Wednesday, December 28, 2005

A little bit of Utah at home

A new Washington state law that went into effect December 8 outlaws smoking in public places and workplaces, as well as within 25 feet of doorways. Although I'm usually pretty liberal about "I'll do my thing and you do yours," smoking is one of the things I'd really like to see nobody do. I've enjoyed sneering at the few who still feel it's their right to pollute my breathing space. I sometimes am a real prick and give an exaggerated cough as I walk through their cloud.

Anyway, I thought these two letters to the editor in the Seattle Times were funny. It shows how Utah is perceived in the rest of the world. Unfortunately, I think exaggerated coughers/moral zealots like me are a big part of what creates the perception:

12/27/05
Burning desire
I love Utah
Gee, I was born and raised in the state of Washington, and have lived in Seattle for the past 20-odd years, but suddenly it seems more like I'm living in Utah! How did that happen? As far as I know, I've never set foot in that repressive state run by moralistic zealots, but the bans and restrictions suddenly going up all around me make me feel like somehow Utah has extended its borders to the Pacific Northwest! ["2 weeks into smoking ban, some fuming but few cited" page one, Dec. 23.]
Help! I want to get out! Now, instead of talking about (and decrying) "the other Washington," as we West Coast Washingtonians tend to do, I'll be more inclined to decry "the other Utah."
And yet, our new sister state down south — when it comes to smoking — is actually less repressive than its northern brother, thanks to the Draconian initiative that we passed here recently.
Maybe I should move to Salt Lake City where there's still some space left for personal freedom(!).
— Russell Scheidelman, Seattle

12/28/05
Discover Utah

It behooves you
Regarding "Burning desire: I Love Utah" [Northwest Voices, Dec. 27]:
"As far as I know, I've never set foot in that repressive state run by moralistic zealots" says reader Russell Scheidelman in reference to Utah. He has never been to Utah, obviously knows very little about it, and yet he makes this bigoted comment, maliciously maligning a whole state he has never set foot in. That is the height of bigotry and arrogance.
Traveling is often the best way to rid oneself of false, preconceived notions. Mr. Scheidelman, please come and spend a week in Utah. I'm sure you will be pleasantly surprised as you learn, experience and enjoy the skiing, canyons, mountains, history, and especially the friendly people of Utah.
— Jason Hochstrasser, Seattle

Friday, December 23, 2005

Happy Christmas

"Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion's starting to make it out that we live in a world of hatred and greed. But I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere.
Often it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there. Fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends.
When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from people on board were messages of hate or revenge.
If you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling that you'll find that love, actually, is, all around."
-opening lines of Love Actually


Right when the dark days of winter begin to seem unbearably bleak, the Christmas season brings warmth and light. By Christmas Eve, the incessant roar of industry, school, and all our other trite occupations hushes as strip malls and offices almost universally close and lock their doors and each individual goes "home." For 364 days we are a mass of humans in perpetual motion, cogs in an immense global economy; but on Christmas day we split into 6.5 billion unique individuals as we get together with the people we care about most in our corners of the planet. At Christmas time the warmth of human affection reaches all of us in some way or another--whether it is passionate romance, the unwavering loyalty of family, the "luv" of good friends, or the charity of strangers.
I'll be with loved ones this Christmas--my father, mother, brothers, nieces, nephews, and grandmother. My thoughts will be with my other siblings—especially my little bro freezing on his mission and my thoughts will be with many of you in your corners of the world.
I sometimes get bitter about my life’s conspicuous dearth of romance, but these days I’m trying to be content with what I do have. I have a pretty full life. This year, more than perhaps any in the past, I'm surrounded by people who I care about and who care about me.
My parents’ love is constant and consistent.
My brothers and sister are my oldest friends and never cease to amuse. This season I’ve especially enjoyed hanging out with my younger brother and all his singles ward friends.
I love the kids I work with at my job in Provo and they seem genuinely happy to see me. They tease me, trust me, and make me feel significant.
I love the custodians I work with at my other job. Years of doing dirty work together has cemented strange bonds of trust with people I probably would never get to know otherwise. I worked a lot of hours during finals week and realized how much I appreciate the conversations and diversions we have as we work.
My roommates this last semester were my best ever. There was a sense of family as we occasionally cooked, cleaned, and decorated together or just stayed up into the night talking.
Most of you who read this blog have been a significant part of my life this year as some of my truest friends. It’s good to have people who understand me and accept me with all my quirks. Spending time with you doing whatever is a welcome escape from school and work.
Probably the most significant love in my life, and the thing I need to appreciate more is the love of God. My Heavenly Father gave His son so I can find my way back to Him. His son suffered for each of my sins and finally died for me. I've occasionally been granted brilliant glimpses at God's love. His love enriches each day, making my happy days better and allowing me to hold on to hope on the days I would otherwise feel like curling up and crying.
People here at home keep reminding me that I may become the first male to graduate single from BYU, but I really don't feel alone at all. My life is rich with love. Thanks to all of you who have touched my life this year and I really hope you have a Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Christmas Decisions



I have two choices of jackets for Christmas. The American Eagle leather jacket is warm, real leather, and looks surprisingly good on me (a girl was like "dang!") but I'm afraid it's pretty impractical and a bit pretentious.
The North Face jacket is tight and functional. It makes me look good without standing out--more my style.
The leather one is actually cheaper than the North Face one cause its on a good sale. I'll soon be graduating and wearing business casual to work which goes with the leather.
So I have to decide which one I want before Christmas. What do you suggest?

Friday, December 16, 2005

Hallelujah


Glory, Glory!!!! I'm finally done with finals.

I've been neglecting my poor blog so I'll try to update some this weekend

Sunday, December 4, 2005

Constructive Criticism

My life on myspace didn't last long. I followed some links earlier this week and wasted several hours looking at profiles of other gay guys in the Provo/SLC area. I made my own profile on Wednesday so I could log in and stuff. Well there are hundreds of guys up and down the Wasatch front and they all look pretty interesting. I'm way too curious about who else is out there. I've got this fantasy in my head that I'm going to someday find someone who does something special for me... it's not a very clear fantasy but I think you get the idea.
The struggle is between two things I want 1. The good Mormon life and the wife, kids, and quiet contentment that comes with it, and 2. a profound emotional and physical relationship with a guy.
Right now, both seem so far out of reach. Still, I imagine finding some "prince" who so completes and validates me that I can gladly give up everything else and still be happy. I’m waiting for someone to like liberate me by pushing me off this fence I'm sitting on and put me on some firm ground--on either side.
Cranguy called my bluff last night. I said something about myspace and he basically told me to stop wasting my time with that stuff. "What are you looking for?" he asked. "You're never going to do anything with those guys." As soon as he said it, I knew he was right. I'm not ready to get off the fence in either direction but if I do it’s probably not going to be the gay side. So I deleted my myspace profile and the links I had made. It's kind of a shame about my profile cause I found a cool template and made it look pretty trendy, but oh well. I really needed someone to tell me what Cranguy did. I guess I'm pretty needy.
Real friends aren't afraid to tell it like it is, which means they are going to tell you when you're a little off base.
Last summer I was running with Gilmore Guy when he pretty bluntly told me "You're not the shiz, El Veneno. You think you can do everything by yourself but you need to admit that you can use other people's help" (or something like that). That comment humbled me (for a few days) and was a big part of what motivated me to finally see a counselor.
I'm not much of a real friend like that. I'm so scared of offending my delicate relationships or so unsure about my own beliefs that I have a tough time correcting anyone. In a job interview this week, I was asked to share an experience of a time I had to convince someone of something. I couldn't think of an experience.
I believe you mostly get what you give. As I mistakenly project my own lack of self-esteem on others and tip-toe delicately so as to not shatter what I imagine to be fragile egos, in turn I usually get only bland reactions from others. So many people appease and coddle me. I'm surprised how I can say the most ridiculous stuff, just kind of testing the waters, and people will always at least nominally agree with me. My parents have never really told me I was wrong about anything. I kind of wish they would--it would show they care. I wish my counselor would disagree with me. I wish he'd tell me something I need to change. Yeah... I'm needy and codependent and who knows what else.

On a different note, I'm catching the Christmas spirit. Christmas around the World was only marginally Christmasy but the dancing was awesome and the music too. I heard the combined Men's and Women's Chorus, BYU Singers, and BYU Symphony perform on Saturday in their Christmas concert. The whole audience sang along with the symphony to my favorite Christmas hymn, Once in Royal David’s City. I got all teary eyed. I was pretty tired so I could blame it on that but really it was just hearing the third verse which is all about the Savior. This Christmas I think I need to spend some time getting closer to Him cause he certainly is a real friend.
The white dusting that covered everything a few times this weekend was just enough to be pretty but not enough to make my car slide, so I approve. Church was especially good and I didn't fall asleep once. I got free food for lunch today and I'm going to watch Love Actually (the edited version) tonight. I do have way too much homework to do before tomorrow and one of my study groups sucks but the other is as good as they get. Tomorrow I'm meeting with my regular counselor and the #1 SSA counselor on campus so we'll see how that goes.

The first presidency devotional just started so I’m watching that and the choirs are angelic. Mormons sure are talented folk. Some crazy lady yelled something right as the prophet started to talk. Did anyone hear what she said? You know the Christmas spirit is strong when we’re letting the crazies inside the conference center instead of keeping them on the corners outside.


...This article came out in the Deseret News yesterday. As always, I'm glad we're talking about it. Alone in the Fold...