Friday, September 28, 2007

I just need to post this.

I didn't make it, but here it is:

That is all.

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Cow Time Thoughts: Growing Facial Hair (as opposed to cutting and pasting)

This website is loaded with instructions on growing facial hair and the different styles that are out there, including:
As opposed to the UNfriendly mutton chop:

While we're on the subject of cow time, I'm wondering if anyone out there can tell me whence this phrase originates. I've been using it ever since I was a boy scout at age 11. My brother-in-law, who is from Utah, has been using it since '95 even though our paths didn't cross until '99 or so. Meanwhile, J. Bod claims to have invented the phrase as a young man. What is the true origin of the phrase "cow time"? I am determined to find out.

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

On a More Serious Note...

I'm in a more pensive mood this evening than usual. I had an itch to blog something, but right now I can't come up with any sort of attempt at being witty because I'm too contemplative, partially due to some current events in my life (every part of my existence is at a crossroads, it seems), and partially due to my re-discovery of a good friend's blog.

So, if you are in the mood for a religion paper I wrote over a year ago (in Ray Lynn's OT class - one of the most insightful courses I took at BYU), extend this very-extendable entry. It's not amazing writing by any means, but it has some thoughts of mine that I'm so glad I got down on "paper" - because it is helping me look at my life again in a different way.

Oh, and there are typos. Sorry.

"What important doctrines, teachings, or concepts can we learn from the bad people of Genesis or Exodus?"

When we read about the wickedness of the many evil men in the scriptures, we tend to abhor their actions and take relief when we read that justice is served and their inevitable comeuppance has arrived. However, in our search for swift justice upon the wicked we sometimes forget a very important attribute that also belongs to the Lord: that of endless mercy. While the principle is true that mercy cannot rob justice, the Old Testament makes it clear that the Lord shows mercy even when it is completely undeserved, and even some of the most wicked people are recipients of this display of God’s love.
The first example of this that we can chronologically find in the canonical scriptures is in the fifth chapter of Moses, in which Cain offers an unworthy sacrifice to the Lord in the form of vegetation, and when he is wroth for the rejection, the Lord teaches him:

If thou doest well, thou shalt be accepted. And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door, and Satan desireth to have thee; and except thou shalt hearken unto my commandments, I will deliver thee up, and it shall be unto thee according to his desire. (Moses 5:23)
This is an act of mercy in that, rather than letting Cain fend for himself and learn the hard way without any other options, he is given a second chance and God makes sure that the understands what his options are. He is promised blessings for obedience and curses for sin, an act of God that shows his desire for Cain to do what’s right and someday return to Him.
However, in the fourth chapter of Genesis Cain ignores the Lord’s words and slays his brother Abel in an act of jealousy, selfishness, and secrecy. When Cain is confronted by the Lord for this grievous sin, he is told that “thou art cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand … a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.” (Genesis 4:11-12)
Cain immediately becomes rather worried about this curse from God, and expresses his concern to the Lord:
Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from they face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me. (Genesis 4: 14)
His fear of being killed is understandable. He’s committed a great crime that will surely become widely known due to its nature and the fact that it’s the first time that cold-blooded murder has been introduced to the world. We may even think he deserves whatever may come to him, even if one who was to find him and remember his evil act kills him.
However, the Lord in his infinite mercy adds a second part to the curse:
Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him. (Genesis 4:15)
Cain is promised that mankind will be instructed to not deal out their angers upon Cain by murdering him. To ensure this protection, a mark is placed upon Cain as a warning label to all those who see him that he is not to be dealt with in such a manner.
It’s interesting that, even though Cain has just committed a terrible sin, his pleas are still heard and answered according to the Lord’s will. Justice would demand that Cain be killed in like manner, but the Lord hears Cain’s concerns and responds. Although this may have been a form of punishment in that Cain could not end his temporal torments by being murdered, it is nonetheless clear that this was in response to Cain’s desire to not be slain, and that the Lord granted his wish in an effort to teach him.
It is awe-inspiring to consider the fact that the Lord has shown so much love and mercy to a man so wicked and ignorant of what’s right. In comparing Cain’s situation to our own (which is hopefully less extreme), we should be able to see a little more clearly what mercies Heavenly Father has shown us when we are undeserving and understand His plan for us a little better. Justice cannot be denied, but the Lord still loves His children.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Now You See It #1

I got a digital camera as a graduation gift and I want to make use of it for the blog. I have a couple rough ideas, one of them being that I just post an image and let the comments fly and turn into a discussion about what meaning can be evoked, or simply an opportunity to have a laugh. So... here is the first installment of what I just randomly decided to call "Now You See It." Let the comments begin!

(P.S. I probably won't comment until other comments are made first. For photos that I have something specific to say, I'll usually use them in a different format than this.)

(P.P.S. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO MAKE IT LARGER before making any comments.)

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Saturday, September 8, 2007

Spotlights Will Agree I Am the Show You've Got to See

Since my mission I've discovered the joy of going to concerts at smaller venues where lesser-known bands circulate and seek exposure through younger audiences. There's a good feeling inside that comes when you really enjoy a song or band that isn't mainstream. It's like you realize that you aren't selling out to what everyone else likes -- you are enjoying something original.

The first band that was like this for me was my old roommates' ska band Button Hooked, which is unfortunately disbanded now. I have a couple videos of their stuff on my website, Their music was not only fun, but it was purely based on life experiences they'd had. The attraction in some of their songs was in knowing the people and back story to them ("Danny is the One for the Having of the Selling Out," for example, is about our other old roommate Danny who wouldn't join their band), while in others it was the ability to relate to their realistic lyrics ("9 Years," a song about a guy who puts his heart on the line with a girl after being her friend for 9 years and, after being rejected, admits that he can never be just friends again). There were also slams made against other bands, like the Provo-local Matt Lewis Band (I think they suck).

The next band I discovered was thanks to the same roommates, another ska group from Southern California called Suburban Legends. Their membership has changed a bit over the last couple years, and their sound has turned more disco, but their concerts are still a riot and they tour quite a bit. They're also refreshingly clean, which is difficult to find in this genre sometimes, especially because ska really is all but dead. The most delightful part of their shows is the amazing choreography they use in their songs! In fact, when they are auditioning new band members, one of the requirements is that they are good dancers. They recently released a new album, and you can hear some of it on the page I linked to above. At the time of this writing I haven't actually listened to most of those samples, so I really can't say if it's any good. In any case, SL is a good fix for some fun rock with that horn influence.

It was at the last SL concert I went to in July that I discovered this other band from New Jersey, Jet Lag Gemini. I don't LOVE their stuff, but they have a couple songs that are a lot of fun. The first two sample songs you hear when going to their website are probably my favorites. "Run This City" is just an all-around great song and a lot of fun to drive to. At the show I picked up a free sample CD of their stuff which had that song included, and I've played it at least 50 times already in my car stereo. When I saw these guys in concert I had actually looked 'em up beforehand, so I expected to be entertained. I felt bad, however, that they didn't quite live up to my expectations. A lot of their music sounded the same and needed some refinement. Plus, only two of their members were really into the music (actually, the bass player was amazing to watch, not only for his playing skills but because he just went nuts on stage -- quite the performer). In their defense, the audience was lame (nobody was dancing or hardly even bobbing their heads up and down), and I felt bad for them as they had expressed that this was their first visit to Utah ever. I think we made a bad impression and I wouldn't be surprised if they never come back. But then again, that's what you get for catering to an audience loaded mostly with high schoolers.

On the other hand, there was another band that played awful music but really knew how to get the audience pumped. Throwing stuff at them, inviting them on stage, ordering them to run around and scream... It was chaos at times, but by golly they got a good response. It probably helped that they had a large man with a mohawk who commanded the microphone between songs. One of the more impressive moments was when the lead singer stepped out on top of the audience while they supported his feet with their hands. It must have taken amazing strength and coordination to keep himself upright, and he kept singing the entire time! Fantastic.

I guess, to me, rock music and concerts are the best when I can tell that the musicians are having the time of their lives on stage without resorting to f-bombs every other word. Suburban Legends and Button Hooked pull that off so well. A lot of the bands at the last SL tour were so mellow on stage that I felt like they hated being there, which may well have been the look they were going for, which to me leans more toward emo and less toward hard core rock. If you want to get your audience into your songs, you've got to get them energized. Barely moving while staring downward expresionlessly is poor showmanship in my book.

So yes, the obscure music world is a lot of fun, and I look forward to getting to know other bands out there with a lot of talent but, for whatever reason, not a lot of exposure.

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