Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Call me Ishmael.

I was finishing my shopping spree at D.I. in south Salt Lake yesterday, feeling content about the two sporting items I'd secured, when I came upon the books/CD section of the store. I had been to the D.I. in Provo entirely unawares that there were better thrift stores out there dipping into the second hand entertainment biz. So, I perused. The final pull was:

-2 General Conference CDs (I think: May 1998, October 2000)
>because both featured Elder Neal A. Maxwell, who is my favorite.

-1 Aretha Franklin "Best of Southern Gospel" CD
>Wintley Phipps still performs my favorite rendition of Amazing Grace, however.

-1 Book entitled "Script Scheduling: The Professional Guidebook on Writing Screenplays"

-1 Signet Classic's Edition of Herman Melville's Moby Dick

Thus, I have begun reading Moby Dick. I've had that Miltonian, epic sort of feeling settle on me just as I've thought of beginning it. The cover says of it, "The first American novel to win a place in the literature of the world..." How can I not be positively influenced with such a curious description?

"Who aint a slave? Tell me that."
-Melville, Moby Dick

I have also been in consideration of a change in my major recently. The idea of which is really absurd considering I just declared Nutritional Science my major 3 weeks ago, after having gone two years in school without even knowing HOW to declare a major (meaning I'd never done it). Philosophy just sounds too tempting. I went through the periodicals (I am sitting in the BYU Library right now) and grabbed an arm-full of philosophy books. What a rich life it would be in every aspect except monetarily.

"The act of paying is perhaps the most uncomfortable infliction that the two orchard thieves entailed upon us. But being paid,--what will compare with it? The urbane activity with which a man receives money is really marvelous, considering that we so earnestly believe money to be the root of all earthly ills, and that on no account can a monied man enter heaven. Ah! how cheerfully we consign ourselves to perdition!"

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Facebook weaning.

I have been sitting in the BYU Salt Lake center for about 3 hours now alternating between studying, homework, and In that time I have logged on to facebook a total of 12 times.
I have decided once again to cut my own hand off; to scoop figuratively my own eye out of my head. If idleness is a sin, then facebook is definitely an object of sin. Goodbye newsfeeds and instant updates into which survey that one guy I knew in high school just took. Deactivated.

This song is a part of my life right now. Cat Stevens.

Oh, by the way, in an act of irony I added those little buttons below that allow viewers of my blog to share my post on a number of media networking sites. Wouldn't it be awkward if this post was shared on facebook? It's like I would still inadvertently be contributing to the frivolousness of the whole thing. Please don't share this.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Dover Beach

By Matthew Arnold, 1867

The sea is calm tonight,
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night air!

Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.

Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Agean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

"Books were only one type of receptacle where we stored a lot of things we were afraid we might forget. There is nothing magical in them at all. The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us...The good writers touch life often." -Fahrenheit 451

Monday, July 12, 2010

Twenty Thousand and something

measure a year?
In daylights? In sunsets? In midnights? In cups of coffee? In inches? In miles? In laughter? In strife?

I measure my year in miles.

Some celebrate milestones and set goals for the calendar year, some for the fiscal year--but I guess my time centers around the odometric year. Referring, of course, to the year as measured by my odometer.

I looked at the mileage in my car last week and was astounded. I did some quick math in my head, rounded generously up, and realized that I had driven 20,000 miles in my car the past twelve months. This will come as no surprise to those who have read such blog posts of mine as South on I-15 and the like.

I visited friends and families in the greater L.A. area, aunts and uncles in Idaho, siblings in Oregon, hot-spots in Northern California and Nevada alike, and regularly find myself on the stretch between Provo and Salt Lake City.

20,000 miles.

That's 32,187 kilometers.
That's 83.3% of the circumference of the earth at its equator.
I could, with 20,000 miles, drive from San Francisco to New York and back again (roundtrip) approximately 3.5 times.
I averaged 54.79 miles per day this past year. Is that ridiculous or normal?
I could travel 6,666 of the 20,000 leagues Jules Verne wrote about.
If I was paid a dollar for each mile I drove, I would have paid off my car in its entirety.

And this excludes the 2+ months spent in Ukraine, where I didn't have a car. Also excluded are the miles spent flying, being driven or chauffeured, and walking. I feel strongly that youth is not a matter of where you've been, but how far you've gone. I am young and am working on getting as far as possible. In my triathlon of driving, walking, and flying, I like to think I have cumulatively circumnavigated the globe without ever having to actually make the trip. A man may be classified a world travel if by walking every day to the store, he eventually walks the distance from mile 1 to 24,900.

I know I said I was negative. It was a passing fad. Kids were doing it. It can be extremely healthy to be a bit unhealthy from time to brief time. Does that make sense? I don't hate Provo, I am seeing the Prop 8 movie in a new light, I find purpose in small things, and I have a blossoming renewal of faith in the reality of love.

"And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human

is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the

freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected."

-East of Eden, Steinbeck

I am reading East of Eden right now by John Steinbeck. I am eating it up. Don't give me self-help books, books about modern politics or decaying religion right now. I know what people who are living have to say, and I'll value it in about 100 years--unless it proves to be vanity and fleeting (which most modern literature is, and I suppose, always has been). I see the world in Sam Hamiltons and Cal Trasks--and it's a pretty good world I see.

I am working again at the SLC Temple painting for the summer. I will take a trip to Tahoe soon and to Disneyland shortly thereafter. It's the beginning of another odometric year -- time is a-wastin'.