Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Cow Time Thoughts: Almost there...

It's almost 2:15 AM. Today (or, rather, yesterday) was my last day of classes EVER. I lucked out because my Bio 100 final got cancelled, so unless I totally bombed on the last midterm (which I don't think I did) I should have an A in that class, especially after having done 100 points' worth of extra credit!

My Border Spanish final is a take home exam. I'm almost 2/3 through it and should finish it when I wake up, assuming I ever fall asleep. That means that my only real final that I have to study for is Humanities 202, which I'm not too stressed about since I should have plenty of time tomorrow evening and all day Wednesday to study (it's not scheduled until Wednesday evening). After that, it's graduation time!

But why am I up so stinking late? Well, usually it would be because I've been goofing off or editing something. But tonight I've actually been trying to sleep for almost two hours. The neighbors have been keeping me awake. I actually called 9-1-1 a while ago because they were blasting some music really loudly (loud enough that it went through their walls, across two driveways, and through MY wall), but just as I got to the point where an officer was being dispatched they turned it off, so I told the dispatcher to forget it, and she gave me a non-emergency number to call next time...

[tangent]Which reminded me of an experience on my mission in Dallas that is the cause behind my calling 9-1-1 for non-emergency reasons. (There's actually an expanded post on this one!)It was my first area, and our next door neighbors were also our landlords. They had a bunch of kids and most of the family had gone on vacation, excepting the oldest at-home son, who had just graduated from high school. He was somewhat of a troublemaker -- nothing too horrible, but his parents were concerned about him. When they'd told us they were going out of town, one of the English elders jokingly asked the father if we could call the cops if he threw a party since he wasn't allowed to have more than one or two friends over. The father (who always looked like a caricatured version of most men to me) looked at him with a straight face and stated solemnly, "Yes. Yes, you can."

Sure enough, as soon as the family was out of town, that very first night, we were just getting to bed and looked out our windows to see our neighbors' backyard. What we beheld was more than mere apricot trees, unfortunately. There were kids drinking beer and smoking what appeared to be cigarettes. Probably around twenty, including the ones we could see inside the house through the kitchen windows. I was shocked that this kid not only would have the nerve to be so quick to disobey his parents, but that he would introduce drugs and alcohol to the temple his parents had worked so hard to keep pure from those influences.

I picked up the phone and looked through the phone book to find the local police station. I called them and told them that there were underage kids getting drunk next door. I figured this wasn't anything that required flashing lights and a siren, so I was quite surprised when the lady on the other end told me to hang up and dial 9-1-1 to have an officer dispatched. I did so and soon enough found myself talking to a policeman in his squad car just as he was pulling up to the house. I could see him through the window and said, "Yeah, you just passed it." I won't lie -- I was actually kind of excited to see this kid get busted.

Right when the cop gets to parking, we suddenly see kids frantically running EVERYwhere throughout the house! Some are dumping alcohol down the drain, others are stashing beer bottles under the sink, while five or six more are taking turns running into the bathroom, which tells me they were flushing something they didn't want to get caught with. Meanwhile, the son of our landlords would periodically cup his hands over his eyes and lean up against the kitchen window to see if he could tell that we were the cause of all of this. No dice, though -- we had the lights off and were watching between the slits of closed blinds. Even if he knew it had to be us, there was know way to verify it and be legitimately angry. We were laughing, though.

The cop simply broke up the party. He didn't even go inside, luckily for them. After everyone had left, the son came out onto the back porch and stood there, hands on his hips, staring up right at the window we were looking at him from. It was obvious he didn't know we were actually there, but he was hoping he was showing us that he wasn't happy.

The next day we were going out to an appointment and we happened to bump into him on our way out. He was much friendlier to us than usual, which was oddly funny. He offered us a ride to wherever we were going and after we refused he told us that if we needed anything to give him a call. "He doesn't want us to call his parents," I thought to myself.

When we came back for lunch I called his parents. And probably with the wrong intentions, though the kid had it coming either way. I just wanted to see him wriggle. His parents weren't happy, but they did okay. The kid ended up serving a mission and I have even run into him on campus before, though he doesn't remember who I am. He's a good guy, though. He was just a stupid teenager sometimes.

And that's why I call 9-1-1 when I need a cop, even if it's not an emergency. [/tangent]

But the girls next door started screaming ten minutes later in sporadic bursts. How can people stand being so loud that their neighbors can hear them through all that space and barrier between them? I don't know. I thought about calling the cops back but then decided not to since the girls are new to the area and aren't really LDS. I don't want them to feel alienated by their neighbors. Am I being a pushover? Probably. Meh.

Meanwhile, the job search continues...

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Thursday, August 2, 2007

YouTubin': A Lesson in Ethics

I think YouTube is an interesting phenomenon. It creates a power of visual storytelling that almost anyone can access. The interactivity is a psychological breakthrough in that connections made through various videos provide the viewer interesting ways in which he can synthesize loads of new information handed to him in any myriad of combinations.

However, I wonder how the readers of my blog feel about YouTube, specifically its role as a foundation for a new sort of online community where people post video journals with their lives for all to see (although everyone is an actor since they are aware of the camera). I have always been against it for several reasons, perhaps the most prominent being the personal information that is so frequently and blindly given out through them. The internet is a twisted place, and YouTube is bound to be prime stalking grounds for predators.

And then there are people like this guy below, who seems to be addicted to YouTube to the point where it affects his behavior. In his defense, I think he is autistic or there is something else going on that isn't 100% apparent just by hearing what he has to say. In any case, he says some goofy things that would be easy to scoff at, but in the end I actually felt somewhat depressed by his post:

Is the empowerment of the individual on YouTube worth these sorts of videos, where a young man unwittingly exposes himself to the ridicule of those who misunderstand what's probably really going on? I skimmed through some of the comments and I just felt bad for the kid. Yes, some of the things he says are goofy, but the way he reacts to life experiences makes me feel like he needs better understanding from the audience, something that he doesn't seem to be aware of enough to address.

Anyways, just a thought on the ethics of exposing your personal life on the world wide web.

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