Tuesday, August 29, 2006

A Good Week (and Another...)

Since my last post, I have really only had great moments. I look back at my last few days only with fond memories. I have had great opportunities to make new acquaintances, forge new friendships, and strengthen old ties. I have been able to seek out such opportunities with very little trepidation. I am more confident about myself than I have ever been. It's a pretty good feeling, and one that I intend to keep.
In the meantime, however, my free time has been causing me to think a little too much about life, dreams, relationships, equations, desires, and other random miscellany - so much so that I think I'm going to explode. I'm glad I finally know the root of the problem: too much free time (and, more specifically, too much alone time (oddly enough, I've spent more time with friends this week than ever before, but, still, I think at the moment I simply require more social interaction than I once managed to get by on)). I've therefore decided to keep myself busy by forcing myself to be creative. I have finally started work on that movie idea I've had floating around in my head for a little while. I think it will be fun to try and get a full script done before school starts. It'll be interesting to see what comes of it, and it will get my mind off the miscellany, if nothing else (life, dreams, relationships, equations, desires...that'll stay, but the miscellany's gotta go!).
I won't be showing this script to anyone till it's done. I actually hope this will be good, whereas most everything else I write I usually don't think twice about and if it makes me laugh, I call it good, and could care less what others think. This one I'm making more for others than for myself. I think it could have an impact. In other words, it will probably be awful and never be completed, and, therefore, I don't want any part of it to see the light of day. But, so that my blogging public (that's you!) knows that I'm not just idly sitting around, that's what I'm busy doing for the time being.
I'm also reading lots of Dostoevsky before school starts, since I never have time to read during school. I just finished 'The Double.' I liked it a lot, and highly recommend it, although not if you haven't read any Dostoevsky yet.
My new favorite picture is 'The Farewell of Telemachus and Eucharis,' by Jacques Louis David (He's the guy that did 'The Oath of the Horatii'). I saw this at the Getty Museum in California, and liked it so much, I bought a 75 cent bookmark of it. I think it's an incredible work of art. My previous favorite picture, and one I still rank as my second favorite, is 'La Comtesse d'Haussonville,' by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres. My favorite statue is Donatello's 'David.' Why all this sudden interest in ranking art? Because, due to the vast amount of thoughts multiplying in my cranium, I have been unable to sleep well, and have instead stayed up late painting. And, I'm a horrible artist. It's fun to test stuff out, out my completed work is quite hideous. How these great masters like Michelangelo, Donatello, Leonardo, and the other turtle (I know it was Raphael...I love his 'Madonna of the Meadow') were ever able to achieve their greatness, I'll never know. It's really very incredible. Incidentally, I think the same thing about my writing when I read Dostoevsky - it simply pales in comparison to his work. It's as if my writing were the infant language from which his grew, and I still have decades of work ahead of me to catch up...but, here's the catch: Dostoevsky was 25 when he wrote 'The Double.' I'll not be up to his level at any point in my life, but if I ever am, I'll be well into my 60's. It's simply brilliant to think about.
This is a rambling post if I've ever seen one, but it's much too late at night for me to bother revising it in any way. Maybe I'll edit it tomorrow if I wake up and decide it's revolting. In any case, you're stuck with it now.
Here's to hoping next week will be even more enjoyable, and fruitful, than this week. I am fully confident that it will be. (Then school will start, and it's back to busy work...but that's another post for another time).

Monday, August 21, 2006

Recent Trip

This summer has been my summer of travel. I just recently returned from a three-month long stint in Washington, D.C., where I was one of many BYU students who decided to complete an internship in our nation's capital. As part of my job responsibilities, I was given the opportunity to travel to Kiev, Ukraine for a week to help supervise the work being done there. I was also given a week of vacation time, which I used to travel to Nikolaev, Ukraine and stay with a family I knew from my mission. After being in Provo for only a few short days, I rode with my friends to Riverside, California, to attend a wedding of one of my old high school buddies. All of these trips were what would be termed 'successful'; I managed to accomplish all that I planned, and was even surprised by many fateful occurrences.

Washington, D.C. was not at all what I expected. I accepted my internship early in the school year, and anticipated a short lonely summer. However, due to the extremely high cost of housing in D.C., I ended up staying in BYU student housing and taking two political science classes through Washington Seminar. This turned out to be a great experience. I made new friends that I would never have made had I been alone in D.C., or not been given the internship opportunity in the first place. I had a similar feeling as I had on my mission - that I was in the right place, doing the right thing.

I always find it interesting to list the items that I remember clearest from a trip. Sometimes, they are things that are not very unique or special; but, for whatever reason, these are the events I remember most vividly:

The National Zoo - 8 hours of walking, looking at every animal available. Who else did that on their DC trip? (I only know one other such person).

The Hirshhorn Museum - A rounded museum, perfect for looking at works of art by Anselm Kiefer.

White House at Night / Brick - On one of my first nights in D.C., I decided to catch a film at a well-known cinema for independent films called 'Landmark E Street Cinema.' I took the metro to the film, exiting at the Metro Center stop and walking one block to the theater. However, late on a weeknight (Wednesday, 11:00 PM), no one else was there. I bought my ticket, entered the theater, and watched the film 'Brick' entirely by myself. At the conclusion of the movie, I left the deserted theater by walking through a completely empty and almost entirely dark hallway. I reached the escalator and ascended to the street level, only to find that the Metro was closed. I elected to walk home via Pennsylvania Avenue, thus passing the White House on my journey. This walk took only an hour; the streets were completely deserted. A weeknight in DC affords quite the quiet peace on a mid-night walk. Even behind the White House, a street usually filled with tourists, no one was to be seen. I stood and looked at the White House alone, and had quite the rush of Potomac Fever.

Foggy Bottom School of Art - A couple of friends and I decided to become painters. We bought cheap acrylics and canvases at a local art store, and walked to the Jefferson Memorial, where we proceeded to paint the scenery. This event was captured forever by a group of tourists, who snapped a secretive photo on their camera as they passed. The flash of light from the camera caused me to turn my head, and I received endless pleasure from knowing that I am going to be in someone's photo album with a caption that says, 'Local artists paint by the Jefferson Memorial.'

Movies - I'll probably best remember sitting in the basement lounge of our building watching various films. My friends and I watched one nearly every night, and stayed up very late. These were very great experiences to see good movies and discuss various things with one another.

Mount Vernon - I went there twice, and had a great experience both times. The beloved home of our nation's first president is an incredible place. I wrote a whole paper on it for my class, so I'll just post that later.

There are really too many experiences over the course of three months to list them all, so I'll stop here. I could talk more about: The Safeway Run, Georgetown at Night, The Bar Band, One Fish Two Fish, A Walk to Remember, The Lincoln Steps at Night, A Museum Adventure, A Capital Tour, A Walk to Jefferson. But, there's even more than that. Really, it was a great trip.

Ukraine proved to be quite delightful, and I made a post about it when I returned, so I'll let that suffice. It was a lot of fun to be able to return to a place so far away and know that I have friends there. This world is amazing.

The travel to California was a great experience, from which I returned only yesterday. I almost agreed to travel with some of my friends to Missouri, which would have required me to leave almost as soon as getting back from California, so I'm glad I decided to opt out of that adventure. However, California was great. 11 of us in all made the trek to view the wedding of a good friend/close acquaintance/friend's friend, depending on who you were. For most of us, he was a good friend. We took two cars down; I rode in the backseat of the minivan, which held seven of us. It was a very fun ride down (half the fun, really). We noticed a sign for Historic Cove Fort on our ride down, and made sure to find out what it was through wikipedia. On our return trip, we made sure to stop by and take a tour, thus fulfilling our quest (actually, it was more on a whim of boredom, not a need for quest fulfillment...but, still).

In California, we went to the beach, the Getty Museum (the best museum I've ever been to, actually), Hollywood Boulevard, Mel's Drive-in (an institution, literally), and a number of other fine restaurants. This was the first time our entire group of friends has been together for such a length of time, and in such an exotic locale, that it was very interesting to see the dynamics of our friendship. I really see this as a sort of bonding experience to bring our whole group together - sharing in a common life event. Oh, and it was really funny too, since our sense of humor is hilarious.

The wedding went off without a hitch (thank goodness, since that movie sucks). They had a temple wedding, or are going to have a temple wedding (I wasn't too clear on when that was to take place), but the wedding we attended was the one for the fiance's family, since they are not members of the LDS church. It was great, because there's a rich Scottish heritage in the family, so they did a full out Scottish wedding at the Presbyterian church. Our friend wore a kilt, and so did all of the men who participated in the ceremony. The woman who conducted the ceremony had a thick scottish accent, and it was really fun. The girls all had very large tattoos on their backs, which I thought looked absolutely terrible with a wedding dress. That's just one more reason not to get a tattoo, I suppose.

The reception was fun. We were promised an all you can eat buffet, and instead were presented with gourmet plates (you know, the kind that are almost completely empty except for the lavish display of two carrots and an asparagus stick waving out from the sauce spilling over from the morsel of meat laying atop the succulent scoop of potato mash). That was a disappointment, but a tasty one, at least. They also had a bar where we were served Mountain Dew, Coke, Sprite, etc.

The return trip went by quickly, and we divided up the expenditures amongst all 11 people evenly. With the price of the wedding gift, the total came to $50.00 for each person. I was surprised by the cheapness, and quite pleased with it.

Now I'm back home again, in Provo. I'm ready to start school with a fresh new perspective on life due to my many travels this summer. I hope I've only changed in ways to make me more interesting. In any case, I know I have good friends.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Top 5 Cities

In reading the 100 hour board today, I stumbled across a question concerning this site. Supposedly, after you complete this detailed quiz, it can tell you exactly where in the United States you would most prefer to live. So, I took the quiz, and here are the results (well, the top five, anyways). I think they're pretty interesting.

1. Grand Rapids, Michigan (That's right, Jacob...maybe we can move to Michigan together!)
2. Duluth, Minnesota (Cool name...Duluth. I could get used to that.)
3. Great Falls, Montana (I don't know...Montana? We'll see.)
4. Rochester, Minnesota (Looks like Minnesota might be the place for me.)
5. Ogden, Utah (Hey, that's really close to Provo! I could move there easily.)

The other cities are all very interesting as well. In short, I think I could live in any number of places in America and be quite content. I enjoyed my stay in DC very much, even though it doesn't land anywhere on my list. All the same, I recommend you check it out yourself. You might find out about a city that you never knew existed -- and it may be the perfect city for you. Go to

In a related note of interest, Salt Lake City, Utah landed at number 9 on my list, while Provo-Orem, Utah also made an appearance at number 11. It looks like this is the place for me after all.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


I just noticed that I never bothered to upload a picture into my blogging profile. I suppose it doesn't matter since anyone who reads this blog most likely already knows me well enough to not want to see me while they peruse through my randomn creations and experiences, but all the same, I promise to get a picture, of me, up on here for ya'll. Ain't I grand?

City of God

So, about a year ago, a good friend of mine recommended that I see the film "City of God" because it was really great. I had so many other movies that I wanted to see at the time, that I just sort of told him, 'yeah, I'll have to do that,' and rubbed it off my inner list of things to do. Well, I have now seen it, and it was really great. This is by far the best movie I have seen all summer. I highly recommend it. I won't go into details, but suffice it to say that I like the camera work, the editing, the story, the acting, the style, and everything. 5/5, or 4/4, or however you want to say it, it's great.