Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas to All!

Hello Everyone!

Merry Christmas! It's been an amazing year, and I feel so blessed to have been able to be a part of all of this excitement, growth, and improvement.

The new year is right around the corner, and I've got some resolutions, which hopefully I will update you with in the coming days.

I got some great gifts for christmas, including a sweet steel-string Yamaha acoustic guitar, but the greatest gift was probably seeing the joy and excitement in my dad's eyes when he opened the package containing the DVD transfer of the footage from his 1972 high-school TV production class.

I've never seen someone have so much joy at a gift. He'd not seen that footage in 32 years, and it made it 100% worth the effort and time we put into it. The memories it brought back, watching him grin from ear to ear like the chesire cat for the entire duration of the footage was a truly awesome experience.

Last night we went and saw the Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which was really really excellent, in spite of having to sit in the very very front row, craning our necks skyward. The cinematography, acting, story, and production design were all top notch, and I found myself teary-eyed at more than one occasion. I'd highly recommend it.

Take care, and until next time, keep your stick on the ice.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas is Coming... (And I'm Not Getting Fat)

So far I've managed to keep it real and keep from over eating and getting too into the holiday spirit, (if you catch my drift!)

I have a lot of news that I probably should have been updating everyone about.

Firstly, I will be officially hired by my company in January! This means paid vacation and sick days, health insurance, direct deposit, and of course withholdings (no more estimated tax for me!) It's been a long time coming, but I obviously have made them very happy, and they want to lock me down! :)

Secondly, I received a Christmas bonus! 500 smack-a-roo's! In this troubled economic time, to receive that kind of fiscal reward for just doing one's job is an amazing thrill. I suppose it's because so many people don't do their jobs, so finding an employee who is diligent and hard working and smart like me, you wanna keep them happy. :)

Anyway, I've got all my Christmas shopping for my family done, though I've got to buy some presents for friends, but I have until New Years for them... :) Last night, I wrapped all the gifts, and put them all in a big box to have them ready to take to Utah Tuesday night. I'll be spending Christmas with Dad, David, Katie and Helen. Should be a good time, and it probably will be a white Christmas to boot!

This morning, Joe and I did our little christmas, since neither will be home to exchange gifts. He loved the 5.1 speaker system that Jon P. and I bought for him, and I liked the gifts Joe got for me, despite their inexpensive cost. Two puzzles featuring pretty New England scenes and a magazine/TP rack for the bathroom--nice. He's not got much extra money, so I am just pleased he got me anything. Jon P. got me a logitech webcam! So if you want to video chat, let me know, I'm now capable!

I was going to do laundry today, but I'm going to try and go without for the next two days and do Laundry at Dad's house for free! (I'm so cheap, I know) But it's part of the fun of going home for the holidays.

Anyway, hope everyone is well in their respective necks of the woods.

God bless us, everyone.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

President McCain

I had a dream last night that somehow they recalculated the votes and found that John McCain had become president. I could express to you how shocked I was.

Thankfully, I woke up to find it wasn't true.

But still...

Not that I have a problem with McCain, but can you imagine the level of incompetance required to have such a blunder within the election results?

Have a good day!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

In Response (Part II)

In the comments to the previous post (On Blogger, not Facebook) The author of the original note responded with her feelings.

Read that comment before pressing on: (I've also attached it to the bottom of this entry.)

I apologize for not knowing you are from Los Angeles. I figured you were in UT, and I should have checked.

I think you mis-understand what I meant by the church asking gays the same thing in regards to celibacy and marriage. What I mean by that is that the church will never recognize, nor be forced to recognize or solemnize gay marriages, and therefore there is no chance for companionship in this life for a gay mormon. I was not insinuating that if gay marriage were legal that the church would have to shine it’s blessing upon gay sex.

You also seem to get very hung up on the sexual aspect of homosexuality. I realize this is the “icky” part that everyone immediately thinks of, but living openly as a gay man doesn’t not mean having sex. It means not fighting yourself all the time, and not having to hide. You take for granted that you are straight. You agree with the church that homosexuals do not choose their feelings—so imagine you have to spend your whole life fighting them. Imagine if the prophet commanded you that your feelings towards your fiancĂ©/husband or boyfriend were never to be acted upon, and in fact, you had to play out your life acting like a lesbian, could you do it? Wouldn’t it be incredibly hard and painful? Well reverse that, and that’s exactly how it feels to be gay and in the church. It hurts, and it’s not easy—especially when everyone around you is professing that how you feel inside, is an abomination to God.

“Gay people who tell the ward about their homosexual relationships are disciplined”. I never said gays who are in the church should be giving talks about their relationships—I’m talking about the members who are gay and DON’T act on their feelings. They TOO can be disciplined, even though they’ve broken no commandments, because Mormons are not yet ready to handle the idea that homosexuals can be and are worthy members of the church.

“I am interested in knowing what doctrines, council and scripture precede the doctrine we currently have on the issue.”

There is no doctrine that counter-acts the Mormon Church’s stance on Homosexuality—that is clear, and has never been in question. The scriptures that I’m referring to are

D & C 134:4 and 7
4 We believe that religion is instituted of God; and that men are amenable to him, and to him only, for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others; but we do not believe that human law has a right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship to bind the consciences of men, nor dictate forms for public or private devotion; that the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience; should punish bguilt, but never suppress the freedom of the soul.

7 We believe that rulers, states, and governments have a right, and are bound to enact laws for the protection of all citizens in the free exercise of their religious belief; but we do not believe that they have a right in justice to deprive citizens of this privilege, or proscribe them in their opinions, so long as a regard and reverence are shown to the laws and such religious opinions do not justify sedition nor conspiracy.

And as stated previously, the 11th Article of Faith
11 We claim the aprivilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the bdictates of our own cconscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them dworship how, where, or what they may.

As well as these words, spoken from Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley:
“I plead with our people everywhere to live with respect and appreciation for those not of our faith. There is so great a need for civility and mutual respect among those of differing beliefs and philosophies. We must not be partisans of any doctrine of ethnic superiority. We live in a world of diversity. We can and must be respectful toward those with whose teachings we may not agree. We must be willing to defend the rights of others who may become the victims of bigotry.
(in Conference Report, Apr. 1995, 94–95; or Ensign, May 1995, 71).

That's why Utah is being called on its bluff--the church's official statement is that they are not against equal benefits and privileges to same-sex couples. So they've proposed 5 laws in Utah to help achieve the level of equality enjoyed in states like California. We'll see the true feelings of the church when these laws fail to be passed by the Utah legislature. Or maybe they'll surprise me--I can always hope.

No, no one was forced—but some were coerced, I know that when I said I would not assist in calling on a phone bank, that my faith was called into question. Even if I am mistaken, is it the Church’s policy to insult people’s faith when they are weak? Aren’t we supposed to uplift those who are weak and unsure? Set a positive example?

“You don’t know my gay friends” No, but I know my gay friends, and they are all ANGRY with the Mormon Church. If they are level-headed people, they may respect your unwavering belief, but they are angry and hurt, and they don’t feel the same way about you as they did before. If you don’t believe me, I challenge you to go to your gay friends, if they really exist, and ask them “How do you feel about my involvement in dismantling gay marriage in California?” I am 98% positive that the answer will equate to sadness at the least, and anger and betrayal at most.

“Couldn't I respect their desires while still upholding my beliefs?” Yes, you can respect their desires—but voting to take them away is not respect, its backhanded. You cannot look a homosexual in the eye and tell them you respect their desire to marry whom they love, and then turn around and vote to take away what they want. It doesn’t make sense.

“Our leaders have given us the church's point of view on this issue and I for one will heed the council of the Lord.” – I’d point out that the council of the prophets in the past has been that African Americans did not have the right to marry whites.—You’d have sustained that as well, I assume. Because I know I wouldn’t. I’m aware this is a part of its history the church wants to hide, but it can’t. The only semi-logical argument I’ve ever heard for this is that the Mormon membership was not ready to allow interracial marriage and African American’s to hold the priesthood—not God. If this is your best argument, then I’d like to state that the God I’ve come to know doesn’t withhold his blessings to his children because it makes others uncomfortable.

I’m going to assume that since there was no rebuttal on the points about tax exempt status and this country’s role as a protectorate of the minority from the tyranny of the majority, that you’ve agreed with me or at the very least have no non-secular argument. I realize that in the end, you think this is the right thing to do, based on your interpretation of the words of the Prophets and God. But remember, the church asks us to seek our truths and have them confirmed—if they really wanted you to just fall in line with everything that’s ever said, what is the point of having that doctrine? Why do we need to pray about the prophets council if we know he’ll always be right—what’s wrong with blind obedience then?

I appreciate the dialogue you’re giving me the opportunity to voice, and your civility in the matter.


The response from Joy, the author of the original post.

First of all all I said was that we no longer practice polygamy. I never said that have disowned our history of it. As a member of the church I know that if President Monson were to stand up at General Conference in April and tell us that the Lord had commanded we begin the practice of polygamy again, I would submit.
Second (this is kind of a side note) I am from the LA area of California so when I mention contention in our state I am referring to California. I stated the church didn't contribute money to the actual yes on prop 8 campaign which is true. They did pay some travel expenses. Now, we as members of the church, as I have previously stated, believe that there are people with homosexual feelings who do not choose to have them but the sin lies in acting upon them. Thus, when you say "just as we ask hetero men and women to remain celibate until marriage, we ask gays the same thing" you are mistaken. Because we believe that homosexual actions are sinful we do not believe that they should be married unless it is to someone of the opposite sex. We don't condone homosexual relationships at all, it is not a question of whether they are married. As a member of the church I would expect that you understand that there are varying degrees of sin; this accounts for the time difference in deferring missions. You're right, the church doesn't allow you to live openly as a gay person. Gay people who tell the ward about their homosexual relationships are disciplined. I believe that if someone was actively involved in fornication (heterosexual) and was shouting it on the roof tops that they would be punished similarly to those gay people who divulge their personal sins. If, however, a homosexual kept his or her sins private and simply spoke to the bishop about it, I believe similar punishments would be issued to them as are issued to those who fornicate and simply tell their bishops. And YES, if someone is a member and says that they are having homosexual relations they should have their temple recommends taken away because we don't believe they are worthy. It's not just sins of homosexual actions that cause the remand of temple recommends.
I am interested in knowing what doctrines, council and scripture precede the doctrine we currently have on the issue.
I would also like to know if you are aware that unless something comes from the mouth of THE PROPHET it cannot always be counted as entirely true. Apostles and general authorities are sometimes mistaken in their discourses. (Just in case your preceding evidence comes from people other than the prophets.)
I don't think that anyone was forced to give money to the campaign or felt threatened if they wouldn't. That's simply ridiculous. You said that members were asked to donate of their TIME and money. That means not just money...
And finally, Ezra, you don't know my gay friends and therefore cannot know what their level of respect for me is. Could it be that my gay friends respect the fact that I stand up for my religious beliefs and am unwavering? Couldn't I respect their desires while still upholding my beliefs?
Our leaders have given us the church's point of view on this issue and I for one will heed the council of the Lord.

In Response...

I've posted the original post that I'm responding to, found on a friend-of-a-friend's notes, below my response if you'd like to read it first.

Here's my response:

1. Mormons no longer practice polygamy.
This is true, but the Mormon Church abandoned Polygamy only as a condition to gain statehood--not because they no longer felt in was God's will. Polygamous marriages will be recognized and blessed in heaven according to the church, so it's far from rejected or abandoned, doctrinally speaking. Secondly, if the church feels that non-traditional marriages are damaging, then why are they not more aggressive in their pursuit of polygamous sects in Hilldale and other areas in Utah?

2. Mormons hate gay people.
This is true, Mormons don't "hate" gays, but they certainly offer conflicting viewpoints and double standards regarding the issue. I've often heard the argument that "all sexual relations, gay or straight, outside the bonds of a marriage (Not temple marriage, mind you, as evidenced by my parents who married in a ward before going to the temple) is sinful." And the argument is that just as we ask hetero men and women to remain celibate until marriage, we ask gays the same thing. See, it’s the same thing!

Unfortunately, the double standards abound. If, for example, you are preparing to go on a mission and you have hetero-sex, it takes 1 year of waiting before you can be reconsidered for a mission. However, if you have homo-sex, the waiting period is 3 years. So please stop lying and saying that "it's all the same" because it's not. Apparently, gay premarital sex is three times more abominable to God than hetero premarital sex. Also, you might say, straight people might never marry too—but they at least have the hope that someday the right person might come along. Gay members have no reassurance. Only a vague promise of a reward in the next life.

I’d also like to add that the church doesn’t allow you to live openly as a gay man—you are disciplined if you are too open with people about it. If the church really believes that the feelings are not a sin, only the actions, then why aren’t people who are living the commandments, but are gay, treated equally? I know gay Mormons (do a blog search, there’s hundreds) who’ve been threatened to have their temple recommends removed for talking about their sexuality.

3. The LDS Church contributed money to the Yes on Prop 8 campaign.
The church actually did make an in-kind donation of 2,000 dollars for plane tickets to visit the coalition in CA, so you're statement that they donated nothing is false. You are correct, however, that it wasn't that the church just took tithing money and handed it over.

The problem is that the church used fear of excommunication and disfellowship to coerce many who might have opposed or been ambivalent about the issue into falling in line with the church. At least one member has been excommunicated for his actions speaking out against Prop 8.

I live in California, and you don't understand that literally every week they spoke from the pulpit saying it was a trial of our faith to donate time and money, and it was God's will. Problem is I and other members who prayed and received the opposite confirmation from the spirit where immediately questioned about their lack of faith. How is this not force? How is this donation voluntary if you are told that not doing it is equivalent to apostasy?

3. Yes, you are intolerant for banning Gay marriage, because you are ignoring the council and scripture that has preceded this new revelation. If the church said, officially "these doctrines are now rendered null and void" by our new doctrine, that might be one thing, but that's not the case. The revelations of past and present prophets conflict, so what does one choose to follow?

My stake president came and spoke for and ENTIRE SACRAMENT MEETING about how the church wasn't getting involved in "politics" it was getting involved in a "moral issue" and that's why we shouldn't feel guilty about repressing another groups beliefs.

Remember, "we claim the privilege of worshipping almighty God, according to the dictates of our own conscience and ALLOW ALL MEN THE SAME PRIVELAGE--LET THEM WORSHIP HOW, WHERE, OR WHAT THEY MAY".

If I founded a religion that performs and solemnizes gay marriages, you have no right, both by law and by scriptural doctrine to tell me that I cannot. You are not required to accept it, but the state is, because the state is prohibited from holding the beliefs of one religion over another.

4. The argument about infringing on religious freedom is a sad and tired one. Here's why:

First off, you and I know that the church teaches that unless married in the temple "for time and all eternity", the marriage ends at death, and is therefore not recognized by God. Yet we allow these non-eternal marriages to exist in spite of our 'knowledge'. The church wouldn't dream of banning a non-temple marriage, even though it's not a marriage that will be valid in heaven. It seems pretty clear that it's a double standard, once again--sounds pretty intolerant to me.

Secondly, it's utter nonsense that the church would lose its tax exempt status or its right to perform temple marriages if gay marriage were legal—gay marriage WAS legal in California for months, and has been legal in Boston for years, and none of these lawsuits or tax questions have come up. Only members in good standing have been permitted entrance to the temple since the church's inception. No non-Mormon couple has come to the church and demanded to be married there, that I know of. And even if they had, they'd be turned away. In over a hundred years of existence, the church has never been "forced" to marry anyone it didn't want to. It's fear-mongering poppycock, and any lawyer worth his salt knows it.

5. The contention in Utah has been there since long before 8, but it's being brought out because people are tired of being ruled by a religion they don't subscribe to. It's not just, and the reason that Mormonism was brought forth in America was because it was the only place where personal beliefs were protected from tyranny of the majority. Think about it, and you'll understand.

6. Your "gay friends" have lost a lot of respect for you and are very hurt. It may not affect their outward display of friendship and love towards you, but they are hurt, very deeply, I might add, that you would tell them they are not allowed to have the right to marry the person they please. The church provides no support system for those struggling with their feelings and their sexual identity, and I know it may surprise you, but there are many, many gay Mormons who are losing their faith over this--they've struggled to do what they thought God wanted for them, only to see their faith rewarded with misunderstanding and fear.

But that's probably a-ok with the church—gotta separate the wheat from the chaff and all that...

Thanks for providing an opportunity to explain the issue from another Mormon perspective.


Original post, found on a friend-of-a-friend's notes:

I know we've all had enough of the talk about Prop 8 but I would like to express MY beliefs and opinions on the topic as well as clear up some possible myths.

First of all I'd like to clarify just a couple of things:
1. Mormons no longer practice polygamy.
Polygamy is a part of our history; it occurred but does not any longer. If you are interested in more information regarding why it was practiced you can ask me or follow my nifty link :) Anyway, my reason for writing this in this note is that I've seen and heard a few people say things such as, "If Mormons can have 10 wives, why can't I have 1?" I believe that anyone who says something like this is uneducated about our faith.

2. Mormons hate gay people.
Mormons, like almost all other religious people, believe that homosexuality is a sin. We get this belief straight out of the Bible. So no, we do not hate gay people. We view their actions as sinful, just like we view lying and fornication as sinful; it has nothing to do with the fact that they are homosexual. Also it is commonly taught among our church that homosexuals do not choose to have homosexual feelings, instead we believe that they choose to act on their feelings.

3. The LDS Church contributed money to the Yes on Prop 8 campaign.
Many believe that the LDS church as an institution contributed directly to supporting Prop 8. False. The church leaders did encourage the members to vote yes and contribute, however, no money came from the church as an institution. Instead it came from members of the church who had been urged to donate; the individual people, not the LDS Church as a whole, helped to fund the campaign.

I'm sorry I don't have a link for this one but only about 2% of California is LDS. There are more gay people in California than there are Mormons. We weren't the only ones who voted yes.

So if we are tolerant and not hateful towards homosexuals why are we so opposed to legalizing gay marriage? It's because the legalization of gay marriage would infringe on our religious freedoms. We as LDS people believe in Temple marriage. We believe that all faithful members of our church who are married and sealed in an LDS temple will be with their families forever. Most marriage ceremonies end with "till death do you part" but ours end with "for time and all eternity." Marriage and family are very sacred to our church. We believe that marriage is essential to salvation. I was married in an LDS temple in Utah and the ceremony meant the world to me. If gay marriage had been legalized then by law our church would not be able to perform temple marriages and sealings because we do not support gay marriage. This is one of the biggest motivating factors for LDS support of Proposition 8. We would no longer be able to practice our religious beliefs if gay marriage was legalized.

It saddens me to see the contention in our state. I do not like watching a place where I go to worship being vandalized (although I will say that the vandalism that has occurred has been minimal in comparison to what it could have been).

I hope anyone reading this knows me well enough to know that I do not dislike gay people. I am a friend to some and do not look down upon them.

I am not trying to fuel an argument but merely state my position and hopefully bring light to those who do not understand my religious beliefs.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. I hope anyone who comments will do so in an appropriate manner.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

How the Grinch Stole Marriage

The following is the only consolation I have on this bittersweet Nov. 5th morning.

Please forgive us, America. The cascading bans on gay marriage that will probably result from this blunder are going to take years to undo. Please forgive Mormons, for they know not what they do.

How the Grinch Stole Marriage

by Mary Ann Horton, Lisa and Bill Koontz (with apologies to Dr. Seuss.)

Every Gay down in Gayville liked Gay Marriage a lot......
But the Grinch, who lived just east of Gayville, did NOT!!

The Grinch hated happy Gays! The whole Marriage season!
Now, please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason.
It could be his head wasn't screwed on just right.
It could be, perhaps, his Florsheims were too tight.
But I think the most likely reason of all was
His heart and brain were two sizes too small.

"And they're buying their tuxes!" he snarled with a sneer,
"Tomorrow's the first Gay Wedding! It's practically here!"
Then he growled, with his Grinch fingers nervously drumming,
"I MUST find some way to stop Gay Marriage from coming!"

For, tomorrow, he knew... All the Gay girls and boys
would wake bright and early. They'd rush for their vows!
And then! Oh, the Joys! Oh, the Joys!

And THEN they'd do something he liked least of all!
Every Gay down in Gayville the tall and the small,
would stand close together, all happy and blissing.
They'd stand hand-in-hand. And the Gays would start kissing!

"I MUST stop Gay Marriage from coming! ...But HOW?"

Then he got an idea! An awful idea!

"I know what to do!" The Grinch laughed in his throat.
And he went to his closet, grabbed his sheet and his hood.
And he chuckled, and clucked, with a great Grinchy word!
"With this beard and this cross, I look just like our Lord!"

"All I need is a Scripture..." The Grinch looked around.
But, true Scripture is scarce, there was none to be found.
Did that stop the old Grinch...? No! The Grinch simply said,
"With no Scripture on Marriage, I'll fake one instead!"
"It's one man and one woman," the Grinch falsely said.

Then he broke in the courthouse. A rather tight pinch.
But, if Georgie could do it, then so could the Grinch.
The little Gay benefits hung in a row.
"These bennies," he grinned, "are the first things to go!"

Then he slithered and slunk, with a smile most uncanny,
around the whole room, and he took every benny!
Health care for partners! Doctors for kiddies!
Tax rights! Adoptions! Pensions and Wills!
And he stuffed them in bags. Then the Grinch, with a chill,
Stuffed all the bags, one by one, in his bill.

Then he slunk to the kitchen, and stole Wedding Cake.
He cleaned out that icebox and made it look straight.
He took the Gay-bar keys! He took the Gay Flag.
Why, that Grinch even took their last Gay birdseed bag!

"And NOW!" grinned the Grinch, "I will pocket their Rings."
And the Grinch grabbed the Rings, and he started to shove
when he heard a small sound like the coo of a dove.
He turned around fast, and off flew his hood.
Little Lisa-Bi Gay behind him sadly stood.
The Grinch had been caught by small Lisa-Bi.
She stared at the Grinch and said, "My, oh, my, why?"
"Why are you taking our Wedding Rings? WHY?"

But, you know, that old Grinch was so smart and so slick
He thought up a lie, and he thought it up quick!
"Why, my sweet little tot," the fake Shepherd sneered,
"The judges are evil, the other states weird."
"I'll fix the rings there and I'll bring them back here."

It was quarter past dawn... All the Gays, still a-bed,
all the Gays still a-snooze when he packed up and fled.
"Pooh-Pooh to the Gays!" he was grinch-ish-ly humming.
"They're finding out now no Gay Marriage is coming!"
"Their mouths will hang open a minute or two
then the Gays down in Gayville will all cry Boo-Hoo!"

He stared down at Gayville! The Grinch popped his eyes!
Then he shook! What he saw was a shocking surprise!
Every Gay down in Gayville, the tall and the small,
was kissing! Without any bennies at all!
He HADN'T stopped Marriage from coming! IT CAME!
Somehow or other, it came just the same!

And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,
stood puzzling and puzzling: "How could it be so?"
"It came without lawyers, no papers to sort!"
"It came without licenses, came without courts!"
And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!

"Maybe Marriage," he thought, "doesn't come from the court.
Maybe Marriage...perhaps... comes right from the heart.
Maybe Marriage comes from all the words the Gays say.
Words like Husband, like Wedding, and Spouse who is Gay."
And what happened then...? Gayville they say
that the Grinch's small brain grew three sizes that day!

And the Gays had their Weddings. They promised for life.
They swore to be faithful, to Wife and her Wife.
The Husbands were happy, to each other they vowed
To be Out and be Honest, be Gay and be Proud.
They told all their neighbors and friends of their Spouse,
They told of their Marriage and sharing their house.
They said "We got Married." They shouted it loud.
Their marital status was "Married and Proud."

And the minute his heart didn't feel quite so tight,
He whizzed with his load through the bright morning light.
And he brought back the rings, cake and Gay birdseed bags!
And he... ...HE HIMSELF... hung the Gay Rainbow Flag!
The Lord looked down, at the proud and the tall,
and said "These are my children, and I love them all."


The moral of this story is that we don't need a piece of paper and the approval of the state to get married. We can just get married. Instead of having a commitment ceremony, we can have a wedding. Instead of partners, we can have husbands and wives. Instead of calling our relationship a Domestic Partnership or a Civil Union, we can call it a Marriage. Whether any government recognizes it is separate from what we call it. It's a free country and we can call ourselves what we like.

In 5 or 10 or 20 years, with plenty of visible same-sex married couples, the world won't see us as strange or scary, we're just the married couple down the street that happens to be gay. Eventually, the legal recognition of our marriages will follow.

If we allow ourselves to voluntarily sit in the back of the bus, we'll never make any progress. Rosa Parks had to sit in the front of the bus to make a difference. We must as well.

Copyright (c) 2004 by Mary Ann Horton. Permission granted to copy in whole, with attribution. This is a parody of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Election '08 - What it means to me.

I'm going to be the first to admit that I've not been very good at following all the election hooplah this time around. Perhaps it is because I've been working at self improvement mostly, and of course, holding down my job.

But last night I watched Obama's 30 minute prime-time special, and what I've been considering for some time now has been solidified--Barack Obama is the right choice for America.

Long time readers of my blog will know I have a penchant for voting third party, as I classify myself as a Libertarian. Hopefully I won't alienate my fellow third party voters by announcing that I will be voting for Senator Obama.

"But Ezra, you've always championed Liberty, the free market, all your rights all the time, etc.! Why would you turn your back on that?"

This short answer is that I've lost a bit of my idealism.

The longer answer is very long indeed, so if you'll bear with me, I'll explain.

Obama's policies are often called Socialist, and I'm against socialism, because it's charity by force. However, you need to also remember that we currently live in a country that is closer to Facism and Statism than a true Republic. And here's the rub, since the only candidates that would work to restoring the republican government (meaning "of a republic", not the GOP) are Ron Paul (not running) and Bob Barr (Libertarian), and neither has a snowball's chance in hell of winning, I've decided to try and at least move towards my least offensive option--Obama. By definition, yes, some of his policies are Socialistic. But given the current state of affairs, (a choice between Facism and Socialism) I think I'll take the latter.

Secondly, who are we kidding? Our government is spending billions supporting corporate america, big business and wall street. If we're going to help anyone, we should be helping restore our middle class--the class that built this country and made it great.

Party definitions have changed over the years. Abraham Lincoln was a Republican--but by today's pundits, he'd be called a statist or facist--he disagreed with states rights. (Remember, that's what the civil war was really about?) He suspended Habeas Corpus during the war. He obviously wasn't concerned about the constitution.

To clarify, I like John McCain. I think he's a great American who has a genuine love for his country and a desire to serve. As you recall, he and Feingold are responsible for much of the campaign finance reform in our country. He's got what he thinks is best for America at his heart. And I respect him for that.

I'd be okay with McCain as president if he'd chosen ANYONE else for VP. But Sarah Palin is downright frightening. "But the media is picking on her!" Yes, because it's so easy! Joe Biden doesn't come accross as a total bimbo in his interviews. John McCain could die in office, he is pretty old and has some pre-exisiting health considerations. And I'm totally unwilling to accept her as president. And it has NOTHING to do with her being a woman. He could have chosen Republican Senior Senator from Maine, Olympia Snowe, who was named one of America's top ten senators by Time Magazine in 2006! She's been lauded with praise, is very smart, and Congressional Quarterly noted that her presence at the negotiating table in the 107th Congress was "nearly a necessity." (See wikipedia entry on "Olympia Snowe" for more information)

Basically Palin was a bonehead move, and he could totally have taken this election with someone else, like Snowe. But my guess is he wanted to choose someone he could manipulate and tell what to do, who didn't have any real opinions of her own. (See Katie Couric interview where she's asked about Supreme Court decisions she's disagreed with.)

Obama is positive, inspiring, and fresh. The whole world is watching our nation, (as American elections are often treated as a spectator sport by other nations, including betting and wagering!) and screaming "America, don't be foolish, elect OBAMA!". They too, are tired of our Imperialistic tendencies, and want change. These countries whose relationships we've damaged by our involvement in Iraq will be willing to come back to America's side with Obama. Most likely, they will not under a McCain White House.

There's a myriad of smaller reasons to support Obama, his decreasing taxes for the poor and middle class, increasing taxes for those that for years have raided the treasury with tax breaks and incentives for moving their businesses overseas and laying off workers; his commitment to energy independence, while still being willing to increase production domestically to meet our needs; his commitment to rebuild the middle class; and his ability to listen to the American People. Won't that be nice? Have a government of the people, by the people again?

I realize you can and should argue my points. I know there are flaws--he may not come through with his promises! You might say. Well, same is true for any politician. We have only their word and their voting record with which to judge. "Obama doesn't have the experience" you might say. Well, true, he doesn't have the experience of being president. But neither does McCain. So he'll not have experience being influenced by special interests! You know as well as I do that the president's cabinet and advisors are as important if not more important than the man himself. He's going to appoint VERY smart people. For crying out loud, he has a personal endorsement from the CEO of GOOGLE, one of the finest companies in America! Trust me, he'll be able to get the answers if he doesn't have them.

Also, not having experience means you don't have predetermined conclusions about how things "should be", and you are open to creating new methods, ways of attack, and overall creative solutions to our problems.

Obama is certainly not our Savior. He's just a man. But given our options, to me, at least, he's clearly the best man for the job.

Moving on from Obama, I just want to quickly state the following about Prop 8, the measure to eliminate the right of same sex couples to marry.


It's that simple. It's removing rights. The majority HAS NO AUTHORITY to remove anyone's rights. That's mob rule, and it's appalling and unbecoming of a Republic (We are NOT a DEMOCRACY. My rights trump your majority vote every time, remember?) This law legislates intolerance. Tolerance doesn't mean approval, it means allowing things you don't like to co-exist. Tolerant white folks, for example, don't actively fight to eliminate interracial marriages through law, even if they do think it's wrong, because they know they have no authority to deny that right, and this is no different. When it comes to US Law, there should be no such provisions on freedom.

Anyway, please write me if you'd like to talk, I'm open to discussion. Please vote, and vote not from a position of fear or hatred or any other emotion except love for country, and what you think is really best for her. Thank you.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Truths and Journal Entries

1. Two paper towels are ALWAYS enough to get your hands completely dry, but the trick is to take ONE, dry your hands, then throw it away, and take a second dry towel and dry again.

2. Mondays will always suck.

3. I'm about 2/5th through typing up all my journal entries. And it's been an interesting ride so far.

In regards to #3, I wish I could travel back in time and talk to my 14 year old self and say:

"Hey, calm down, everything is going to be alright. You spend so much time and energy fighting with yourself about your imperfections and mistakes, that you completely fail to notice the amazing things you are achieving. Spend that energy serving others instead of verbally and physically abusing yourself for every mistake."

Here's a tame example of what I'm talking about, from a May 1st, 2001 entry:

"In [Honors] English I found out that I got an 88 on my “Big Trouble” Literary Analysis. I could have found out on Friday, but I was having a bad day and I didn’t want to cry because of the bad grade I knew I got. "

Bad grade? That's a solid "B"! I want to go back and talk some sense into myself. I was constantly comparing myself the another student I was friends with, who was constantly getting better grades/perfect 100's on coursework. I ask myself now, "Who cares?" I went to film school, I'm going to be an editor, I don't need to be able to write the most perfect academic paper ever.

Mind you, during this time I was writing my script for my 30 minute community access TV show, I was helping out roto-tilling our garden and maintaining our home, doing a 2 hour radio show on a COLLEGE radio station, WRBC, Radio Bates College; attending church, boy scouts, and still having a social life with my friends. What did I expect of myself?

Anyway, I hope that I've learned that while striving for perfection is a worthwhile endeavor, beating yourself up for not achieving it is a ridiculous exercise.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Hot Hot Heat

I'm a damn fool.

I was warned not to remove my window A/C Unit from my room last week. But it was so cool, it felt like fall in New England, the leaves are starting to come down and there was a cool nip in the air.

Now I've been knocked back to reality by the high 90's weather we've been experiencing this week. I'm toughing it out though--I didn't use my A/C much this summer anyway, because I'd just sit in front of the fan. It's like the 3 summers I lived with Tanner in his miserably hot bedroom in the building on Lisbon Street. I survived then, I can surely handle this.

It's weird because I've gotten used to the progression of going to sleep on top of the covers with thee fan blowing over me on high, then waking up and getting under the covers, then waking up again and shutting the fan off, as the tempurature of the room drops throughout the night.


In other news, my dreams are getting strange, I'm feeling lonely, and I'm not being as good about what I eat, which has caused me to bounce back up to 271.5, from my recent low of 269. I guess it's to be expected when you eat lots of almonds, pumpkin pie, cookies, etc. It's just that lately I've felt hungry a lot... I need to be more diligent about walking with Joe every night. It takes time, but it's the only way to really get this weight off.

Anyway, just an update to say "Wassup".

Monday, September 22, 2008

New Week, Cold Morning, and Whatnot

I awoke this morning to a pretty cold room. The whole environment felt like a fall morning in New England. The sky was gray and soft, and my room was cold! The previous day, I'd removed the window A/C unit from my bedroom, allowing me to have the windows on both sides of my room open. This generates a splendid cross-breeze. However, as temperatures dipped as low as 59 degrees, I found myself snuggled tight under the blanket, struggling to get out of bed to shut the windows at 6am. I shut them turned on my lamp and computer, in an attempt to generate some heat--it felt cold!

I guess California has just made me soft.

I feel like it's going to be a rough week, but I'm going to hope for the best.

Cleaned the apartment yesterday, finally got all my boxes and junk off of the living room and dining room floor and onto shelves and into closets. I didn't get around to cleaning the bathroom, so I'll do that when I get home from work.

Yes, my life is so exciting that I'm telling you about my cleaning schedule.

Frankly, there is more going on in my life than that, but due to the nature of this medium, I'm not going to talk about it.

Anyway, I should go get breakfast. Apple Cinnamon Cheerio's here I come!

PS. My roommate Joe and I are walking 3-6 miles a night in a sustained effort to lose weight. Since we committed to this, we've been four for four! Last night we walked about 4.6 miles (almost all the way to Menchies on Laurel Canyon Blvd) and back. Cool huh?

Friday, September 19, 2008

YES! It's working!

I just wanted to share the wonderful news that I just broke 270--I'm 269 pounds now! Only a short time ago, I was at an all-time high of 283 pounds! I've already lost 14, and I'm going to continue eating less, and eating healthier, cutting out soda, exercising more, and generally healing myself emotionally so I can continue to drop pounds. My goal is to reach 240 (which was last known to be my weight almost 8 years ago, in April of 2001) by Christmas time, and to be under 200 by the end of 2009.

Keep you all posted as that unfolds.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Dream About Making A Film

Just a quick note... last night I had a dream that I was directing a film and my crew was lots of old friends, many who'd worked with me on "Maze" last fall. Alex Paul, David Yeomans, and Pat Scola are the ones who I distinctly remember communicating with in the dream.

We were shooting in this old run-down house, and Alex had leaned a 2X4 up against a garage outside the kitchen window. He proceeded to walk up it and balance one foot on the gutter and the other on the 2X4 while rigging something.

I remarked (quite seriously) that "next time I do a film we'll have a ladder and everyone will be forced to use it".

Pat Scola and Alex both started to argue with me about how they didn't care and they could do it without one, and that they wouldn't like being forced to do anything. Sometimes you're in a hurry and you just hop up an do what needs to be done, even if it's not the safest way.

BAsically this lead to a discussion about liability issues--I explained that if I had to call Mrs. Paul and say "You're son has died" she's going to ask "How did he die?" and then I'd have to explain that he was climbing a 2X4 to rig a light because I didn't provide proper equipment.

Anyway, I miss you guys a lot, making films with you. Hope all is well, and you're dreams are coming true.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

John's Here, It's Been Swell

John's been here since Friday afternoon, and we have been having a grand old time. We've walked the Walk of Fame, visited Grauman's Chinese theater, ate hotdogs at the world famous "Pinks", gone to Malibu and swam in the ocean, swam in my pool, cruised, hit up Menchies for awesome fro-yo, watched "Brazil", ate at In-N-Out, and went to the Getty center.

All in all, pretty awesome so far. Hopefully it will get even awesome--er. Haha.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

One More Thing...

I also dreamed that I was in church, and we had an earthquake, and I fell to the floor. I was afraid of getting trampled by those leaving the building, so I got up and got out of the building, where I collapsed into the grass, and waited for the shaking to stop.

I've been noticing a general slowdown in Seismic activity in the Southern California area--which means that either all the pressure has been released, or that the faults are "caught"--and the pressure is building!

Or maybe it's just a metaphorical representation of my belief structure being massively shaken...

My Morning Wake Up Call

I have a very special wake up call here at my apartment. At 7am each morning, I'm awoken by three unique sounds, all within 60 seconds of each other.

These sounds are:

1. A jetliner taking off from Burbank airport

2. My clock-radio kicking on KRTH 101, with DJ's doing the station break

3. My G5 automatically turning on, which makes the fans spin up like a wind turbine while it initially boots.

The great thing about this is that it is such a unique combination of sounds that if they don't all happen very close together, I know something isn't right, and I can continue to sleep... ;) Not that that's ever happened.

A humerous thing happened this morning though, because when the radio kicked on, DJ Gary Bryan said it was time for "Tuesday Trivia" or something like that. For a moment I wondered--am I in a time warp? Last night it was Wednesday, and now it's Tuesday? The days are going backwards! Is Stupendous Man responsible for this? Did Calvin have an assignment due on Thursday?

After a song, Gary came back on and without mentioning his previous mistake (a good radio personality should always ignore his mistakes--listeners will generally assume they mis-heard.) said that it was "Thursday Trivia".

Not that great of a story, I realize.

On to something a little more serious.

The old man who I home teach has passed on. When we last visited him, he was doing really poorly, and I had a feeling he had not much time left. He was rail thin, his lip and jaw had gotten so bad he could not talk. I had brought the message--a message about Death, and how for some it is an enemy, but for those who are suffering, it can be a liberator, bringing them home to their father. I told him that I admire him for his efforts to endure to the end, and his courage.

I could see something in his eyes--I could almost tell then and there that this message was especially for him, because he knew it too.

He's whole now, and that's very comforting.

Anyway, I've got to go make my breakfast and pack my lunch. Take care, everyone.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

You're Sad and You're Sorry, But You're Not Ashamed

Lots and lots of food for thought lately. I'm Journaling about 2 pages a day on average, trying to understand my thought processes and learn what it is I really want during this time on earth.

Naturally, I'm writing more in my journal because it's far more personal, and unlike this weblog, I feel completely free in writing whats on my mind.

It's tough to write an entry for public consumption sometimes, because you never know who's going to be reading it, and people don't know your whole backstory. In a journal, you are the reader and the writer, you don't always have to explain the back story, the motivations, the minutia of the tale.

What's the point of this entry?

Not sure, really, but I felt like giving you something a little bit more after yesterday's two goofy short posts.

John N. is going to come out to California on Labor Day weekend! I'm so excited to see him! It's been since Christmas, and he really is a dear friend. We'll have a grand old time.

In a few days, another dear friend will be leaving for 2 weeks, and that'll be sad.

Anyway, I'll have to jet--the morning commute awaits.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Okay, so, let me explain

The previous post is a direct result of what happens when you leave your Blogger page open at your workstation, and one of your co-workers decides to have a little fun.

Glad we all had a jolly good laugh.


Blogging May Have Fallen Out Of Favor

Hey There Friends!

I was just sitting on the toilet thinking about you and Martha Stewart. She's so great. I like her bathrugs.

Sometimes I like to poop in the yard.


Friday, August 08, 2008

Blast from the Past!

Last night I received this e-mail:
I'm guessing that this is your e-mail. A friend of mine linked me to your 9/11 film on you tube. I'm aka Buck, from Humdaisy, or what was once Humdaisy. I remember you wrote us to use the song "A Little Strange..." and I don't think that I ever spoke to you. It's fine that you used the song, and I'm/we're honored. In the "file it under small world" bin, my dad was actually in the North Tower (thankfully, he was, and continues to be, fine) when 9/11 went down. I just have to ask how you came across the CD/song. We were once poised to take a chance on the music biz, on a larger scale, but life gets in the way. Anyhow, just felt compelled to try and track you down.

Amazing huh? I wrote to them almost 7 years ago asking for permission to use the song, and one of the band members finally contacts me! What I love most about it, is that it's totally the type of thing I have done. Last summer, I tracked down this guy I had met at a conference in Anaheim during 2004--about 3 years after the fact, and I ended up talking on the phone with him for about an hour!

For those who don't remember, this is the video to which we are referring:

Monday, July 28, 2008

C.S. Lewis: The Screwtape Letters

After a recommendation from my home teaching companion--and him lending me the book, I read C.S. Lewis' "The Screwtape Letters". They are a series of missives from a 'loving' Uncle Screwtape, (a senior Devil) to his "junior temptor" nephew, Wormwood--a newly graduated Devil.

This book is a delightful and eye opening perspective on Satan's methods. Lewis shows how the Devil can use almost anything to get us back into the hands of "Our Father Below".

While all the letters are excellent, the part that I wanted to share with you actually comes from an appended essay called "Screwtape Proposes A Toast"

"In that promising land [In this story he is referring to England, but I feel it's applicable to most countries these days, especially the USA] the spirit of I’m as good as you has already begun something more than a generally social influence. It begins to work itself into their educational system. How far its operations there have gone at the present moment, I should not like to say with certainty. Nor does it matter. Once you have grasped the tendency, you can easily predict its future developments; especially as we ourselves will play our part in the developing. The basic principle of the new education is to be that dunces and idlers must not be made to feel inferior to intelligent and industrious pupils. That would be “undemocratic.” These differences between pupils – for they are obviously and nakedly individual differences – must be disguised. This can be done at various levels. At universities, examinations must be framed so that nearly all the students get good marks. Entrance examinations must be framed so that all, or nearly all, citizens can go to universities, whether they have any power (or wish) to profit by higher education or not. At schools, the children who are too stupid or lazy to learn languages and mathematics and elementary science can be set to doing things that children used to do in their spare time. Let, them, for example, make mud pies and call it modelling. But all the time there must be no faintest hint that they are inferior to the children who are at work. Whatever nonsense they are engaged in must have – I believe the English already use the phrase – “parity of esteem.” An even more drastic scheme is not possible. Children who are fit to proceed to a higher class may be artificially kept back, because the others would get a trauma -- Beelzebub, what a useful word! – by being left behind. The bright pupil thus remains democratically fettered to his own age group throughout his school career, and a boy who would be capable of tackling Aeschylus or Dante sits listening to his coeval’s attempts to spell out A CAT SAT ON A MAT."

When I read that I was amazed--Lewis was writing this in 1959--what you and I might consider a Golden Age of public education in the United States--we had the highest scores across the board world-wide. Lewis hit this nail on the head, and if he were alive today, he'd probably be in complete shock.

Just some food for thought.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Another Night Ride

I had to ride again, and my fanny is feeling it.

I rode 11 miles tonight, and if my butt wasn't so sore, I'd have been able to go longer.

You can view my path here.

It doesn't look like it's as far, but that's because I went to the end of the bike path and back to the corner of Cahuenga and Chandler before turning around and going back, and this time going further, to buy a bottle of water.

Like I said before--awesome, but my rump roast is totally toast.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Chandler Bike Path is AMAZING

I am ready for bed tonight, but I just wanted to share that I have biked about 15 miles today, and I feel amazing. I biked to and from church, and then all the way to northern Burbank to visit Seth. Riding back along the path at 10pm was quite possibly the most invigorating and simultaneously peaceful things I've experienced in a long time.

And I always need more peace in my life.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Missing Beauty

This morning I got up, finally committed to grab my video camera and get some morning shots around my apartment complex. I showered and dressed more quickly than usual, hoping to provide myself with extra time to shoot.

As I grabbed a drink, I looked out the kitchen window to the fence below, where each morning I had been greeted with a wall of vibrant morning glories.

They were gone.

I don't know when it happened, but they were totally absent, only a few dead strands of vine were left clinging to the trellis.

My enthusiasm was dead, my heart sank. Who would take something so beautiful and destroy it? It was perfect the way it was, or at the very least, not in anyone's way.


After driving up to Utah last-minute on Sunday, I spent a late night, driving to get home for church Sunday morning. I was excited, ready to feel the spirit come into my heart, and lift me, sustain me, for one more week. I wanted to sing the hymns, to fellowship with some friends I've made, and to feel closer to Him.

When I arrived, I was greeted with a letter from the Prophet and his councilors, that in effect commanded California LDS to vote to support the Constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. It was, in fact, a call to arms.

My spirit was gone.

I had always thought the church was better than that. If fact, the week before I'd commented to someone that "The Mormon Church is different, we don't have a political agenda ... the church doesn't tell us how to vote, they tell us to pray and make a decision based on what the spirit tells us is best for the country and church--we believe in agency."

To me, the issue is one of law. First, we must understand that marriage is an institution created by religion (or God, depending on your perspective.) Not an invention of the state. It was only in the last century that the state began requiring "Marriage Licenses"--prior to the US Civil war, NO ONE had a marriage license. The marriage license was invented after the civil war so that the states could try and prevent and regulate interracial marriage

Even if marriage is not defined by the state, what does it matter to the church? No one will be forced to perform a same-sex ceremony. That would be a clear violation of Congress's prohibition to "...make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof".

My testimony was severely damaged that day. Not my testimony of God's love, or even of the Scriptures, but my faith in the divine guidance of the church and it's leaders. But it shouldn't be--I should have known this would happen, if I'd done my research. I called and spoke to my father about it, and he said the church has issued call-to-arms type letters on many issues in the past--including fighting against equal rights provisions that would make men and women equal under the law.

Sometimes I wish I could create an eloquent ending to this post, but I'm left dumb. I don't know what to say. I realize that the parallel of the flowers is a bit weak, but I felt that it would help you understand a 1/100th of what I'm feeling right now.

I have to get to work. God, please forgive me.

Friday, June 13, 2008

A little bit annoyed... (Previously known as WHAT THE F#CK?!?)

So THE FIRST DAY I arrived in Los Angeles (May 22nd) I looked at an apartment at 5301 Cahuenga Blvd. I loved it, the price was right, and I put in my application. Well here I am TWENTY ONE DAYS LATER, and I'm still not able to move in. Despite the fact that I initiated my application on Tuesday, May 27th.

The latest debacle comes from the fact that since Dad co-signed my lease, he had to sign before I would be able to take possession of the keys. Well, they didn't fax him the application on Wednesday until after the UPS pickup for the day, so he overnighted it on Thursday. However, it was placed in a "ground" envelope with overnight stickers all over it. So it's not scheduled to arrive until monday.

In other words, they probably won't give us the keys today, which means that we'll have to be at Danny's all weekend, AGAIN, unable to move in--

What I don't understand is this: Is God telling me that this apartment is WRONG for me, and that's why he's trying to get me slowed down and frustrated so that I move somewhere else?

Or is God trying to test my diligence and faith that it'll all work out before allowing me to get into the unit?

I'm praying it's the latter.

I'm going to call the California Real Estate Service and ask them if they will let us take the keys anyway--because if not, they have to deduct the days of rent we are paying when we don't have possession of the unit.

Pray that they will be trusting and understanding and just give me the friggin' keys..

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Is This Really Happening?

I'm back in The City Of Angels...Los Angeles--and I'm not sure how I feel.  On the one hand, I'm nervous because I am doing two weeks of Freelance with Wiser Post that might turn into a full time position--but on the other hand, I'm not sure yet if I want to work for them.  I used to edit a lot and lately it's been somewhat on the back-burner.  If my goal really truly is to edit feature films, then what is the path I should take?  If only I knew...

I'm also nervous about this apartment for which I'm applying.  Since I cannot provide proof of income (being essentially jobless), I've needed to get my Dad to co-sign the loan.  I'm nervous because he was bankrupt years ago, and I'm not sure he'll qualify with enough income to support the apartment.  Plus, I'm not sure what my roommate Joe's credit is like.  He did buy a used car recently and got it financed--and since then he's never missed a payment, so I imagine it must be fairly decent.  Either way, I want my own place ASAP--I'm tired of staying on Danny Zack's couch, nice as it is to hang out with him.

Plus, you should see this apartment.  For the price, it is AMAZING.  I love it so much, I felt really good energy off of it when visiting, whereas every alternate apartment I've viewed has left me feeling dissapointed.  This place is bright, clean and airy--the complex and grounds are very nice, and it just feels like a real home.

Tonight I'm going to home, and Joe will be there--he's finally arrived in Los Angeles.  It should be good to see him.  See you all tomorrow!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Peace In A Sea Of Depravity: An Abridged Journal Entry

I felt it might be appropriate to share with you a recent abridged and in some places paraphrased journal entry of mine.

Dear Journal,

I am currently sitting next to a Sept 11th Memorial on Cahuenga Peak. It is a most amazing spot and my soul sings to be here. I'm looking out over Hollywood Resevoir and Los Angeles, with Burbank and the San Fernando Valley behind me.

Today was fast and testimony meeting at church. I bore my testimony of God's love and how he has changed my life. Sometimes I want to scream to everyone about my struggles, but that won't fix them.

Father, I really know and feel your love. Please guide me in what I must do to become what you have in mind for me. Help me enhance my spiritual and physical and creative goals. Help me to fight daily temptations. Help me understand the meanings and purposes of my relationships with others.

The weather here has been beautiful and I am so grateful to be here living my dream. You know I've filled half this journal in nine months, though I've owned this journal for SEVEN YEARS? I am excited to finish it and begin a new book--I pray that the new book will be full of joyous reflection and gratitude instead of pain, sorrow and regret.

I'm thankful for: tall mountains, level plains, my voice, my mind, my head, hands and feet. The gospel of Jesus Christ and the joy that I feel when I am in church. I'm thankful for Bishop O'Laughlin--a man who probably saved my life, and most definitely my soul. I'm thankful for my trials because they shape me into the man I know I will be.

At this moment, I feel at peace. My mind is clear, my heart is full, and the air is clear and cool.

I can't ask for much more.


What do you think of that? Don't you wish you could feel that--in a sea of civilization, the great city of angels, a sea of buildings, pollution and depravity--that you could feel peace?

Hope I struggle to hold on to that feeling as I move through the week. If I could feel like that every minute, I know my life would be so different. But I am mortal and weak.

I have changed so much in the last year that I hardly recognize myself sometimes. There is always room to grow, to change, and to decide what you want to be. My attitude is better, and I am making plans to change my disempowering beliefs, my addictions and weeknesses.

Isn't life awesome?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Price Is Right!

I'm just going to come right out and say it:

I was a contestant on the Price is Right today! The show will air on April 18th, 2008 at 10am in Los Angeles on CBS!

I did not get on the showcase showdown, but I did win a 6-night stay in a lodge at Yosemite National Park with air-fare and car rental included! I $3,500 dollar value!!!

Basically, it's the most amazing experience to be on the show--I shook Drew Carey's hand!

Friday, January 25, 2008

LA Update

I've now been in Los Angeles for about three weeks, and let me tell you, it has been quite a ride so far. I don't even really know where or how to begin.

I moved into my Oakwood Apartment on the 15th of December, spending the first few days outfitting the kitchen with food and supplies, while running around LA interviewing for internships. The Oakwood apartments are nice, but it is sometimes frustrating because everything the Oakwoods says seems to be a lie (I'm not sure that it's malicious... maybe just ignorance) and that we are basically paying 5,000 dollars a month to live in an apartment that couldn't possibly be more than 2,500 a month. Emerson College, just what are you skimming off the top? Your LA program is probably a cash cow for you.

Anyway, I'm really enjoying being out here, though I obviously miss all my friends in Maine, Virginia, Boston, etc. When I got here, I was able to get a little bit of assistant editing work from Incited Media. Aaron Galles, the Senior Producer of Speechless from my Freshman year at Emerson College works there and paid me to digitize a bunch of footage. It might be a re-ocurring opportunity as well, which is great.

I decided to go with the internship at Partizan Entertainment, which has been fun, but very slow so far. Since they are a production company, and there isn't very much production happening right now, I can't seem to occupy myself all day. Which is partially why I am writing this blog post right now.

Being three hours behind everyone back east is really weird too. It's after 9pm on the east coast, so I can't even call people when I get out of work. At the same time, though, I've been so busy that I haven't really had much time these last few weeks. I've been trying to get settled into a healthy routine so I can start working on my own projects and making sure everything runs smoothly.

What else? I've started to get to know Burbank and West Hollywood pretty well, but I don't drive the freeways much since my internship is so close. I've reconnected with Seth Donald, my couch-surfing friend from this summer, which was totally cool. I've also talked on the phone with Mike Jittlov, creator of the Wizard of Speed and Time, on the phone, and I'll soon meet him in person!

My home ward in studio city is really awesome, I feel very comfortable there, and welcome. I've also met a comedic film editor who goes to the ward, and I've getting to know him! It's very exciting since he's basically doing what I want to be doing.

Its really amazing to think I am almost done with college and entering the real world. SCARY, actually. Pretty soon I've truly be in the rat race, paying off bills, schmoozing and trying to make my way. I pray that the AMPTP and the WGA can come to an agreement. Then it might not be so slim in this town.

Anyway, I love you all and miss you so much. Take care and send me all your love and positive energy so I can rock this town!