About Me

My photo
I love music, books, movies, blah, blah, blah! I love people, learning new things, and always progressing to be a better person.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Letter From Camp # 1

This is part of my final project for Creative Writing, it covers my humanities credit for Gen Ed. We were instructed to take two genres and write a ten to twenty page project between the two of them. I chose first person creative fiction and poetry. For my creative fiction section I wrote a series of four letters from the point of view of a thirteen year old who has been sent to fat camp against his will. I wanted it to be a sardonic, nihilistic piece but my teacher said that was too glib and wanted my character to change "for the better" while I agree that helps me to branch out as a writer I still feel that the original idea was more humorous.


Letters From Camp


Letter 1


To my dear Mother and Father,

Hey, family unit! It’s me, your loving first-born son, Billy, writing you all the way from the sunny, lakeside shores of Camp Sacajawea. I wish you could see it, the vast, green foliage settled on a majestic backdrop of rolling mountains and blue sky, all reflected upon the shimmering surface of Lake Whinniepoopoo. It's just as the brochure that I found in your sock drawer described it: “Camp Sacajawea: The perfect place for your plump progeny.”


Everything is going swell so far here at camp. The other kids are super nice . . . all four metric tons of them! I only know this number because the moment we stepped off the bus we were sped away to the “Reflection Room,” a large, mess-hall-like building where a giant cattle scale “reflected” everyone’s current weight. I found the process to be quite interesting because, apparently, in order to weigh us correctly the counselors were instructed to strip us down to our underwear, take our luggage and our money, and then proceeded to take our dignity by giving us all special nicknames; my nickname is “Moobs” a clever conjunction on the term man-boobs.


Once they measured our weight (mine being a hearty 190, which, apparently, is overweight for a 5 foot 5 inch thirteen-year-old) and gave us our nicknames, we were taken to the sleeping quarters. Our bunks are typical of any camp except for one small detail: as a new member to a camp for “weight-challenged individuals,” I find it odd that they didn't think to reinforce the beds. Apparently the golem that had occupied my bunk prior to my camp experience was much heavier than myself. This is, of course, an assumption based off the fact that my bed springs had committed hara-kiri and have left a disemboweled mess of springs and steel. Now when I lay down I sink down to the floor and sleep in my mattress cocoon.


After we unpacked what was left of our belongings, we were introduced to our counselors, who then raided our materials for contraband.


My favorite counselor so far is Head Counselor Chip, a surly ex-Navy Seal with a glass eye. He has helped us “find our fit” through such clever motivational phrases as, “Find your fit.”


When asked about how he lost his eye, Head Counselor Chip popped out the glass peeper already in his head and stated, “I gouged it out so I could get a better look at how much you've let yourselves go.” He chuckled lightly and proceeded to drop the eye into my hand. Hours later, when I awoke in the first aid hutch, I was told that I had blacked out and was informed that the reason my throat hurt was because I had been screaming so loudly.


Well, it seems that dinner time has in fact has come. Counselor Chip has promised us a Southwest blend of beans and no-carb tortillas. He has even donned a festive sombrero to mark the occasion. I’ve also been told that they will serve us dinner tonight in the Reflection Room, with that damnable scale hovering over us like a grim specter of things to come.


Until next time family unit


Sincerely,


Billy


P.S. Fun Camp Fact: Head Counselor Chip has shared a delightful story of how he and his wife had turned a once-dilapidated internment camp into the proud Children’s Weight Management Facility that it is today.


P.P.S. I hope that Cheryl, the sweet sister that she is, is enjoying her graduation present and having a great time in Maui...

Letter From Camp # 2

Letters From Camp Part 2

Letter 2

Dear Famn-Damily,

Well it seems like we have had a miscommunication. Apparently sarcasm doesn’t translate through the written word for some of you...that and I may have over-exaggerated a little in my last letter and would like to clear the air. I would like to let Mom know that I am flattered and thankful that she thought to alert the police to the situation, as unnecessary as that turned out to be. After discussing the letter with Head Counselor Chip, the camp therapist, and the state police, they have decided to let me stay here at Camp Sacajawea under the condition that I write a “retraction” in this letter.

First off, we weren’t literally “stripped naked” when they weighed us in yesterday...but, to be fair, they did make us take off our shoes. Second, one person did call me “moobs,” but it wasn’t a counselor, it was my bunk mate Richard (who, for the sake of argument, has larger “moobs” than I do). He’s a nice guy actually, just a little rough around his rounded edges.

Third, and final, I didn’t black out like I said I did (but that d-bag Head Counselor Chip DID pop his glass eye out into my hand, which was gross and scared the crap out of me). On a positive note my letter did get me a new mattress, since the old one was mashed up something fierce from its prior owner...so that’s good, right?

I’m sorry for any stress that I have caused. It’s just that I am still a little confused as to why I have been sent here when everyone else seems to be free to have a more relaxing summer. And by “everyone” I mean Cheryl.

Counselor Chip did come through on the grub last night. We ate burritos with organic pico-de-gallo. The food’s not that bad. That doesn’t make it In-n-Out Burger, by any means, but it’s still a meal. I am surprised at what kinds of food we are served. It’s just like the food at home, only in more controlled portions.

While we are on the subject of food, today we met with the camp nutritionist/physician, Dr. Karen Folmack. She is in charge of setting up our diet and meal plans for the whole camp. She took a BMI (Body Mass Index) then ran me through some tests. She had me run on a treadmill for 30 minutes and then do a series of pushups, sit-ups, and lifting various weights in fifteen-minute intervals. She said this was to test out my stamina and durability. Hours later, when I woke up in the first aid hutch, again, I was told that I blacked out...just kidding. I did get really winded though. Dr. Folmack says that will not be the case in the coming days, so that’s good, I guess.

I feel kind of bad for some of the other campers, though. The kids are all different sizes, and while I might be a little “portly” (as mom puts it), there are some people here that really need some help. There’s this kid, Jacob, his parents had to bring him here in a special van because he couldn’t fit on the bus with everyone else. When his parents pulled away, everyone was staring at him. He tried to look strong but last night...I thought I heard him crying.

Tomorrow they promise to set us up with our personal fitness coaches, and we get to choose what activities we want to do. I’m thinking of hitting up the rock wall and maybe kickboxing. They offer a swimming class here, but I’m not sure if I’m ready to remove my shirt just yet. It was hard enough to do that in front of Dr. Folmack.

Well that’s enough for tonight. They’ve assigned all of our bunks with different animal names. We are the otters, and we have to make shirts and a chant for flag ceremonies tomorrow.

Well, I have to get to bed. Otter is Hotter!

Love,

Billy

P.S. Could you guys send me my friend Jared’s address? They don’t have e-mail here, and I wanted to write him a letter. Thanks again.

Letter From Camp # 3

Letters From Camp Part 3



Letter 3


Jared,


Sup, J - Dawg? It's your pal Billy B - nuts! Just checking up on things from camp (also, sorry I couldn't send this in an e-mail but they don't have an Internet connection here at “weight management camp.” I find it odd that they have computers for us to type letters and calculate weight index...but no Internet). Speaking of the lack of technology, how's the new Call of Duty game? I can't wait to get home to whoop your ass in multi-player! Maybe my new pal Richard can join us online (he's my bunk mate). I think you'd dig him.


Camp's been okay so far. We had a rough first couple of days (long story, which I'll tell you when I get home), but the drama has leveled off a bit. We've actually been pretty busy the last week or so with different activities. I am taking cardio kick boxing and have hit the man-made rock wall the other day, and to tell you the truth, I feel...good! Exhausted, but good. I like the energy I get from hitting the punching bag. Head Counselor Chip says that I should visualize the bag as a “proxy” (not sure what that means) for all of my bad feelings and negative self-worth. I'm not 100% positive about what he means by “bad feelings.” All I know is that guy is a one-eyed creepo and my knuckles hurt like Hell.


I have to be honest with you. The real reason I am writing you is because I need to let off some steam. (Yes, I do really want to play Call of Duty, but just hear me out.) I was really pissed about my parents sending me here even after my loud and prolonged objections. I thought it was because I wasn't like the other kids on our block, or because I wasn't the way they wanted me to be...but I'm trying to see things from their point of view, and I think I've figured it out. The camp therapist asked us why we thought we were here. It was a difficult question to answer. I don't know if I told you this, but I stopped breathing when I was asleep about a month ago. My mom rushed into my room, thinking I was choking. She took me to the hospital, where they put me on some kind of steroid to open my lungs. I felt like my chest was caving in on me. I kept gasping for air but only got a little at a time. The doctors ran some tests and came back. He said I had asthma and something called “sleep apnea.” (I know what you're thinking: what the hell is that, right?) Well, it's when you stop breathing when you sleep. The doctor told my mom that it was because of my weight and that if I didn't do something soon it would probably get worse. She waited for him to leave the room, put her arms around me, and then she cried...hard! I've never seen my parent's cry before, not even at my grandpa's funeral...it kind of freaked me out. Ever since I got here I've just been thinking about that night. I hated myself that night, but not anymore.


I've been here a week and a half now, and I've lost fifteen pounds...it doesn't seem that much, but if you stack it up to how long I might be here, and I might lose at least thirty-five to forty pounds before I come home. That's, like, half of you!


I have to go, Jared, but I just wanted to write to show you how I'm doing, and if you see my mom...give her a big hug from me.


Later Bro,


Bill-Bo Baggins


Letter From Camp # 4


Letters From Camp 4


Letter 4


Can you believe it’s been two months already? Sorry I haven’t written in a while. I’ve been incredibly busy. We--and when I say “we” I mean my bunk mates, the Fighting Otters--are the camp champions for the end of camp relay! (Note: I’m not sure if otters actually fight. We just thought that “The Otters” by itself was kind of lame.) The relays are a yearly camp tradition where all of the bunks (Cabins A-D) compete in three physical competitions that spanned across our second-to-last day here.

The first event was elimination paintball, where our team mowed over our enemies, the Wombats, the Gorillas, and the Biting Snakes, like Rambo in First Blood: Part II! Well, sort of like several of Rambo’s extended family who aren’t as physically active as him but are still trying. This was only the second time I have ever played paintball, but I enjoyed it much more this time around, seeing that I am a smaller target (-30 pounds and counting!). Interesting side note, some members of the Biting Snakes actually do bite, which makes this my third visit to the first-aid hutch this summer. As soon as I got there the nurse snorted teasing and said with all the time we’ve been spending together they might as well have moved my bunk down there. She chuckled at her little joke...while I stood there bleeding. Nice lady.

The second event was the advanced rock wall that the other camp members have appropriately named Doomsday. Oddly enough, this is where I excelled. I have been dominating the rock wall ever since my second day of camp. It’s a full-body work out and the main reason why I have lost as much weight as I have. So much so that Richard, my nickname-giving bunkmate, says that I could totally get away with just a training bra now. That’s what’s so great about Richard. He’s always looking for ways to help people...even when they don’t ask for it.

The third and final event was the swimsuit competition. Just kidding...it was the one-and-one-half-mile fun run. They lined up the entire camp, and we raced. I like running as much as the next kid, but I thought calling it the “fun run” was a tad bit misleading. It really didn’t matter how you did though; there were people walking, sprinting, jogging--all that mattered was that we finished. That’s something I have learned here: always finish the goals that you set out to reach, and even if you don’t do that well you still accomplished something. Interesting development, Head Counselor Chip kept pace with me the whole time. Gotta be honest, old Popeye and I had a pretty good time talking and running. He mentioned that I was beginning to “find my fit.” I laughed slightly and then suggested after the race we could find some fish from Lake Whinniepoopoo...there was an awkward moment when Head Counselor Chip revealed that a fishing accident was how he had lost his eye. Apparently there’s a segment about in on When Recreational Fishing Goes Wrong. I’ll have to check it out sometime on YouTube.

Either way, with all of The Fighting Otters’ times added together and with us winning the rock wall and the paintball challenge, we ended up taking first place over all! They took our picture by the large trophy (which looks as if it hasn’t been removed from the trophy case since the camp’s founding) and gave us all mini-trophies to take home. I was a little offended when they added, jokingly, that the trophies were not made out of chocolate...but not even that could hurt me today.

Looking back on my time here I can only say...thanks. I mean, I’m gonna be honest with you. At first I thought you were doing this to be a pain in my ass (sorry for swearing, Mom), but after all Dr. Folmack has said about the dangers and boredom of living a “sedentary lifestyle” (or what Cheryl so politely calls “sitting on my fat ass playing video games”), I can see now why this meant so much to you and why it should have meant so much more to me. I always felt bad about ditching out when my friends would all go hiking or something, but I never really felt motivated enough to make a choice and change all that. Guess you can’t always take things at face value, huh?

Well, we are loading the buses bright and early tomorrow. You should probably get this before I get on the plane to come home.


Love, Peace, and Chicken Grease!


Your son,


Billy


P.S. But seriously, Cheryl got to go to Maui? What the hell!?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

School Days...

Anyone who is in school or finished with school knows that when you are done with the crap you don't want to study, you get into the crap you DO want to study and it becomes a breeze!
I am currently in my prerequisites for film and that includes taking a Photoshop basics class.

Here are some of the projects we started with...

First Project (Below) - Our instructor let us do a small collage on our own. Note: This was pretty much my first time on Photoshop since Sophomore year of High School so forgive the fact that it's crap.
























First Lesson (Below) - Text and Image layers. This was our first assignment teaching us how to layer our images and use the text tool.



















Second Lesson (Below) - Gradient tool and masking layers. We were taught here how to blend two separate images together and use the mask layer.

















Text Collage (Below) - We were instructed to make a collage using different text and color tools. The Dorothy image is by a British Graffiti-Artist named Banksy.


















Web Page & Slicing Tool (Below) - We were instructed to create an index page and use the slicing tool to link the pages. I did not post the rest of the pages because I had to do them by hand in HTML and they suck.



















Patriotic Collage (Below) - I hate this kind of required stuff. The kind where we have to do a cheesy theme...but it was fun to flex my new knowledge.



















Final Collage (Below) - This was our final collage in Photoshop. It was simple but fun. The headline was originally going to say "In Nomeni Patri, Et Fili, Spiritus Sancti" But that would be a touch too blasphemous for my liking. The funny thing is the picture in the bottom-left-corner is one that Brad Taylor had previously Photoshopped himself into...see if you can spot him.



















The Photoshop section was a blast...I probably won't use it as much with my degree but it's always fun to learn. Right now we are starting our Adobe Soundbooth section and then onto Premiere!

Even though this is only a beginning class it really gave me a taste of what is to come in the more comprehensive courses, and I have to be honest...I CAN'T WAIT!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Books I am reading / Want to Read Before The New Year

I love to read...but I also am also easily distracted by movies, school, TV, etc. So I have decided to get back to my regular reading regimen and hit the books. It's been fun so far; Erin loves to read as much (I dare say more) than I do, so we have found ourselves cuddled up on her couch warmly reading to our hearts' content.

I have started off pretty spastically in terms of what I am reading. I bought The Year of Living Biblically, by A.J. Jacobs, after Erin heard the author's interview about the book on public radio. And I literally just grabbed The Bourne Supremacy off the shelf. (That book, I must say, was not all that entertaining. The Bourne Identity as a book, however, was INCREDIBLE.) My hopes are to read a healthy dose of fiction, non-fiction, and educational books altogether.

I have also started off slowly with reading about 100 pages a day, and once I got into the swing of reading constantly again I have lifted my page limit and just read until I feel like stopping.

I have also added the occasional graphic novel or two. A lot of people talk down on comics, but I dare you to read V for Vendetta or The Watchmen and not be moved by the heavy political and social undertones of the time which still reflect today as well as the near-Shakespearean dialogue of Allan Moore.

So, here is a list of books that I have read, am currently reading, and want to read before the end of the year. (Short descriptions are included on some; for more in-depth coverage on each book, just click the linked titles.)

Books Read This Month (October 2009)
 
This was an interesting piece of fiction. It's an account of the unknown years of Jesus based from the point of view of his pal, Biff. There is some fun religious fact and a ton of religious fiction that has nothing to do with Christ but if you can put your tongue in your cheek and take a step back, you will probably enjoy this book.

The Year of Living Biblically - A.J. Jacobs (341 Pg.)
A.J. Jacobs' experiment/memoir is a fun, insightful, humorous, and sometimes touching read. The author, a secular Jew who describes his involvement in his religion as, "I am Jewish like the Olive Garden is Italian," and "The only Jewish thing we did was when we put the Star of David on our Christmas Tree," decides that with the birth of his son, he should explore and seek religion for himself. He does this by deciding to follow all of the rules in the Bible (the big ones and the lesser-known strange ones) for an entire year. This includes the ten commandments, the not wearing of mixed fibers, stoning adulterers, etc. To be fair, he has a panel of religious experts representing Orthodox Judaism, Evangelical Christianity, and Agnosticism to help him with any questions he had. The year-long journey is a fun read. But...the only thing I felt a little cheated on was when he studied the New Testament. He admits to learning a lot and coming to a large respect of Jesus Christ but also says that because of his Jewish ancestry he had a hard time allowing himself to really get into that part of the Bible due to loyalty to his family. I understand his loyalties, but I find that hardly objective in a sense.

The Bourne Supremacy - Robert Ludlum (The Bourne Identity is MUCH better) (646 Pg.)
David Webb is coerced into becoming Jason Bourne again when his wife is kidnapped by the government in order to have Bourne kill a copy-cat assassin who has taken the Jason Bourne name and is using it to kill in China. A slow read that tends to repeat facts over, and over, and over, and over, and...you get the point. But I will admit that no one writes action sequences quite like Robert Ludlum.

Nothing Very Important and Other Stories - Bela Petsco (208 Pg.)
This is an interesting book. The author is a long-time friend of my father and used to teach English at BYU. It is a collection of short stories surrounding an older missionary who is a convert to the LDS church. It's part autobiography and part creative non-fiction, with some fiction mixed in as well. It was eventually banned from Deseret Book due to some "inappropriate themes" But after reading it I can only assume it was for putting a close magnifying glass to the realities that some (and hope to God not all) people face while on a mission. And since the story was told from a convert's point of view, I found it to be quite refreshing, objective, and even spiritually uplifting.

The Halloween Tree - Ray Bradbury (145 Pg.)
A classic story of friendship and the true meaning of Halloween. I loved this movie as a kid and was happy to find out that it was a Ray Bradbury story. A group of friends search for their kidnapped friend through time and make a beautiful sacrifice for him in the end. 

Graphic Novels Read This Month (October 2009)

V for Vendetta - Allan Moore & David Lloyd

Hellblazer: Dangerous Habits - Garth Ennis

Hellblazer: Damnation's Flame - Garth Ennis

Hellblazer: Freezes Over - Brian Azzarello

Hellblazer: Highwater - Brian Azzarello

The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite - Gerard Way & Gabriel Ba

The Umbrella Academy: Dallas - Gerard Way & Gabriel Ba


Currently Reading

The Complete Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1138 Pg.) I found it odd that the first Sherlock Holmes story ever written was a complete anti-Mormon propaganda piece. Arthur Conan Doyle eventually apologized to the Mormon church for "misrepresenting" them in such a way, but not publicly, and several decades after he had success in writing the book. It's in my opinion that he jumped on the anti-Mormon fad of the time (during which a large amount of new missions were being activated and an even larger amount of anti-Mormon literature was published). I enjoy the author's writing style but really can't shake the fact that "Sir" Arthur Conan Doyle is an opportunist in the worst sense of the word.

Books I Want to Read Before The New Year (Before January 2010)

This is a non-fiction book from the author of Fight Club and Lullaby.
"It's the closest thing he may ever write to an autobiography, Chuck Palahniuk provides answers to all these questions and more as he takes you through the streets, sewers, and local haunts of Portland, Oregon." (Summary taken from the author's website) http://chuckpalahniuk.net/books/fugitives-and-refugees

Hopefully I will finish all of these before the New Year! 
Also, if anyone has a good suggestion on a book or Graphic Novel please post them.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

New York, New York, NEW YOOOOOORRRRKK!!!!

I posted a small blog about our trip to New York, but after Erin read it she said, "You know we also had fun in New York too..." And she is right. I just wanted to convey through my previous blog about my disdain for the airport and our trouble with it...not with the trip to New York itself.


So, here is our good New York Experience.


Now, I don't mean to ring our own bells here but we hit nearly every popular landmark on our first day. We entered Manhattan in a Cab, driven by the most angry man I have ever met, he became even more irritated when we said we were probably going to just buy a Metrocard for the rest of our trip.


Once on the island of Manhattan we saw the Chrysler building (Even though we weren't allowed inside), we saw the New York Public Library (Currently under renovation but also where they filmed Ghostbusters), We took the NBC studio tour, Visited ABC studios, and the Empire State Building.


At the Empire State building we met a nice family from Salt Lake City who were visiting the city with their newly returned missionary son, who had served in New York. Along the tour he gave us some great places to visit and eat for cheap, seeing that everything in New York costs an arm and a leg. One being a Texas BBQ place that would give you half a BBQ chicken and meal for only $5.00.


After a very long day of walking (really the only good and fast way to travel in New York...other than the subway.) we went back to our hotel and ordered Chinese food at 2:00 in the Morning! This is the thing I miss the most about New York, we could pretty much find any sort of food and entertainment at all hours of the day.


The next day we bought our Metrocards and boarded the subway for the first time. I really don't know what people are so afraid of when it comes to the Subway.


There is a basic, unspoken, subway etiquette.


1.You don't talk to anyone and they will do the same to you. Let's face it in the subway it's hot, it smells funny, and no one gives a damn about where you are from so lets be like my family and avoid meaningless conversation.


2. If a woman, enfeebled, or elderly person boards and you have a bench seat...give them the bench seat. Come on, let's be polite.


3. Begging or panhandling is illegal. But that doesn't stop them from doing it. So it's up to you...donate, don't donate, I chose the first of these two but then again I was only there for a week.


4. Don't act like a tourist and people won't treat you like one. We were mistaken for New York natives by most of the people we met "including the usher at the play we saw on Broadway."


So, follow these rules and you will do fine.


We boarded our train and took a trip to WTC ground Zero. (Pretty Much the end of the line) It was in the middle of re-construction and we really didn't get to see that much due to high fences and blockades. I hate to say it but it's hard to have a touching moment when a security guard is screaming "NO PICTURES!" at you.


We then took the very long walk along the Hudson river where we got the breathtaking view of The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. But by this time our feet were KILLING US! So in typical tourist fashion...we kept walking. We ended up in China town and Little Italy (Running North and South of each other). It was like walking through a giant sale. Tons of people on the sidewalks screaming out variations of "Want a Rolex? You come in and buy! Massage ten dolla! This all high quality stuff. You want a table?" It was like salesmania there! China town is where we did most of our gift shopping. I bought T-shirts for all of my friends and family as did Erin and Diana. We eventually tuckered out and had dessert in Little Italy, a ricotta cheesecake that was AMAZING! We then boarded our train and arrived at our hotel around 3:00 A.M. We hit the sack and didn't get up till TWO in the AFTERNOON!


Getting up that late was okay, as New York is the city that never sleeps. We showered and dressed up for our most exciting day...TIMES SQUARE and BROADWAY!!!! The only reason anyone should go to New York! Times Square was packed with the tourists, locals, and once again...salesman. But it was a good thing because it had started to rain and umbrellas were only $3.00. We walked the brightly lit main street and checked out the stores. We then stood in line for our play on Broadway. Avenue Q, probably my second favorite musical of all time, the first being Crazy for You (you can't beat Gershwin).


Avenue Q is an homage to the PBS children's television program Sesame Street. Unlike Sesame Street, Avenue Q openly addresses adult topics such as racism, pornography, and homosexuality; in fact, because of its adult language and content and "full puppet nudity", the show specifically disclaims any connection to either Sesame Workshop or The Jim Henson Company. The characters who are not puppets relate to the puppets, rather than to the actors holding them. The puppets also speak directly to each other and never to the actors operating them (although at the end of "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist", Gary Coleman puts his hands on the shoulders of Kate Monster's puppeteer). During the course of the show, a puppet character may be operated by more than one of the actor-operators, although the same actor creates the voice for a particular puppet even if he or she is not holding the puppet at the time. The puppeteers wear nondescript black/gray clothing while the puppets and the three human characters (Brian, Christmas Eve and Gary Coleman) are dressed in bright colors.


I have to say that though it had some course language...It was HILARIOUS! Wouldn't suggest some of my friends see it but if you want...C'est la vie.


After the show we found a fun 1950's style diner with great food and singing waiters...super gay singing waiters. None the less it was fun (and expensive).

We spent the rest of our trip revisiting the places such as the Hudson River and Ground Zero. Then packed up to head ourselves home.

All in all it was the best vacation I have ever had...except for the 9 hour wait on the tarmac and sweltering heat.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Proof That We Are Slowly And Willfully Slipping Into Banality! (Copied From My Facebook Page July, 2nd 2009)

I was online today doing my math homework when I decided to take a short break and watch a Gorrilaz documentary on YouTube. I was enjoying my time learning how a very artistic and groundbreaking group came together when I stumbled across this...

http://www.youtube.com/user/Fred

The link, as posted above, is a YouTube channel for an obvious candidate for ADHD, Meth, or both, named Fred. For some reason, Fred gets around 6,000,000 views and was recently nominated for a Teen Choice Award. 
My question is....WHY???? Why do we allow this to become popular? It's not funny, it's not in the least original or even witty! It's a kid who filmed himself rattling off dick and fart jokes for ten minutes and then speeds up the sound in Adobe Premiere...yet...He's getting an award for it? 

When did I fall asleep and then wake up in a place where everyone is okay with mediocrity? 

There are thousands of talented writers, comedians, musicians, etc., that have so much to offer, but none of it is seen because for some reason everyone's eyes are attached to something completely useless!

It's this strange mentality we have that makes us ask, Why should anyone read Infinite Jest, Breakfast of Champions, or The Epic of Gilgamesh when everyone is slobbering over Twilight and whatever excrement Dan Brown is crapping out? 
or
Who needs Arrested Development and good writing when we have American Idol, Reality TV, and Fred?

Well to the people asking those questions F*@K You!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Weight Problem

My mirror is a liar. A real cold, son-of-a-bitch liar too. Because every time I look in the mirror I think, "Hey, I look pretty good. Everything looks proportionate." And then I start off on my merry way...that is, until someone takes my picture. 

Because cameras are the bringers of truth...chubby, no-neck, spare tire, man-boobs truth. 

It's strange that I can look in the mirror and feel like myself but whenever I see a picture that someone has taken of me I think, "Who in the hell is that guy? Did he eat the Mirror Me?"

But it's high time I take responsibility for my own actions. 
Five years ago I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism
In one month I went from weighing a healthy 150 pounds to 190 pounds. I was exhausted to the point that I once slept an entire 24 hours (6:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M.)
I was then put on medication that helped regulate my metabolism again.
I exercised regularly an eventually got back down to 150 pounds... I looked like this...

Me One Year Ago...
  


















I then broke my foot playing indoor soccer and over the 4 months I was in the cast I got off my exercise regime.

But...I now have to take responsibility for the fact that I am yet again back to the unhealthy weight of 190 pounds. Here is me now.

Me Now...



















If what you're thinking is HOLY CRAP!!!! Then you are right!

But I can't blame the cast for my weight gain. I went through the last year and have come up with some startling evidence that this is all my own fault.

Neil's list of evidence why he HIMSELF is the main reason he is fat now...

1. After I order at a fast food place, when I pull up to a drive through window the employee is always surprised that there is only one person in the car.
2. I once bought a deep fryer for the sole purpose of deep frying a Twinkie and a snickers bar...Granted, I only did it once, but COME ON
3. I eat maybe one meal a day and it is usually a BIG meal and late at night.
4. I never exercise anymore.
5. I nearly pass out when walking up the stairs in the Gunther Trades building, so I have been taking the elevator, even though it is slow and takes longer.
6. I always eat out. I can cook and pretty well but have just been too lazy!
7. My sleeping patterns are atrocious. On days I have classes I get up at Seven A.M. but on days I don't, I stay up late the night before and sleep in till noon or one.
8. The rare times I do bake or cook I end up making Muddy Buddies or cookies or something high in fat.
9. I drink Mexican Coca-Cola like it's Ambrosia.
10. When we go out to eat it's usually at places that serve hunks of meat on a sword.
11. I have become a lazy asshole.  

I am sick of this! So...it's time for a change. I have got a gym pass and am turning my life around. Starting NOW!

Here is the plan so far:

1. Get on a regular sleeping schedule. Be in bed by at least Eleven and up at Seven on School days and no later than Nine on Days off.

2. Eat three meals a day at the same time every day. I will try to keep it at least 1600 calories and have a small snack in between meals.

3. Eat at home more often or at least pre-prepare meals so I don't fall behind.

4. GO TO THE FU$%ING GYM! And don't miss any days barring Sundays, injury, or death!

5. Take responsibility for my actions when it comes to my weight.

Well there's my rant for the night. Hopefully it will work out and if you have any tips feel free to post them...but please be gentle.

Thank you,

Goodnight

- Neil Hiatt


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Napoleon Complex or Lack Thereof

For those of you who know me, and the few who don't, I am short...or at least that is what people keep telling me. I stand currently, without shoes, at 5 ft and just barely 8 inches. Throughout my life I have never felt disadvantaged or embarrassed about my short stature. It has not hindered me in social or dating situations, nor have I ever lashed out in violence because I've felt inadequate because of my size. But it's odd to see the people who are short in stature, like myself, fall into the stereotype of the dreaded "Napoleon Complex."


According to the ever so "accurate" (;-p) Wikipedia:

" The Napoleon complex is a colloquial term describing an alleged type of inferiority complex which is said to affect men, who are short in stature. The term is also used more generally to describe people who are driven by a perceived handicap to overcompensate in other aspects of their lives. This term is also known as Napoleon syndrome, Short Man syndrome, Little Man syndrome and Small Man syndrome. It does not appear in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The Napoleon complex is named after French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte."

I find it funny that because one person was perceived as short and because of the power this person obtained, anyone who is short is now stereotyped with being a megalomaniac.

But, apparently, the Napoleon part of the complex (according to sources) was not entirely accurate:

"The conventional wisdom is that Napoleon overcompensated for his short height by seeking power, war and conquest. However, Napoleon was actually of average height for his time period and misconceptions may have been due to an incorrect conversion of his height; historians have now suggested Napoleon was 1.68m / 5 feet 6 inches tall. The perception that Napoleon was short may also be related to his often being seen with his Imperial Guard, who were of above average height. In psychology, the Napoleon complex is regarded as a derogatory social stereotype."

So in reality Napoleon was of average height for that time. Also, according to scholarly research, Jesus would have been of diminished height as well, because of the localization and height for that time period. And, seeing that Jesus had control over the Earth and Man...was Napoleon (being that he was short and had control over of over half of the world) ever blamed for having a Jesus complex? I doubt it.

Short people of the world! I say, rise above this stereotype. If you are under 5 ft 10 inches, DO NOT BUY A MASSIVE TRUCK to compensate for your literal shortcomings. Do not pick a fight with every person who is bigger than you, like some bull dog who is foaming at the mouth! Rise above them in all the ways you cannot physically do so! UNITE!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Glad to see that bureaucracy has yet to fail us....oh, wait

For the many people who actually read this blog (in reality about two people, Jacob Keele and Tess), you know that I am going to UVU for school. I recently dropped a class that turns out would be much better time-wise if I were to take it this summer. So, I dropped the class thinking that would be the end of it, when about two weeks later I received this in the mail...












This is a check from UVU (don't worry I have removed any information that could get me into trouble) for the amount of $2.00 and 00/100 cents...seriously.
I had paid $379 for class fees this semester and had a $1200 tuition wavier, so apparently, out of that $379 I forked over...only $2.00 of it was for that class.

Now, here is where we get into some fun math: The average office worker makes between $5.85 and $13.85 an hour, but since it's UVU I am going to say it's only $5.85. The average accountant makes about $49.00 per hour. So lets assume that it took the office worker 20 minutes to process the paperwork and the accountant, 15 minutes to do his or her job. So that would cost about $14.10 to have them process this one check. If we add about $0.50 for the cardstock it was printed on and $0.44 for the postage, then we have the grand total of $15.04, just to mail me this oh-so-important check for TWO DOLLARS!

If it weren't a federal crime, I would gold plate and frame the damn thing!

And the brilliant cherry on the government cake is that the $2.00 doesn't really cover the gas it takes to drive to the bank to cash the check...thank you, and good day.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

My (Hypothetical) Death Via Airplane...

This last summer Erin, her roommate, Diana, and I went to New York on vacation.
If I had to suggest at least one thing everyone should do in their life, I'd say GO TO NEW YORK CITY would be at the top of the list. We saw a play on Broadway, visited historic landmarks, and had an overall great time (much to the chagrin of my wallet).

The only negative experiences we had in New York were two fold.

First...our hotel!

We stayed at the JFK airport Ramada in Jamaica, New York.
So...pretty much on the corner of Stabsville and Rapetown. I'm not sure about Erin and Diana's room, but in my room one of the previous tenants had taken to slicing the window drapes with a butterfly knife...so that was a great, warm, safe, feeling for me.

(see)















Also, I'm pretty sure the hotel itself was on egg crates.

(See)













Second...Our Return Flight Home

Exhausted, we drudged our weary selves onto the plane, like B-movie zombies (quite literally for Erin, who had taken an Ambien 30 minutes before we boarded).

We were ready to go home and get back into our everyday boring lives, filled with school, work, and other stuff... Our plane was taxied out onto the runway when suddenly, BOOM! We were hit by a massive thunderstorm, which left us stranded for two hours.

THEN, we had to wait until all of the planes in front of us had taken off, all 41 of them. It was during this time that Erin had entered her half-awake, half-drug-induced rage. "I ordered a water!" she said curtly as the flight attendant walked nervously by...even though we hadn't taken off and the drink cart hadn't passed us by yet. Normally my sweet, gorgeous girlfriend--who is by no means editing this blog for me right now--would never do such a dreadful thing outside the confines of the anger prescription she'd carried on the plane with her. But I digress...

We were finally able to get into the air and flew directly into the storm. So let's do the math here: We were stuck in an airplane cabin on a tarmac for over four hours. I have one laptop and one iPod and both batteries had worn out by hour two. We took off and on our four-hour flight home they sent the drink cart only once to give us what I can only call a "splash" of water in a Dixie cup and a handfull of dry-roasted peanuts. If we wanted any real food we were going to have to fork out $8.00 for a finger sandwich that I wouldn't even serve at my wedding! Because Erin says they clash with her six colors anyway...but I digress.

As my stomach rumbled and my boredom grew, I reached a moment of clarity, what the Buddhist monks might call "enlightenment." Now this probably wasn't true enlightenment (being that it was brought on by hunger, boredom, and higher nitrogen levels in my brain from the high altitude, as well as being in an all-oxygen environment) but at the least we could call it an epiphany.

So, as I was saying, a single thought struck through my head like the flash of lightning threatening to send us careening toward the ground. As we made our decent into Utah, I could see the federal prison like a tiny speck down below. I thought of a death row inmate and how his final moments would play out. At the cost of the taxpayers, he would be given a steak dinner, a beer, a cigarette, and at least fifteen minutes of clean female companionship before he were to die...

Now, if my plane were to crash in a super-heated conglomerate of fire, steel & my human flesh, the only thing that they would find in my stomach would be peanuts and shame.

So I would have payed $500 dollars for a horrible death and the worst last meal in human history, while my tax dollars would give Joe Van Wifekiller a four-course meal and something warm to rub up against...

I hate flying Coach!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Just to prove the joke is mine....

It's not that great of a joke but I had to post it somewhere so I can prove it's mine if needs be.


Shaquille O'Neal has a new TV show called "Shaq Vs." Where he challenges other athletes at their sports (E.G. Football, soccer, etc.). But to me an athlete vs. another athlete isn't much of a challenge. What they should really do is put Shaq up against something hard for him...like Shaq vs. remedial reading, Shaq vs. Child Support...or Shaq vs. the free throw.

Friday, July 17, 2009

A Real Life Bond Villain

A friend of mine from Jr. High posted a link today that I found interesting.
Here it is...

http://www.nola.com/news/index.ssf/2009/07/bill_gates_of_microsoft_envisi.html

The article talks about how Bill Gates and some of his "associates" (Henchmen would be more fitting) are building a machine that can control parts of the Ocean in order to possibly dissipate incoming hurricanes. While this device would be AMAZING and could likely save countless human lives...I can't help but be a little nervous. 
Here's why...

What do you get when you have a super-nerdy billionaire, a corner on the world's software market, a machine that controls the FREAKING OCEAN, and the overall penchant for evil?

YOU GET A JAMES BOND VILLAIN!!!!

All Mr. Gates needs is a giant menacing chair, a cat, and an evil lair built inside of a dormant volcano and he is set! I hate to rag on the guy's incredible idea, it's just that you really can't help but draw some strong parallels between Mr. Gates and a nefarious super villain.
Could you picture the poster for the Bill Gates Bond flick?

I think it would look something like this...


Bill Gates gives a whole new meaning to the name octo-"pussy."
Don't get me wrong, I love the advancement in technology but if television and movies have taught me anything it's this,

1. Billionaires only build death machines.
2. Robots with Artificial Intelligence always rise up and kill their human masters. (T1, T2, IRobot, The Matrix, & 9)
3. To go through time you must first travel 88 Miles Per Hour. (BTTF)
4. Only Pretty People are allowed to save the Earth! (See: Transformers or anything by Michael Bay)

So keep an eye out!
Thank you,

Neil Spencer Hiatt