Monday, January 31, 2005

Mormonize Me!

It's true that Mormons are strange. We can try to shimmy around this fact all we want, but it doesn't change reality. Some may argue that this is a stereotype and we shouldn't try to categorize an entire culture, but it's also true that all stereotypes have some basis in fact. Enough asians are bad drivers and enough indians are alcoholics to give their corrosponding stereotypes some credibility. These things don't come from nowhere, people.

I could spend volumes discussing the weird things about Mormon culture. Instead, I refer you to a link I stumbled upon deep in the nether-regions of the internet. It is a Mormon Name Generator, kind of like the popular Pornstar Name Generator, but a little less sexy. Some Mormons (mostly those that live in Utah) like to come up with bizarre names for their children. This is one thing that Mormons and African Americans have in common. They have their Sha-nay-nay's and we have our Mahonri's.

Give it a whirl. Mormonize yourself! Props to Rum and Monkey for creating this thing. Now go convert.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

This Ain't No Stinkin' Festival

I spent Saturday lost in the canyons, trying to deliver a package to Pierce Brosnan. Well, really the package wasn't the point, and I wasn't really even trying to deliver it, I just happened to be in the same car as the deliverer. All I really wanted was to see his new film, "The Matador," which is playing at the Sundance film festival. Is that so much to ask? Yes, it is. I discovered that the canyons in the mountainous regions of Utah are dark, twisted places that don't even give a damn about getting you to your movie on time. Would that God could smite those canyons.

It happened like this: A friend from high school had come up to work at the festival and I went to Park City to meet her so we could hang out. She works for the company that produced the movie and she was coordinating the after party, which took place the night before. We spent a pleasant early evening taking in the festival hubbub. At dinner we sat next to some uber-friendly Australians who really like to ski. I mean REALLY. They told me that they ski in Utah from November until April, then go back to Australia (where it is winter again) and ski from June until October. They said they haven't seen the summer in many years. Australians are insane, I tells ya.

The evening plan was to go see my friend's film, "The Matador," and while we were at it, drop off some gift packages to Pierce Brosnan and Greg Kinnear, who were having dinner nearby. Simple enough, I suppose. But, inevitably, we became horribly horribly horribly lost. Ended up in some "po-dunk" town and had to seek directions from a convenience store attendant with ever-widening eyes. It seemed like everything we said surprised her.

"We are lost, do you have a map?," we said. Her eyes widened, she pulled out a map.
"Is this were we are?" we said, pointing. "Yes," she said, her eyes widening further.

It went on like that, us asking questions, her eyes continually popping out of her head. Perhaps, living in nowhere-ville has filled her with some kind of bizarre dread for outside contact. She must spend her free time cowering from sunlight and hiding under rocks. Nothing else makes sense.

The mysterious vortex-like, cell phone-blocking canyons finally spit us out at our destination, an hour late. We missed the movie, but delivered the packages. Of course, I didn't even go in, since I don't know these people. We thought it would be awkward.

So no "Matador" for me. Apparently it is sold out for the rest of the festival, which means my only other chance would be standby tickets. But although I understand that there are people in this world who enjoy standing in long lines, this has never been something I'm into.

I'm not bitter. Seeing my friend was fun enough, plus she left me some pickings from the gift bags. Take that, Pierce, I have your Xbox Live headset! Now all I need is an Xbox.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Bad Parenting

I was watching the American Idol the other night (because I have no respect for myself) and was surprised to discover that I had learned something. The absolute worst thing a parent can do to their child is tell them that they can accomplish anything they want to in life, if they only try.

No words could be more damaging to a child's sense of reality than these. There were contestants on this show who sincerely and honestly believed they could sing, but whose performance caused me both physical and emotional pain. Obviously, somewhere down the line, someone must have told these kids that they had talent, else why would they be so deluded? I blame the parents. It's such a parent-thing to do.

After the obligatory cruel rejection from the judges, these kids would burst out of the doors and into the arms of their sinister, heartless parents, who likely said horrible things like, "It's okay. You did your best. There's always next time." Listen, if those parents hadn't told their kids to follow their dreams in the first place, they wouldn't even be in this ugly situation.

Stop encouraging your children, parents. Crush their spirits and step on their hopes. They will thank you for it one day, when they finally accept reality and find something they are good at. Frankly, I'm still angry at my parents for encouraging me to follow my interests. Maybe I have a decent job now, but would it have killed them to let me drop out of school and develop a heroin addiction for a change? Here I am living a pleasant life, when I could be squatting in vomit and yelling at street lamps. Honest to goodness street lamps! It's enough to make you weep.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Things That Go Bump In the Night

A few weeks ago I was sitting on my couch, wasting my life away, watching television. It was a cold, dark December night--the stay at home, do-nothing kind. I was feeling cozy, with a fire lit, wrapped in a fleece blanket. Then I heard a deafening "WHAM!" sound and I about jumped 15 feet. Several curses flew out of my mouth, something like "gee! gosh! darn! golly!" except they all started with “F.”

To my right was a sliding glass door facing the back yard. It sounded like a drunk elephant had just stumbled into it. I got up and peered into the night, but didn’t see anything. It didn’t help that it was extremely foggy and my visibility wasn’t more than a couple feet. So I sat back down on the couch. "Freak occurrence," I assured myself and pulled the blanket back around me.

WHAM!! The glass shook visibly this time. I felt panic shoot through me, followed by wariness, followed by curiosity. What the hell? I was alone in my house, which didn’t help. I thought about going outside, into the fog, and looking around. I mean, what could happen to me in the middle of suburban-freaking-Utah? But I had just read that day about a crazy lady who had strangled another woman and cut her baby from her uterus. I don’t have a uterus, and I’m not pregnant I don't think, so I didn't fear that happening to me. But where there is one psycho, there be others, even in Utah. Someone could be trying to lure me out of my house to do who knows what.

I thought about going for a knife, just to be on the safe side. Then I reminded myself that if I picked up a knife there was a 90% chance I would end up stabbing myself. What about a gun? Oh crap, that's right, I don't believe in them. My only other option was a spiked club which I considered using until I realized that the last time I went shopping, in my haste, I forgot to pick one up.

Instead, I told myself to stop being neurotic. Nothing was going on here. There were no psychos hiding in the mist. No escaped convicts waiting for me to come out. But there was still the noise...

I walked upstairs to my bedroom to get a better look. Peeking through the blinds, I noticed a ball sitting on the deck outside the sliding door. The culprit! A partially deflated soccer ball? But who had thrown it? The neighbor kids are notorious for kicking them over the fence but usually gather them back up again. And there were no neighbor kids in sight. It was death-quiet outside, and very dark to boot. Kids don't kick balls in the dark. And they don't hit my door twice in a row either. Maybe they were playing a prank? But what would motivate them? I've spoken maybe five words to the little tykes, mostly to tell them that they didn't have to knock on my door every time they kicked a ball over and that they had permission to enter my back yard whenever they wanted. I am a "cool neighbor." Not like the grouchy old couple that would deflate the balls I kicked over their fence as a child. Serves them right that they got their pool clogged from the pits I threw over the fence from my apricot tree. And then my dad goes and cuts the tree down. Well damn, it’s not the tree's fault! All it did was make delicious apricots. But I digress.

I went to the bathroom window, which gave a view to the side yard, just to be sure. Nothing. No children around the corner, pudgy hands cupped over their pudgy mouths. Not a soul. I walked back downstairs, not quite sure what to do. Should I just go outside? Call somebody?

WHAM!!! It hit again. All my concerns fled. I was pissed. I flipped on the back porch light, pulled open the sliding door and stepped outside into the freezing night. The ball was on the deck again, but in a different position. I stepped a little into the fog and peered out to the back of the yard. I heard noises, whispering, something behind the trees. I grabbed the ball and chucked it towards the sounds. "Stop throwing balls kids!" I yelled angrily. Four figures stepped out from behind the trees, laughing. Four of my friends. I could have strangled them.

"So you're not punk neighbor kids," I said. Then they proceeded to tell me how they had just come back from a late-night movie which was near my house and had wanted to stop by, but I didn't answer my cell phone (this was on account of laziness). After driving by and seeing that I was home, they had this “brilliant” idea to try and scare me. It all sounded comical from their point of view. They hide behind the trees with balls they find in the yard, then chuck them at the sliding door. They see me get up, peer outside, then sit back down. They throw the balls again. They see me leave the room, the lights go off upstairs, the blinds open, then close. A moment later the bathroom blinds open and then close. They make for the balls, scoop them up, head back to the trees. When I appear downstairs, they throw the balls again. The back porch light goes on, I emerge shivering and angry, yelling into the trees like a maniac. Pretty comical. The bastards.

I invited them in and we had a good laugh. It never once crossed my mind that friends were just messing with me when I heard the noises. That should have been the most OBVIOUS explanation. Funny how the mind plays tricks on you when you're alone. Two of them, the girls, felt bad enough to stop by the next day with cheesecake cupcakes. They were oh-so-delicious. Made it all worth it in the end. Wonderful guilt-inspired baked goods. The very best kind.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Everybody's Doing It

It seems like every blog I read is filling out one of these things, and if there's one thing I'm good at, it's sheep-like imitation. Without further ado, my list:

Three names you go by:
1. Jeremy
2. Jer
3. Skelly

Three screen names you have:
1. Ce Machin La
2. Skelly
3. Pleh

Three things you like about yourself:
1. Have talents
2. Relatively intelligent
3. Nice to people sometimes

Three things you hate/dislike about yourself:
1. Inconsistently introverted/extroverted
2. Interested in many things, focused on nothing
3. Too skinny

Three parts of your heritage:
1. British (75%)
2. German (25%)
3. Various other European mixed in – yes, 100% white boy.

Three things that scare you:
1. Looking out a window while alone in the dark and seeing a face staring back at me
2. The open ocean, without a boat
3. Extreme heights

Three of your everyday essentials:
1. Nightly read
2. Soma FM
3. TiVo

Three things I am wearing right now:
1. Jeans
2. Sweater
3. Silver bracelet from Senegal

Three of your fave bands/artists (today):
1. Bjork
2. The Faint
3. Death Cab for Cutie

Three of your fave songs at present:
1. The Stills - "Gender Bombs"
2. Plus Minus - "Ventriloquist"
3. Tori Amos - "Purple People"

Three new things you want to try in the upcoming year:
1. Skiing
2. Live out of my car and kick it with hobos
3. Finish various projects

Three things you want in a relationship (love is a given):
1. To BE in a relationship
2. Thrills
3. Easy break-up

Two truths and a lie:
(not in any order)
1. Once was pepper-sprayed for being in a cult
2. Accidentally made out with a transvestite
3. Forced to move apartments after being aggressively stalked

Three physical things about the opposite/same sex that appeal to you:
1. Naked shoulders
2. Touchable hair
3. No missing teeth

Three things you just can't do:
1. Care about football
2. Enjoy country music
3. Touch toes

Three of your favorite hobbies:
1. Attempting to play guitar
2. Messing with recording equipment
3. Taking digital pictures of people and then laughing at the view screen

Three careers you're considering:
1. “Creative” for an ad agency
2. Something in film
3. Writing children’s books like Madonna

Three places you want to go on vacation:
1. Morocco
2. Cape town
3. China

Three kids names (boy or girl):
1. Dr. Quin
2. Sha-nay-nay
3. Bulbous

Three things you want to do before you die:
1. Be in a rock band
2. Extensive humanitarian work in Africa
3. Grow fat enough to use my stomach as a table

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Off Holiday

I'm back! I say this as if I have just arrived, when it has in fact been several days. You see, I've been sick. Sicker than a rotting leper, and thus haven't felt up to blogging until this very moment. I came back to work after my vacation in California full of health and well-being, void of any ailments, and in all-around good shape. I had not expected to find both my editor and photo researcher stricken with the flu. Fantastic. Considering I spend many an hour working closely with each of them, it was only a matter of time before they infected me. Come Thursday, I was feeling WRETCHED.

I had Friday off, and spent the day recovering, and would have spent New Years in bed, if a friend hadn't dragged me off to a party at someone's timeshare in Salt Lake. I originally planned to go dancing that night, despite the general suckiness of Salt Lake clubs, but who wants to dance around in a pool or their own vomit, you know? I survived the evening, which was pretty boring truth-be-told, and have been resting ever since.

I'm hoping to be in much better condition when I go back to work tomorrow, because I'll really need all my strength to beat the living crap out of both my editor and photo researcher for getting me sick. Never mind that they're sweet, guileless women in their 40s, they have it coming!

Might as well talk about Christmas. Goodbye 30 degrees, hello 75! Christmas isn't Christmas for me unless I see palm trees. It was wonderful to have my entire vacation filled with beautiful SoCal weather. Highlights included spending time with the family, a phone call to my brother in Mexico, and driving my mother's broken-down van around a crowded parking lot while she and my sister shopped for baby clothes. Okay, maybe only two highlights.

Also had dinner with high school friends and my high school English teacher who we still keep in contact with. She is partly responsible for my love of literature and completely responsible for my love of Tab. It was great to see her.

Keeping with the theme of nostalgia meals, also had brunch with Speech teacher from high school, another uber-cool lady. Although she didn't addict me to any beverages, she did make my high school years more colorful, with speech competitions and whatnot. We discussed teachers and students who I haven't thought about in years. Good times, high school.

And now I'll post some photos, for those of you who can't read and like to look at pictures.

Your friend and lover,

(click to enlarge)

(left to right) 1.My neice attempts to play guitar. 2. more neices with some guy in red suit. 3. Jean, me, Luis at lunch with teacher. 4. December in Salt Lake.