Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Oracle, Mary Poppins, and Grass--Revisited

I have been rather unmotivated to blog lately. Sorry.

On another blog and at another time, my mother posted the following:
No, not that kind of grass! Stop it.

Remember the scene in The Matrix where Neo has gone to visit the Oracle to find out if he's The One? Oracle tells him, "Don't worry about the vase." "What vase?" asks Neo, as he knocks a vase of flowers off a table. "I told you not to worry about it," she responds. The Big Question is if Neo would have knocked the vase over if the Oracle hadn't said anything. This implies to me that he wouldn't have, and that the Oracle, in fact, set Neo up, as she set up all the other characters. Now think about Mary Poppins. Did she not set the Banks family up? Remember the scene where she manipulates Mr. Banks into taking the children on an outing to the bank? Then think of the next scene in which she describes the bird woman of St. Paul's Cathedral to the children. Wasn't she setting the children up to feed the birds? Of course, it is on the outing to the bank that the climax of the movie plays out -- and you can't say Mary Poppins didn't intend it all in the first place.

So think about it. We all walk around feeling free -- but can we be sure we haven't been set up as well, by someone somewhere somehow?

Here's a fun tease. Maybe we're being setup by a most unlikely source! Take a look at this video and see if it doesn't twist your mind a bit. There are some other fun ideas here too so enjoy.
I repost this because it speaks to some things I have thought about for quite a while now. Who is doing the setting up, where are they, and how are they doing it, indeed?!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Immigration Arguments

I know, this is pretty old. But is one of my favorites, it always makes me laugh. And immigration is one of my favorite topics to debate, even though I haven't been keeping up on it for the past few months. I used to be quite educated on the matter.

Bill O'Reilly, you baffle me. I really just don't even know what to say.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Cream Cheese and Choir

I have so many random and ultimately irrelevant and inconsequential thoughts I feel like post right now. I will refrain from most of it with the following exceptions:

-UTA has recently purchased several sleek looking new buses. I have wanted to ride one for a while now, and this morning while I was waiting at the bus stop listening to "The Everglow" by Mae I was most excited to see that I was about to get that chance. None of the other people at the bus stop looked too excited though so I didn't express my excitement to them. I just smiled to myself.

-My history professor brought bagels to class this morning. One of the cream cheeses she brought was honey-almond, and my goodness! it was very very good.

I have another opportunity to culture oneself coming up, although it's not quite as cool as watching some sweet dances.

Next Tuesday, April 14th, at the Provo Tabernacle (University Ave. and 1st South) will be a choir concert I'm in. The choir is University Chorale, and it is FREE.

Sometimes people don't come to Chorale concerts since they think Men's/Women's Chorus, Concert Choir, and BYU Singers are all better. And they are, but in the past I've enjoyed listening to Chorale more though because the singing seems more authentic to me; they don't have some particular sound they are always going for. There aren't all these vocal conventions they are trying to live up to. I dunno.

I also like singing with them a lot. I've thought about trying out for Men's Chorus, but am not sure about it. It is an everyday thing, for one, and especially next year I won't have the time to go to practice every day. Who knows if I would make it in anyways. Plus, I have sat in on rehearsals for all of the other choirs here at BYU and the conductors are so incredibly high strung it stresses me out just looking at them.

Chorale, on the other hand, is a non-auditioned choir that only meets 3 times a week and it is in general a much more relaxed setting. So I like it.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Leaving a Wake of Love

Max Skousen has been an influential person on my journey over the past few years. He is (well, he died, but at least was) LDS, but held some pretty out-there and unorthodox ideas.

In the midst of my most intense period of religious doubt, it was some of his writings that helped me to reconcile all the things bouncing around inside my head and swing the pendulum of my religious views back to something that is more valid.

But that is all beside the point.

My mother apparently spoke to him on the phone once, and she said she could just feel the love that man held radiating out from him. I forget her direct wording, but there was a power he held because of his compassion.

I want to be like that someday. How amazing is it that he could hold so much love for someone who he had never met before or since that they could feel it while talking to him one time, and over the telephone at that? It would be impossible to feign. He may have forgotten about it the next day, yet he still left a lasting mark.

So, how, then, does one go about developing compassion to the level that they are just dripping with it?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Daily Universe Entertainment

I would characterize my relationship with BYU’s newspaper "The Daily Universe” as a love-hate one. I love to hate it. It is so fun… and easy.

I dutifully pick one every morning and at least read my favorite: the letters to the editor (sinboards anyone?). Then I do whatever of the crossword puzzle and the sudokus I can.

Luckily I got to campus early this morning before all 18,500 copies that are printed everyday were recalled due to an entertaining typo.

If you can’t see in the photos, the caption of this picture from conference says the “Members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostates and other general authorities…”

Right smack on the front page.

This caused a stir on campus and the DU is very embarrassed. By noon the mistaken copies were already replaced with a re-printed and fixed edition. (But not before I got my copy and scanned it into the computer…)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Ramblings on Blogging Motivations

I was discussing blogging with a friend recently who told me that their blog was their biggest therapy.

I explained a little bit about my blogging motivations, but now it's been about two weeks and I've been thinking more about why I blog. I've had a few thoughts rattling around my head and I'm not going to use this post to explain those thoughts, I am going to use it to explore them. (Since I don’t totally know what I am trying to say here)

As far as therapy goes, I don’t think I use my blog for that. I use my actual therapist (I think a little therapy is good for everyone no matter how mentally stable they are), and I talk to friends or family about it, or I am pretty good at just working through things on my own.

I think that there is a bit of a cathartic element to blogging. It is good to get things out on paper and to work things out through words. Things, thoughts, and emotions look a lot different to me when they are written out on paper and not just sitting in my head. It gives me a chance to go back and read through my thought processes and look for gaps in my logic or to see how I might look at an issue differently, or just to gain a better perspective. That is where the “therapy” part comes in, I suppose.

But then, blogging isn't my only venue through which I do that. I posted about my life notebook a while ago. That is also a place where I can find the release I just talked about. Yesterday, I got to class at 9:30, and I did not feel like taking notes, so I started writing in my notebook and just listening to the lecture. Pretty soon I was in my next class and was still writing. Then I went and observed two choir rehearsals and kept writing that whole time. That's a good 4 or 5 hours right there. It took so long because I was working through something that has been on my mind lately (well, for about a month). I tried to write about every aspect of it that I could think about, and so it took a long time to cover all my bases properly.

It was really good for me to do that and it helped me to realize some important things that have helped make the issue I was writing about more manageable and workable for my life. I suppose I could have blogged about it and achieved the same ends, and for many a blog probably is the outlet they would have used. Personally though I would not have felt comfortable letting other people read what I had to say, which is fine--there isn't anything forcing me to post things I don't want to.

That's another thing. Often I have thoughts and emotions that are very important or meaningful to me, but when I try to write them down or post about them or whatever I find that language limits my ability to express them. I find that emotion or thought to be slightly violated after that, because justice has not been done to it, or people misunderstand it or whatever. I would feel more comfortable discussing them in a face to face situation, because there is real communication going on there and it is more fluid than writing a blog post, which allows for greater expressive flexibility.

I guess I don't really have this blog just for me; my notebook is just for me (though I share portions of it with a few people). Having readers totally shifts what I say and my rhetorical stance. If I have a satisfactory outlet for my thoughts in my notebook where I have perfect freedom, don’t need it for therapeutic purposes or input, what then is my real reason for blogging? How do I decide which issues to post on here and which not to? What are the ends I hope to achieve by maintaining a blog and what function does the blog play in my life as compared to my notebook?

I don’t use my blog as some place where I can work through issues that I have and receive input and help from other people on. (Even though I am sort of doing that with this post... So maybe it just depends on how personal I feel it is?) I think I am in a very good place in life in that I have a decision making process that I am happy with. I have done a good job of learning to manage my life in healthy way and learning what works for me. If I do need advice or to bounce and idea off of someone, I have friends and family that I will go to to talk with. My blog is not the place I go to for things like that. If I am feeling distraught over something, or a very strong emotion, this blog isn't going to be the first place I go to to talk about it.

I’m generally a pretty private person and I value the process of working things out on my own and figuring out what is best for me. Once I have had a chance to gain my bearings though and some knowledge, I love to discuss it with other people. What is my reason for posting things on here, then, for everyone to read?

Do I even need a “reason” to do something?