Tuesday, July 30, 2013

That sweet thought spot.

Monday 7/29/2013

According to the time stamp on my phone, I got the message from Deena at 10:15 a.m.

You remember Deena right?  Of course you do.  In fact many of you who I know that read these little rants and ramblings are friends with her.  If you're not...well...your loss really.  She's quite the person.  Even if you aren't friends with her, you may know of, or remember our little blog project.  I suppose there remains the possibility that you could be completely unaware of anything I'm talking about.  So to catch up to speed...

A few months back Deena proposed to me, that occassionally we, each from our different points of life...different points of view, pick the same topic, and write about it.  We've done this a few times now.  There is no rhyme or reason to it.  There is no schedule.  There is not a plan.  There is simply the randomness of it, and to tell the truth...I wouldn't have it any other way.  It has been an absolute blast up to this point, and I look forward to each new time. 

At 10:15 a.m. I got a message from her proposing this new idea.

Random thoughts.  Whatever goes through the head over the course of a day.  That's it.  

Well color me intrigued.  I almost never pay attention to my own thoughts.  That seems a dangerous road to travel.  This seemed like just way too much fun to say no to.  Of course I was in.

So now I had to start making note of thoughts.  Whatever shit happens to pop into my head, and I'm very excited to discover what those things might be.  The first thing I begin to notice, is that my thoughts are pretty boring.  I had this idea, immediately upon agreeing to the project, that I would have all of these great, clever, creative, imaginative sparks of random explosion that would entertain and frighten the masses.  What's really happening though is I've been at work for three hours now, and I'm in full baby pajama mode.  

Yes you read that correctly.  I work in a shipping warehouse.  The company I work for is an online retailer primarily focused on women/mother interests.  Baby clothes.  Scrapbooking products.  Stuff for kids.  Jewelry.  You know...pretty much the exact opposite of what I would buy for myself.  So women go to the company's website and buy shit, we in the warehouse print out the orders (somewhere between 1000-1500 on a good day), walk through the warehouse to find the shit they ordered, package it up, and send it out.  It is, to put it mildly, mindnumbing work.  It requires just enough though to keep your brain occupied on that task, but not enough thought to be interesting in any way.  It lends itself to no amount of creativity, and yet if your mind wanders too much, you end up sending some poor woman a skateboard for her kid, instead of crib bumpers for her newborn.  What's really sad, is that as a near 40 year old single male, who's never had a child of his own...I know what a crib bumper is.  I also know what diva cups, freedom bras, and oopsies are.  I am SOOooo prepared for sensitivity.

So there I am, walking through the warehouse, wondering if I can possible be interesting, when I notice I have balled up garbage in my hand.  I throw it, left handed at a garbage can about 15 feet away, and without even hitting the sides, sink it right in.  Of course there is no one around to see it happen.  My first independent though of this project becomes...I am REALLY fucking awesome when there are no witnesses.

I get to a box full of product, located on a very high shelf.  It's pretty heavy, and as I lower it down my arms start shaking.  You see the past few days I've been working out.  Lifting on the in-home weight bench here in the house.  I haven't noticed any difference at all, except if anything...I seem to be getting weaker.  My arms are like jelly.

I fucking love jelly.

Apple jelly specifically.

Although I'm not incredibly fond of apples.

I do like apple juice though.

I should stop drinking soda.

Well actually I pretty much have...what I should really do is slow down on the slurpees.


My boxcutter can hardly break through this tape.  Why do they call it a box cutter, when it can't even break cellophane.

And to think, 18 scrawny guys with not but boxcutters brought a nation to it's knees

And now I can't even fly with a cigarette lighter.

God I want a cigarette.
And some apple juice.
I wonder why I'm craving apple juice.

Phone buzz in my pocket.
Facebook notification.
God I fucking HATE candy crush.  It's worse than that goddamn farm game people used to play.  I can't wait til candy crush goes the way of farmville.  That beautiful anticipation that someone may want to talk to me...but no...they just want me to send them extra lives.  

If only friends could send us REAL extra lives.  I'd be jumping down all the sewers to rescue all the princesses, if I had but one extra life.  I don't though, so let the princess figure out her own shit.

Stupid Patrick Stewart has to go and get himself married, so now stupid Jonathon Frakes won't be at stupid Comic Con. There goes my chance to kick Riker in the nuts for having the most glorious beard.

Why is it that when I'm not in a show, there is absolutely NOTHING interesting to audition for...or even go see, but as soon as I'm cast in something three different people offer me roles in fabulous shows that all conflict with the one I'm cast in?  Fuck you universe.

I want to direct again.  

I should write a play.
Okay that one I have all the time.  I mean seriously.  All the goddamn time.  I've been seriously aching to flex that particular muscle again.  Problem is...I have no story to tell.  I try all day long to come up with a good one...but pretty soon, I'm back on baby pajamas, and not thinking about a play anymore.  I crave the process though.  I seriously....SERIOUSLY...want to write a play.  I ache for it.  I just...  I practice.  I write dialogue that goes nowhere.  I'm writing Godot, but with less point.  It's pathetic really.  Also...writing it is only half the joy.  Once it's ready for production...I'd have to go through the work of finding someone willing to produce it.


I need a new job.
I should go back to college.
College costs money.
I have no money.
I need a new job.

I get to my desk to enter mountains of superfluos paperwork and there's the boutique girl.  She needs me to find something for a customer up front in the store.  That's right.  Our online company also has a physical store.  

She's a PYT and I do as instinct demands.  I notice the low cut of her top, and the way the fabric of her dress hugs her body.  I do this in an instant.  When I was younger, I used to let this moment take forever.  I'd stare, and oggle, and I dunno...probably drool a little.  Then I got older, and became sensitive to feelings, and stopped looking, because it wasn't proper.  Then I got married, and pretended not to look because I was monogomous. Then I got old and single, and said fuck it.  Do whatever you're gonna do, then move on...because life happens.

See the problem is that after four decades of walking this planet, three of those decades living with an intense interest, desire, and craving for all things female, I've...through media, books, movies, magazines, conversations, experience, forums, discussions, and just being male....received just about every single conflicting report imaginable.  The whole checking out thing...it's a mess.  It really is.

"Women aren't objects."
Well duh.  I never thought, insinuated, or for one second thought that they were.
"But sometimes we like to be objectified."
Well duh.  You're human aren't you.  We ALL like to feel that way now and then.
"Women are equal to men."
Um yeah...it's called being human.
"Women are superior to men."
"Anything you can do, I can do better."
Well shit...anything I can
 do...ANYONE can do better."

I don't really subscribe to ists or isms.  I don't label myself according to my gender, my politics, my career, or my sexual preference.  All of those things seem to exist on some relative scale of fluidity.  If I DID have to pick an ist though...it would be humanist.

I do believe that all people should be paid the same wage in the workplace for the same job done.  I do believe that every woman, should have every right, freedom, and choice that any man has.  I think she should have access to all types of healthcare...sexual or otherwise.  If a woman becomes pregnant...she should have the availability to utilize ALL of the options available, and the freedom to make whatever choice is best for her.  That's simply how I feel.  I honestly believe that there is HORRIBLE misrepresentation of women in movies, television, and video games.  That's not gonna stop me from playing video games.

I do feel that if a woman is raped or sexually abused in any way...we must...we absolutely MUST and immediately STOP criminalizing the woman.  We absolutely HAVE to stop making the first question..."Well what was she wearing?  What was she drinking?  What did she do to cause this to happen?"  We have to grow up, and we have to put the impetus where it belongs...on the person who committed the crime.

I know that this world we live in is to many degrees not female friendly.  Everybody, man or woman, has every right to wear whatever the fuck they want that makes them feel good.  Feel confident.  Feel attractive.  It is against every single thing in me to ever think that simply because a woman is dressed a certain way, that I am given free access to act a certain way.  

I'm still gonna window shop though.

So there's cute boutique girl.  There's me window shopping.  There's me moving on.

Find out what the customer wants
Find it in the computer
Find it in the warehouse
Go get it.
Repeat ad nauseum.

This is my day.
Every day.
This is my life.
I should be rescuing princesses.

I hate red cars.

I hate the word truth.
I hate how a person declares a truth, and then climbs on that truth taking a moral high ground based on that truth.
Everything is true.
Nothing is true.

I find that the more I learn about anything, the more I grow to appreciate it.
I'm still not going to read or watch Twilight though.

I need a story to tell.
I need nicotine.
I hope the man who invented ecigarettes has everything he ever wanted.
Bathroom break.

Maybe I need a muse.
Someone or something to inspire that story right out of me.

I should go to the park this weekend.
I hope I have sex this weekend.
I will probably not be having sex this weekend.
So maybe I should go to the park.

I wonder if anyone here notices that I read the product numbers out loud when I'm looking for them.
I wonder why I do that.

Thoughts.  Those fleeting things that help us occupy the emptiness of tedium.  I wonder how many of those thought we actually notice, and how many go completely ignored, like so much traffic on the freeway.  The only ones we really notice are the pretty ones, or the annoying ones.

God I hate red cars.

I start to wonder about secret thoughts.  The ones we think might be too dark.  The ones we think might reveal too much about ourselves.  We do afterall have to maintain some sort of propriety.  

But we all have it.  The darkness.  The deviance.  The little kinks and fetishes.  

Come on.  Where's the good stuff?  Why can't I have those thoughts that will turn heads, and stomachs?  That will cause nervous laughs, or slight disgust, or pure outrage...  

This is supposed to be fun.
Be revelatory...
All access to the deviant mind of a sometime blogger, most time actor, full time dork.

Then it occurs to me.  I'm not having secret thoughts because...well...
I don't have secret thoughts.
There's nothing I hold sacred.
There's nothing I won't share.
There's no question I won't answer.
There's no darkness I won't explore.
There's no kink or fetish I won't try at least three times.
(Yes it's a personal rule.  I can't know for sure until I've tried three times.  Once for just the experience alone.  Twice for comparison.  Three times for analysis.)

Although I am quite possibly offensive, you cannot possibly offend me.
but also
I will never judge you.  Ever.  For anything.

Sometimes the very best part of the day is right when you get home from work.  It's not the sitting down, and relaxing...if even for a moment before doing all the things you have to do now that you're home.
It's the moment before.  The anticipation of the relaxation.  That's a beautiful moment.

I should clean my room.
What should I watch whle I clean?
Netflix has too many choices.
I want to watch everything.
I don't want to watch anything.

Thank you Mr. Bach for the Brandenbergs.  
Thank you Mr. Chopin for Nocturn #2
And Thank you, thank you, thank you Mr. Beethoven for Piano Sonata #14 in C Sharp Minor.  A melody that most people have heard so often, and are so familiar with that even hearing it is almost routine, yet to me is still one of the most simple, beautiful pieces of music I've ever known.

Mr Beiber, if people are thanking you for your music 300 years from now, then you'll have my dead respect.

I'd kill for water.
A beach
A river
a pool
I think I'm part amphibious.

It's time for a new tatoo.  Just got to finish up the design.

I used to wish I was gay.  I tried man.  I really did.  Gay porn.  Pray the straight away.  I honestly wanted that.  True story.  Mostly.  It didn't take.  I still wish I could be bi.  I mean how great would that be.  The whole world a potential sexual adventure.  I think I wanted that mostly though becuase ultimately I'm really lazy, and I think it might be easier to get guys to have sex with me.  That might simply be self flattery though.

Thing is...none of us can be what we're not.

Oh maybe I"ll read tonight.  I don't read enough.  I always forget.  I'm always so tired.

Goddamn 5:30 in the morning
Every morning.

Goddamn not being able to fall asleep until 1 in the morning.
Every morning.

It's a miracle I'm still alive on Friday.
Every Friday.

I should start a religion.
I'm great at public speaking.
I'm short on charisma though.

Maybe I can be the worlds first non charismatic religious leader.
No wait...Pat Robertson.

Oh phone buzz...maybe somebody wants to...
Goddamn candy crush.

Sometimes my roommate's phone rings, and I think it's my phone.
Which is weird because...
we don't even have the same ringtone...
I never turn on my ringtone.

There is never a single moment...never an instant...never any given point of any given day, that I don't want candy.

Ooohhh gobstoppers.  That's what I want.
Or dinner
but mostly gobstoppers.

I sure do have a soft tummy for a guy who never eats real food.

Maybe I should write a play about a...


Guess I'll go smoke about it.

Twilight.  My favorite time of day.  I hate that I can't think, or even say that word without it conjuring some sparkly piece of shit vampire now.
Fuck you Stephanie Meyers.

I love when the sun is gone, but there is still residual light.  It's my most alive.  It's my most coherent.  It's my most mentally productive.

It lasts about 7 minutes.  And then it's dark.  

Dark.  Always a new kind of friend.  Every damn time.

All the best things happen when the sun is down.

Oh sure daytime is when the stuff happens.  Money is exchanged for goods and services.  Food like products are consumed.  People congregate and do things.  Hands are shook.  Deals are made.  People smile at babies, and take pictures of each other, and go to jobs, so money can be made, for use in further exhange of more goods, and more services.  The general consumerist exchange.  News happens.  Politics happen.  Leaders pound pulpits.  Banks charge interest.  People go places, and do things, and buy stuff, and meet up with other people they like because they have to, or like because it's convenient..or even...sometimes when they're lucky...like because they like.

But at night.

Night is when we put our truths to bed, and our lies put on their shiny shoes and go out dancing.  Night is when we let the romance out, and exchange gifts in whispers and a kiss.  Night is when we touch with purpose, and intent.  When we forget about who we were in sunlight, and become who we always knew we were meant to be.

Night is when we get to remember all the people we have ever loved.  Night is when the quiet slips under the blankets with us, and wraps us in longing.  Night is the friend that never lets us down.  Night is when it's safe to cry.  Or laugh.  Or speak a truth that we are just now realizing.  Night lets us be brave.  Night lets us be beautiful.

And you are, you know.  Beautiful.  I wish you could see you through my eyes.  You would never...ever...question it again.  It is impossible for me to think of you, and not smile.  

If you are reading this because you read Deena's blog first, and clicked a link, and landed here...and then made it all this way...thank you.  If you are reading this because you follow my blog anyways...and you made it all this way...thank you.  Sometimes you like what I say.  Sometimes you don't.  Sometimes I make you angry.  Sometimes I make you laugh.  Sometimes you're just bored, and passing time in the bathroom.  Whatever the case...thank you.
It is my greatest wish now, that you click this I think, therefore... and read Deena's thoughts through a day....

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The last 48 hours.

I thought I was prepared. I had mentally walked myself through this.  Or so I had supposed.

To preface.

I am incredibly proud of my mother.  I say this with no irony, or subtle hint of disparagy.  Since I was a small child I remember my mother talking about how her greatest goal was to get a college degree.  She married at 18, had me at 19, and before my birth had only gone through one semester of college.  She put all of that aside for her family.  Despite anything I, or you, or anyone may have to say on life choices...this was hers.  She gave up her dreams and goals to focus on her new and over the years growing family.
When I started middle school, she began attending a community college located eighty miles from where we lived.  She would travel nearly an hour and a half each direction two or three nights a week for classes.  After a few years of doing this, she finally got her associates degree from Western Wyoming Community College.
Now, decades later, through the magic of digital technology, and internet communication, she received her Bachelors from BYU-Idaho.  At the tender age of 58, she has reached her lifelong goal of a degree from an accredited collegiate institution.  This woman, who truly sacrificed so much of what she wanted, for her children...this woman who I give all credit for any good quality that I may have...has been a prime example that the time it takes to reach a destination, is nowhere near as important as the arrival.  She is my mother, and she is amazing to me.
She is also Mormon.  I am not.  This probably breaks her heart a little.  She raised me to be.  She gave me the education and training in that particular brand of spirituality.  In the end, it didn't take.  It did for a while though.  I was twenty-seven before I made a full break from the religion.
I grew up with the dogma.  The practice.  The songs, and traditions, and ceremonies of it all.  I knew and practiced the customs.  I read and studied the books.  The Bible.  The Book of Mormon.  All of the Mormon scriptural cannon.  I could talk doctrine, and debate theosophic ideas with the best of them.  I went on a mission to do just that.  To convert as many to my way of thinking as possible.
I also attended BYU-Idaho, although at the time it was simply a Junior College called Ricks, located in Rexburg Idaho, about 25 miles north of Idaho Falls.  I went there for one semester before my mission, and a couple years again after my mission.  I made a lot of great friends, some whom I'm even still in contact with.  I met the woman who would become my future ex wife there.  I began my theatrical training there.
I am not like most ex-mo's I meet.  I don't harbor any ill feelings for the church.  I'm not angry.  I don't hold onto any hatred for any offense, real or imagined.  All of those parts of my life led me to become who I am now, and truth is...I really like who I am now.  Still though...still...
I do try to distance myself from it now as much as possible.  I've discovered for myself all the many reasons to not believe.  To not be able to believe.  To know, in my own reality why that (or any other church) cannot possibly be "true".  I don't share my discoveries, or push my own reality on other people.  I simply exist as I am, within my reality, with my discoveries, and allow all others the pleasure of doing the same.  I have no anti-mormon agenda.  Still though...still.

I thought I was prepared. I had mentally walked myself through this.  Or so I had supposed.

My mother's graduation ceremony was July 23, in Rexburg Idaho, on the campus of BYU-Idaho. It was very important to her that I, as well as all of her family, attend.  Of course I was going to.  After a lifetime of giving to me...what kind of a shithole would I be to skip out simply because I wanted to avoid a Mormon atmosphere?

I thought I was prepared. I had mentally walked myself through this.  Or so I had supposed.

Upon arrival in Rexburg, I took myself on a little stroll down memory lane.  I drove past the buildings I had lived as such a young student.  I walked by womens housing where I had formerly had so many friends and crushes.  The apartments where the woman I would marry had lived.  My old theatre building and classrooms.

Anyone who has taken a similar journey, knows the familiar ache of a past now seen through very different eyes.  It was simultaneously invigorating, and heartbreaking.  So much familiar.  So much had changed.  I saw in my eyes the faces of people I had known, whom I haven't seen in decades, who now have families and children of their own.
I sat at a piano, in a practice room where I had created so many memories.  It was overwhelming.  I am not the person I was.  We are not what we once thought we would become.  Some for better, some for worse, change is inevitable...but the circle...the magic circle where we remember a past, thinking about a future, and realizing how both right and wrong we were.

It was the walking around where the other parts started creeping in.  The itchy parts.  The irritaion.  The discomfort that I had known would happen.  That I had mentally prepared for.

Rexburg is not primarily mormon.  It IS mormon.  When I lived there, there were at least two night clubs that I knew of.  They are gone now.  There are no bars.  There is no bookstore that has a "relationships" section.  There is nowhere that you can find anything that isn't in some way church sanctioned.  The ONLY exception I discovered was the no-name convenience store where I was able to pick up a pack of cigarettes.  I was surprised to find that.  When I asked the clerk for my brand...a very VERY common brand...it took her a while to find where they were located.  I had the feeling this might be the first time anyone had asked her for a pack.  I could nearly see her picking it up with between her thumb and forefinger and holding it as far from her body as she could, as she passed it over to me. I could practically hear in my head the discussion she was preparing to have with her bishop, if she should keep a job where she was in fact sometimes, an agent in the distribution of sin.

I stepped out to smoke one of my newly procured cigarettes, knowing that my opportunities to do just that would be very few, and very far between.  Not seconds after lighting up, I counted no less than three drivers of cars, slowing down and literally rubernecking to look at the heathen disgracing the hallowed streets of their fair town.  I honestly don't believe this was a conscious choice on their part, so much as it was something so incredibly out of the ordinary.  They had to give themselves time to register if what they were seeing, was actually happening.

I walked onto campus, toward the building where the graduation ceremony would be.  I had officially entered hallowed grounds.  I saw exactly what I knew I would.  What I had mentally prepared myself for from the moment I knew I would be going.  On a college campus, on a warm day, with summer classes in full swing...there was no frivolity.  There was no mischief.  There was no joy of youth.
Oh there were students to be sure.  Reverently walking to whatever classes they had next.  If they were wearing shorts at all, (not many were) they were past the knee shorts.  There were no tank tops, or clothes of summer, but instead high neck tshirts.  There were rings on the fingers of near children.  I don't care what decision a person makes in life.  If you feel, at the ripe age of 18 that you've found the love of your life, then by all the gods, do what you will...I don't give two shits...but still...still  It seems so much waste.  All of these kids...yes...fucking KIDS...who have been trained, and taught, and conditioned to throw away the best years of their lives.  How could I not be at least a little depressed?
The glassy eyed stares.  The fake, empty smiles.  The light laughter, if there was any.  Where oh where oh fucking WHERE was the goddamn joy?  This, they are taught, is happiness.
Well...who am I to judge?  Maybe it is.
This is what I HAD prepared myself for.
Then came the graduation ceremony.
BYU-Idaho is of course owned and opperated by the Corporation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  The Mormons.  True, it is a state accredited school, but the rules of seperation of church and state don't really apply here.  Mormon rules all the way.  That's fine.  I had prepared myself for this.  I was ready.  Or so I thought.
For those who may read this who aren't familiar with Mormon phraseology or heirarchy, allow me a brief moment to explain.  At the head of the church is the President.  As recognized by federal government he is the president of the corporation.  He is the person responsible for, and accoutable for all of the legal and financial decisions for both corporate and non-profit divisions of the organization, as pertaining to the government.  He is aided by a first and second counselor.  These three men stand at the head of the church. They are annually sustained as Prophets, Seers, and Revelators, although within my lifetime not a goddamn one of them as prophecied, seen, or revealed a single thing. Within the church structure, directly under him are twelve apostles.  These are the men directly in line to become President if they live long enough.  Directly under the twelve, are about a bajilion men commonly refered to as General Authorities.  Each given different responsibilities over different capacities in church function.  This is church government.  Twice per year, once in April, and again in October, is General Conference.  General Conference takes place is Salt Lake City, but is televised and broadcast throughout the world.  During General Conference, most if not all of these men will stand up and address the body of the church.  This takes place over a combined total of four two-hour sessions for the general church body.  This does not include the meetings that will also take place specifically for men, and for women, during the same weekend.
The talks they give during those meetings are about...well...nothing.  Oh sure, there will be the occassional, "Don't watch Porn" speech.  Don't sin.  Serve more.  Family and the definition of family has been a huge topic the past few years.  Don't sin.  Love.  Love.  Jesus died for you.  Blah blah blah...you know...the usual.  But if one were to actually listen to any of those talks, you realize pretty quickly that these men are fucking professionals at rhetoric.  Saying what sounds profound, without saying anything at all.  They have learned that their words can and will be used against them by people outside the church...so they say 8 goddamn hours worth of words that don't really say a fucking thing.  They are tales.  Told by idiots.  Full of sound and fury, signigying nothing.  In other words.  Really...REALLY...fucking boring.  There is a reason I bring all of that up.

The ceremony started off normal enough.  Family members seated in the auditorium.  The processional.  Pomp and Circumstance, and all that jazz.  Then the President of the College stood up to the podium, and everything changed.  I was still okay.  I knew this was coming.  He was a man full of charm and smiles.  He warmly welcomed us, and informed us that although we were here to celebrate the accomplishments of the graduating students, this was still a solemn event.  He invited us to not give in to the whims of cheers, and whistles and yelling, but rather polite applause.  A feeling of appreciation that would welcome "The Spirit."

Mormons LOVE "The Spirit".

"The Spirit" fucking HATES...well...everything.  Loud laughter.  Crying children.  Noise of any type really.  It hates sex, and boobs, and r rated movies, and caffiene, and I'm pretty sure single women, and the hours between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., and skirts that go above the knee.  Water parks.  Rivers, oceans, okay...all water that isn't contained in something you drink out of.  It hates democrats, and foreign countries, sitcoms, and most contemporary literature, (unless written by Stephanie Meyers of course).  It hates normal underwear, and evolution, and naturally homosexuals.  "The Spirit" is a mind reader, and a voyeur, and a tattle tale, and will report all of your activities to God at some point in post life judgement.

So it stands to reason, that if our clapping was subdued, our thoughts were pure, our bodies properly covered, and every woman in the room over the age of eighteen was wearing a ring, then perhaps "The Spirit" might feel welcome.  To...um...I guess...  attend a GODDAMN COLLEGE GRADUATION CEREMONY.

Sorry.  I may still be a bit irritated.

Funny thing is, at this point I was still okay.  Twenty-seven years of indoctrination had prepared me for this.  I knew it was coming.  There was nothing about this that was surprising.  I was actually doing quite well, entertaining myself.  I made it through the opening prayer.  Yes...everything opens and closes with prayer.  I made it through the presenting of colors.  I even made it through the Mens Choir singing some godawful hymn.

Hymns are boring.  They are typically melodramatic, meloncholic, musically predictable tripe.  People love their fucking hymns though, so I accepted it as inevitable.

Then the speeches.  And this is what I had not prepared for.

I knew that there would be references to, or allusions of and about all things Mormon, but the reality is I was expecting the standard congratulations graduates, you've accomplished great things, now go, do, be speeches.  I was not, (and in retrospect perhaps I should have been) expecting fucking General Conference.

Not once in all the talks, did anyone ever congratulate the graduates.  Never did they use the word education.  It was all about...well...fuck. Where to even begin.

I'm going to save you the tedium actually.  You can imagine it.  Your imagination won't fail you.  If you've ever in your life heard any type of religious pontification, you know what I sat through.  For two hours.  For no apparent reason.

The one that got me though, the one I have to share.  The reason I went through all the explanation of church heirarchy...

So there was a General Authority there.  One of the top brass.  A MAJOR player in the church system.  I don't remember his name, and I don't care to, but he's really one of the big guns, also spoke.  It was...General Conference.  It was.  It was the same rhetoric.  The same bullshit.  The same faith promoting stories repeated ad nauseum to ensure the members that they are really part of the true church.  But then...THEN...as I was doing my best to just let it flow...he let out the whopper.  The one that I wasn't able to let go.  The one that I CAN'T let go.  The one that will in all likelihood haunt me for the rest of my life.  And before I relay it to you...please remember...he's telling this story to promote faith.  He's telling this story to relate an example of the truthfulness of Mormonism.

It all starts as a story of how members should listen to "The Still Small Voice" (another nickname for "The Spirit") to do good in the world, and spread the gospel of Christ.

He and his wife are finishing up a two year mission in Africa, and about to come home to the States, when his wife, hears "The Still Small Voice" tell her that she needs to find a 9 year old girl they'd been preaching to.  That's right...they were preaching to a 9 year old girl.  I'm not even going to touch on that part of it...just let that sit with you.  So they go back to this little African village to find this girl.  Turns out she's not there.  They ask around, and no one seems to know anything.  He himself is ready to give up, but his wife, just knows by the power of "The Still Small Voice" that she needs to find this girl.  The keep searching...asking...looking...and through some means never actually communicated in the telling of the story, they discover that this girl, and her mother have been sold into "The Sex Slave Trade.".  I guess that's what we call it, because I could practically hear the quotations around it as he was telling the story.  So yes...little african 9 year old girl, and her mother have been sold into sex slavery.

Now this is a very real...and very horrifying thing.  This is as I understand it, the worlds second largest industry.  It's NOT something to lightly toss about in stories to promote faith.  I...even as an absolute non believer in anything Mormon, am absolutely captivated by this story now.  I have to know how it ends.

So...turns out they discover this girl has been sold, and dude's wife just has to save her. He continues from that point to tell an incredible tale of intrigue.  Crossing four borders without papers.  Negotiating with nefarious men.  Travelling in the back of rickety trucks to find this girl...which of course...THEY DO!!!  They are able to buy this girl AND her mother, and return them both home safely.

This fucking douchebag...told this fucking story as I've related it to you.  I shit you not.  I wanted to jump from my chair and scream as loud as I could "YOU GODDAMN LIAR".  That never happened.  I am sorry, but you are going to have to confirm that story with at least 4 reliable outside sources before I can even remotely consider one iota of viability.  If what you say is even remotely POSSIBLE..why haven't we...by the power of grandma...ended the most horrific business practice on this planet?

This man, who represents this church, which claims to be God's one true church on the planet just told the most outlandish story, exploiting the worlds worst crimes, for the simple purpose of promoting a ridiculous idea. AT A GODDAMN GRADUATION CEREMONY.  Can you blame me for being a bit disgusted?

I looked around the room, for even one...just one fucking person with an astonished look on their face.  Someone who would realize what just happened.  I saw stone and glass.

I hate the term brainwashed.  I don't believe in it.  I don't subscribe to the idea.  It's a word that a lot of exmos LOVE to use...but I personally hate it.  Still...here in this room was evidence of...well

I'll say conditioning instead.  Conditioned to wholeheartedly, and without question accept any idea or word that leaves the mouths of these men.  Conditioned to never question.  Never stand up.  Never say... "I don't believe you."

I sometimes wonder if these leaders intentionally see how far they can push that conditioning.

I wanted to cry.  To cry for these people.  To cry for that girl in that OBVIOUSLY fictional story.  To cry for myself.

I didn't.  I don't cry.  I am incredibly hard to even get any type of emotional response from.  I emotionally responded to this experience...and not so positively.

I wanted to celebrate that I had gotten out of this mindtrap.  This double bind.  This horrifying state of existence, but can't...because in so doing I have left so many behind.

There's more.  But I've written a lot.  If you made it this far...you've read a lot.  I am physically and emotionally exhausted from the past 48 hours, and really..even with the more...I'm not sure that there's more that I can really communicate.  It didn't end there, but that really was the worst of it.  The rest is just more of the same.  Thanks for bearing with me.  This really had a lot of vent to it.  I know some who read my shit will relate, because of similar past experience.  I know some will be outraged.  I know some will say I knew going in, and I have no right to complain, and I know some who will be incredibly upset at how I portray the church.  So it goes.  I can't please everybody.  I don't ever try to.

Thanks for bearing with me.  Thanks for standing by me.  Thanks for reading my words...sometimes no matter how many there are.  I know I may say it to the point of tedium, but I really...honestly...love you.  In many ways I need you, as any human needs the assurance and friendship of other humans.  I can never say it enough...so I'll let it go that I said it now.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Were you brave today?  I hope so.  

That thing you're wondering if you should do or not? ... Well, you should.

That thing you're saving for a special occassion? ... Well, that occassion is now.

Every damn day is a special occassion.  Don't believe me?

Close your eyes.
Take a breath.
Remember everything in an instant.
And smile.

You may have been told this before.
Or maybe not.
You may have believed it.
Or not.


Your smile is amazing.
It's a light in my darkness.

I bet I'm not the only one.

I love you for all the things that you are...
...that I am not.

If ever you wonder if you've made a difference, I give you now a resounding yes.  I may be just little ole me, but I'm the most important me in my personal universe, and that universe would be a little more empty without you in it.

I'm a person with just a few small skills, but how interesting it is that my skills require a certain amount of life experience.  An active imagination.  A point of view, that is guided in part, by the simple fact that you have become part of me.

I would be less
you make me more.

I see in you, so much ability.  So much talent.  So much brilliance, and passion, and life.  I see the things you think you hide.

I see the mask you wear, and I know...
even if you don't...
I know absolutely

That you were brave today.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Goddammit the Beatles were right.

We swim so casually through our days, creating minutea, forgotten already as it happens.  So many routine minutes that will never become memories.  So many things we do over and over and over again, day after day.  The same yawn and stretch every morning.  The same bathroom routine.  The trudge to work and the trudge through work and the trudge back home again.  The same coffee in the same mugs.  The same familiar faces over the counter at the same 7-11.

The same discussions, about the same political debates.  The same pains in the same places.  The same jokes, with the same people.

The same tastes and same flavors.  The same favorites.  The same tv shows, awards shows, reality shows, and news shows.

Then we go to bed, and do it all again.
If we're really lucky maybe something will happen.  If' we're really ambitious maybe we'll make something happen.  We remember the days that are different, because they are different.

Here we are, spinning on this little rock, in this little solar system, around our little sun, among so many hundreds of millions of other stars in an insignificant arm, in a medium sized spiral galaxy  in this one little galaxy among hundreds of millions of other galaxies in a huge motherfucking universe that may or may not be floating in the middle of an even bigger black hole.  In all that...we...us...you and me and all the other people walking around us are the known pinnacle of conscious achievement.  I think we are meant for better things.

In an endless sea of nothingness, here we are.  Little specs of somethingness. We are capable of such grand things.  Each of us able to inspire, and delight.  We invented gods and godesses, so that we could forget that we are already capable of so much more than any of them.  We gaze outward, looking for the divine, ignoring that we already are.  We trade little pieces of paper for shitty goods and questionable service, and food that isn't, and really only purchase the right to complain.  And we forget
we forget
we oh so graciously forget

That our only true commodity
the only thing of value that we have to give
is love.

None of the else really matters in the end.

You create all of that forgotten minutae during all of the days to put more green paper in your pockets.  And that's fine.  That's necessary.  We all have to eat the poison...but when you search
when you file through the gray upstairs and dust the cobwebs off of all your best memories you discover with delight
that they are all made out of love.

The love of doing.
The love of being.
The love of giving.
The love of grieving.
The love of family, and friends, and solitude, and companionship.
The love of love.