Monday, March 31, 2008

Tea, Biscuits, and Incest . . . something only the Mormons and Scrabble could tackle

Okay, I swear this is the last bizarre, out-there story/youtube clip for awhile, and I will share something substantive soon. But the ending of this was just too killer to leave unshared. 

It's the final installment, the first three are funnier, but this one is funny and proof that even across the pond, those Mormons can can resolve even the greatest of woes (with a healthy game of Scrabble). 

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Waterless Urinals!!

So Friday night my friends and I are out at Squatters (a lovely SLC microbrewery that also carries such local beer brands as: Polygamy Porter, Provo Girl Pilsner, and Captain Bastards). For the AA and LDS members out there, they also have a lovely microbrewed root beer and yummy sweet potato fries (ask for them, I forgot and spent the evening looking on with envy at my friend's plate).

Anyway. I digress. I go to the little boy's room (you have to go all the way to the back and down the stairs. It's not readily apparent.) and I dont know if these urinals are new or if I just have always used the handicap restroom or something, but I am confronted by this line of very sheik, sleek urinals. Wow. I am impressed. And then I notice an adorable little bee in the urinal. It took me a second to realize this was probably there so guys would have something to aim at and quit shooting for the floor. I was charmed.

Then, to my even greater surprise and delight, I realized I was before a waterless urinal! That's right kids. Once I finished my business and stepped back, a nosy motion sensor detected/assumed my departure and, rather than flush, everything was just sucked?/vacuumed? away underneath like this stopper looking thing where the drain would ordinarily be. It was perhaps my most satisfactory urinal experience ever. Everything was very nice and clean,hygienic and apparently eco-friendly! My roommate and I later mused on the energy output such a device would require but I think you could probably use some sort of like gravitational/kinetic/physics-esque contrivance to do the job.

Oh yeah, so after Squatters we ended up going to this awful club. Lame dress code. Lame smoke machines. Understaffed. And the crowd . . . well it seems to me that this is where a lot of lame people over 30 (or 40) go to try and give themselves the illusion that they're still hip. The music . . . some good top 40 interspersed with awful selections from 80s hair bands and 90s R&B. At least I can confidently say I wasnt the only one in the room with arthritic knees.

Lesson learned: never go back to Habits.

If any of the lovely chicas I was with come across my blog: I did love the company, though. Maybe next time I can choose the club. :P You all are too cool for some of the loser guys that were hitting on you there. Although that one guy was nice, Debi. You should go on a date with him.

Ahh. Alanis.

Alanis Morisette "My Humps"

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Stuff White People Like

Me beloved friend,  Hilary, opened my eyes to my new favorite blog: Stuff White People Like. Thus far, this is my favorite post. May you all roll in laughter, as well:

Basically how cool/progressive all you white people can feel about having a gay/lesbian friend. If you manage to find a black, gay friend with an adopted child, you get a free canvas tote from NPR and a water bottle from the ACLU! :P

Another one of my favorites is:

My favorite line (paraprased):  " . . . years of work can be undone by one copy of US Weekly, a misplaced McDonald's wrapper, or a copy of a John Grisham novel . . . ."

Friday, March 21, 2008

Why Am I so Batty? LOL

So my bedroom has been absolute disaster area for about the past month. Everyday is an increasingly frustrating experience in trying find ANYTHING. 

I had to renew the registration  on my car in Jan. I printed out the temporary reg while i waited for the sticker and registration to arrive in the mail. When the sticker arrived at the end of Jan, I carefully put the paperwork back in the envelope to be used when I next went out to my car. That envelope hasn't been seen since. The temporary registration expired in February. 

I got a ticket last week for expired registration. I wonder if I can refute it, since I technically had renewed the registration, I just didnt have proof handy. 

Anyway, on Monday I was driving a friend to the airport  when I got pulled over (it was 4 am!). So I scrambled forever to find the temporary registration (I didn't know it had already expired). 20 old registration docs and mechanics receipts later . . . I still couldn't find my proof of insurance card. I was vexed and concerned about the colossal ticket I would be getting. By some miraculous force of grace, this UHP officer let me go with an admonishment to find that sticker. 

So I screwed up my courage to prepare to tell my parents that their at times absent minded son had lost the stupid sticker and I needed their help getting a new one (my car is still in Dad's name). 

So I am getting ready to go visit the folks right now. I decide to look one last time for the elusive sticker. 

I found it in 20 seconds flat. 

It was under a few sketches on the table at the foot of my bed. You know, where I generally put stuff that intend to need relatively shortly after I put it down: car keys, Ipod, loose change, beloved Buddha. 

As I went out to promptly to sticker up my license plate. As I carefully put my current proof of registration in the glove compartment, my eyes fell to the space between the driver's seat and the car door. Lo and behold, there was the stupid insurance card!!!!! I was simultaneously relieved and chagrined. 

So now this Mexican is legal and ready to visit his parents. Wish me luck with that! (I love my parents)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Haircut of John

So i am still working out how to post things the way i want, but below i believe you will see three photos. 

THe one with the really awesome, amazing, potentially-world-peace-inspiring hair is what I looked like a couple of weeks ago. 

I knew I wanted to cut my hair, but I wasnt exactly sure how. My mistake: taking scissors to my hair before I had a crystal clear idea of where I wanted it to go. 

I hated my a hair cut for days! I thought I looked like a lesbian or something. It pretty much looked like that picture of me in the blue tshirt. 

On Sunday I decided to try something different and this experimentation is what you see in the picture of me in the black sweater. 

I think i am going to have to stick with that final 'do for awhile.  I am resisting the urge to cut even more. I am trying to just be patient, grow it out for a couple of months and then see what I can do from there. 

The irony is, I wanted to try something more edgy and instead I am left with the option of retro- John, or stick-up-his-butt-Banana-Republic/J-Crew-John. Sigh. 

I miss my hair. Especially when I am feeling frustrated and just want to pull my hair back away from my head. I dont know why, but its soothing. Or like the other morning i wanted to just hop out of bed and go to the gym. Ordinarily, this is where I would whip out a trusty hair tie, but now I have to actually DO my hair before i leave the house or risk frightening small children and dogs.

I dont think i will go back to it ever being quite SO long as before. I dunnno.

Thoughts anyone? Should I just whip out the clippers and have at it?

(yes, i know how incredibly shallow this blog post makes me seem :P Get over it)

The Hair of John

Monday, March 10, 2008

Wheels are in motion

So in deciding what to do about my major, i have been confronted by varying degrees of fear: could I really make it in the world of advertising? What if I go down this path and then decide after awhile it was the wrong path, could I handle that again?? I am 25, I don't have time for too many more mistakes in my life.

Lots of crap going on in my head.

I haven't really been able to do the soul searching that I wanted, to get away and just spend some time with my self. But so yesterday when I woke up, I offered a sincere prayer for help and guidance. When I have prayed about this, I have felt that I should be using the creative/artistic skills God has given me. I have felt that I should not abandon art. Which is not to say I have felt like I should return to painting.

So I have thought and thought. At times I have thought that I have an altruistic obligation to the world of psychology. That I could do so much genuine good, but if I am honest with myself, I dont really know how much I want to do therapy, which leaves research and teaching. Eh. Okay.

So anyway, I prayed. And then last night I got into this discussion with some of my roommates and friends about urban planning, America's place in the world economy, and capitalist consumerism. Now, I have believed for a long time now, that if we have any hope of achieving relief from global warming, of having all citizens of the world have good, comfortable lives, then we have to be willing to abandon capitalist consumerism or at least . . . change the way we use it. Because the current system is incredibly short sighted, is about the bottom-line/dollar, and requires that someone always lose. I just dont think that is the way God would set up a paradaisical society.

So as I was saying this, I realized. Oh crap. I am seriously considering entering a world that totally promotes capitalist consumerism. How can I ethically be a part of a system that promotes something I think is messed up and wrong(ironically, this has also been my struggle in faith)? I thought perhaps this is my answer. I cant do this. These were mostly thoughts. No strong feelings, but I am grateful for this having come up, because whatever decisions one makes in life, one must do it, I believe, with eyes wide open, fully aware.

So then later in the night, Billy (my roommate who is majoring in advertising at BYU) asked me for some feedback on lay out/font for this ad campaign he is doing. We ended up really getting into it: new font face, editing copy, fiddling with concept. We talked about other potential campaigns. And, folks, I loved it! It was fun, it was exciting, it was stimulating. I really felt like I was able to use everything I've got: taste, editing, understanding of people, aesthetic sensibility, critical/analytical thinking. I got so caught up in the fun I was having.

Billy looks at me and he's like, "JOhn, you've GOT to do this."

Sigh. And I realized I was having so much fun.

One of my very wise friends asked me: John, why do you feel like you dont deserve to be happy? Why do feel this guilt over doing something you enjoy?

I dont know. I am a masochist. :P

But as I got ready for bed (and read a little bit more in the book Truth, Lies, and Advertising) I thought, you know, I coudl really do this. I have the knack for it.

I dont know, guys. It seems to me like we all have to do a 9-5. If I can find a 9-5 that actually excites me and challenges me and that seems to actually make use of my talents, shouldn't I do it?

I am glad I had that conversation with Krysten about consumerism, because I think I do need to be aware of what I am doing, and make my peace with it. I also think that the skills I develop in this field are skills that will be useful no matter how the economy changes.

Advertising (at least on the creative end) is about a dialogue wiht the consumer. Good advertising is intelligent and respects the consumer. I think these are good things. One of the things I firmly believe is that in order for advertising to be successful, advertising cannot promise something the product can't deliver, this undermines the relationship of trust between the consumer and the advertiser. And it is dishonest. I believe in being honest.

Consumerism will be here for now. We can guide it and direct it towards good things (like the recent interest in "green" products). In our current world, as I have often said, more than voting, money talks. The way we spend our money is the true voice of the people. Hopefully, the voice of the people can shift our economy to promote business practices that are more conscientious and have loftier goals in mind than just making a buck. Perhaps I can have an impact on that, perhaps not. But I don't know that me choosing to be a creative in advertising will perpetuate more harm. It might even do some good. I don't know.

I talked to my academic advisor today, and we have gotten the ball rolling on me changing over to advertising. This will mean some huge changes (including moving back to SF). I am giving myself permission to change my mind in the next week, as we go through all of the logistics.

Let's see what happens. Sometimes, as my friend, Jenny says, you have to run into the fear, because as I often say, you can't live in fear.

You know, for some one who changes their life so much, I really hate/fear change.

The things I learn in Utah!

So there is this sexual practice, in which you dont have actual sex, but you kind of pretend to by rubbing up against your partner. Now, I have come to know this as frottage: this is the actual sexual term for it. I have, of course, also heard of humping, but I have never heard of these words that popped up in conversation just last night with my roommates:

Provo Push

Crop Dusting: for those of you who are agriculturally ignorant, crop dusting is actually when a plane deposits its insecticides on a crop by brushing the surface.

Levi Loving: uh i really didnt get this one. Levi was one of the sons of Israel. "Sons of Israel" probably wouldn't engage in levi loving.

But i guess I am now being informed that Levis refers to jeans, not Levi aka Aaronic priesthood.

And new ones just added: Helaman Humping and Couch Tango and Sofa Salsa.


Saturday, March 8, 2008

Those Utah Smiles Are Fake!!Those Utah Smiles Are Fake!!

So people always talk about Utah having the highest rate of prescribed antidepressants. As a former social scientist, I always looked at this statistic askance, but I just heard on NPR that according to the National Association of Mental Health, Utah does indeed have the highest rate of depression in the U.S.: 14.4%!!

So that wonderful chipper exterior that abounds in Utah, is indeed likely a veneer. It's actually kind of sad, if you think about it. It would be nice to think that the people here are happy. Unquestionably, they are pretty nice.

And as a former social scientist, I have to say that although this statistic is alarming (while 1.5 in every 10 people is clinically depressed in Utah, as opposed to 8% of Hawaii's population), we do have to consider extraneous factors: maybe Utahns are less in denial or maybe lacking the crutches of alcohol and tobacco, they are more keenly aware of their depressive feelings.

Or maybe the strain of projecting perfection in Happy Valley will make anyone crack!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Now the juicy stuff

So many of you are wondering: so what happened in San Francisco with your thesis?!?!?

Well, it was a pretty crazy week. I hardly ate or slept or got any real homework done. I spent most of time running around meeting friends, talking to Academy reps, and trying to put the finishing touches on my presentation (sorry to those of you my dear friends whom I could not see while I was in SF, if I tried to squeeze one more thing in I would have a complete, messy breakdown).

Um . . . so for those of you who may not have known, I have been having a really hard time lately putting in the time I ought to in front of the easel. As my midpoint loomed, I found it incredibly difficult to get enthused about my final thesis project. By Tues. , I would say I was 99% certain I would not want to finish out my MFA in painting at the Academy.

Well, over the course of the week, I met with the head of the Graduate Graphic Design program to consider pursuing that (I have done some freelance graphic design). After talking with him and talking with the Graduate Admissions Director, I found myself setting an appt. with the creative director of the Advertising program.

Needless to say, I was freaking out. This was never something on the table! Never in a million years had I thought of myself doing advertising! I could have seen myself being a real estate mogul before I would see myself doing advertising!!!

So I did present my thesis proposal and then turned around and emailed the director and told him to not bother letting me know the results, because I was withdrawing from the painting program and would let him know by Monday which program (if any) I will be transferring to.

So I do feel a sense of loss at letting go of the world of full time painting, but if I am going to be realistic here, I would need more drive and commitment to the easel to flourish in that world. I do feel sad, because I had visions of such beautiful paintings I wanted to paint. I will just have to paint those on Sunday afternoons. They will be my form of worship.

So now I need to decide between the world of graphic design, the frightening prospect of advertising, or the comfortable security of returning to psychology.

On the outside it looks like I could do really well in advertising; I am drawn to doing things like branding, account planning, and art direction, but who knows? We'll see where this all goes. I just need to find a place of zen and pragmmattic honesty in which i can make a wise decision.

If I choose design or advertising I will have to move back to San Francisco pretty soon, but you know what, I think maybe this time around I will actually really enjoy it.

I think before I was dead set on hating it, and whereas before I found the seascape flat and uninspiring, it now seems to hold the promise of expansion and liberation.

I also was able to draw closer to some of my good friends while in SF and was really able to get some great stuff off my chest. For you guys, thanks for being so patient and understanding with me.

I will keep everyone posted on what the final decision (and let's just hope this is the FINAL decision. I HATE changing big stuff like this, as you can all remember from the psychology to art switching days).

We begin with a tragic loss of faith

Gentle readers, I have been considering a blog for awhile now. Since I joined FaceBook, actually, because a blog seems like a more effective way to convey what is going on in my life than one line status message on FaceBook.

Learning of tragic news today, I just had to start a blog and post this:


Apparently, following an ABC news investigation proving that not only does Airborne not work, but that the clinical studies the company had previously referenced were, in fact, bup-kus, a group of consumers launched a class action law suit against Airborne.

Airborne has decided to settle for $23.3 million dollars, which will be reimbursed to consumers (like myself) who have purchased the product.

Damn! If only I had kept the receipts from those dozens upon dozens of tubes I had purchased.

My apologies to all of those whom I have pressed to buy Airborne, I myself was misled :(.

It is a sad, sad day.