summoning all my courage, I turned back to examine the figure more closely...

And you know what? It was my own reflection.

Heaven help me.
I must be a wreck.

Monday, September 13, 2010

getting old

I will only be 22 for a couple more hours. My friend says that it's my last day being young.

Bring on the old years! ha ha

Getting old is what we do
Our joints get stiff
Our bones get brittle
Our brains get full and then they get empty
Our families grow, or do they shrink?
Our clothes get worn and out of style
But getting old is what we do
So I will do it
Will you do it too?

But let's do it together
'Cause it's totally hip.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Sometimes I feel like being philosophical and figuring out questions. Other times I want to throw it all out the window.

Sometimes I feel proud of what I have produced. Other times I want to burn it.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Happiness is:

knowing what you need when you need it
fulfilling those needs
not doing things you don't need that you might do out of peer pressure

recognizing and helping to fulfill the needs of others

but if those needs are in conflict with your own?

putting others' needs before your own

but what about necessary competition, like work placement?

are there some needs that cannot be compromised?

"i will do anything for you save...?"

then what are those needs/values?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Another Poem


On every man
there is a hand
a hand that can
change the world
or walk a dog
or wash a pan

Be a man
use your hand
wash a pan
for all the girls

And don't forget
to wash your hands
before you hold
your girlie's hand
for if you wash
your hands and pans
you may become
her biggest fan.

(and mine too)

Michael Wood

Friday, May 21, 2010


In every piece of stinky trash

Discarded histories lie within.

Symbols of triumphs, memories of failures,

Regrets, hopes and things that had-been.

A scribbled note has a story to tell:

This grocery list was essential in preparing a meal

Who was the guest? How was the food?

At the end of the night, how did it feel?

The best journal keepers are those we despise

The pack-rats that save everything and take up our space.

Their lives are knots of stinky memories

And in their rotting mounds of compost, everything has a place.

Memories are garbage.

Memories are precious.

We learn from memories

And memories bury us.

Friday, April 9, 2010

A Video Eulogy

To commemorate the end of winter, here are a couple short videos showing two of my favorite views of the season. The quality isn't the best, but I hope you can get a sense of how beautiful winter can be here.

The first was filmed at the "Grand Canyon" of Monte Cristo, UT

The second was at the top of Wasatch Mountain State Park, UT (above Midway and Heber)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Never Say Never

I've become a bit of a food snob during these past few months, and this week I ate it. After catching a nasty cold at the beginning of what was supposed to be a very busy week, condensed soups and boxed mac n' cheese became very appealing.

I have Mak to thank for that. Before she left, she happily gave me most of what was left in her pantry. There was a lot of food, some appealing and some not. Despite her generosity, I didn't plan on ever using the "lower-quality quick meals," and for three months they were pretty much ignored. All I can say is that I've been humbled. It may not be the tastiest or healthiest stuff, but when you're head could explode at any moment, you'll take pretty much anything.

...with that said though, I have to add that I can't wait to get back to making real food again.

18 months

Tomorrow will mark 18 months since I returned home from my LDS mission in Boston, MA. Amidst all of the emotionally charged writing from that time, I found this little excerpt describing events of the night before flying home.

That night we stayed up in the mission home. I say that because we only slept for about an hour. Elder Torgeson, Harmon and I played Phase 10, talked about good ol' times, and snuck downstairs and ate President England's beloved blueberry swirl ice cream. We left a thank-you note in the carton.

President England loves ice cream.

What a great finish to two years of serving under his guidance. :) One year later I saw President England again. I asked him about the ice cream and the note, and with a smile he told me that he had not forgotten. It was some of the best ice cream I've ever had. President always had good judgment (and his wife too, for that matter).

Friday, March 19, 2010

I cursed a stranger, and then...

It is not uncommon to witness unkind gestures or insults directed toward strangers. It doesn't take a sleuth to see daily incidents of road rage, restaurant incivility, or snarky censuring. To those who are guilty of such an offense (and I submit that all of us are), have you ever considered the possibility of meeting that person again?

Last night I went to the Vampire Weekend concert in SLC. The performance was great and the energy was high. The venue was packed with happy concert-goers from all walks of life. There were the prepubescent high school kids, the drunken adults, the poverty-stricken college kids that spent their week's food money on admission, the cautious parents escorting their underage children, and so on. Now, I'll be the first to admit that when a band I like starts to play, I don't hold back. I'm a terrible dancer, but I dance like I know what I'm doing and I try to spread the bug. My guilt lies in bumping into people that don't want anything to do with it.

So there I am, dancing and singing and having a good time, when a tall white man taps me on the shoulder. "Are you gay?!" he spits out vehemently, his eyes bearing down on me from his great height. A little taken back, I reply, "No, are you?" Either purposely or for not having heard me, he ignores my question and says, "then STOP THAT." Probably I bumped into him on accident while moving to the music. I couldn't have been the only one, however, because later I looked back and saw him there, standing like a stiff lighthouse in a kinetic sea of bodies. I would have felt more sorry if I hadn't been one of hundreds of dancing fools. It was a general admission concert after all, and we were fairly close to the stage.

Fast forward one day. I'm at the career fair at school looking for possible marketing internships. Amidst all the colorful business shirts and suits I see a tall white man in a black t-shirt. I couldn't believe it! It was the man from the night before! A dozen possible scenarios ran through my head. I could waltz on up to him and say something like, "Hey... fancy seeing you here!" Or, "Hey! Vampire Weekend! Yeah!"

That dark little spot deep inside wanted to confront him so badly. I wanted to embarrass him the same way he tried to embarrass me. I wanted him to feel like an idiot for the sake of my own amusement and the amusement of my friends. I wanted to... but I couldn't. The truth was, I didn't really want to offend anyone. Yeah, it was the perfect opportunity, but if I had, what would that say about my own character? In the end, I didn't have the courage or desire to act the way my devil wanted to. I left the career fair with hypothetical memories and a clear conscience.

But man, that would have been so perfect. Poetic justice. Something right out of a Hollywood script.

I recognize the possibility (albeit remote) that that same man find this blog and read what I've said about him. To him I say, "I like your taste in music." Maybe next time my dancing will be better and you won't think to question my sexual preference based on what you see. Maybe you will also dance next time and you'll understand that straight men can dance too. Maybe next time someone is offended, we can be a little more kind.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Personal Reflections / Learning Not to Take Yourself Too Seriously

This evening I drove up to the Y Trailhead above Provo to take some time to reflect and meditate. It took me a few minutes, but eventually I found a parking space separate from all the couples "enjoying the view." I turned off the car, pulled back the chair and enjoyed the silence.

For the next hour or so I read through past journal entries, remembering poignant memories and wide-ranging emotions. As I read I was impressed with the many good people that have come into my life during the past few years and I felt a strong desire for their welfare. I saw how many good things have happened to me, and I realized how great is my need for gratitude.

Satisfied with the outcome, I ended the session with a prayer and got ready to head home. I put on my seatbelt, turned the key.... and nothing happened.

I tried again. Nothing.

I looked out the windshield and saw what I should have seen an hour before: two fading lights coming from the front of my car, sucking all the life out of my battery. My battery was dead, and I was alone on the mountain. "Well, God," I said, "You've sure got a sense of humor." Fortunately for me I wasn't far from home, and my wonderful roommate came to rescue me. I'm just glad that I have a cell phone.

I love it when mishaps like this happen in times like this. Life should be funny, and not too serious.

When my roommate arrived with a friend, they asked me where the girl was. "She ran away," I replied. In reality, I probably could have seen her 'home' from up there.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A long overdue entry

Where do I start?

Most of my friends and family are well aware of the difficult and emotional events of my life during the last few months, and to them I offer my sincere gratitude. Without their support and friendship, I would be in a pretty pathetic place right now.

At the end of 2009 I said goodbye to my best friend as she left to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Without going into too many details, I'll just say that independent of any personal wishes or dreams, she and I both knew that this is what she needed to do. Learning to accept that was the first challenge. Learning to live with it is the next.

In some ways the darkness of separation has brought new light to what once was. I have learned for myself, for example, that more than anything, the most valuable dimension of that relationship was the true and selfless friendship that she offered me. Her patience with me and dedication toward our joint happiness was a gift more valuable than I had ever realized. Priceless is the friend with whom you can share everything. Invaluable is the friend who, after knowing all your faults and flaws, chooses to stand by you.

With that said, I recognize that there are still many invaluable friends in my life that have stayed with me and have been a strength to me during this challenging transition. In them is hope, not just for me, but for all who suffer. There are people in far more dire and poignant circumstances than I, many of whom face threats that challenge their very physical survival. Still, no matter the tragedy, healing begins with the kindness and friendship of others. In Haiti or in our own homes, persons are lifted as far as they have a friend who is willing to reach out.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


I didn't do much today, but I spent a lot of time communicating and catching up with each of my family members. It was one of the best days I've had in a long time.

Friday, January 22, 2010

put your hands up

There are a bunch of single ladies downstairs dancing to Beyonce.

Life is full of surprises.


Snow is falling like stock prices.

(fast and hard)

Time to go outside.