Monday, July 28, 2008

Only Prudes Buy Ikea

Apparently, a survey performed by Ikea shows that 1 out of 3 customers find more satisfaction out of organizing than having sex. This must also explain why the Swedish are below the Global average in frequency of sex (according to the Durex Global survey in 2004). Anyhow, I found this to be very odd, considering the nature most of their commercials...

And my favorite commercial (even though it has nothing to do with sex)...

Friday, July 25, 2008

A Great Book

While skimming through my local bookstore (Skylight Books), I ran across a small note encouraging me to check out The Great Gatsby. In not so many words the endorsement read something like, "Sure it was on your ninth grade summer reading list. But when was the last time you actually read it?" I said, "Wow, I really haven't read that in awhile, maybe I should check it out." I was very glad I did. 

Much like I was too young to truly appreciate international travel at a young age, I think I was too young to truly appreciate this book in high school. Blending metaphors with eloquent lexicon, he transports you back to the 1920's, where you can hear the Jazz playing and the smell the night air of the Long Beach parties. The story is superb as well. Telling the tale of a man blindly in love with a woman who's torn from him due to social constraints. Fitzgerald knows exactly when to show his hand, and when to keep you guessing throughout the book, exposing each detail with expert timing. I hadn't read the book in awhile, so thanks to my bad memory the book was still a fresh read.

I highly recommend this book if you haven't read it in awhile, and definitely if you have never read it. I picked up his other book Tender is the Night as well as a collection of short stories. I love his style, and as I'm trying to get more into writing I find his style similar to mine, and I only hope to be as masterful a story-teller as he is someday. 

Back Home in T-Town

It was an absolute pleasure to end my Southwest trip here in Taos. It has always been a magical place for me. When I was much younger my parents bought a house out here. My Father went to College in Denver, and my Mom ran off to Aspen when she was younger, so they both had a strong affinity towards the Southwest despite being New Yorkers. Ever since they purchased the house our family spent our summers and most winters here in Taos, so I've always considered myself half Northeasterner, and half Southwesterner, with Chatham and Taos being my two homes. 

After saying good-bye to my friends in Santa Fe I started the long trek in my crappy little rental car up through Espanola up to Taos. A beautiful drive, and one I could probably draw with my eyes closed. The most spectacular part of the drive is when you rise up over that hill and see the Taos mountains for the first time. Close your eyes (well, maybe after you've read this) and imagine you are driving up a long winding road up a steep hill. The bluest sky in the world is in front of you, and when you summit you see a huge flat plain, covered with grey/green sage-brush everywhere. To the left runs a long gorge, splitting the earth open as though a giant used his gardening tools to create an enormous trench in the earth. To the right mountains shoot out of the earth, standing over the small town below it like massive sentinels. Above the mountains voluptuous white clouds full of rain hover over tops, waiting to unleash a deluge upon the spruce and aspen denizens of the forest. 

Instead of taking the back-roads short cut I drove leisurely along the main strip, checking out the subtle changes. A new Applebys, Rallys was now an Albertson's, Smith's had a renovation, the old BBQ was now a burger joint. I know change is inevitable, but it's always so sad to me seeing this town change. Finally I arrived at the edge of town, and took the winding rim road to my house. It had been a little under two years since I had been there last (Winter of '06 to be exact). My parents were in the midst of serious renovations of the house, almost completely tearing down everything but the dining room, living room, one bathroom, and the guest room. I had seen most of the final product, but none of the landscaping. I happened to be in New Mexico just when they were having an extremely wet summer. The house was beautiful. They planted two Apens groves, one on either side of the house, flowers all around the walls, and an herb garden in the back. It was stunning to see the house, it's so beautiful now. 
My Mom and Dad came out and we all hugged and said our hellos. Mike and Molly (our dogs) came out and waved 'hi' with their tales as well. Mike was really cute. He stuck by me for awhile, and wouldn't stop rubbing his nose into me. He's definitely my Father's dog, but I think Mike likes having me around cause he knows I'll take him for walks through the woods and snow-shoe hikes in the winter. 

My days were very brief, and the entire trip seemed to fly by. The next day I spent helping my Father with the storage unit, then we had dinner an saw 'Batman: The Dark Knight' in town (excellent movie). We also had a beautiful bike ride out by Wild Rivers national park, where the Rio Grande and Red Rivers converge, along with a very nice picnic. We also went fly fishing out by the Valle Caldera, just South of the New Mexico-Colorado border. I had never fly-fished before, so it was fun to try out. By the end of the day I could cast the line straight, but without having a fish on the other end of it I could never tell if I was doing it right or not. But it was great to be out in nature again. The Valle Caldera was this stunning mix of a winding river, open plains, and tall ponderosa pine sticking up as though the entire valley had goose bumps.

The next day my Dad and I drove up to Albuquerque in his NSX (or as my Mom calls it, his "mid-life-crisis-mobile"), stopping at El Parasol in Espanola for some tacos. He also let me drive his car from Tesuque up to Albuquerque which was fun. I remember my road trips with my father in the same car when I was younger. Driving across country in the little red spaceship, listening to 'Lord of the Rings' on tape. 

My flight was fairly quick, and before I knew it I was looking down at LA. Stepping off I immediately knew where I was, the stale air hanging between the tall palms.  My Dad asked me before I left if it felt like I was going home when I return to LA. I told him the last time I did it felt like it, and I wouldn't know for sure until I landed. Now that I'm here back in my place, with my plants, and my cat, and my local stores and shops. I'm still not sure. I am home. This is where I live, but I can't help but feel part of me will always be held captive by the sweeping vastness of New Mexico. It's the reason why the locals call it the "Land of Entrapment." 

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Big Sky

Most of you would say I was crazy if I told you the skies in New Mexico were bigger. You'd probably say, "How can the ski be bigger? When everywhere has 180º at the most." It sounds crazy to say, but New Mexico really does have the most sky I've ever seen. (I have my own scientific reasoning for the phenomena, but for arts sake I'll leave that out of this posting). 

I suppose I mention it here because on my last night in New Mexico, tonight, I couldn't help but gaze in awe at the dark heavens above me. On our way back from dinner in town I couldn't help but be sad that this was my last night here in Taos. Whenever driving out here, whether passenger or driver,  you can usually find me sticking my head out the window like a dog sniffing at the breeze. I do it to get a clean view of the landscape, and to smell subtle changes in that the wind and earth produce depending on their mood.  Tonight was no different. On our way home from dinner I stuck my head out and into the cool night breeze, saying good-bye to the land I love so much. Off in the distance electrical storms blasted column straight lightning bolts down and into the ground, creating gigantic shadow puppets out of the goliath Taos mountains.

When we arrived home I just wandered about outside. The air was warm from the energy of the storm, and the stars were shining bright. I bet most of you don't know that there are three constellations that are always out in the Northern hemisphere: the big dipper, the Queen Cassiopeia, and Draco the dragon. And for you Scoprio's, the scorpion is also out in full force tonight. You can even see the milky way. Yes, the galaxy we live in. It's a translucent glow that streaks across the navy dark sky. Of course I never even knew the night sky held such treasures until I moved here. There are some places that also have these skies, Colorado, Montana, Utah, Arizona, parts of New York even. But my night skies have been stripped ever since I've moved to LA. Stolen, and replaced with a light pink haze, as though a great hot breath has fogged the night sky. 

So I stood there. Watching the lightning burst from behind the dark clouds. As I was showing my Mom constellations a white hot shooting star jetting down from the heavens, as sudden as a wild white stallion darting between two patches of forest. It was by far the most stunning shooting star I've seen out here. And of course I made a wish...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Bling Bling

Shopping in the Taos plaza today I got myself a new bracelet, which I thought was very handsome, so I thought I'd share. 

It's a Hopi piece and according to my mother it's called a "story teller" bracelet. That's because the piece has graphics that tell a story.

In the middle it has a carving of a bear, meaning strength and power. 

On the sides it has the image of corn, meaning life and vitality. 

That's all. More interesting posts to come...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Last Day in Santa Fe

Relaxed is the state I'm in. I just had a lovely dinner with my parents, took a nice long steam shower, and now I'm relaxing in bed on a pillow-top mattress, listening to the crickets chirp outside in the dark night. But let me jump back and finish up on my time in Santa Fe. 

After lunch yesterday I headed to the dog park to meet my friend and his new puppy Tally-Ho. A beautiful white German shepherd mix. I love the dog park in Santa Fe. It's a huge open space, with no leash policy. You just bring your dog there and let it roam around and smell gopher holes, play with other dogs, and run around. Afterwards we went towards the plaza to check out a glass exhibit that was at the Museum of Fine Art, which was amazing. Then we headed back to his place and had a BBQ with his friend and neighbor Ten-di (sp?).

The next day I met up with my parents at my storage unit and began the process of emptying it out. It was very frustrated to think that I spent roughly $2,400 over the last two years, when I could have easily purchased everything out of there for roughly the same amount of money. C'est la vie. At least my stuff is getting passed onto my friends and family, and I have my unicycle back. After some work we then headed to Chocolate Maven for brunch, then we all went our separate ways. 

I then headed to the rugby pitch to see some of my old teammates and participate in the "Santolympics". Many of them had no idea I was in town, so it was fun to swing in and surprise them. I always love surprising people by dropping in for a random weekend completely unexpected. The first event was the "fun run", an awful name for a made up excuse to slam a few beers. You had to pick a tire, then at the beginning of the race sit in your tire and drink a beer, then do five military presses with your tire, run up a hill, sit in your tire and drink another beer, five more presses, down the hill, back up, drink another beer, five more presses, down the hill again, and one last beer and last round of presses. I ended up getting fourth, but I would have been perfectly happy with last. Slamming beers while out of breath is easily one of the worst experiences I've had in the last few months. Other games included a water balloon toss, twister, croquet, horse shoes, and a jousting type game where you and your opponent used goal padding to try to knock each other off a cooler. It was great to see all of my old teammates, and any excuse to day drink is always fun. It was crazy to see how life rolls by. Two of my friends had become fathers since I had left, two others got engaged, and others got new dogs or girlfriends. It was great to hang out on the lush green rugby pitch, watching the clouds roll by and the lightning in the distance, as packs of children and dogs ran about playing chase. 

I love the people in Santa Fe. There is this amazing attitude where an enjoyable life is the most important thing. This statement may be fairly obvious, and one would expect this attitude any where in America, but it's so true in Santa Fe. Everyone is so laid back, and just enjoying life. There is no materialism to be seen anywhere, and you hardly hear people talk about work. Such great people, in such a great place. I miss it. 

So after the festivities we headed back to shower and put some combat gear on, then headed into town to check out a few bars. It's amazing how much busier Santa Fe is during the summer, and it's funny how easy it is to spot the tourists, always a favorite game of mine in New Mexico. The next day I had breakfast with a friend, finished emptying out my storage unit, then said my final good-byes to the city I love. 

I'm tired now, so I will have to give a full post on Taos a bit later. Good night. 

Friday, July 18, 2008

Lone Wolf Mix

If I had to name a totem animal for myself it would be the wolf. I've always felt an affinity towards them. I love that they are one of the most adaptable animals, able to live in a variety of climates, and survive and adapt to weather change. They are often in the distance, observing their surroundings, and use them to make swift and conclusive action. I love that they are family animals, working together as a pack to take down animals three times their size, yet they work equally well alone. I've felt I've been in lone wolf mode for awhile now, so I decided to make this mix. 
I made it with driving alone at night in mind. Whether you're missing your loved one, looking for a loved one, or just breaking away from the pack. Along with topical variety, it flows form Indie Rock>Alt. Rock>Electronica>Soul>Alt. Rock> Country. It also happens to contain songs that can all be found on iTunes. So if you really like it, or want to check out certain songs you can do that here. Enjoy!
Lone Wolf Mix
  1. "Middle Distance Runner" ~ Sea Wolf
  2. "All the Wine" ~ The National
  3. "On Call" ~ Kings of Leon
  4. "Maybe Tomorrow" ~ Stereophonics
  5. "So Here We Are" ~ Bloc Party
  6. "Fight Test" ~ The Flaming Lips
  7. "Brian and Robert" ~ Phish
  8. "Beast of Burden" ~ The Rolling Stones
  9. "Wishlist" ~Pearl Jam
  10. "One" ~ U2
  11. "Roads" ~ Portishead
  12. "One of These Mornings" ~ Moby
  13. "Mirrorball" ~ Everything But The Girl
  14. "Maybe" ~ Janis Joplin
  15. "9 Crimes" ~ Damien Rice
  16. "Set Fire to the Third Bar" ~ Snow Patrol & Martha Wainwright
  17. "Let Me Touch You for Awhile" ~ Alison Krauss & Union Station
  18. "Wagon Wheel" ~ Old Crow Medicine Show
  19. "Radio Song" ~ The Felice Brothers
  20. "Wicked Twisted Road" ~ Reckless Kelly
  21. "Amarillo by Morning" ~ George Strait
"Middle Distance Runner" - What better way to start a wolf album than with Sea Wolf? I found out about these guys last year at the Sunset Junction Street Fair in Silverlake. They don't have too much out right now, but what they do have is great. Like this song.  It's got a great driving beat, juxtaposed with soft and melancholy voice. I think it's about a man singing to his lover, but is said because of his inability to fully commit. 

"All the Wine" ~ Another great band I highly recommend. A beautiful mix of Leonard Cohen's smoky voice and amazing alt. rock backing. This is a song about one of those nights where you feel invincible, like the whole world is at your feet. The lyrics are a bit, interesting, but the song's great. 

"On Call" ~ Easily up there on my favorite bands list. Check them out if you've never heard of them. And do yourself a treat and see them live, they're in-@#@-credible. This song is about devotion. That crazy mindless, do-anything devotion towards someone. 

"Maybe Tomorrow" ~ A beautiful driving song with amazing harmonizing vocals throughout. A song on being down, feeling low, but knowing it's all going to get better. Maybe not today, but maybe tomorrow... 

"So Here We Are Now" ~ With dream-like guitar riffs this song tells the tale of a love found, then lost. It speaks of how flighting love can be, and how difficult it is to truly grasp it. 

"Fight Test" ~ I first found this one on XM radio. I liked the catchy beat, but after looking up the song I was shocked to find how deep it actually it (especially from a band that I had always connected with that silly song from my childhood "She Don't Use Jelly"). It's a playful song about that constant struggle of regret we deal with. It's about all of those fights we gave up on, and regret standing up for. 

"Brian and Robert" ~ I love this song. First found it from the "Bittersweet Motel" movie. It puts me in an amazing relaxed place whenever I hear it.

"Beast of Burden" ~ Who doesn't love this song? And who can't relate? Mick Jagger has never sounded smoother. A great song about the toil of trying to love someone "who is just not into you."

"Wishlist" ~ Another XM find. It also led me to discover the album Yield, which was a great find. Being that I love metaphors, I love the lyrics of this song. So beautiful. "I wish I was a sailor, with someone who waited for me..." 

"One" ~ You can set your iTunes to display how many times you've played a song. I've played this song 132 times, and that's only through iTunes. I first discovered it on a mix tape a friend in middle school gave me, and I haven't stopped listening to it since. If I died today this song might be played at my funeral. I think you get the point by now. An incredible song, with incredible lyrics, and incredible soul. I rarely ever put this song on mixes because of its significance to me, but this is one of them. 

"Roads" ~ This is a page from my middle school days. I was fighting with your typical teenage depression, and somehow listening to Portishead helped me survive. I think listening to sad music when you're sad helps you realize you're not the only one with those feelings. To me listening to Gwen's voice quivering on the verge of tears is a beautiful and consoling experience. A beautifully tragic song about the worst feelings of loneliness. 

"One Of These Mornings" ~ A song about the desire to leave, most likely a relationship. I love the way Moby mixes so many different musical elements, the driving drum machine, the smoky blues voice, the symphonic vocals. A very empowering song.

"Mirrorball" ~ Yes, the 1990's "Everything But the Girl" of Missing fame. It was a completely guilty iTunes purchase about two months ago, but I was pleasantly surprised how great they are, and how they've held up against the years. I think of them as a pioneer to "Zero 7" and "Air". Sure their synthy electronic sounds are a little dated sounding, but Tracy Thorne's voice is incredible. Don't knock it til you've listened. A great song about reflection and nostalgia. 

"Maybe" ~ Janis may be a rock Goddess, but I think her better work came from this album and her work in soul. This song breaks my heart every time I hear it. An incredible song about longing. Listen to it, you'll find yourself swaying. 

"9 Crimes" ~ While I don't ever ever ever condone cheating, this song is still beautiful. A song about the awful feeling when you find yourself longing over another outside of a relationship. It transcendentally portrays the feeling through haunting vocals, aching keys, and powerful cello chords. 

"Set the Fire to the Third Bar" ~ A duo of duets. Not a fan of "Snow Patrol", but Martha Wainwright makes everything better. Two voices sing in unison to a brilliant crescendo then back down. A song about the sadness felt from distance between two lovers. 

"Let Me Touch You for Awhile" ~ It's too bad country is not more popular, for too many people are missing out from Alison Krauss's talents. An incredible fiddle player, a gorgeous voice, and a stone cold stunner to boot. I recommend this whole album for some good live cuts of her work. A song about two lonely souls seeking company in a dark bar. 

"Wagon Wheel" ~ Obsessed would be a healthy word for how I feel about this song. I discovered it on a mixed CD my friend left at my place (yes I will assimilate all CDs you leave at my place into my iTunes library). An incredible song about someone hitch-hiking to find his lover miles away. A song of desire, longing, and perseverance for love. Check it out. 

"Radio Song" ~ I've already given the accolades for this band, so I'll skip introductions. This song is about true love. Finding that one person you want to hold onto and never let go. I still don't think enough songs use the accordion. 

"Wicked Twisted Road" ~ An incredible song about the pains and loses in the war of love. The lyrics are incredible, comparing love to a "wicked twisted road," "a fearless driving rain," "a castle in the sky," and "a wild sinful night," which of course are all incredibly accurate. I just love this song. 

"Amarillo by Morning" ~ Could there be a lonelier genre than Country? I don't know too many. I first found this song in Santa Fe, which felt so apropos. A classic country ballad about the lonely trail.  

Riding into Santa Fe

Well I've officially entered travel mode, and have started my ventures with a trip to New Mexico. 

Things started off yesterday, a quick flight from Burbank>Phoenix>Albuquerque. While sitting on the tarmac in Phoenix I recognized an old rugby buddy of mine flying back from a conference (you've got to love this small world of ours). We caught up at the baggage claim, and he offered to give me a ride back up to Santa Fe. Which was perfect, cause after finding out how expensive renting a car for a week was I was going to take a shuttle. 

So on my way down to Santa Fe I got to hang out with my old friend, his Wife, and his two year old Finley. I got to sit in the back with Finley who was super cute. We invented a game where he threw his stuffed cat into the air and I would catch it above it, he'd say "uh oh" I'd repeat, then I'd toss the cat back down and he'd break into giggles. Very cute. Driving up I-25 it was great to see the New Mexico landscape again. Long stretches of brown earth dotted with sage brush, all mirrored by the spattering of clouds in biggest bluest sky you've ever seen. Off in the distance huge mountains tore up from the earth, clinging storm darkened clouds about their tops like grey scarves in the wind. 

We rolled into Santa Fe, and I was dropped off at my friend's place. Soon the sun began to sink into the horizon and the day turned golden from the majestic dusk light. We caught up with each-other, then went out to dinner at "The Shed", a local Santa Fe favorite. Food is definitely one of the things I miss the most about New Mexico, so I was ecstatic when my two blue corn chicken enchiladas with green chile arrived (with a side of posole and pinto beans). I ate everything, and had to hold myself back from licking the plate in public. Afterwards we strolled about the Plaza as the full moon rose above the Sangre De Cristo Mountains, highlighting the shadowy clouds with silver edges. We walked about the Plaza, peering into the myriad of galleries and stores lining the streets. Turquoise and silver jewelry, black and white photos of Bob Dylan, hand woven Native American rugs, and beautiful ornate clay pots were just some of the pieces decorating the lit windows. It was a perfect New Mexican night, the clean crisp air carried the steely guitar riffs from a local bar, and the shadowy plaza was bustling with spring-colored tourists. It was great to be back. But no matter how warm my soul felt as I walked through the dimly lit streets of the plaza I couldn't help but remember I was one of the tourists now.

The next day my friend picked up her kids and hung out for a bit. It had been two years since I'd seen them, and it was scary how big they had become. Time certainly doesn't stop when you leave. She dropped me off and I rented a car to venture out on my own in my old home. early on I remembered that I never truly learned the street names, but it didn't matter too much as I homing pigeon my way about town. Visiting my old boss, some friends at my old college, and checking in on my house. Right now I'm tucked into my old wi-fi spot, the "Santa Fe Baking Company"  (isn't it funny how everything has a website now?). The evening shower has rolled in, and I'm ducking away for a bit to blog, and purge on more green chile (a frito pie to be exact). Tonight I think we might check out the new Bat Man movie, and tomorrow I will be meeting up with my old rugby club for the "Santolympics" (water balloon toss, drinking, pad jousting, drinking, drinking, relay runs, drinking, then probably a pub crawl in the plaza). Sunday I will be heading to see my family in Taos, which I'm very excited about. It's been about two and a half years since I've seen the house, and that was before we started landscaping it, so I'm very excited to see what it looks like with new flowers and Aspen trees. 

And with that I'm off. Venturing back into the grey storm clouds and brown adobe city of Santa Fe

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Soulmates and Sandcastles

Through these posts I've investigated various components to relationship building. I've argued that we choose mates to complete our own personal identity, I've discussed the various factors that we consider when we choose a mate, but I have not discussed the main focus of these meditations yet: Love. So in this post I will discuss what is love, and how it develops. 
As I first discussed in my initial thesis these postings will be looking at "love as a union." That is to say love as experienced by two people who are to be fully committed to each other. I recognize there are other types of "love" out there, but in this post I want to solely focus on "love as a union."

What is love? Love has been written about for centuries, yet no words can describe it. Scholars and philosophers have spent a millennia trying to grasp it, yet only come out with empty hands. Poets, musicians, and painters are the only ones who've come close to defining its meaning, and despite bloodshed and tears each definition and representation is more convoluted than the next. It has been said to make the world go round, and it has been said to start wars and end cities. But what is love? And where do we find it? In my previous post I've discussed where we look. We seek to find our "other half", a completion of our own identity. But once we've found that person does that mean we've found love as well? Or is love something more organic? An entity unto itself. 
But perhaps I'm jumping into the deep end too soon. Let me back up, and start with a bit more doggie paddling. In order to understand these questions a bit more let me dissect various examples where love can occur:

- You see a girl from across the bar, you lock eyes for a brief moment, she smiles and turns away. She's no longing looking at you, but the image of her face is burnt into your retina as though you had just looked into the sun. Crossing the bar you strike up conversation with her. Turns out you both are from New England, you both listen to Otis Redding, and you both love drinking Red Stripe on the beach barefoot. The talk flows like a river, and you both just "click". You both have similar interests, you both happened to be in the same bar at the same time, and you both have perfect chemistry. You fall for each-other instantly and spend the next weeks at the hip together. 

- You're eating out with your best friend. You two have known each-other for six years now. He's seen the best, and he's seen the worst in you. Despite your short-comings, and despite his,  you both have learned to overlook them and thoroughly enjoy each-other's company. You two have never had problems talking, and have always respected each others opinions no matter how different. You two are currently talking about your latest mishap in the war of love, your most recent break-up. He listens attentively, lifting the weight of each word off your shoulders. You realize he's always been there for you, and the bond you feel for him has always been stronger than any flighting emotion you've ever felt for a lover. Scared, you realize that what you've developed for him has become much more than friendship. 

- It's the third time she's broken your heart. It didn't hurt as much as the first, but it's definitely made you madder than the second. You feel like she's the love of your life, but you never thought it was going to be this hard. It's your fourth year together, and you don't see why you can't overcome another heartache. Nobody seems to understand your on and off again relationship, and sometimes you don't either. But with each passing day you feel your love getting stronger, and with each trial you overcome you become more and more sure of it. You reassure yourself that years from now, looking back on all this heartache, the ultimate destination will be well worth it. 

- It's your wedding day. You're dressed in a beautiful pink sari, adjourned with jewels and jasmine oils. You hope your future husband takes a liking to you, but you don't know- you've never met him. You know how to cook, be attentive, and raise children; you hope that's enough to keep him happy and content, and maybe even enough to have him love you. You know he's successful. A businessman who speaks English and drives a car. You only hope he's a good husband, and a good provider, and maybe in the future even you too could learn to love him. 

In these examples we see four very different ways of experiencing love. Love at first sight, love flourishing from the foundations of friendship, love tempered through tribulation, and a love developed over time. These are three very different loves, both in conception and fruition. In the first example we see a man and a woman meet and love instantly. A classic example of what I'll call "love at first sight." That instant chemistry and connection someone feels when they meet Mr. or Ms. Right. When this connection pays off into a long and satisfying relationship one could say they have met their "soul mate", a term meaning they've serendipitously met the love of their life, the only one to make them happy. Of course one could argue against the "soul mate" theory, the belief that there is a single person that could make you completely happy and satisfied in love. Astronomers say we'd be ignorant to believe that ours is the only planet to bear life, and the same could be said in the belief that there is only a singular solitary person in a planet of 6.7 billion that could make you truly happy. Of course the instant connection mentioned above could also be a bright flame which dies quickly due to lack of flammable material. Lust and passion are two powerful things, and can easily sway even the most stable of of hearts. That instant connection could easily turn out to be an infatuation, a short lived obsession with with eerily similar interests to yourself. While the rose-colored lens of love make the world a prettier place, they may not always be your prescription.  

In the second example we see love stem from a deep rooted respect and trust of a friend. Using this base for the foundation of a relationship, these two move onto develop a long lasting and strong relationship. I refer to this theory as the "castles made of sand" (coined by a friend of mine). Taken from the Jimi Hendrix song of the same name, he sings, "And so castles made of sand melt into the sea, eventually." The instant connection and click I've mentioned above could turn into a strong and loving relationship, but it's not built upon a solid foundation. Of course a base needs to get built in time in order to succeed, like any successful relationship. But in the second example that foundation is built first, and a love assembled on top of it. They've already put in the leg work, earned each other's trust, learned to communicate, and genuinely enjoy spending time with each other. Of course there is a thin-line between a friendship and love, and crossing is always a scary proposition. There is no way of knowing whether the relationship will successfully pan out or fail. And there is no way of knowing whether you can go back to being friends should it end. 

My third example speaks of the enduring love of an "on-and-off-again" relationship. The kind where two just can't let go of each other, yet the breaks are frequent. In the human body our muscles and bones become stronger from damage. When we lift weights or run hills we make tiny tears into the muscle which grow back stronger, when we break our bones the oddly shaped minerals fuse together in an even stronger pattern. Even plants flourish from pruning. With these examples found in nature, it's not so strange to believe the same can be said about the heart, that for each heart break we survive we become stronger as a person. As a person surviving heartache we learn what we want from a mate, and we learn what we don't want. We learn how to treat others, and we learn how we'd like to be treated ourselves. But does a love get stronger as well? Surely this statement depends on the context. For a break-up over infidelity is vastly different than a break-up due to distance. The two parties involved are also variables. Can they communicate and overcome the obstacle? Is the love strong enough to overcome the obstacle? While a plant may spawn more flowers after shearing there are more factors than simply to cut. Prune too much and the plant will die. Prune at the wrong time and it will stunt its growth. Prune without supplying enough nourishment and the plant will regress. Healing and growth do go hand in hand, but there are many variables which determine the outcome.  

The last example is an arranged marriage, and the foreshadowing the possible love afterwards. This example points out that love can be born between two people, even if the factors of time, chance, and similar attributes don't exist. Of course this is only a single example. This type of love could arise from a blind date, "settling" due to various reasons, or marriage due to an unplanned pregnancy. Surely this is the least romantic vision of love. It's not instant, it's not hot passion from the start, it's a slow long process to find that glimmer in the dark. When people think of love they don't often think of the long slow struggle uphill. But perhaps love is just that. A long slow struggle to find someone you love. There are enough poems, songs, and paintings to support the theory that love is the agony of pining for someone. But is love such a strong thing it can grow from poor soil? Suppose you are stuck on a desert island with X person. Given enough time could you fall in love with just about anyone? Investigating these various examples, it certainly seems like I've come up with more questions than I had initially, and have yet to come up with any answers. Let me now dig through these discoveries, and see what I've found so far from this mental exercise. 

Given that all of these examples speak of love, then love must be the constant variable in all of these examples. So let me now strip away the differences to uncover this constant. But before I do that let me first point out the difference between "loving" and being "in love." Not all of these examples show people "in love." The first and third examples show people "in love", while the second shows people who love each-other. "In love" implies the being completely surrounded by that persons love. Consider a body of water, by perceiving it you may love the sounds of the ripples, the cool breeze off the surface, and the smell. But this perception is very different than when you are in the pool. This is analogous to the difference between "loving," and being "in love." Of course being "in love" is the ultimate goal for any love. One wants to be "in love" all of the time. Yet this is a difficult task. Surely the couple in the third example love each other dearly, yet are not always "in love." The couple in the fourth example can love each-other, and lead a very happy and successful companionship together, yet never feel the thrill of being "in love." One could certainly argue that being "in love" is not a constant that follows love. So with that in mind let us look at constants that can be found in love. 

Love cannot be defined by its inception, nor it's follow through, as can be found by differences between all of the above examples. Love is not defined by a set of similar interests and activities, as can be found in example four. Love cannot be defined as a singular feeling; in the first example it sweeps them off their feet, it is a steep precipice the two must jump off in the second, and an enduring trial to the third couple. Love is not always found between strangers, as seen in the second example. Love is not a continual and self-fulfilling prophecy, as seen in examples two and three. What we're left with seems to be the need to find companionship, find someone who we find ourselves in, yet also supply us with a fulfilling life. Given this conclusion it seems like the behaviorists have won. Love is nothing more than a way of connecting us with someone who makes a good mate, and helps us fulfill our biological need to continue our genetic code. In Lori Gottlieb's article Marry Him!, she discusses her case for settling. She argues that our ideals of romantic love and finding "the one" has become so idealized by popular culture that we find ourselves chasing a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. She argues that we should settle for a "decent" and "imperfect" mate, for "Marriage isn't a passion-fest. It's more like a partnership formed to run a very small, mundane, and often boring nonprofit business." But if love is to be courted in the halls of behaviorism, then how can we explain its existence? Consider the romanticized definition of love; Romeo dishonoring his family for love, Pocahontas risking her life for love. Surely emotional attachment isn't a very good survival mechanism. So why does it exist at all? 

A few nights ago I was having drinks with some friends and the topic of love entered into the conversation. A few glasses of wine in we were discussing the topic quite vehemently, and quite freely. Being the devil's advocate I raised Gottlieb's point on the idealized concept of love in popular culture. My friend quite rightly responded, "Who says there can't be romance? I'll make my life romantic if I want to." Perhaps that is what love is. It's something you have to work at, something you can create through effort. But that does little to explain our natural affinity towards feeling love. As elusive as love may seem, it's a real and tangible thing, felt by everyone. We watch romantic films, read love poems, and we can all relate. Perhaps love is both. The paradoxical self-fulfilling attachment towards another. It's everything we make of it, and more. It's not something that we can expect to sweep us off our feet, but sometimes it is. It's that persistent work to be a good partner, and it's doing nothing yet being completely content. It's starring into each-other's eye and getting lost, and it's being so mad you're unable to look at that person. 

There is a story from ancient Greece that tells how a few men traveled to the Oracle of Delphi to discover who the wisest man in the world was. The Oracle replied, "Socrates." The men confronted Socrates and asked him what he knew that made him so wise. Socrates responded that he, "...knew nothing." But it was not his ignorance that made him the wisest man, it was his modesty, his acceptance that he was mortal and could not comprehend the many mysteries of this world. Love is one of these mysteries. The more we try to define it the more we fail to grasp what it truly is. About the only certainties we have on love is that it's felt differently by everyone. We can't always help who we love, but we can help how we love. And that love is not a constant and unchanging, it's a living organic thing that we can only nourish, sit-back, and hope it grows healthy and strong.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Death to an American Legend

It is a sad day in America. The great American beer giant Anheuser Busch was bought out by  InBev, a Belgium/Brazillian brewing and beverage company. While you will still see Budweiser in stores, the deal includes the addition of 'InBev' name into the Anheuser Busch on their bottles. On top of all of that, they plan to sell more Budweiser in other countries to capitalize on their name, which means a possible rise in prices if they don't start building more breweries. (Get stock while you can, it's not going to be 66.87 in two years that's for sure). 

Bottom line: the Budweiser we know and love is no more. A sad day indeed. 

Well @#$& you, for sure, like totally.

Last night I went to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. For everyone outside of LA, Cinespia plays films at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery during the summer months. It's a very cool experience. There is a large lawn filled with people sitting on blankets, low chairs, and fold-out tables decorated with wine bottles and picnic food. A DJ spins music during before the film, and people just lounge, picnic, drink wine, and chat. 

The film started, and a loud wave of applause filled the cemetery. The film was the 1983 romantic comedy Valley Girl. I had never seen it before, but it's definitely the quintessential LA film. It's basically about a Hollywood Punk who falls in love with a Valley Girl, who of course is world's apart. One of the things I love about "going" to the movies is the environment. With so many home theaters these days it's easy to just veg-out, stay in and watch a film on your own HD Plasma Screen TV and surround sound. But you miss the cheers, the laughter, and the shouting out from live movies. It's a much more organic experience. And watching a LA based film in LA was very entertaining. 

But one thing that certainly stood out in the film was the excruciatingly bad dialogue. I'm sure it was supposed to be campy, and much of the humor was derived from the bad dialogue. But one of the things I noticed since I have moved out here was how much 'like' has crept into my dialogue, like a wild ivy vine breaking into a brick wall (dammit, even similes use 'like'). But seriously, if you hear me using 'like' please feel free to correct me. I say it way too often in my speech. 

Friday, July 11, 2008

Stories From Provo

Well this week has been different. Compared to my 12-14 hour work days from last week, this week's breather was nice. I'm still working, technically, although I've really had nothing to do all week save for a few calls here and there. So I thought I'd share some stories of my trip to Utah. It was a fun adventure, it was a lot of fun, with many stories. But instead of writing a long post I thought I'd do some bullet-blogging (patent-pending). 
• I have a newfound respect for mormons. Upon first impressions I thought it was going to be crazy town USA. No swearing, no drinking, no overt sexuality, no drugs, no caffeine, and women can't even expose their shoulders. But instead I was pleasantly surprised by the people there. They were all so nice, and polite. Sure their work ethic was not as fast-paced as those coming from LA, but nearly the entire staff at the Stadium was filled by volunteers, people who were working for free, and proudly, to create something larger for the community. I feel like so many people think mormons are these weird polygamists with horns on their heads, but I found nothing to be further from the truth. What is wrong with a little modesty? If anything I think the world would be a better place if we all practiced it in our everyday a little more. 

• Blue Man Group is awesome. They were called in for a sound check the Wednesday before the show, but instead they had a full-scale rehearsal. They actually had three leading up to their performance Friday night. Even during their rehearsals their energy was amazing, and felt like a live show. Their main mission statement is to bring the audience out of their comfort zones, out of the culturally defined ways to behave, and try to transport them to a place of primal group reaction. A great show, backed with great sounds. I definitely recommend checking them out at some point in your life. I know I need to check out a full show sometime. 

• I love my boss. I probably couldn't say this enough times on this blog. During the shows my main job is to follow him around and assist him in anyway needed. But it's amazing to see him in action. He has this quiet and confident demeanor about him, along with dry wit. When he walks about everyone treats him with the utmost respect, and dignity. I don't think I truly understood what power was until you experience it first hand. He's like a General. A true leader, who always has a game-plan, who knows when to reprimand and when to encourage. I've learned so much from him, and I hope to be the type of leader he is one day. 

• M.i.l.e.y C.y.r.u.s. was interesting. I write her name like that so I don't have a million people Googling my website. Cause trust me, it will happen. She sold out a 50,000 crowd in less than ten minutes. There were a thousand little girls wearing pink t-shirts, dressing like MC, waving signs, and screaming at the very mention of her name. Not only was the noise from the crowd overwhelming, but the pitch at which they screamed at was deafening. Regardless, it was very cute to see five year olds dancing on top of their chairs at their first "rock" concert. And I certainly give credit to our headliner. For a fifteen year-old she had some amazing stage presence. 

• Did I mention I love my boss? Among the notes I take during the power meetings (when I get to sit in on the meetings between the two head honchos, one being my boss) like things for me to do and remind my boss of, I write down the side of the pad various vocab my boss spits out. He's ridiculously smart, and I'm a sucker for a large vocabulary (especially from a beautiful woman). Here are just a few of my favorite new words from my boss. 

Gestalt (noun)- An organized whole that is perceived as more than a sum of it's parts. 
Glib (adjective) - (of words or the person speaking them) fluent and voluble but insincere
Espouse (verb) - to adopt of support (a belief, a way of life, a cause)

he didn't use this one, but it's another favorite word I've recently discovered...

Schadenfruede (noun) - pleasure derived from another person's misfortune

• It was great to do something good for a change. One of my main jobs for the show was to assist in getting a satellite feed up so that three soldiers in Iraq could talk to their wives in Provo. The wives thought they were just going to make a recording to say 'hi' to their husbands, so they were completely surprised when they saw them on the big screen. It was really heart warming to see, and it made me feel good to be a part of that. 

• The entire show was broadcast around the world on the armed forces network, so that servicemen and women around the world could watch a fourth of July event back home. It really felt good to contribute back to them. I think military service is one of the most noble things you can do with your life. Sure you might not agree with our leader, but you're giving your life to your country, which I think is brave as all hell. When the service men and women walked into the stadium during the pre-show the entire audience stood up and gave them a standing ovation. I wish that was something more people did. 

• We had a chocolate fountain in our trailer. It started off as an inside joke between the Executive Producers and our Operations Coordinator, but then one day one actually appeared in our trailer. It was lovely. Great idea. Everything tastes better in chocolate. 

• Glenn Beck. Well, to begin with I've always appreciated Glenn Beck. I like some of what he says, then he seems to go too far with it, and loses me completely. But above all I do respect that he attempts to use logic in his arguments, and expects the same from his opposition. But meeting him in real life gave me a new appreciation for him. He is actually quite charismatic, and a pretty funny guy. He gentlemanly, and very professional. I don't think I agree with his politics any more than I did before, but as a person I respect him much more now. 

• A new friend (and reader) from Provo wanted me to share this story (my details may be off here or there, but the story should still ring the same):

What is Fourth of July without Flags? Not Fourth of July. So as part of the celebrations someone from the Foundation ordered a few thousand miniature flags for the event. And where do you go for cheap American  flags? China of course. Well they don't ship directly from China for some reason. A quicker air freight is from Beijing, to Chicago, to Cincinnati, to Salt Lake, to Provo. Well my new friend didn't order the flags, but she was in charge of tracking the package to see when it was going to arrive. She saw the slow progress the flags made as they leisurely traveled the world. So a day or two before our event, and after arriving in Cincinnati an associate called the shipping facility and talked to someone, who passed him onto someone, who passed him onto a manager. The manager located the shipment, and asked if they wanted it expedited to our offices so that the package would make it in time. He said "yes", and asked how much it would cost. The manager weighed the package. Now how much should thousands of flags weigh? Fifty pounds? Sixty pounds? Nope, twelve ounces. It looked like they sent a sample by accident. So instead of a large box with flags there was a small envelope. So the envelope was sent to the office, they figured out another flag source, and waited with bated breath for the "package". It arrived at the office moments before the event, impeccable timing. Eagerly they opened it. But no flag was to be found; instead a small sample of Viagra. Not even a full bottle, just a sample. (Insert flag raising joke here). Moral of the story? Never buy anything over seas with a money order or by wire. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Mi Hermano

For my brother's school he takes a variety of classes. Skiing in the back-country of Colorado for avalanche detection and prevention, whitewater kayaking in Wyoming for river ecology, and now studying the flora and fauna of Costa Rica. Coming from a family of Nomads I'd expect no less. Anyhow, his class is over, and now he's on a month long tour traveling up Central America. I'm very jealous of his travels, and hope to join him in some venturing soon. 

Anyhow, here is a story that was sent to me from his travel companion Max, which was too good not to share. Enjoy!

PS. Matt, aka 'Matty', is my brother.

Matt (my traveling companion) and I took up a table near the back of an open air bar in the heart of puerto viejo, a small fishing and banana farming town near La Selve Biological Station. We were drinking an Imperial (or 2 or 4), and half watching the television play American music videos from the 1980´s while the locals at the bar were doing the same. They were all of a more advanced age than we, mostly in their 40´s or 50´s, and having a fine time chatting loudly. After an hour or so, the music video for Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen came on, and the mood changed markedly. The men began yipping and clapping. This was followed by We Will Rock You, also by Queen. The words were  attempted for this number, but it ended up sounding more like mumbling leading up to an emphatic "ROCK YOU!!". We joined in from across the room, and were surprised that the ENTIRE Queen catalogue was played. Every song. Songs I didn´t even know, and even more that I was surprised to see a video for. These guys loved it. Admittedly, we did too. We´d had a few beers by now, so i went off to el baño, passing the bar on the way. I never made it to the bathroom. The handshaking and backslapping lasted at least 20 minutes, and by the end I had many new friends, especially Henry and Jose. They really liked me. I escaped back to the table, as Matt laughed. Soon enough, a round of beers arrived at our table, courtesy of Henry and Jose. They were both stout little guys, with hands that looked to be adorned with 5 chubby thumbs, instead of the requisite 1 thumb to 4 fingers. The introduced themselves, again, and for the first time to Matty. Now Matty does not speak Spanish. Not even a little bit. He does know ´hola´ and ´gracias´and, i was to learn that he knows ´Me llamo´, which means ´my name is´. That's where it stops. So when Henri thrust out his fat little hand, Matty took it and said "Me llamo Matt". Well done. had he stopped there. He didn´t. The phrase meant to follow ´me llamo´ is ´como te llamas´, or some variation thereof. He could have said that. But he didn´t. He tried to. He really did. His only mistake was in omitting one word, Como, and mispronouncing another, llamas. Who could have known that those little mistakes could have led to an entirely, I mean ENTIRELY, different meaning. What he said was, "Te Amo?". Translation: "I Love You?". This led to a brief moment of silence, which seemed anything but brief. I think there was confusion, not only because of the unexpected words used, but also because he formed the phrase as a question. If someone asked me "I Love You?", I probably wouldn´t know how to answer. I tried to chime in, I really, really did, but it was too late. Henri got red and started shaking his finger at Matt, Matt had no idea what the hell was going on, and Jose had started bouncing up and down, pointing at Matt, and positively singing "GAY! GAY! GAY!". I told Matt what he had said. i almost wish I han´t, because he went 4 shades of red before settling on something between brick and magenta. Henry and Jose hustled out of there in a hurry. We waited to make sure they didn´t think better of it and come to teach us a lesson, and left as well, never, ever to return. Ever. Good times had by all.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Proud To Be An American

Happy 4th of July! (Well, I started writing this on the 4th of July, but then I had to work... so happy belated!)

While I always feel patriotic around our independence day, I feel this year it seems to be enhanced by my surroundings. Of course working on a 4th of July show is the culprit. Not only a 4th of July show, but working on a 4th of July show in one of the most patriotic places on earth. As part of my job I'm researching the Revolutionary War and patriotic songs, contacting and working with Military families, and of course watching Glenn rehearse. In general I feel like I'm more patriotic than the average American. Well, at least the average city dweller. I'm positive I couldn't hold a flag to the average heartland American, nor those here in Provo. But I'm proud of our country, and I'm proud to call myself an American. I may disagree with our leaders and our country's moral direction at times, but overall I am proud for what our Nation stands for. 

Refreshing one's historical knowledge on the Revolutionary War is always a good reminder of where we come from. Of course one could be facetious and claim our founders were a bunch of rich white men who didn't want to pay taxes, but they were much much more than that. Like Martin Luther who separated himself from the corruption of the Catholic Church to return to a morality based faith, our fore-fathers separated themselves from the corruption and taxation of Britain to begin a new country based on the fundamental human rights of "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." Our founding fathers fought against unimaginable odds in order to achieve these rights for their children, and their children's children- for us. 

In these dark days it's very easy to be down on the United States. We've stirred up a global hornet's nest of terrorists. We're all too willing sacrifice morality to make an extra buck. We try to spread our own politics upon others. We let our gross commercialism spread like a virus throughout the world. Our schools are falling behind, and we've allowed our them to adopt backwards sex education practices. But with all of these things in mind we still live in the land of the free. We're able to voice our opinions, practice any faith we choose, we're allowed to spend our lives pursuing any job we choose. We're able to start companies from scratch, have an idea and nourish it into fruition. These are freedoms that many countries throughout the world do not have, and many who do have them have acquired them from our example. We're a nation built on a fundamental principle human rights. 

Voltaire, the French philosopher, once said, "I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend, to the death, your right to say it." As much as we may disagree with political parties and thought within our country we must always respect it. We should be proud of the fact that we live in such a country where we can all have our own political and religious without punishment. But at the same time we must not take this freedom for granted, nor should we abuse it. Since we have the freedom to possess our own opinion and speak it, we must also do our selves and our country a service by being informed. Pick up the paper and read the news, know what parties, people and policies you're voting for- and vote! Take care of your surroundings, don't liter, don't use more than you need, and pick up after yourself. Be a good citizen, smile at your neighbor, hold the door open for people, pick up something if they've dropped it, give the woman standing your seat. These are all little things, but I think many people overlook these little things, and don't realize that even a simple, "How are you doing?" can brighten someone's day, and more likely than not that person will pay it forward. As Ghandi said, "Be the change you wanted to see in the world." This of course can be applied Nationalistically as well. Be the change you want to see in this country. And be proud to be part of this country, cause for all of our downfalls we really are a great place, filled with a myriad of great people. Make yourself one of those. 

I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives.
I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him.
~Abraham Lincoln

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


This was originally a screen play to a short film I wrote in College. But a little bit ago I decided to go back to the drawing room and turn it into a short story. I originally got the idea when I had a dog in Santa Fe named Gracie. She is the most beautiful, intelligent, and wonderful dog I know. Raising her from a puppy to lady dog taught me so much about myself and of life in general. I dedicate this story to her. 

If there is no heaven for dogs, 
then I want to go where they go when they die.

You couldn't tell from her face, but she was beautiful. Behind the pinkish lump of scar tissue used to be a beautiful dark brown eye like her right one. What used to be a beautiful coat of short brown fur was now mottled by long slivers of flesh where hair couldn't grow. Even her movement was off-putting; an uncomfortable step-step-limp that was caused by missing tendons. But she wasn't always disfigured. She was once a prized pure-bred boxer puppy; energetic, playful, and completely loyal. All it took was a box cutter, a heartless being, and a gang dispute. An innocent soul caught between bad people. No longer the beautiful breed she was supposed to be she was given up for adoption. The shelter took care of her; her wounds healed, but left deep scars over her eye, her chest, her legs, but most of all her heart. It would take her a long time before she could trust any human again. How could one trust such a cruel animal capable of so much hurt? It took an angel by the name of Sarah to teach her to trust again- to love. 

Sarah was a volunteer at an animal shelter. She helped by walking the dogs and filling their bowls with dry food and water. The first time she met Belle was during meal. As Sarah opened the chain-linked fence door Belle began to huddle into the corner, feebly growling out of the corner of her mouth. "Hey pretty. You hungry?" Sarah cooed.  Belle growled louder. "It's ok, I'm leaving. See?" She dropped the bowl and closed the gate. 

Sarah knew she needed to be patient. It wasn't the first time Sarah had befriended a stray. Unlike Belle he had two good eyes, two legs, and stood at five foot ten. But like Belle they both shared scars. No visible scars on his body, but his heart bore lashings from the heart-ache of infidelity. And like Belle, David lay a heavy mortar on his walls, creating a tall and thick blockade keeping all others out. They met in college. Their mail boxes were ten boxes apart, and he caught her eye. Bashfully he pretended not to notice, but her sunny charm over-powered him. A flighting smile turned into dinner. A dinner turned into a late night discussion. Late night discussion turned into a week. Weeks turned into a month. And months turned into two and a half years, which was right around the time when she decided to adopt Belle.
After months of breaking through Belle's hardened defenses  she finally stopped growling at her. She even allowed herself to be pet. She was still afraid of loud noises, other dogs, any men, cars, and darkness. She often peed herself when such nightmarish things presented themselves. But she trusted Sarah. Her kindness and warmth broke down the barriers of fear, and allowed her to get close to another again. 

~  •  ~

She kept her eyes glued to the back seat. Sarah wasn't sure how Belle would take to the car, being her first trip (that she knew of at least). She drove slowly, smoothly, guiding the sedan sweepingly through her neighborhood streets like a large boat in a small canal. She arrived. "Finally", she thought as she let a deep sigh out. She quickly unbuckled her seatbelt and went to the back of the car to carry Belle out. She was sad she still couldn't get her to walk out on her own. Even with trust they had established she wouldn't come to her. If anything Belle had humbled her. She reminded Sarah that no matter how much trust one had in you the decision to step forward was always in the hands- or paws- of the other. She let Belle down onto the grass as she heard the front door of the house open, she looked up. 
"Hey beautiful. Hey Belle." Sarah smiled and looked into David's deep blue eyes, then looked down at Belle's scarred body. 

"Say hi Belle." She was glad he was there to share this with her. Belle's first time in a stable home. She saw Belle had a different opinion, as demonstrated by the raised lip and a low growl.

"It's ok Belle. That's Dave." Dave walked a few steps forward and squatted down, like Sarah recommended. Get low, down to their level. Present yourself in a non-threatening fashion. 

"It's ok Belle, I won't hurt you," David said, in his softest tone possible. Sarah glowed inside. She hadn't heard Dave use that babyish tone before. He was new with animals, and she was endeared by his desire to be in this part of her life. Belle continued to growl, and began to turn towards Sarah. Sarah picked her up and carried her into the house. Belle continued to growl the entire time in, keeping her one good eye on David. Sarah felt the uneasiness from Dave as he watched, his stomach in his throat, unsure of the proper conduct in such a scenario. 

"It's ok. She's just frightened, she won't actually hurt you."

"She sure sounds like it," Dave said with bone dry wit. She appreciated his efforts. She knew it was a tough task, to bring get close to an emotionally scarred animal. But time heals all wounds. It had taken her about three months before Belle let her pet her, and it too six months to have David let her in and say "I love you." Sarah let Belle down, her nails clicked against the hard wood floor. Belle walked into the house, her legs shaking like a branch in the wind. After a few steps she released a small spurt of urine onto the floor. 

"Well at least she's housebroken." Sarah punched Dave on the arm. "Ow." 

~ • ~

Belle never asked to be cut, but the demons of time and chance took care of that. Had her previous owner picked any one of her brothers or sisters over her perhaps she'd have depth perception instead of nightmares. But timing and chance rule all. They can be the cruelest of creatures or the savior of souls. Had Dave not walked in on his ex-girlfriend perhaps he'd still be with her, wondering why she was so distant when they made love. Had Sarah and Dave not met in the mailroom at that exact time, or had those exact mailboxes, perhaps they would have never met. And had Sarah not been born with an empathetic heart perhaps she would have never adopted Belle. But chance is not always so kind. It was an empathetic heart that brought their family together, but it was the hypertrophic cardiomyopathy of her heart that separated them. She died of a sudden heart attack one month after Christmas. Dave knew something was wrong when he came home. Belle, who was almost always quiet, was barking loud and often. He followed the noise and found her breathless body lying on the kitchen floor. 

The funeral was small and quaint, Sarah would have wanted it that way. Not a mourning, but a celebration of life- regardless of how worthless Dave felt his was at the time. He continued to watch after Belle, Sarah would have wanted it that way. She would have never wanted to see her back in the cold concrete and steel fenced halls of the dog shelter. Belle still hadn't warmed up to Dave. He tried everything Sarah taught him. Show the back of his hand and let her smell him. Give her treats when she behaved well. He sculpted the tonality of his voice to convey his various emotions and moods. But nothing worked. She snapped at his fingers when he tried to pet her. Get up and leave the room when he entered. Growl at him as he placed her feed bowl in front of her. At first it broke his heart, but after a few weeks he developed a cool indifference towards the animal. It was almost like having a plant that he had to let out the back three times a day. He kept it fed and watered. It grew. It added life to the house, but little else. 

~ • ~

The cool autumn air blew through the streets. The ruddy green maple leaves held limply onto the trees, trying to escape their inevitability that came with the fall. Dave liked this time of year. It was not an intuitive affection to most, but he liked the shift in seasons. He liked the way the added layers clung to him like a warm hug. He liked the way frost would make the grass sparkle in the morning light. But most of all he liked how the cold smell of winter lingered in the distance. 

As part of his fall ritual he would break out his winter clothes. Pushing the polo shirts to the back, and bringing  out his sweaters and coats forward. Belle lay curled in her dog bed, her chin on the floor. Even though she would never follow Dave around the house she would still go up to the bed room at night, as though she were still expecting Sarah to sleep in their bed. Dave was shuffling the clothes about inside the walk-in closet attached to the bed room. The closet had become much bigger ever since he had donated Sarah's clothes to Goodwill, but it was something he tried not to think about. Instead he let his clothes slowly take over the closet. First his slacks took over the back left-side, then his shirts joined them. They couldn't fill the space that Sarah's dresses did, so they hung a few inches apart, awkwardly filling in the large space. 

Finally, Dave found his suede jacket tucked behind the his sport coat and robe. He pulled it out and slipped it on. The strong leather smell creeping its way into his nostrils. He felt the rough leather arms, then zipped it up. He stepped out of the closet and shut the door. He stood tall, and inspected himself in the mirror on the closet door-regardless of how silly a suede jacket and pajama pants looked. He hadn't worn the jacket in awhile, but he was very satisfied with the way old leather fit. Out of habit, he slipped his hands into the pockets. Something small hugged the pinky finger of his right hand, he pulled it out. It was a ring he gave Sarah for their second year anniversary. Made of small polished silver with turquoise stones; it fit her perfectly, but couldn't make it past the big knuckle of his pinky finger. He had forgotten that the people at the morgue had given it to him after after the funeral. He hadn't worn that jacket since that day. Finding the ring created a small crack in his damn, and it began to spread. At first he felt the heat in his face, then a pit in his gut. Then the same punched-in-the-gut feeling he had felt when he was standing their in the graveyard, thumbing the ring in his pocket. 

Crack. He couldn't stand anymore, so he walked over and sat on the bed. It was all coming back to him, a deluge of memories that he couldn't hold back. He remembered first seeing her, the way that little strand of red hair would cover her face. The way she'd place her tongue between her teeth when she'd laugh. The way she fit in his shoulder as they slept, and the way she'd roll with him as he moved in his sleep, as though they were one. He remembered the way she'd put her arm out the window on long car trips and ride the wind with her hand. The way she'd walk around the room naked, her beautiful essence shining out from her pale white skin. He remembered how she would skip when she was drunk. And the way she would always point out the natural beauty of life to Dave, whether it was the phase of the moon, the honeysuckle blooming at spring, or the dusky sun-light against the buildings. Dave's lip trembled. He tried as hard as a man could not to cry, until he couldn't help but lay his head into his hands. His body convulsed as he gasped for air between inaudible sobs. He was thankful no one was there. 
Suddenly he felt a faint brush against his leg, then a heavy warmth. Dave opened his hands and looked down. Belle had crossed the room and was leaning against him. She was looking the other way, but she was leaning against him. He reached down with his wet palm and stroked her scarred head. She didn't move, she didn't growl, she just peacefully rested against him. Dave smiled. She may have been leaning against his leg, but it was Belle who was holding him up. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Day 5

Oh the wheel in the sky keeps on turning. I don't know where I'll be tomorrow. Wheel in the sk...

*snooze button*
                                                            ~ seven minutes later....

Everyone's wondering, will you come out tonight. Everyone's trying to get it right, get it right.
Everybody's working for the weekend. Everybody wants a little romance. Everybody's goin' off the deep end. Everybody needs a second chance, oh...

*fist pump - fist pump - fist pump*

I'm usually a two to three snooze guy, aspiring to be a no snooze guy. But today I felt peppy, and of course with the apropos Loverboy song rocking it was much easier to get up. It's still bizarre waking up in a hotel room. White stale sheets replacing my down comforter, polar-like AC replacing my fan, and a loud radio clock replacing my zen alarm clock. It's day five now, and I'm still getting used to this work on the road thing. I have a friend who does this for a living. Constantly traveling the globe and living from a suitcase. I can see the appeal, it's fun to explore a strange place as a small team. Being in new surroundings, getting the USA Today at your doorstep every morning, working together in a close-knit conference room, complaining about the chain restaurant food and hot weather. It's fun. I won't say I miss "home", but I miss my friends. It's far too early to say I'm lonely, but there are times I feel the pangs of longing. 

Yesterday we had our group meeting where we went over the rundown- a document giving in precise detail the timing of each element of our show. It was amazing to see everyone who works on the job in a single room, and it really showed me how many people it takes to put together a show. There were Producers, script supervisors, pyrotechnicians, audio designers, lighting designers, stage managers, stagehands, riggers, policemen, firemen, sponsors, dance choreographers, talent coordinators, production coordinators, production managers, vendors, cameramen, post production people, etc... It was incredible to see them all in one room working towards a single goal. In TV and film production you can take an abstract idea and turn it into reality using the magic of editing and film technique. In live events you have to use man-power and creativity to bring an abstract idea to life, oh, and you only get one shot at it. 

It's very exciting to see the entire thing come together. The stage being built, the dancers rehearsing, our pyro-guy describing the various fireworks displays he has planned (which was awesome. I'd love his job). Tomorrow we move into the stadium. I kind of got giddy when I saw our trailer, it's marked "Creative". There is something very satisfying about that. I think no matter what job I end up in I always want to be on the "creative" side of things, it's way more fun. It's definitely one of the things I love about my job, everyday I get to do something different. Sometimes it's researching the Revolutionary War to help my boss write the script, other times it's looking up "Americana" music to make a playlist when the audience in entering the stadium (which of course I loved), other times it's coordinating, acquiring media and working directly with our post production people. I've gotten a lot closer to my teammates, and it's definitely starting to feel like a family. I'm not sure if it's the show, or the place, or the fact we're on the road, but everyone here seems a bit looser. Which is good, cause I'm able to loosen up as well and act a bit more like myself. If you've ever worked with me you'll know I'll always work my but off, and put my all into my projects; but you'll also know I'll play around like a five year old any chance I get. I believe in working hard and playing hard. 

An example was when we first entered our work space. The tables in the room were set in a circular pattern around the room, leaving a large space open in the middle. I decided to place the trash can in the middle so that everyone could have a little free-throw practice during work. It's very amusing to see your older bosses shoot baskets. I highly recommend it if you get the chance. 

Anyhow, speaking of work I should get back to it. I felt a bit obligated to write in my blog. One of my original goals for this blog was to get back in the habit of writing, and I definitely feel it working. Throughout the day I find myself wandering into thoughts that I can later write and share with the world. I find myself crafting sentences, and playing with words. I recently agreed to join a script writing club, and hopefully that will inspire me to write more as well. Better get back to work. 

Oh, here is a funny link I found involving our headliner. She arrives Friday I believe, should be interesting....