Saturday, August 21, 2010

Friendship by Association

A co-worker of mine was walking past me last night while we were catering a wedding (I have a job in catering) and told me a theory.

He said, "I've noticed something: When there are multiple bowls of drink on the beverage table, the ones that are full stay full or are chosen less frequently because people think they aren't as good as the bowls with juice that are nearly empty."

Now obviously he didn't say it exactly this way, because he related it to me in the 4 seconds it took to walk past me and into the kitchen. But I think that is what he was trying to say. I observed the 4 different lemonade bowls throughout the night and my co-worker's frantic attempt to keep all 4 bowls at even levels--a social experiment of sorts. I did notice that the full bowls stayed full longer and the bowls that he had neglected to fill seemed to disappear more quickly.

Last night, I was asked by another co-worker: "So how do you know Ann?" Ann is my lovely cousin. She began and ended at the company before I ever got there and is well known to all. And although I don't see much of her or her witty family (my fault, I concede) she has brought me much fame and acceptance in the small social circle of Marvellous Catering. If I feel my own merits are not carrying me into good favor with any member of the crew, I need only mention my relation to Ann and wait for the gay smiles and sincere compliments that always follow her name's mention.

I responded emphatically to the question last night and was greeted by a warm response. In this world, how we are perceived by those we meet is dependent on those we know and associate with. No one is really alone and no one rests on their own merits. It would be a nice idea, but we all contribute to the well-being and acceptance of another. I just wonder where my name gets people when they mention it, or if they prefer to leave it unsaid!

Perhaps having good friends and loving our families is like putting our willing friendship in the popular punch bowl. It is a very beautifully human thing to define, in part, who you are by who you know and love. The human family is so connected and feed so naturally off one another that it may be hard to tell how deep the roots of friendship sink into our personalities and lives, in general. If others know the company we keep and if you we are good company for others to keep, maybe many more will keep coming to partake from our friendship lemonade, and it will go so fast we'll need to run frantically to our hidden stores to refill it.

Or maybe that one bowl needed to be refilled so often because it was raspberry lemonade. But it was a nice idea.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

High School Philosophy

I sat in the back of the class next to the door senior year of high school in Mr. Meyer's philosophy class. I could avoid being called on, or so I thought, from there and could observe the class as a whole. I also sat directly beneath a Stephen Crane poem called In the Desert. I spent the entire year trying to understand that poem--mainly in the time spent sitting in my seat before class, or during a boring lecture, or during a 5 minute class break. It intrigued me deeply. I nearly love this poem, its darkness and all. The wall of an intro philosophy class is perfect setting for this poem, I believe. I'm glad I encountered it first there.

In the Desert

In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
Who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it.
I said, "Is it good, friend?"
"It is bitter - bitter," he answered,
"But I like it
Because it is bitter,
and because it is my heart."

-Stephen Crane

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Boy Whose Skin Fell Off

If you have about an hour to spare, I suggest you watch the documentary at the link below.

So, I was putting off sleep one night in high school watching T.V. when I flipped across the TLC network late late at night. I came across a program called "The Boy Whose Skin Fell Off: The Story of Jonny Kennedy". It is about a 36 year old man who documents the last months of his life after living a lifetime through a very painful disease where his skin blisters and falls off at every touch. I imagine it wasn't very highly valued to TLC, them playing it as late-night programming, but it was one of those odd experiences that seem small, but leave a life-long lasting impression on you.

The Boy Whose Skin Fell Off

It is a comedy and it is endearing. I committed that night to memory sooo many years ago and finally watched it again on Youtube recently. I think about it almost every time I come home.

I also rummage through my old computer every time I come home. I used to collect little quotes in high school and write some very poor poetry. Since I can claim maturity now due to a long time lapse, here are some things I like/laugh about from my high school days:

"The only true wisdom consists in knowing that you know nothing." -Anon.

"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it is the grain of sand in your shoe." -Unknown

"To live is to be slowly born."

"Your current safe boundaries were once unknown frontiers."

The Valence Tree
AN orange tree, its inherent right to share
Affords the owner nothing once it turns to bare.
I came upon a tree of such, a tree of fruit to spare
But the fruit thereon was mixed
One neither good nor bad was rare.
At once in its existence, this tree could profit all
Its fruit was ripe and moist, near beginning of the fall.
But fall had gone and no one saw its valiant pinnacle.
Not one appreciated its craft
Before its good slowly damned to gall.
And if a passerby had seen
This tree, in its ripest scene;
The fruit thereon would've gleaned
A savor for a heart yet keen.
The humble goal was reached, but never once beheld.
No passerby saw the fruit of its christened bough.
The buds have since soured 'fore the plough,
So one naturally assumed the tree, too, was befouled.
The price for its prize in dwindle,
A blithe sapling turns to aged timber.
This perennial tree lingers yet alone,
Fruitless, hopeless, faithless, ungrown.
-Ryan Williams (2001)
DISCLAIMER: I wrote this 9+ years ago. I claim it not as my own. I just thought it was interesting.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Heaven Is Falling

I was west bound on I-80 Thursday night when the sky started to fall. I would learn later via a friend's Facebook status that Mother Nature planned a meteor shower that night, to entertain me during the monotony of the Nevada skyline. Oh, but how perfect a seat is the monotonous skyline for a midnight meteor downpour! The stars were crisp.

I saw my first shooting star at around midnight, another an hour later, and the finale came around 3am. I don't know how far away it was (my guess was 15 miles) but around 3am a huge fireball streaked across the sky and burned out somewhere near the horizon. It was the most intense shooting star I have ever seen. It was no shooting star (of course, shooting stars aren't ever
really shooting stars) it was a full-on meteoroid--on 'roids.

I got home around 7am Friday morning with some dried mangoes, 3 waters, 3 oatmeal granola bars, cheez-its, and 2 Monster energy drinks in my worn-out belly.

I overheard a conversation Thursday night before my departure from Provo which I ruminated over for about 8 of the 11 hours I was on the road. A friend and an acquaintance were talking about gossip--and this acquaintance (who currently lives in N.Y. and performs on Broadway) claimed that when people from Provo ask how their fellow former Provo-ites in N.Y. are faring, these Provoan enquirers seem to be disappointed should the response reveal that those in N.Y. are happy and well. The acquaintance concluded:

"It is as if they want to know that they are out there (in N.Y.) failing at reaching their dreams to validate their staying in Provo and working in a department store out of fear of failing. I am pursuing my dream!"

Her conviction was supreme. I thought about that a lot, but won't comment on it. I think there is real inspiration there, though.

I saw two movies already this weekend: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and Eat Pray Love.
The former is worth seeing, the latter is worth seeing once. I realized in Eat Pray Love the kind of weird writing style that is sweeping writer/viewer media.

It is the blogger writing style:
1) A person introduces the struggles he/she is facing at a particular time.
2) This person recounts an experience that is existentially different from said struggle, but also somehow related.
3) This person synthesizes the overall meaning and lessons gleaned from these 'fundamentally unique from the struggle' experiences and creates a working thesis.
4) This person sums up in flowery language the lessons learned, relates ironically to said struggle and paints a picture of a brighter, less struggle-filled future.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was great. I was looking forward to it and was so very pleased. I left with a smile on my face from the sheer magnitude of it all.

I have two entrepreneurial ideas for the next few months of my life. I'll come out with those ideas soon once I have thought them out a bit better.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Classical 89 in the Madeleine

I attended Classical 89's Fiftieth Anniversary Celebration last night in Salt Lake. It was held in the Cathedral of the Madeleine. It was a celebration of organ music. It was overpowering. The night began by Richard Elliot blasting Pomp and Circumstance No.1 through the brass pipes of the Eccles Organ.
If you've never been down and seen the Cathedral of the Madeleine, I highly recommend it. Here is a link to a calendar for the Cathedral's events.

Enjoy Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance:

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Spirituality on the Radio

I was listening to the Baptist preacher on 90.1 FM:

"There is a crisis in Christendom of following doctrine and teachings--and not Christ. Jesus Christ did not come to merely give us goosebumps."

"Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favourite wishes everyday and death of your whole body in the end: submit with every fibre of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in."
-C.S. Lewis

After reading 1 Corinthians 12:3, " man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost."

I wrote in my journal:
"We may believe through hearing others, reading scripture, seeing Christ bodily appear to us--as the Apostles and so many in Jerusalem did, BUT we cannot know He is God unless the Spirit tells it to our souls and it becomes infused into our being. If it is not infused spiritually, it is merely temporally tarrying with us until we forget it."

I have been thinking a great deal about God, lately. I feel like my relationship with Him has weakened due to otherwise hedonistic pursuits, like placing emphasis on my getting goosebumps when I go to church. Do you think He would appreciate that I blogged about Him and the recognition of my erred ways? I think He takes notice, even if it won't show up on my number of profile views.

I would so readily put all things of myself (pride, ambition, selfishness, lack of love, lack of kindness) to death if I could just remember one thing, and retain it in the foreground of my mind's eye: That I believe in and want to follow Jesus Christ.

I don't know if too many days have passed in my life with me doubting that belief. Likewise, I wonder how many days have passed in my life with me actually living up to the full-measure of it.

"For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it."
-Matthew 16:25