Archive for August, 2010

About half-way through the summer I decided that since I’d be quitting my dead-end job at the bakery come fall, I might as well quit a few weeks early and see the world. After my sojourn in GA, I came home for a couple of days of mental and emotional frustration (don’t ask) and set sail immediately for San Francisco.

I had gone to S.F. once before when I was in my mid-teens. On that trip we toured Alcatraz, ate clam chowder every day, and rocked out in China town. This time we decided to see Wicked, a Giant’s game, eat clam chowder every day and rock out the last two days in Monterrey.

We ended up seeing Wicked and the ballgame all in one awesomely spectatoral day (made up word). I’ve been hearing about wicked since the thing opened on Broadway and it lived up to the hype. The fact that we were in the Orpheum theatre didn’t hurt anything either.

The ballgame was epic (my first major league experience). We sat high right with a great view of the game, the skyline, and the bay. We ate garlic fries. During the game there was a splash hit, a grand slam, and the Giant’s ended up winning in the bottom of the ninth with a ground rule double. Perfect.

We spent the next couple of days wandering around S.F.: the wharf, china town, coit tower. We rode public transit like we owned the city and even caught a high-tech production of Peter Pan where the dad/hunter from Jumanji was capt. hook.

The captain of our little tour boat told us that it’s tradition to make a wish the first time you go under the golden gate. I obviously can’t tell you what mine was but I’ll give you a hint: it was about a person, and wishing under bridges is just about my last resort.

For the last two days we headed down to Monterrey and got some cold cloudy beach time and checked out the aquarium. By “checked out” I mean we were there for about 12 hours as my mom progressed at a snails pace, oohing awwing at every inch of glass. I can’t say I love aquariums. They’re just zoos with water. And I find zoos depressing.

I ended up sleeping for about 7 hours on the way home. I conveniently was wide awake, however, for the gorgeous countryside that starts in Reno, continues to Wendover, and goes across the Bonneville salt flats. It’s a truly stunning vista of terrain.


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10 minutes ago I was pulled over. Nothing serious: broken headlight, fix it ticket. As I drove down 6th east I saw him sitting there, but I didn’t know I had a broken headlight. I checked my speed, within the legal limit, and yet I knew that he was going to pull me over.

When the red and blue started flashing a voice inside me said “told you so” and I drifted toward the side of the road. I wasn’t nervous, I wasn’t upset, I felt a complete and utter indifference to the fact that with one stroke of a pen this man in blue and white could serve a crippling blow to life as I know it.

It was beyond indifference. I felt nothing. Cold, numb, nothing. I was listening to “The Hamburg Song” by Keane, a song that I often play on the piano when I’m feeling particularly melancholy. I don’t know if it was coincidence that the song came on my shuffle when I felt this way, or if repeated use at such times has conditioned me to introspect when the song comes on like Pavlov’s dog. Either way, I felt nothing.

This actually started 20 minutes earlier. I arrived home in Logan after attending She and Him’s performance at the Twilight Concert Series. I had spent about 3 hours (there and back) in the back of Cody’s Monte Carlo providing the comedic relief to the car. Those who know me are fully aware that it doesn’t take much to set me off and that I have an opinion on just about everything; one that I’m not bashful about sharing.

We had some good laughs, discussing everything from funerals to how much Sandra Bulloch sucks as an actress to my constant conversational staple of how girls as a whole are evil. As an intermission we stood 30 feet from the ever-captivating Zooey Deschanel and the Uber shredder M. Ward and then resumed our vehicular diatribe.

We got back, we parted ways and immediately upon entering my car to go home I felt it: the cold enveloping darkness of nothing.

I got back to brooklane and made a pass through the empty parking lot. I passed every dark window and every empty stall and found myself going right on by and heading up to campus. Don’t ask me why, but for some reason when I’m feeling particularly lost and alone I often find myself up on campus parked near George Washington’s head, laying on the hood of my car and looking up at The A as I listen to music.

Feeling lonely is one thing. Feeling lonely and not knowing where you’d like to be or who you’d like to be with is something else. As it turned out, when I parked the car, rolled down my window and settled back into the seat “Dancing With Myself” came on over the speakers.

Lately I’ve been forced to face my academic mortality. One year from today I will be a graduate of Utah State University. I will no longer be a reporter for The Utah Statesman. I most likely will not be living in Logan.

All the fickle things that take up so much of my energy will disintegrate in a matter of seconds. The attention that I give to minuscule campus details will become moot, the love I feel for the University and Aggie Athletics will remain but will become abstract, intangible emotions and the moral code that I have constructed in my mind to protect myself from the miserable existence of people like the Ambassadors and SigEps will cease to be any of my concern.

What will remain, are the things that I truly enjoy doing. Saturday morning bike rides. Sunday afternoons reading by the lake. Concerts in Salt Lake. Meeting the family for lunch and a movie. My piano. Writing.

In all likelihood, and I mean this with no pretense of self-flagellation or pleas for pity, I will do all of these things alone. Wherever I am a year from now, I will be dancing by myself.

I’ve always been a loner. I can remember only one time in my life when I felt a 100% sense of belonging amongst my circle of friends; my freshman year college in Snow Hall with my 6 unofficial roommates. I’ve always assumed, and still do, that at some point I’ll meet that person who in their singularity makes me feel completely wanted, welcome, and supported. So far I have not met that person, or rather, I have not reached that particular level of feeling with any of the people that I have met.

I’m a mathematician. Each year that I fall short of this bar at USU, increases the likelihood that USU is not the stage for that play. And with each passing season more of those closest to me are naturally distanced by the cruel clock of time and I find my self unwilling, and unable to replace them.

I’m a mathematician, and by next summer I should be all but entirely alone.

As I sat tonight looking up at The A, I thought of all the new students that have just arrived this week, of the countless others that will continue pouring into Logan over the weekend. They arrive with that familiar fervor of opportunity, a static buzz that pulses through the air with the anticipation of what lies in store. There will be parties and plagues, dances and disasters, romance and rage.

And there I was, alone at midnight in the middle of campus, staring at a glowing block letter and feeling 100% indifferent. It was clear that I felt lonely, but as I searched my brain for that fantasy scenario where I open arrive home to find just the person I hope to see waiting on my doorstep my brain drew a blank. The porch in my mind’s eye was empty, just as the porch at Brooklane was empty when I pulled my car into the lot.

So here I am. Tired and alone with a fix-it ticket, a broken heart, and my whole life ahead of me. And I don’t feel anything, anymore.

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This is mostly a post coming out of obligation. I went to Georgia two weeks ago for a Journalism Conference and, it being my first time in the South and a substantial trip, I figured I better blog about it.

I left at the break of Dawn on Sunday for what would be my 2nd-ever trip on a plane (roundtrip counting as one) and my first plane ride without the nametag. I remember the night before thinking, “man, I wish I could take my Ipod and a book” when it struck me, “you’re not a schmuck with a tie and a nametag, you CAN take your Ipod and a book…gall darn it, you can even watch the movie.”

The movie turned out to be Date Night. It’s funny, but I had seen it so I stuck with my book, a not-appropriate-for-the-situation expose on 9/11. Good think I’m not superstitious, still, I tried to cover it up so the people next to me wouldn’t see.

When I got to Atlanta I had about an hour and a half to kill before my reserved shuttle picked me up. I walk around a little bit, tried to stay indoors away from the crippling humidity and after what seemed like a brief time it came. There were about 8 of us MSCNE people on it and we played a multiply-repeated name game as every new comer arrived and then chatted for most of the drive about how awesome Inception was. (I am SO sorry for not posting my review, now it almost seems too late).

At the Holiday Inn in Athens, GA I met my roommate, Ian from Florida, who had conveniently dead-bolted me out of the room. It’s always a little spooky walking into a room where your going to meet the person who will be sleeping 8 feet from you for a week. Ultimately, Ian turned out to be a total stud but we spent an awkward 2 hours watching TV waiting for dinner.

I won’t bore you with the day to day. Basically we started every day at 8:00 a.m. and finished around 8:00 p.m. where we would crash for an hour and then head out to the bar, no joke, every night. Usually before venturing out we would stop by the room beneath us where our collegues would have a pre-bar drinking extravaganza. Again, every night.

In the forefront of this picture is Vinny “The Knife” also known as “The Hot Italian.” Vinny, like many of the cats I ran with that week was legally underage (not me, as it turns out I was THE OLDEST PERSON ATTENDING THE CONFERENCE, a fact that vexed me…I was extremely vexed) and as such took full advantage of the hotel parties. This picture was taken on Sunday night where we left Vinny to explore the streets and the next morning he couldn’t remember going back to his room or why there was the residue of vomit on his toilet seat.

The first two nights in Athens we hit up The Rye Bar, mostly because they didn’t ID people and secondly because they had live music every night. The music was actually pretty darn good and since there were only a dozen people in the bar, we had a really good view. I’ve learned in these situation that people don’t bug you to consume as long as your drinking something, I actually don’t drink pop but since I hate asking for Juice at a bar (man, they really hassle you) I double broke my rule and got a fairly sized glass of Red Bull from the tap (for free, I love being the designated) and subsequently did not sleep for one minute that night. No exageration.

We did do some work. We toured UGA paper “The Red and Black” whose newsroom is a two-story building fully independent and off campus that is about the size of the building that USU’s department of Journalism SHARES with Nursing. Architecturally speaking, the Red and Black is considerable more impressive.

For our last night in Athens we hung out at The Taco Stand, a bar, obviously, that serves Mexican food. Despite the fact that we’d be waking up at 7 we stayed out till about 3 in the morning. This was Wednesday night, and my being one of those Mormons finally came up (pretty good since I had been abstaining for 4 nights straight). After a quick round of Q&A (You guys don’t eat chocolate? Do you all wear short ties?), which included my favorite How far do you guys go? (referring to carnal relations). I love this question because it always descends into a round of base-defining (everybody seems to have their own reckoning of the base system) and then after I answer (I round up to second, which technically is wrong, but you have to ease people into the idea of living in a Cult), and then a round of innuendo-filled baseball jokes are made. Classic.

To end the night we all took tequila shots (Coke for me. Kate, a lovely girl, asked the bartender for something for “her mormon friend,” it would have been impolite and awkward to say, “oh, I don’t drink soda either” plus they would have assumed it was a mormon thing). It actually took 2 tries because Fitz (who spent one crazy night in SLC once, aske me about it sometime) dropped a tray of 8 shots. He was a little buzzed at the time.

Thursday we headed back to Atlanta in what was without a doubt the most miserable bus ride of my life. So, so tired. Once there we checked into the swanky Hilton Gardon Inn and went out for a bite at Johny Rockets where I introduced the crowd to the art of Utah’s Famous Fry Sauce.

I made everyone try it, and they all loved it of course. Except for Dallas, who remained skeptical.

That really is a shot of her looking at me in disdain as I create my concoction.

Half of the gang at Johnny’s (the other half is behind the picture taker). In case you can’t tell, that’s me double strawing a milk shake with Anna from Washington. She’s got a boyfriend (all the best one’s do).

After a lunch the guys ran back to the hotel and changed into our “business casual” for a meet and great with CNN reporters and a tour of the building. Which, in and of itself, is an enormous gaudy monument to the glory of all things journalism.

Riding up the world’s longest suspended escalator with M. and M. (8 floors, only connected at the top and bottom) at CNN.

After CNN we had our closing dinner (good chicken), lounged in the outdoor pool at the Hilton, 8 floors up, waterfalls, and overlooking the skyline (good view, in more ways than one bada-bing) and then 30 or so of us headed to Taco Mex where we could find ourselves some darned alcohol. We drove up a pretty sizeable tab and Merideth was kind enough to sneak “The Knife” a few Guinnesses and Ian got his Dos Equis. For me, a big Mr. Pib (no Dr. Pepper in Georgia) and some chili cheese fries.

We laughed, we drank, we then we gave our heartfelt goodbyes. We didn’t know each other from Adam but in 5 days we were family.

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Recomended background music for this post. “The Boxer” by Carbon Leaf on Echo Echo.

Photos by Mandie Harris

About two, three weeks ago now I had my face blown off at Kilby Court by Carbon Leaf, one of my all-time favorite bands.

I had never been to Kilby before this and for those of you that haven’t been there, it’s a garage. There couldn’t have been more than 100 people packed in there and your’s truly was front row stage right, close enough to spit on the band. But why would I.

There really is nothing like seeing one of your favorite bands live, and when they actually blow your expectations out of the water it is often too much to emotionally bear. Such was the case with CL. They packed a two-hour set with a little bit of everything; from their indy Echo Echo days to their as-yet-unreleased in tangible CD form How The West Was One, which also marks their first production since splitting from their record label.

In one awesome 4-5 song set, the entire band unplugged and gathered round one old-fashioned microphone a la Grand Opera Style and Rocked. The. House.

Still, when they played Lake of Silver Bells, I almost cried. Not really, but yeah.

Me and Catherine waiting for the show to start (p.s., in case any of you that were put-off by my last post are in attendance–as requested, this is my real face. Begin.)

My sister Mandie and her friend Ryan (would you believe she’s a mother of 4? Check out her pictures here)

Semi-botched group shot. All the good ones are in frame.

Parking lot rooftop Irish dancing post-concert at Hire’s Big H.

More of the same.

In case you’re not noticing, that’s a washboard, a mandolin, AND an upright base in this picture. They also rocked an accordion, a violin, banjo, gourd, tin can, a harmonica and some crazy irish flute thing. Boo Yah!

After the show Catherine and I made the long trek back to Logan. She bounced in and out of consciousness while I weaved through single-lane traffic on I-15. Still, I was flying high, awesome night. Check them out.

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In honor of Isaiah Mustafa, a.k.a The Man Your Man Could Smell Like I’ve put together a list of the men that THIS man (me) wants to be, and could be if we lived in a world where good things happened to me (Well, that’s not really where we live).

In order.

1. Joseph Gordon-Levitt

In case you’ve forgotten, there was once a little show called “Third Rock from the Sun” about a family of aliens posing as humans. JG-L played the teenage “son” and then more or less dissapeared after the show went off the air.

Then a little thing called “(500) Days of Summer” happened.

In case you’ve never had an actual conversation with me, to say that I love this movie would be an egregious understatement. It’s the movie that I watch when my head has been kicked in by the opposite sex, it’s the soundtrack I play at the bakery when senior citizens are inches away from pushing me over the edge and with every viewing the pure artistic perfection of the film becomes more apparent. Not to mention the fact that in it, our protagonist played by JG-L spars with none other than the captivating Zooey Deschanel.

I want to go there.

Still, before you could say “comeback” JG-L double fisted us a franchise-ready popcorn smash called GI Joe. A high-budget cg-bonanza that went on to score a couple hundred million dollars and seemingly set the stage for JG-L to be top villain dog when the unfortunate yet inevitable sequel graces the silver screen.

Even then I found myself thinkgin, “JG-L, good to have you back to the party. It’s been too long.” I thought, he seems like a guy I could hang out with, and I wondered where we’d see him next.

Then…Inception happened.

I won’t go into it (expect a full review any day now) suffice to say that while my favorite single scene of last summer was (500) Days’ “You’re Making My Dreams Come True” sequence in the streets of L.A., my favorite single scene of this summer is, with a bullet, the Zero-G fist fight.

But JG-L doesn’t stop there. He also finds some time in the middle of all that mind-numbing madness to snag a classy, bonus points kiss from my current celebrity crush Ellen Page.

So, to review. In two summers JG-L has come out of obscurity, starred in two of the best movies ever made, kissed two women that I would sell a kidney to go on a date with (speaking rhetorically, Zooey is married and I’m not that guy) and has been paid bank to do it.

Yeah, that’s a man I could smell like.

2. Michael Cera

I’ve heard a lot of people say that they don’t like Michael Cera because he’s “the same in every movie.” To me that’s about as dumb as saying you don’t like Baby Ruth bars because they always taste the same. There are three types of actors: method actors, character actors, and bad actors. Michael is the second, and certainly not the third, and simply put, he taste delicious going down every time.

The kid cracks me up. Whether he’s George Michael battling incestuous feelings in Arrested Development, playing baby daddy on Juno (hello again Ellen Page), getting messed around by love in Paper Heart, or the straight bassist of a gay band lost in the city in Nick and Norah’s.

Plus, for someone who wrote the book of awkward teens, he has bagged a staggeringly impressive list of cute-as-a-button costars: the above-mentioned Page, the cute-in-a-wierd-way-I-can’t-explain Kat Dennings, to his costars in the upcoming Scott Pilgrim (can’t wait for this movie) Anna Kendrick and Mary Elizabeth Winstead.

3. Matthew Morrison and Cory Monteith of Glee

Often as I am watching Glee (which I do often and all of you should do as well) I think to myself how the filming of that show is probably just one huge party. I want to go to that party.

Admittedly I’m torn as to which character I identify with more. In many ways I see Finn as the ghost of sing-a-longs past as he struggles to find his identity amidst the binding stereotypes of high school society. Will Scheuster on the other hand is the ghost of wardrobes future, I have no idea what marital trouble are like but man can that guy pull off a vest/cardigan/fedora/v-neck like it’s nobody’s business. Plus, that dude can sing.

In short, I want to date Jayma Mays and make sweet music with Lea Michelle (and no, there’s not a pun there, I really do just mean sing a duet, or multiple duets).

Honorable Mention: Rupert Grint

Let’s face it, this guy is ugly. I mean, butt-ugly. While the rest of the Harry Potter cast is aging somewhat nicely (everyone cross your fingers for little sis Ginny) Rupert’s mug has progressively…interestified. Still, the all time low was during Film #4 so there’s hope for him yet.

Why then, you ask, is he on the list? Because in the upcoming two part finale of the Harry Potter franchise this bugger is going to get paid some serious Euros to snog Emma Watson. Yeah, that’s a man that I wouldn’t mind smelling like.

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