Friday, April 30, 2010

The Long Way Home

Welp, here it is in all it's glory, and official Audience Award winner from the College Movie Festival.
My first "official" DP credit. And let me clarify, all I did was DP. Definitely an interesting experience. Not exactly the content I'm usually interested in, but for a Die Hard homage, I think it fits in pretty well.

(watch it in HD!)

still have legs and arms

I got home this morning with the sun right in my eyes
And there was no warning as it took me by surprise as it
Hit me like an Act of God, causing my alarm

My feet land in loud exaltation against the tile flooring on the 4th floor. Friday at 8am and the science building is in a lull. The long hallway stretches past empty classrooms. The rooms have a blue haze, a dim sunlight showing through against the countless desks. My feet continue slapping the ground. These shoes are too loud for 8am. Off at the end of a hall, a figure sits, head resting against palm. The figure is a shadow against the wall to ceiling window that looks out over campus. I'm walking towards this bright luminance at the end of a hallway. And I let my mind wander with the strains of imagination. We are the only figures in the hallway and I can't help but feel a sort of kinship. Both admiring the brightness of the early morning, both letting our thoughts drift towards the window, one of use breaking up the moment with loud shoes. The figure slowly lifts its face in anticipation of my approaching presence.
Still a shadow, I can't distinguish any physical details in the outline. I am close to my stairwell destination. At the last possible moment, the figure lifts her head and stares at me, a blank look to match my internal diatribe that began at the start of the hallway. We meet eyes and both look away. I walk on, another forgotten moment as my thoughts shift to the canted shadows that line the stairwell.
8:02 am
Life is beautiful.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

And the living is easy

I wonder why I can't just say a few words on here. I always feel like I need to write a lot.

Well today I'm going to merely "update" my blog. So...yeah.

I'm completely done with this semester next Thursday. It feels good. I need to get OUT of this place MAN! A week or so and I'll be living the life at home...taking pictures...staying up late...listening to music all night with the car windows down...reconnecting.

Great photographer

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I just felt like writing

Recently, I've been writing a lot about these big things like direction, purpose, God, faith, etc. I guess it's because I've had a huge shift in my life recently. In turn, these types of questions come to surface...

I think it's really scary to find out so many truths at once. It gives life this severity but it can all feel very flippant at times. Finding that middle ground between embracing radical change and staying true to yourself can be all at once so easy yet so hard. This whole paragraph is turning into one big paradox.

"I just thought I was a kind of bird. I just stood there, not saying a word."

Sometimes I want to just fill the mold. I want to walk through without disruption. I want simplicity. But that thought is dangerous. Idle hands/mind never did anyone any good. Even those who society claims have grown content with mediocrity are DOING.

I think it's depressing when you find someone so "in touch" with intellectualism that they loose sight of true humanity and God. They have found a so-called mecca of knowledge through the writings of man. I have faith in man, but there is much greater fulfillment from faith in He who created man. Makes sense, right?
There are SO many different ways to disprove the existence of God and a plan of salvation. I could link you to thousands upon thousands of documents and theories and scientific facts. But no one can express to another the divine feeling you have when you acknowledge that God is indeed there. It's a peace beyond all peace, a love beyond all love. It can't be broken down in a thesis or dissected in a documentary. It must be felt. And through true faith, it can be experienced.

To some, I may sound like a broken record. It's all things you've heard before. There are so many self-proclaimed "truths" out there. Everyone seems to have their own unique doctrine. That's not to say religion is conformist. You are conforming to a unified belief. It's a communal, beautiful thing. You're still free to be your own unique self amidst it all.
Look at the history of the world. Mankind has never gone forth in this world without a belief in God. It's natural for a reason. It's shaped what we know as right and wrong. Even atheists sense of morality is by way of societal glance at God. You cannot deny that. By claiming atheism, you are saying that your mind is greater than that of the world. You are saying that conscience is inherent and not effected by any outside force. How can you place your faith solely in humanity? Humanity is rife with wars, ambiguity, hate, greed, the list goes on. Humans are not perfect. And we can't be perfect no matter how hard we try. But we can make that effort each day towards perfection. Humanity is also rife with love, compassion, peace, and understanding. Where have these traits evolved from? From faith. We must go forth. knowing that we can't be perfect, but walking in the direction of perfection. Living this lifestyle will bring TRUE happiness and fulfillment. I can guarantee you that.

I think we all have these ideas of our destiny. Everyone, willing to admit it or not, has this idea in their head, this complete scenario of life. It's the story they would like to be told of their name. The grandiose details are grand and the hardships are acknowledged (but triumphed in short time).
Just make sure you learn to let it adapt with change.

I'm learning to live. And it scares me so much. But I'm so excited for whats to come.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Hey so this is what I truly want to do ALL the time. In conversations, during class, at work, while driving...

Monday, April 12, 2010

persistance when blind

(based on Acts 9)
“Damascus is about one hundred and fifty miles north of Jerusalem, so it would take Saul and his attendants about a week to travel the distance.
Perhaps during those few days of comparative leisure, he began to wonder whether what he was doing was right or not.
Perhaps the shining face of the dying Stephen and the martyr’s last prayer began to sink more deeply into his soul than it had done before. Little children’s cries for their parents whom Saul had bound began to pierce his soul more keenly, and make him feel miserably unhappy as he looked forward to more experiences of that kind in Damascus.
Perhaps he wondered whether the work of the Lord, if he were really engaged in it, would make him feel so restless and bitter.
He was soon to learn that only the work of the evil one produces these feelings, and that true service for the Lord always brings peace and contentment.”
-Pres. David O. McKay

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Bad Rabbits

I saw the Bad Rabbits last night and danced with like 80 other people

Most fun I've had at a show in a long time - cut to 1:20 in
(this isn't the show I was at, but this was exactly what it was like)

Can't Back Down from Bad Rabbits on Vimeo.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

my life

I've been blessed to have been so many different people in this life already.

-A human baseball encyclopedia from ages 7-14
  • A damn good first basemen from 12-14
-College kid from 18-present
-Fat kid from 11-17

-Fat kid at heart from the day I was born to the present
-I started running nearly every day 2 years ago and have lost nearly 30 lbs.
-I stole and crashed a golf cart at age 5

-I skied down the Olympic Run in Lake Placid, NY at age 12 and made it all the way to the bottom
-I went through about 4 bullies as a kid
  • I had a bully who's dad brought out a scale to weigh me because he didn't believe I was the weight I told all my friends I was - later that week I purposefully broke a lamp in their basement
  • I had another bully who would always make me "the queer" in smear the queer
  • I eventually "fought" one of my bullies and won
  • My youth was every childhood bully movie you've seen
-I met Dick Cheney on an elevator when I was 4
-I shook George W. Bush's hand on the campaign trail when I was 10
-I told people I was a Republican as a kid, but knew it just gave me a side to root for come election time (this way of thinking could be applied to just about any person claiming to be devout to one party-whether they admit it or not)
-Christian music fan 11-14
-I have a best friend that I've kept in close contact with for years, even though we're 1600 miles apart most of the time
-I watched Michael Jordan play live
-I made a hook shot into my basketball hoop from hundred feet away but no one was looking
-In Hawaii when 9/11/01 happened
-Movie lover from 14-present
-Movie maker from 14-present
-I spray painted most of my body brown for an Australian party in Utah
-I ran the streets of D.C. late one night to get to a rally in a hotel bar
-I witnessed a near-riot outside of an Obama speech and got it on camera

-I've crashed 2 cars...both, I claim, "were not my fault."
-I was depressed my entire senior year of high school but never really told anyone
-My parents are my best friends
-I went on a cross country roadtrip
  • I was driving a car when the engine exploded
  • I started a Texas brushfire
  • I witnessed a storm on the Colorado border that changed my perception of beauty and sense of God

-I took a photo that was featured on a photography website's homepage
-I read 3 Harry Potter books in 2 weeks time at age 13
-I was escorted by the LAPD through underground police tunnels at 1 am from the scene of a crime on Sunset Blvd. (and managed to get a picture)

-I had three girlfriends through high school and always wondered why they went for me
-I met Bono by accident in Chicago
-I helped out with Hurricane Katrina relief down in New Orleans and Mississippi
-I have a close friend that's Australian...I find ways to slip this into conversation
-I got punched in the face last night in a mosh pit I didn't want to be a part of
-I got arrested for climbing on the roof of a Quiznos with a friend
  • They dropped the charges 2 weeks later in court claiming that the cops must have been having a slow night
-I personally met my favorite musician Andrew Bird in Cleveland after a show
-I converted to Mormonism about 4 months ago after distancing myself from religion for about 2-3 years
  • I'm still learning how to integrate it into my life
  • I am shown examples nearly every day of how much this faith makes sense in our world today
  • It's one of the best decisions I've made

There are so many things I failed to mention (like the time I got a tattoo on whim). Looking back, I guess I can be kind of spontaneous most of the time. I'm aware of that, so I never make any life-altering bad decisions. I love that about myself. It makes life interesting.
If there's one thing I've learned in my time thus far on earth, it's to live passionately. No matter the location, the state of mind, the circumstances, live with joy and love in the hand you've been dealt. More importantly, know that joy and love are of God. Never grow disenchanted with life.

And don't be afraid of the changes...revel in them.

I can't wait to continue to add to this list, living vicariously through my own heart.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

listening to the new Nada Surf album puts my mind on a roadtrip back to family vacations on spring breaks in high school. this weather feels absolutely incredible...


“God shall give unto you knowledge by his holy Spirit, yea, by the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost."
(D&C 121:26).

“The humanists who criticize us, the so-called intellectuals who demean us, speak only from ignorance of this manifestation. They have not heard the voice of the Spirit. They have not heard it because they have not sought after it and prepared themselves to be worthy of it. Then, supposing that knowledge comes only of reasonings and of the workings of the mind, they deny that which comes by the power of the Holy Ghost. . . .
Do not be trapped by the sophistry of the world, which for the most part is negative and which seldom, if ever, bears good fruit. Do not be ensnared by those clever ones whose self-appointed mission it is to demean that which is sacred, to emphasize human weakness, and undermine faith, rather than inspire strength."
-Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley

I've found myself in shoes I felt I could not fill, shoes I thought I already knew the track record of. I pounded this notion into my brain night and day. I told myself that with this new faith, I would be on a set path to the day of my death. On one side of things, this is a comforting notion. By believing in the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the plan of salvation, I can have direct answers as to where I will spend eternity. I've experienced the love, and the presence of the Spirit on more than one occasion. I've seen the power of prayer in action. I've finally come to know truly who Jesus is - I know Him on a personal level for the first time.
But the other side of this "set path" can seem disheartening. As an LDS member, I must deal with the unrelenting pressure of the world against the LDS church, go to church every Sunday, align myself with conservative politics, go on a two year mission, marry a mormon wife, have a ton of kids, all while holding a career. These are all the Mormon pressures/stereotypes I found myself thinking about in relation to my faith. And because I was shaking my base, I found myself slipping into doubts about the Church. (on a side note, I feel like these stereotypes are true of any faith. Mormons just get set aside because people haven't taken the time to actually see what we truly believe. We're still Christians).
In an instant I was able to forget about ALL of the beauty, peace, and love I had found in this Church. I was able to forget the scriptures I'd studied and prayed about, and the way they had impacted my faith. All of this I was able to shoot down for the sake wallowing in a doubt.

I was putting faith in doubt.

It's something I find myself doing in many other instances in my life. If I have to make some sort of life change, it suddenly becomes this HUGE LIFE CHANGING CAN'T GO BACK decision in my mind. I let myself fret and worry. I google things like "liberal mormon" and "lds convert doubt" just so I can enhance the whole ordeal. I want instant gratification. I want to know what the ending looks like before I go ahead and walk the path leading there. But the truth is...

There will always be doubts and inconsistencies in faith. If you make it a priority to look for doubts, they will always be there. This holds more truth than ever in this internet age. With the typing of a few words into a search engine, you can unload an entire encyclopedia of common dissent. A while back, Alex told me that "faith is not practical". Around the same time my mom told me, "Keep your head and your heart in the same place." These are written on sticky-notes on my desk, the very place I find myself hunched over a screen looking for insight.

Faith is not final. It's a living breathing relationship. And before I align myself with any stereotype, leader, article, blog, I should be asking my Heavenly Father for insight. The most important part of my faith is my personal relationship with Him. And in prayer, and days of thoughtful ponderance of scripture I know that at this moment in time, I am where I am supposed to be. Just because there seems to be this common knowledge that I must be a conservative, uptight, clean-shaven, member does not mean I have to. I will follow according to the insight I receive from above, through the scriptures, and through the Church leaders. Those stereotypes come primarily from the congregation. Mormons are awesome, loving people but there are a few "standards" that run in the culture of the lifestyle that aren't necessarily doctrinal. I can live my faith however I see fit, while still living it according to the scripture and doctrines. There is just too much right about the Church to let one or two things bring the whole thing crashing down.

I AM Hugh Nibley reincarnated.

The last few weeks I've put so much unnecessary pressure on myself. Faith is living, it's a choice you've made to recognize that relationship we can all have with something far bigger than ourselves and this world we live in. It's recognizing true eternal love. I will always side on the side of faith in the end. That's what this life is all about.

I'm learning to understand how the gospel works in accordance with this life. We don't have to recluse ourselves within our churches and our scriptures. Let us go out into the world, as frightening as it might be, and truly live out or faith.

No longer will I put faith in doubt...from this point on, I'm putting faith in faith.
Rejoicing in our present state may very well be the most important thing we can do on earth.