Sunday, May 30, 2010

My 10 Favorite Things

Well, I have been challenged by C.L. Hanson to come up with a 10 favorite things list. I will see what I can put together. These items are not in any particular order of more favorite or less favorite.

1. As with everyone else, my top favorite item is my family. My wife, son, and daughter just do it for me. I love being home with them. Life is just more fun when you can be with your family doing fun things.
2. Mountain biking. Blondie and I have enjoyed mountain biking for quite a few years now. My school is now finished and I am hoping to travel less, which I am hoping will lead us back to biking like we used to, almost every weekend.
3. Trains. I do not quite geek out about trains like some other train nerds, but I do enjoy them. I have photographed many trains; one of my favorite subjects. Recently, my son started getting into model trains. I have had some great times with him as we run his trains around his layout and just enjoy each other’s company. Yeah, trains are cool.
4. Photography. I have enjoyed taking pictures ever since high school. I took a 35 mm SLR camera on my mission and loved it. My camera was completely manual, which meant I learned a lot since it was completely up to me to take a good picture. Today, I have an awesome Nikon D300 DSLR, which is one of the big digital cameras that do everything. Even with all that, I still struggle with my confidence in taking a good picture. Gotta keep at it.
5. Punk Rock. Thanks to the Punk Rock movement of the 70s, we now have some kick ass music today. The Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Damned, and The Ramones along with other bands led the way in changing music forever. No longer did we have to listen to shitty Top 40 music, a band could get on stage with a big Fuck You! and play the music they wanted to play. I support that.
6. My favorite bands. In relation to #5, here is a list of some of my favorite bands. David Bowie, The Cure, Muse, Blue October, Green Day, Blink 182, Angels and Airwaves, Oingo Boingo, Depeche Mode, The Sex Pistols, The Ramones, Adam and the Ants, Morrissey, Garbage, Love and Rockets. There are many more, but you get the idea. Just for good measure, Country music can kiss my ass! Country music is popular because it appeals to the lowest common denominator. (Probably just lost some readers with that statement.)
7. Cool cars. I would not consider myself a car guy or gear head, but I do enjoy nice cars. I had the recent opportunity to take a 2009 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 out for a drive. This was an absolute amazing driving experience. I also like the Aston Martin DBS; that car is pure pornography. The Audi S5 is another cool car with beautiful styling. One of these days, I will have a nice car.
8. Computers and the Internet. I have basically focused my entire working career into the Information Technology arena, so I would consider it one my favorite things. The Internet is just cool. I can find out anything I want just by doing a search; no need to go to the library and search through books. Instead of praying and hoping for a spiritual answer, I can just pray to Google. I get all of my answers there now.
9. Mountains. I live in Utah for a reason, the landscape. I love being surrounded by mountains. Blondie and I will head up a trail and just play in the mountains either on a hike or riding our bikes. I get really bored in flat country; I need variety.
10. Cool haircuts. I really do not like boring hair. I am 39 years old with the sides and back of my head shorn very short. The top of my head has spikey hair that stands straight up. There is a reason why I call myself That Guy with the Hair. I stand out and people definitely notice me. I also like seeing unique hairstyles on other people. I love seeing a girl that has red, blue, or purple hair with a unique cut. The guy with the mohawk? That is just kick ass. Yes, I like cool hair.

Well I guess that does it. A fun challenge indeed. Since I do not have many readers, I will just encourage whoever wants to make their own list.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Wild Bill and the underwear scandal

Just after 2 am this morning, I received a phone call from one of my work friends (we’ll call him Wild Bill, not his real name, and not necessarily a wild guy, but you get the idea), he was feeling pretty sick. One of my first thoughts was, "I hope he doesn't ask me to perform a priesthood blessing." Years of religious teachings are hard to get away from.

Shortly after this call, I answered my door and he was not looking too good. He needed the keys to the car so he could go to the hospital. I asked if he wanted me to go with him, but he said he could drive himself. I programmed my GPS for the nearest hospital and handed it to him and wished him luck. As I closed the door, I turned only to notice that I had forgotten to give him the keys to the car. I grabbed them and opened the door; unfortunately, Wild Bill had already rounded the corner of the hallway. I called for him and as he came back around the corner, I heard the door to my hotel room shut and lock behind me with me standing in the hallway in nothing but my t-shirt and underwear. That was just great; let me tell you how I got to this point.

I first met Wild Bill just a few months back this year. He was a new hire and had come out on one of our installs. One of my other buddies and I went to dinner with Wild Bill and I soon found out that I liked this guy. Well, as we all know, I am in the process of leaving the Mormon (LDS) church. Wild Bill is a very strong member and is quite happy in the church; an interesting dynamic for sure. Since our first meeting, we have seen each other in the office and had some fun conversations. One of these included his participating in a church disciplinary council. He is the Executive Secretary of the bishopric in his ward and they asked him to attend. I think he took notes or something. It was very interesting to see his perspective of how everything was handled for the guy that the disciplinary council was for.

Anyway, just last week, Wild Bill and I ended up on another install together. It was a large install with many installers, but I was pretty sure that Wild Bill and I could end up having dinner together. As it turned out, we were able to have dinner on our own; yep, just a cute man couple out on a date. We had a great conversation and got to know each other better. I ordered a beer while we were there; I think I was mostly curious as to what his reaction might be. As it turned out, he did not react at all.

After hearing each others’ stories about how we met and married our wives, our conversation got much more interesting. He asked me about how I had got to where I was with the church and all. I thought to myself, “Well, this is going to be interesting to see how this turns out.” I told him my story about my parents, my dad’s conversion, and how I was raised in the church. I told him about my questions and finding the answers I was looking for. I was careful with the details of the church information because I did not want to offend him.

After I told him my story, I asked him what he thought. He said that he was fine and still wanted to be my friend. He also said that he has other friends that are in situations similar to mine and he is not here to judge. I found it very refreshing to have a devoted member of the church willing to accept me as a friend even though I am considered an apostate. I really like this guy.

Well, back to me standing in the hallway in just my underwear. Wild Bill asked, “Did you just get locked out of your room?” I said, “Yep, I sure did.” Well, I had no choice but to walk down from the second floor to the hotel desk on the first floor. Fortunately, since it was 2 am in the morning, no one was out and about. I went up to the desk and asked the desk guy for a room key. He asked me a few questions about who I was and what room I was in. He then asked, “Do you have any ID on you?” I looked at him in disbelief, “Uh, no.” Wild Bill was still with me and vouched for who I was. Well, after all that, I wished him well on his way to the hospital and I walked back to my room and went sleep again.

Sadly for Wild Bill, he is still not feeling too well today. He may end up going home tomorrow. I hope he gets to feeling better. The hospital said he might have some strong allergies or something. He is just having trouble breathing and getting energy.

You know, there is nothing quite like getting locked out of your room in nothing but your underwear. You have to suck up your pride and make the walk. Ha ha, good times.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Garbage, Not My Idea

For those people that know me and for those that are getting to know me on Facebook, I do not post the standard status updates on Facebook. How many times can we see that someone likes or dislikes the weather? Your kid smiled at you today? Well that is just great. I like to do things a little differently by using lyrics from songs quite often, although, I will post a regular status update in the mix also.

Last Sunday, I had to work a 12-hour day for my job out at a client’s location. It was long, a bit frustrating, and I was definitely ready for it to end. As a Facebook status, I posted lyrics from the song Not My Idea by Garbage. Some of you may not know who Garbage is. They are an alternative band that produced some great music during the 90s. They are still around, but are not as popular anymore.

Anyway, here are the lyrics that I posted on Facebook…

I bit my tongue and stood in line
with not much to believe in.
I bought into what I was sold
and ended up with nothing.

This is not my idea of a good time.
This is not my idea of a good time.
This is not my idea of a good time.
This is not my idea!

The funny thing is that I believe many people that know about me and my leaving the church thought that this was about church. My sister in law’s husband even posted a question wondering what I had bought into and got nothing. My sister in law is one of the family members that have joined Blondie and me in our disbelief in the church. Her husband still believes, so I think he wanted to see what I would say. I responded about my 12-hour day and everyone had a chuckle.

My sister in law had posted a comment of “Too fitting”; from her response, it looked like she thought I was talking about the church. I sent her a personal message indicating my suspicion and she replied that she did think that I was talking about the church. She was happy that I indicated that it was about work since it bothered her husband.

Well, with all of that aside, this song is a very appropriate song that can be viewed as a statement about how I feel about the church. Here are the lyrics to the entire song…

I bit my tongue and stood in line
With not much to believe in
I bought into what I was sold
And ended up with nothing

This is not my idea of a good time
This is not my idea of a good time
This is not my idea of a good time
This is not my idea

You thought that I would never see
What was meant for you was meant for me
I was distracted at the time
Forget about yours now what about mine

This is not my idea of a good time
This is not my idea of a good time
This is not my idea of a good time
This is not my idea

You thought I was a little girl
You thought I was a little mouse
You thought you'd take me by surprise
Now I'm here burning down your house

This is not my idea of a good time
This is not my idea of a good time
This is not my idea of a good time
This is not my idea.

So, for anyone that can relate to this song, this can be a new anthem for you. Listen to the song and these lyrics will really start to stick in your head. Now that I mention it, many Garbage songs have some cool lyrics. I think I’ll be posting a few of their songs here.

This is a really cool video created by a fan on YouTube.

Now I’m here burning down your house!
This is not my idea of a good time
This is not my idea!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Solidarity for Urban Koda

This post is to show my support of Urban Koda and his Koda Think Tank blog.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is not the one and only true church on this earth. The LDS church is just another man-made church just like all the rest of them. The "prophet" and leaders of the church are just old men doing what they think is right. Joseph Smith was a fraud and Brigham Young was the scum of the earth.

Urban Koda, I stand with you. I know that you are a good man and are doing what you think is best for you and your family.

I refuse to pay any money to the LDS church, nor will I follow its teachings. Alright LDS Church police, I have laid down the gauntlet. Bring it on!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Blondie and I got our tattoos last night. It was a fun experience and we highly recommend Painted Temple Tattoo in Provo, Utah. Mike did our tattoos and did a quality job. Yes, it did sting a bit, but nothing too unbearable. I really like how he did the yin yang with the tribal design on me. I like the Eastern philosophies such as Taoism and Buddhism. Blondie's butterfly is spectacular, the colors look so cool. Blondie and I are already planning on when we want to get our next ones. Good times.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Baptismal services and hymn

This past Saturday, Blondie and I went to some family baptisms. We found it very interesting to witness this important church event from a different perspective. One of the biggest things that I noticed was just how young these 8-year-old children are when being baptized. Do they really know what is going on? To me it looked they were just excited to be there and do what their parents had encouraged them to do since they were a baby. I am curious how many 8-year-old children actually approach their mom and dad and tell them that they do not want to be baptized. I have faint memories of my baptism; the pictures always help. Do you remember your interview with the bishop to see if you were worthy to be baptized? I know I sure don’t.

While we were in the chapel for the services, I thumbed through the hymnbook to see if I could find any interesting hymn that caught my eye. Sure enough, I found hymn # 240 Know This, That Every Soul Is Free. Here is a link to the song and here are the lyrics.

1. Know this that ev'ry soul is free,
To choose his life and what he'll be;
For this eternal truth is given,
That God will force no man to heaven.

2. He'll call, persuade direct a-right,
And bless with wisdom, love, and light;
In nameless ways be good and kind;
But never force the human mind.

3. Freedom and reason make us men:
Take these away, what are we then?
Mere animals, and just as well,
The beasts may think of heaven or hell.

4. May we no more our powers abuse,
But ways of truth and goodness choose;
Our God is pleased when we improve
His grace, and seek his perfect love.

5. It's my free will for to believe:
'Tis God's free will me to receive:
To stubborn willers this I'll tell,
It's all free grace, and all free will.

6. Those that despise, grow harder still;
Those that adhere, he turns their will:
And thus despisers sink to hell,
While those that hear in glory dwell.

7. But if we take the downward road,
And make in hell our last abode;
Our God is clear, and we shall know,
We've plunged ourselves in endless wo.

An interesting song indeed, it was written in 1805 and added to the hymnbook in 1835. Have you ever sung this one in sacrament? The official hymnbook only has the first four verses. Of course, the song ends with those people going to hell who do not choose God correctly. I find verses one and four interesting since it mentions that people are free to choose and powers should not be abused. Looking at the history of the church, I would say that some of that power has been abused.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Road biking lunacy

Okay, I need to bitch for a moment. Let me preface this by saying that Blondie and I are avid bike riders. We focus mainly on mountain biking since we feel it is a little safer than road biking, but we did pick up road bikes a couple of years ago and we do some road biking also.

Now, onto the matter at hand. As I was driving home this evening, I turned onto a narrow two-lane road that had a fair amount of traffic on it. Two road cyclists were up ahead and I was noticing that the vehicles had to swerve a large distance out and away from the cyclists. As I approached them, I noticed that instead of riding single file and giving room to the vehicles, they were riding side by side and chatting with each other! What the hell!?

Why do road cyclists do things like this? All too often, I have witnessed or heard about cyclists acting like they own the road, and we wonder why we hear about cyclists getting hit by cars. When Blondie and I go road riding, we always try to pick a route with less traffic and we always ride single file. The only time that we ride side by side is when we are on a lonely country road with no traffic at all. I don’t understand why cyclists feel like they can do these things and then complain that vehicles don’t give them enough space or right of way. Please be more careful when riding your bikes on the road and for safety’s sake, wear a helmet.

Alright, all done with my rant.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My dad's disturbing views on dating

I only have one brother, no sisters, and no other siblings. My brother and I have always been good friends. He now lives in various locations because he is in the Air Force. I always like to keep in touch with him and we have good conversations. The other day, we had a chance to chat for a while and he brought up a situation that we had talked about before, but this time, it affected me more.

Our dad is a very interesting person. As I have said in a previous post, he is a convert to the church and very devout in his beliefs. One of the aspects about him that is not necessarily church related is his view of black people. When my brother and I were younger, he would in a teasing way, warn us about not dating any black girls. Now that my brother and I are grown with our own children, this has taken an interesting twist.

My brother told me about the time that our parents came out to visit him and his family last year. They had an enjoyable visit, but on the night before they were leaving, our dad gave my brother a very disturbing piece of advice. He said referring to my brother’s only daughter, “Don’t let her marry a black man.” My brother asked, “What would you do if she did marry a black man?” Our dad said, “I would disown her!” My brother was floored. He was seething and wanted to say something, but since it was the last day of our parents visiting him, he did not want them to leave on bad feelings.

This incident happened last July. My brother told me in our most recent conversation that this still bothers him and he considers this to be the worst thing our dad has ever said to him. He could not believe that our dad would actually disown his granddaughter based upon her choice of a spouse. Would he really choose race over her? The interesting aspect is that our dad said the same thing to Blondie and me later that same year. We responded with, “She can marry whoever she likes.” Since our relationship with my parents has been strained since Blondie and I told them our feelings about the church, they did not press the issue.

When my brother told me this story again, it really got me thinking about how we would react if our daughter ever did date a black boy. How would my parents react? With as strongly as I feel about my children and my wife, I believe that I would react pretty strongly if my dad were to say anything to our daughter or her boyfriend/fiancé. Our daughter is a beautiful girl that is free to date any boy regardless of race; Blondie and I have no problem with this. She is only 10, but we have already encouraged her to be accepting of anyone regardless of color. If she wants to date a boy of a different race, that is fine with us. I hope down the road, that my dad will not butt in with his outdated opinions regarding interracial dating and marriage. I really want to view my dad in the best light, but statements like this are very troubling.