Tuesday, January 29, 2008

“Stand Up and Save the World”

Today I listened to Paul Rusesabagina speak about his experiences helping thousands of Tutsi and Hutu refugees in Rwanda. The movie Hotel Rwanda was based on his story. As I sat in the Marriott Center listening to this man who had risked his life for strangers, I thought about how life’s trials are not an accident. I thought about how we are sometimes placed in certain situations to offer help to others that only we can offer. Rusesabagina said that many have asked him why he did it, why he risked his life for these people, most of whom were from a rival tribe, the enemy (Rusesasbagina is Hutu and most of the refugees were Tutsi). He said, “God took the decision from me.” He said he knew he had to do the right thing. At one point, a soldier threatened him at gunpoint as he was driving a truckload of refugees to the hotel for safety. He looked around him at the refugees looking for help and safety; a woman holding a baby, old women and men, families with children. He asked the soldier to look at the baby and ask himself if he really thought that that baby was the enemy. The soldiers let them go. Rusesabagina said, “God always has good ways to save his people. . . . Do not lose hope. There is always a solution.”

Recently I’ve been reading books and watching movies that have made an impact on the way I think and see the world. I couldn’t stop thinking after I watched Gone Baby Gone, American History X, Amazing Grace, and To Kill a Mockingbird. I’ve also recently read interviews with Maya Angelou and Holocaust survivors. I thought about them for days afterward and tried to imagine myself in their position. Some of the movies were highly disturbing and political, some were unbelievable stories of sacrifice and selflessness, and the price of doing what is right rather than what is easy. I had the same thoughts as I sat and listened to the story of Paul Rusesabagina and what one man did to help complete strangers when help was needed. He downplays his role saying that he only did what he thought God wanted him to do. He then asked the audience to “stand up, stand up and save the world.” He spoke mainly of Africa where disease and civil war and genocide is still going on. He asked us to be aware of what is happening in the world, then find a way to do something. I started thinking of what is happening in our world, our communities right here in America. It may not be a civil war, but we are still fighting ignorance, prejudice, religious intolerance, bigotry, and discrimination. We can choose to be a little less selfish and a little more forgiving and temperate. We can, here and abroad, stand up and save the world.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Gimme some sugar, baby*

Oh how I love me some Bruce Campbell. I just finished watching The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. on DVD. It was a GREAT series - why all the good T.V. shows end up getting canceled (Arrested Development) and how the lame ones keep airing (ER, The Bachelor, Desperate Housewives) I will never understand.

No worries, Bruce is back to save the day in Burn Notice. Hail to the King baby.
I have a serious crush on Bruce Campbell circa 1994. I am such a sucker for tall, dark and cowboy.

*So who is Bruce Campbell? For those of you who haven't seen the theatrical masterpiece that is Army of Darkness, it's the movie that made Bruce Campbell famous. It's also one of my favorites of all time. Some people think this movie is "dumb" - but nothing could be further from the truth.
"Alright you primitive screwheads, listen up.
THIS is my boom stick!"

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

how it is now

i miss you

i need to go my own way


Monday, January 14, 2008

Dear Greedy Hollywood executive,

I am writing this letter in a fervent attempt to find out if the writer’s strike will be ending soon. You see, I used to watch television. I quite enjoy watching television on occasion. There are few things better than curling up on the sofa with popcorn and hot chocolate to watch a brand new episode of The Office or Burn Notice. However, due to recent events, there is literally nothing good on. Out of sheer desperation for something – anything – to watch, I noticed that MTV was running full seasons of America’s Next Top Model. Certain that there was something better on somewhere, thus began the long weeks of channel surfing. Growing weary of crap movies like Working Girl and Something to Talk About on TBS, I gave into the dark side and started watching a rerun of America’s Next Top Model. And then I watched another, and another until I watched the whole season. MTV is usually the last stop on my channel surfing journey (I cannot stand that crap reality shows the likes of Next and My Sweet Sixteen have replaced music videos. You should know that all children of the 80s hate you!), but it has now become the first place I go when I switch on the tube, hoping and praying that it will be on. I was actually late for work the other day because I had to see which frizzy-haired, gangly wannabe model the judges voted off next.

Before the writer’s strike, I had never even seen an entire episode – now I am a dedicated and involved fan. I barely recognize myself in the mirror! So help me, unless you do something soon, I cannot be held responsible for loss of IQ due to being forced to watch complete crap T.V.! DO NOT make me turn on the premiere of American Idol!!!



Tuesday, January 8, 2008

A Thousand Stinky Smells

Last month I went to California to visit my friend Chris and we went to San Francisco for a few hours. We almost didn't go because my flight came in late and it would cut our trip a little short. But we persevered and had a great time in the land of many stenches. Has anyone else noticed how much that city stinks? Every block contains a ninja army of stealthy stench that attacks the olfactory when least expected. I saw a tank of big fish in Chinatown (see pic below) and rushed across the street to take a picture. Before I hit the sidewalk however, the fishiest, most disgusting smell hit me and I had to stop in the middle of the street or risk passing out.

I love that city though - the food (minus the smelly fish in Chinatown) can't be beat. Unfortunately we didn't get a chance to find a place to eat before we left, but let's just say that Dante's pizza in Stockton can give SF a run for it's money on the amazing food factor.

Sneaking into a nice hotel to use the bathrooms. Good call considering we were headed to the capitol of unidentifiable stench: Chinatown.
Nasty. Check out the creepy red eyes!Chinatown and market
And for some strange reason, Chris really wanted to go here
Not my best hair day.Sweet backpack, man!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Lately I have been struggling to figure life out - what do I want to be when I grow up? What kind of life do I want to create for myself? I used to believe that life was handed to you by a series of events - most of them difficult or painful (believe me, I've had my share and I'm still trying to work through the "searing emotional pain", as Lori's family would call it). But recently I've discovered that you can build the kind of life you have always wanted. The key to that is to accept the things you cannot control (which are many) and to do the things that make you happy and find ways to recognize the good things. I always thought the whole Oprah-esque "gratitude journal" idea too cheesy for me, but you can meditate each day on what makes life beautiful and enjoyable. I have found that by letting my thoughts be positive and reflecting often on the good things in my life or the good things I've accomplished helps me build the kind of life I want rather than think I have no control over my circumstances. I love this quote by Julie Beck from the May 2007 Ensign:
"It is not possible to make real change all by ourselves. Our own willpower and our own good intentions are not enough. When we make mistakes or choose poorly, we must have the help of our Savior to get back on track. We partake of the sacrament week after week to show our faith in His power to change us. We confess our sins and promise to forsake them (see D&C 58:43 and Moroni 7:33-37)."
I understand now that trying to figure things out on my own was a poor choice - given that I will never know what I need in my life more than Jesus Christ; my Savior, brother and friend. It's impossible to describe what letting myself pray for help and then believing I will receive help has done for me. But I thought I would share the words that have become so meaningful and inspiring to me as I try to live and love and learn and become the best possible version of who I really am; and in my quest to discover what I am meant to accomplish.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Mac users are people too!

What is the deal with PC vs. Mac? I have had many conversations about why a Mac is better than a PC, or why a PC is better than a Mac. I'll go ahead and let you in on a little secret: they are both computers! They all do the same thing - compute stuff. Mac's do not do graphics better than PCs (contrary to popular belief). As far as I can tell, the only difference between a Mac and a PC is personal preference for which side of the screen you want your icons on. Big deal. It's like arguing that Honda is better than Toyota. It boils down to personal preference.

Now, that being said, I want to know why the douchebags at tbs.com won't let you watch full episodes of My Boys unless you are rolling Windows! What gives? Mac users are people too! People who just want to watch a full episode of My Boys every now and then. As far as I'm concerned, Microsoft is unholy and just trying to create a huge division between Mac and PC users (Apple is not blameless, but in the beginning, they were more willing to share and run cross-platform applications). What is wrong with giving the people what they want? Let's start with giving me My Boys.