Whit and I had a successful photogging sesh tonight.
My brother suggested Dracula probably a year ago but I finally got around to reading in October. And I finished it two nights before Halloween. How fitting.
Honestly, Dracula freaked me out. More than once I was slightly scared to turn off the lights for bed after reading this book. More than once I expected to look up and see Dracula's pasty face, sadistic eyes and red lips hovering over me as I slept. The dude is pure evil.
That said, I totally enjoyed this book. I don't necessarily enjoy being terrified, nor am I a horror fan, but I do enjoy a classic good-versus-evil tale. Furthermore, there's something to be said for any book that can evoke a certain feeling or emotion; this one does terror quite well.
Today though, that vampiric sense of terror seems to have vanished. Instead we're stuck with this:
The contrast is laughable*.
Of course, that's not to say that nothing good has come from the Twilight series. I give you three examples:
"Meet Me on the Equinox" by Death Cab for Cutie. I kind of like the fact that this is a mediocre Death Cab song. As if they didn't want to 'waste' their best material on the New Moon soundtrack.
"Hearing Damage" by Thom Yorke. I might start liking Radiohead. Not that I've ever disliked Radiohead, I've just never taken the time to get into them.
"Possibility" by Lykke Li. I was totally surprised by this track. Not the first time I've heard Lykke Li but probably the first time I've given her an honest listen (I guess my taste in music is somewhat sexist). I also thought this song fit well in Bella's emo montage in the movie. My favorite track from New Moon.
*Speaking of laughable, as I was perusing Amazon.com for reviews on Dracula I unearthed this gem:
Me being the avid vampire fan that I am, I'm always willing to read new vampire fiction. The librarian suggested this one to me so I thought I'd give it a shot.
What a terrible read. I couldn't stand it for long, so I started skimming through the thing. Turns out the vampire in this book is an old guy, and he lives in a castle! What?! Any vampire fan knows that vampires roam the streets of upper middle class suburbia and high schools. Whoever this Bram Stoker guy is, it's quite clear that he doesn't know a thing on vampires, and his attempt to cash in on the vampire craze is indeed a failure.
I'll be returning this on my next trip to the library and sticking to the teen reading section for finding my next vampire novel.
(New Moon comes out November 20th, woooooo!)
When I returned to the glorious homeland this weekend for Thanksgiving I was slightly nervous that I wouldn't enjoy being in Arizona as much as I used to. I even mentioned to a friend that I was afraid that I was losing a bit of my Arizona-ness.
Then late Friday night on the way to Applebee's with Matt, Whit and Rachael, I caught myself feeling something I haven't felt in a quite while. I felt comfortable, I felt that I belonged. But really, it was more what I wasn't feeling that stood out. I didn't feel a desire to be aloof from my surroundings; this vague, constant nagging doubt that I've apparently grown accustomed to and oblivious of was absent. In short, I felt like it would be OK if I were to sprout roots and let them grow. As if almost everything I really needed -- close family and friends who really get me -- were in that car with me.
I've lived, more or less, in four different states -- Arizona, Idaho, California, and Colorado -- in a fewer amount of years. After bouncing around and back and forth for a while you get used to preparing for the next phase of your life, you get used to living out of boxes. It was nice to not feel that for a few days.
My Arizona batteries are recharged and I can't wait to be back for Christmas.
And if the album version of "Never Gonna Give You Up" isn't enough, this 12" single comes with an instrumental version and three sick remixes. With all the different versions of this song it's likely that I'll never get sick of it.
After spinning Rick on my turntable, I decided that I want this song played at my funeral. And that got me thinking, what else would be great to hear at a funeral? This is what I've come up with:
"You Make My Dreams" by Hall and Oates
Anything by David Bowie
"Friends In Low Places" by Garth Brooks
"The Good Life" and "The Greatest Man That Ever Lived" by Weezer
"Do You Realize??" by The Flaming Lips (OK, this one might actually work)
"Dancing Queen" by ABBA
"I Am The Walrus" by The Beatles
"Rocket Man" by Elton John
"Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor
What would you rock at your funeral?
A month or two ago I had the serpentine belt in my car replaced. I don't mind having my car worked on for small stuff like that (other than having to pay for it, of course) because there's a great thrift store in the same strip mall. And a super boss middle eastern restaurant across the street. Anyway, during my car operation I spent some time at the thrift store and found this gem for a mere three bucks:
OK, I didn't take that picture, nor is this the actual camera I bought; I'm just too lazy to take a picture of it right now. But it is the same type of camera, a Minolta Hi-Matic G. I did, however, take these'nes, with said camera:
Myspace style, right? I like the light leak on the left border and the other one in the middle of the shot.
Ice storm style. I don't care too much for this kind of weather but it makes for some gnarly photos.
Snoqualmie Falls, WA. Somehow this photo got exposed twice. I think it looks awesome.
Melissa's feet. She's an awesome photographer and an even awesomer person. She'll be helping me with some Christmas card photos this weekend. I hope they turn out sweet.
Anyway, I had a blast shooting and developing a roll of film, which I haven't done since late 2003. I've got a color roll going in this camera right now that I'll hopefully finish up this weekend. And when I go home for Thanksgiving I'm gonna see if I can indefinitely borrow my dad's old film SLR. I love that thing. Film is like the vinyl record of photography.
The other night Brianne had a bunch of us over for dinner. It was very delicious and she no doubt put a great deal of time and effort into it. As we were leaving the table Sara said, "OK, boys do the dishes!" Phil looked at Sara and then to me and responded, "Sara, we're not boys, we're men!" A fist pound ensued.
I've heard a few times said among these friends and among people in my ward that a guy is not a man unless he is married. I don't think I've ever heard anyone say this in a serious manner, but I nonetheless wonder if there are some out there who honestly believe it. And for that reason I'd like to give my opinion on the matter: this statement is a load of crap.
First, if I were a woman, I wouldn't marry a guy unless he were already a man or well on his way to becoming one (and I imagine most ladies would agree with me here). Second, I have evidence to prove otherwise. No, I'm not talking about my hairy chest or mustache, I'm talking about this guy:
Meet David "Fatcat" Lowery. Dave's not married but he's more of a man than plenty of married guys I know. There are few guys I admire and love as much as this dude. If Dave -- a single guy -- is not a man, then manhood is dead.
What does Wayne Coyne have to say about all this?
You're better off dead
When you don't know
An original thought
Where do you go
When all your thoughts
Are hand me downs
Pictures and sounds
Bring back childhood memories
We were humble and meek
With independent confidence
Trust in ourselves
Fending for ourselves
With our superhero powers
Back when curiosity
Made us better in the end
Trusting in ourselves
And our superhero powers
Thoughts of mediocrity
Never entered in our minds
-- J. J. Stock
Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men's blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty. Think big.
-- Daniel Burnham
Noun vs. Adverb: Round I
The first time I had heard that quote (the one by Daniel Burnham, not Mr. Stock) was right after moving to Colorado. As a BYU-I alumnus (if you can think of a more stuffy, pretentious way to begin a sentence let me know) I was invited to attend a fireside given for students who had traveled to Denver on one of the school sponsored expeditions. In my business casual attire and two-day scruff I felt a little out of place among the all the suits and freshly shaved faces (as if I could have expected anything else from a BYU-I sponsored event). In order to not attract attention to myself, I got there right as it started and sat in the back. But alas, dressed in a red and blue sweater -- I wasn't even wearing a tie *gasp!* -- with growth on my face that would've got me sent home from class, I was positive everyone was looking right at me.
If I didn't feel inadequate enough already, hearing that Daniel Burnham quote sure did the trick. I had just started my first out-of-college job as an auditor. Revenue requirement. Regulatory compliance. Fund administration. Do those words stir your blood? Maybe a light simmer? Yeah, me neither.
Think big indeed, Myke.
Thoughts of mediocrity
Never entered in our minds
I want you to think of someone who is normal. Average. No distinguishing features or talents. Blends into a crowd.
While you're thinking enjoy this picture. These fine gentlemen where the only four stalwart devotees to make it through all six installments of the Star Wars saga in one sitting during the First Annual Olsen Family Star Wars-athon, which took place on December 26, 2005. Left to right: brother Matt, myself (man, I miss those pants), Steven J. Packer, brother Thomas. Talk about ambition!
OK, by now you should've thought of an acquaintance that you would describe as normal or average. Now, how well do you know this person? Probably not very well. Am I right?
I can't say I've ever really known anyone who's normal or average. First impressions can come off as such but once you really get to know someone, you find out that that person has so many facets that make him or her truly unique, far from average, and even strange. Sure, some folks parade their eccentricity more than others, but just because it's not readily visible doesn't mean it's not there.
One day my life got easier
I starting running in October 2005 -- though I've stopped and started many times since -- with the goal of one day running a marathon. I think I can pinpoint with accuracy the reason why I started running. I was pretty insecure about myself at the time. Some of my best friends had just gotten married and others weren't too far off. Friends were transferring to ASU or BYU while I still had another year to go at Mesa Community College, aka High School with Ashtrays, 13th Grade, or my personal favorite of my own coinage, McCollege.
So I started running. "You can have babies but I can run farther than you!" Don't get me wrong, I was happy for my friends and their accomplishments. Trust me, I really was. I was just insecure, that's all. So I kept running. But ultimately my motivation to want to prove something, to outshine someone else wasn't enough to keep me going. I can't count how many times I've started running consistently then stopped because one day my life got easier.
His head was down and his voice was heartbroken
The legititude that is James Dean: he makes one heckuva Cal Trask.
Though I'm not sure how I feel about Julie Andrews as Abra Bacon (great last name, eh?). I don't think the real Abra would've giggled as much. But no one asked me. Had I been alive, I'm sure they would've. And I'm not sure whether I should really like or hate her hair.
It's no secret that East of Eden is one of my favorite books. I'm pretty sure I've mentioned that fact in at least five separate blog posts. From said novel, I love this:
Noun vs. Adverb: Round II
I've thought a lot about the world 'passion' lately; I've concluded that finding your passion isn't so important but living passionately is.
Fending for ourselves
When I was in eighth grade, after school my friends and I played a fair amount of football. I guess I did OK because after a few days of playing my friends told me I should try out for the school team in ninth grade. The school held early morning practices at the end of the year for eighth graders who wanted to try out for the ninth grade team. I attended the practices but I didn't enjoy them. I had played football with my friends for fun and it was apparent for the coaches and fellow players that "fun" wasn't the primary objective. So, like Ben Folds, "I dropped out and joined a band instead."
Having chosen rocking with my best buds over endless hours of drills, sprints, and butt slappings, I wonder how well I would've done had I gone on to play Toro football at Mt. View High School, Campus of Champions. I mean, the rest of my family is pretty athletic; in one way or another my siblings and parents have all excelled at some kind of sport or other display of physical exertion, from track to football to basketball to dancing (I will add, however, that my interpretive dancing skills are unparallelled; actually, Matt probably has me beat there too).
I wonder because sometimes life happens and we get stuck playing football when we'd rather be at band practice.
With our superhero powers
I get this feeling that comes and goes that my career isn't supposed to be the focus of my life. Granted, one's life contains many foci (or focuses, if it's been a while since your last intermediate algebra class), I just don't think my career is one of the major ones.
I heard some statistic somewhere that the average college student (but then again, what is average, right?) changes his or her major like five times. When it came to choosing a major, long story short, accounting just kinda fell in my lap. During my junior and senior years when my course work started getting rough I considered changing my major. I didn't because I knew I was supposed to study accounting. It wasn't my favorite subject and I wasn't always good at it, but I knew -- probably better than I've known so many things -- that accounting was where I should be.
Noun vs. Adverb: TKO
Do I like my job? Yes. Is it my 'passion'? No. Will it ever be? Probably not. Do I want it to be? No.
I put my brother's CD sampler in my Discman and punched the track button till I heard the soon-to-be-familiar feedback swell of "Call It in the Air". Through pummeled power chords I heard a raspy Jim Adkins sing, "Leave home today / Escape your region" (I think that's what he sings, he's so hard to understand on that song). I instantly felt an aching yet compelling nostalgia that I hadn't felt since I heard "My Name is Jonas" for the first time; frankly, it frightened me. You see, at the time -- and throughout most of my junior and senior high school experience -- I was obsessed with Weezer. And any other band capable of evoking a feeling that I had only previously felt with Weezer was clearly a threat. I mean, think about it, if Jimmy Eat World became my new favorite band, then Weezer wouldn't be my favorite band anymore.