Thursday, January 31, 2008

Do unto others

Unless you live outside of Utah, or in one of Utah's many unmapped caves, You know that Gordon B. Hinckley, president of the LDS church, just died. I went to his viewing today on the top floor of the conference center where a simple casket sat with a few funeral sprays and about four large men in suits (some with a bulge in the jacket) standing solemnly.

Afterwards three males of about 20 years of age walked down Main Street on the Eastern edge of the conference center plaza, where they shouted obscenities in the direction of the mourners.

As soon as they had crossed North Temple to Temple Square, one of them handed some money to a beggar.

I would never have shouted those things at anyone. Not at Catholics going to see a pope's body, not at an American Atheists meeting, and not even at people filing into an Amway convention.

But I can't remember the last time I gave money to a beggar either.


Passionate about:
1. Family
2. Figuring things out
3. Outdoors
4. Music
5. Running
6. Learning
7. Reading and writing
8. Movies

Want to:
1. Raise bees
2. Raise llamas
3. Find a meteorite
4. Have wife, kids
5. Write a book
6. Discover something that gets named after me
7. Jump out of a plane
8. Go to space

Have recently read
1. One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel Garcia Marquez
2. Everything's Eventual Stephen King
3. The Way of the Peaceful Warrior Dan Millman
4. The Monkey Wrench Gang Edward Abbey
5. Desert Solitaire Edward Abbey
6. The Little Prince Antoine de Saint Exupery
7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows J.K. Rowling
8. Messiah Gore Vidal

1. That seems like a bad idea
2. That doesn't seem very likely
3. That would be embarrassing
4. Just what the hell do you think you're doing?
5. I guess
6. Yeah. That's probably true.
7. I know, right?
8. The End

Attracted to friends by:
1. humor
2. integrity
3. self-effacingness
4. open-mindedness
5. knowing a lot about something specific
6. creativity
7. reflectiveness
8. kindness

Could listen to over and over:
1. A Love Supreme John Coltrane
2. The Mysterious Production of Eggs Andrew Bird
3. In the Faxed Atmosphere The Child Who Was A Keyhole
4. Anything by Debussy
5. The Best of John Coltrane
6. A Man and his Music Sam Cooke
7. Beatles
8. The Very Best of Toots and the Maytals

Learned this year:
1. You can get tired of anything if you're not careful
2. Exploration without a lifeline can lead to regret
3. Practical jokes are good for everyone
4. Things are still cooler if you make them with your hands
5. People keep maturing their whole lives
6. Integrity is always better and ultimately easier
7. Saving things for tomorrow is only a good policy for money, water, and criticism
8. Worthwhile things are difficult and time consuming, and hopefully they will take up my whole life

1. I am actually very selfish
2. I like to eat in the shower sometimes
3. I couldn't whistle until I was 17
4. I didn't kiss a girl until I was 22
5. I still have never bought a car
6. I wish there were still dinosaurs
7. Like Bleaker, I try really hard to be cool.
8. I don't want to get married, but I want to want to get married.

1. Jeremy
2. Grace
3. Tracy
4. Kristian
5. Alison
6. Blake
7. Kevin
8. Kylie

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The great sugar challenge

That was what my 8th grade home ec teacher called it. But I didn't do it then because she wanted us to do it over Halloween! What a square.
And I never had plans to do it, ever. Until two Mondays ago when I went to the dollar theater. I had smuggled in some giant boxes of Mike and Ikes because, sharing, right? (By the way, don't bother seeing "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead").
Nobody really wanted any. In less than 24 hours I had eaten both boxes (about a pound of candy) almost without any help. I knew I had a problem.
It has now been two weeks since I have eaten sugar. Yeah, I let myself eat fruit and drink juice and eat things like bread that have added sugar, but I have given up soda, desserts of all kind, sweetened cereal, candy, juice cocktails, cookies, jam, honey, syrup, and lots of other things that used to make life great. For one month. Here is what I have missed out on so far: (This list only includes things I'd have gotten for free that people have offered me, not things that I could just go buy anytime).

chocolate milk
cocoa puffs
chex sweet mix
hot tamales
scones w/ honey
waffles w/ syrup
ice cream
blueberry cream cheese roll (this one hurt)
pumpkin cookies
hot cocoa from Xocolate (voted best in SLC)
cheesecake bites
more cookies
strawberry shortcake with sweet whipped cream
more brownies
cinnamon bears
hershey's caramel kisses
lemon bars
reese's peanut butter cups
a bunch of other stuff

In addition, I have done something that offends my personal morals: I drank diet root beer when there was regular available. Terrible.
A friend told me she did the same thing once and it made her more moderate in her sugar consumption. But this experience has got me wondering: Is that an entirely good thing?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Maybe its another way to measure progress

There are books that are beyond me. I mean, that's not a particularly revealing confession, but it can be discouraging when those books are ones that generations of other people won't shut up about. For example, I have never made it through anything by Dickens, which makes me wonder if the common man of his day was smarter and had a longer attention span than I do (which is not such a great feat, after all).
One book I have failed to read is One Hundred Years of Solitude. It is the most directionless novel that I know of, so my attention span proved to be an obstacle to great for the book's other virtues to overcome.
Until last month, when my second attempt ended in success. What a book. Trying to describe it would be like trying to describe what it is like to be alive: you could think up any adjective and it would apply. That is my review of One Hundred Years of Solitude: Read it. Now.
Right now I am reading The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. This is mostly because a friend gave it to me for Christmas but also because maybe I have matured enough to read a book by an author I gave up on while I was in High School. It was a mistake for me to read Atlas Shrugged back then. I never even made it to the part where Taggart starts using Henry Rearden's new metal for his railroad tracks. (I assume this happens, because it was about to happen when I quit reading.)
This time around Ayn is much more interesting. Even though Howard Roark is a little too god-like, I can't wait to see what sort of stunt he pulls next.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


It's encouraging to me that Obama won the Iowa primaries, and not just because he's my favorite candidate. So encouraging, in fact, that it almost makes me forget that there are people like Matt Canry of Columbia, SC. Here's what he wrote in the discussion for the Facebook group "Anti-Obama and Damn Proud" (empahsis added):

"What are your thoughts? These are mine:
Over two hundred years ago, our European forefathers established this grand nation. Each of the USA's leaders have been of European descent, representing the majority of her citizens. Today, we have the option of choosing to elect a black man who even spent most of his childhood overseas in a non-white nation.
If we were to elect him as our representative, our worldwide identity as a primarily Caucasian nation would change. And from then on,
we would be thought of as a nation whose own citizens had devolved so much internally that none of them were fit enough to rule; "

There are so many talking points in this rock-solid argument that I hardly know where to start. Well, for one, I'm pretty sure that Obama is an American citizen. I think that is the sort of thing they might double-check on a candidate's paperwork. But Mr. Canry did his research before posting this, I'm sure, so maybe I'm mistaken. Wait, there's more!

"our image would become that of a country who had to call upon the leadership of one less legitimately American than we ourselves. Is that truly what you want? Are you willing to be ruled by an African American? Are you willing to pass over the Caucasian candidates and fatefully adopt him as your personal international symbol?"

Last time I checked, the executive branch's job is to enforce the law. But it's been a while since I checked, so maybe now the president does actually "rule" us. But good thing you referred to him as a an African American and not a black. That would have been racist! Oh and thanks for addressing that concern in your very next post:

"I'm actually not very racist, to be honest. I just[sic] a strategist who knows how to stir people up."

Well, thanks goodness for that. As long as you're only sort of racist! For a second you had us worried! And you're a brilliant strategist at that. I never thought that electing a (half) black president would tip off the rest of the world to our shameful American secret: that not every American is white!

I know what you, loyal reader, are thinking. That what some kid (geez, I think it's a kid. I really hope there aren't adults that are this misinformed) in SC has to say about politics is not worth an entire Swirly Patterns post. But remember, Swirly Patterns is here to entertain, not to offer any worthwhile perspective. I hope a glance into how this young gentleman thinks has been entertaining.

By the way, here is a link to the full discussion, but it will only work if you're signed in to facebook:

Guess what else Matt? Obama rhymes with Osama! Holy Shit!

Monday, January 07, 2008

non-adventures with the GRE

On standardized tests, the fill-in-the blank questions often make a matter-of-fact statement about any number of things. For example, from The Princeton Review's Cracking the GRE,

Moby Dick, now regarded as a great work of American literature, was virtually ______ when it was first published, and it was not until many years later that Melville's achievements were

a. lampooned . . justified
b. unknown . . relegated
c. hailed . . understood
d. literate . . recorded
e. ignored . . recognized

This creates a problem for easily distracted people like me. Rather than immediately starting to eliminate answers, I sit for a few seconds and think. Really? Moby Dick was virtually ignored?

I'm wondering if I ought to change the "esoterica" tag to "mundane distractions".

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

I guess let's do this again


January: Dad moves to Bakersfield, CA
February: This
March: My niece is born.
April: Thesis due date whizzes by
May: Cate gets married
June: I return to work at Outback (not the steakhouse)
July: This was a strange month
August: Havasupai makes me like August again
September: The accordion returns
October: I get laid off from Outback, and start working for Aspiro
November: No more Aspiro. Visions of running away invade my daydreams and night dreams.
December: Contented confusion sets in.


Hmm. This is much trickier than last year. Raincheck?