Jeff's online journal, ramblings, whatever.

Archive for October, 2006

Somewhere, Far Beyond Those Distant Stars. . .

Remember: down means tired! And it’s 3:50 PM!

So I got the novelization of the ST:DS9 episode “Far Beyond the Stars” yesterday and read the whole thing last night, and the author touched upon something that wasn’t really that clear in the TV episode. In it, there is a man named Benny Russell who is a sci-fi writer in the 1950s who ends up writing stories about Deep Space Nine, but can’t get them published because he made the captain a black man. The main plot is a great social commentary, but what I’m mainly concerned about in this post is a subplot involving his girlfriend Cassie (Kasidy Yates in the rest of DS9), who waitresses at a greasy spoon and wants to buy the place, marry Benny, and settle down.Benny Russell In the book, the author spends a bit of time talking about Benny Russell’s calling and/or purpose in life, and how he can’t propose to Cassie and settle down because he’s a writer. He is willing to starve for his work, but he is not willing to ask Cassie to do the same. But at the same time, he knows he will never be happy just running a restaurant and a family; his “muse” won’t let him. He was given a great talent: a talent to create fantastical worlds that people can read about and believe in, and to become a restaurant manager would be like spitting in the face of the one who gave him that gift. Thus he becomes an unhappy person (at least until he finally sells his DS9 story and therefore can have his cake and eat it too, as the old saying that doesn’t really make sense goes). Anyone see where I’m going with this yet?

I explained two entries ago why I sometimes sabotage my relationships. I’m not proud of that entry, but it’s there. However, I thought of something else, something that I’ve actually pondered but not written down until this book reminded me of it. A Media Music major such as myself does not have a lot of lucrative prospects waiting for him when he graduates. Very few of them end up making any money from their degree; even less can support a family based solely off their musical expertise. I don’t want anyone to marry me whom I can’t support. I don’t want to raise a family in constant fear of where the next paycheck will come from. I don’t want to force my wife to work because I don’t bring home enough money to cover the bills. My future family is very important to me, and I want to be able to provide for them.

Yet, at the same time, I have been given some great talents in music. Not only do I possess perfect pitch, I also have written a lot of songs and musical works, most of which have been met with praise, and I innately understand a lot of musical concepts that many people have to study for years in order to come to the same level of understanding. In short, in the field of music, I have been given five talents (in reference to the parable). I say this not to be cocky or self-aggrandizing, but to say how grateful I am for these gifts. But, as is the catchphrase of old Uncle Ben, with great power comes great responsibility. With these great musical gifts comes the responsibility to share them with the world, and to try to improve others’ lives through the things I write. A long time back I was involved with a Leadership conference, and as part of the conference we were asked to write down a one-sentence goal to guide our lives, aside from the obvious spiritual ones. Mine ended up being “I want to help other people feel how I’d like to feel.” While perhaps a bit cryptic and vague, I still firmly believe in that, and the best way to do so is to use the talents I have been given.

Thus my dilemma. I know I can share myself with the world through music, yet at the same time I know I need to support a family. It’s quite hard to do both, and that’s one reason I find it hard to sustain successful relationships with girls. I don’t want to give girls the chance to fall in love with me and thus risk having to live a subsistent life. My mother had to do that, as have several other members of my extended family, and the toll that takes on the family bond can be too much at times.

I guess my comfort can come from 1 Nephi 3:7, that famous scripture that says, in part, “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” If the Lord has given me these talents, surely He will find a way to allow me to righteously exercise them to improve the world, while at the same time raising a family of my own.

Keep praying for me, guys! I know I am!


More random notes from a Sunday

(This was originally a note from my Pocket PC, much of which was written using the handwriting recognition tool, which is normally pretty inaccurate.)

“It’s easier to fill your time with what’s available than what’s right.” – Me, with obviously some inspiration

32+6-71= -33 Transcriber She was talking about Chicago? The city or the musical? We also need to praya lot Guess What? Life doesn’t suck but is dart know Dart know? What the foo? Whotwill affect your eternal palwation?. Keep on keepin on Jeff. Pont lose hope:

Mmm. . .false doctrine in Sunday School. . .

I can post in church!

I’ll be brief, since I probably shouldn’t be blogging in the middle of church. This Pocket PC can either use an onscreen keyboard or a letter recognizer/transcriber to input text. I tried the transcriber last week during my film class. In addition to the notes being pretty random, the recognizer was clearly not foolproof, especially if one has bad handwriting. But let’s see what you think (note: the first part was input using the onscreen keyboard):

(begin paste)

Kids’ acting is the real thing. If a filmmaker wants a kid to act traumatized, he traumatizes the kid.

We need actors so we can learn lessons without putting ourselves into compromising situations.

Is there anything you learn in this class that you didn’t innately know before? I mean, come on! Judas Priest! It’s all this philosophical discussion without much straight learning. On one hand, that makes me feel better about missing so much.

ACT DARBOE DARBOE THIS WORD DARWho am I next to?7wdghyhbdfgnkohgvcwfndxfgnj,koujmuimvhtgcytgbfy6ggftfcdgnjyfcssfhui,mknghgtgcrgdrg

Hon manic OS-. us suck? What? Felt-? On stage? I’malnays on stage j- ac kie Chan is on stage. on occasion Pick your nutes,these arc quite random, Billy Acting is something we all know and do, however ti is done Now we’11 watch a ‘documentary” Ul ntrammeled Perform, Darboe! Girls love Paul Anka: And really, who doesn’t? EVERYONE is the victim of Paul Anlxa Acive you ever watched people? t7’S an amazing thing to see how people interact ,dude. Stageacting isn’t always big, and fi Im acting isn’t always small, like Jim (arrey Don’t INVALIDatf. I. 1 legible Actors are important tools Imnote hllegibrey Thour that’s better nore exuberance, the frame gets biggah! Nonsense Nun sense! Waster, there’s am mourner rakel . invalnerarble whatever. Creatively, Chaplin is the film guy but Itleatonis a master Filmmaker Jeff Parkes Requires Kumility Humility Mis on sen Play scenes talk in the partly jer kface famous performance inthe middle, let’s thing ‘”roll ) Break I think I’ve finally accurately written down what goes on in my head! -. This is totally it”! Dunude! not nude! NHS that LOWEicas_f? yes Ihaie permanently lost all bank of coherence It’s amazing how my cursive is more readable to thus thing than is my printing This is Cursive This, however, is printing aka my normal handwriting Hey: It’S not doing badly on either count: relatively speaking- o’ course. Life is beautiful It’s time to begin again Signthe damned roll, Jamba juice is like 519.OO or so! lotsot cuts in Student fi Imsidecars the acting sucks Jots of cuts in student films because the acting bucks Sam Schma Hz! Johnathan makes me want to kill myself: SeeiiouI of context Tons of music! Casablanca! Music makes yaw forced to feel badCrying=spirituality? nooo Wagner was interested in integrated art workI am improiscd) Jac kietude GestaH entity is d musical Whole exceeds sum of parts Gestalt that’Swhat You are watching beHah, mom look how Stars arent everything Rhythmic superstar transcending tirro and spare bipace not spare crap it all ??? that’I appropr rate can’f psychologically handlei-171.3, RS tha’ it? Ithinkit’S being eatenby some Linux or somethingtoo late fow their kid I’m wrtt74g horribly Shadonlands isa good show, sir LBtento Your sonncltrichy Color box Don’t get 7,7 by9 batty Sillybear kid from Jurassic Park Music was used to emphasi ze,no^t underscore Reins Reminded about The science guy may halt movies but they rural more truth than may maStraight placesntrusive Anditechts suck It keeps going You can leave things blank if you wish, but it’s just silly to fill it all in only immature. artists do it Design is keg Keys adding is immataritt F. ‘St s c- es O Someone is unable to express his emotions peopleact ditterenhfy in Response tocrisis leant Respond to his fathers death go.dawn I raeoess greatest story evah T.Otloecoffk Kendrick lfffi kendr;dx Hi,sir buttocks Exploit ation is not cool One person’S excess is another person’s heaven! laaaa! Italian know it Sophri Copolla

(end paste)

Make sense to you? It doesn’t to me, and I wrote the fern dern thing! Actually, this post is mainly to draw attention away from the previous, selfish post. I’m leaving it up, as I believe in preserving all sides of my history, but I’m not proud of it. Admitting your problems is the first step to fixing them, I suppose. Anyway, I should get back to church.

‘Nother one o’ them whiney posts

Observe these bizarre actions and tell me if somebody in this equation isn’t screwed up:

For most of my life I’ve had a pretty low self-esteem. Not a lot of people would be able to tell it from casual observance, but the fact remains that it is true. What it stems from isn’t something I’m currently discussing; that would be an entry in and of itself, but suffice it to say that I’ve had one and it is has proven quite difficult to change.

In any case, I’m now living in Provo, and there is the apartment of girls I mentioned in the “Teddy Bear” post. While I don’t spend every night with them, I do consider them friends. A few weeks ago, they decorated our door with sticky notes with compliments. Specifically, the notes were directed toward me, with words such as “sweet,” “caring,” “thoughtful,” “a deep thinker,” “my sunshine,” and even “one of the greatest guys we know.” High praise indeed, especially since it was specifically directed toward me, and not for our apartment in general (or toward Steve and I, or any other such combination).

Now, how should a normal person take such compliments? Truthfully I don’t know what the best answer to that question is. My guess would be to accept them with sincere gratitude, and possibly reciprocate with some sort of kind gesture. That makes the most sense, but that’s not really what I did.

In the TV series Red Dwarf there is an episode called “Better than Life.” In it, there is a computer game that is played in virtual reality, in which the players simply get their every wish granted. Awesome, addicting game. Except for one of the players, one Arnold J. Rimmer, whose psyche apparently has it out for him. His personality just can’t accept nice things happening to him and so, pretty soon all these nasty things start happening to him (and, by proximity, the rest of the Red Dwarf crew), so his world meshes better with his self-image, which is awfully low. His own mind sabotages his quest for happiness, simply because it can’t accept it.

To a lesser extent, I have the same type of problem. When I got those notes my brain tried to come up with some sort of logical explanation that didn’t include “Hey, I really deserve this!” And therefore, mostly subconsciously (but clear in hindsight), I started being less of a gentleman. Not that I did anything drastic like yell or curse or shove them around or anything, but just little things. Just not making an effort to be respectful. Not opening the door. Getting a drink for myself without offering anyone else a drink. Mostly sins of omission. That way, my subconscious mused, the girls won’t think highly of me anymore, and that’s something I’m used to dealing with. For most of my early life I’ve dealt with tolerance at best and more often belittlement, physical and emotional abuse, and devaluation. I’ve grown up handling that; I know what to do when someone takes me for granted. When someone appreciates what I do, though; that’s where I’m at a loss, so subconsciously I want to change the situation so I won’t have to deal with that, by being a jerk. And so far, they’ve come over less, we haven’t said as much to each other, and they probably don’t hold all those opinions about me as they used to. Victory! Um, not really.

Truth is, sometimes I think that, if a girl likes me, she is either easily fooled or has weird priorities. Intellectually I know that’s absurd, but my gut can’t quite shake that feeling. Also, due to my insecurities and doubt in my own observational and judgemental skills (thank you very much, Mr. “I have to argue with every opinion you have” Older Brother), even when a girl quite obviously likes me I have trouble acting upon that, in the (sometimes slim) case I’m wrong. Case in point: Friday night we had a ward activity/dance up in Provo Canyon somewhere. While there I hit it off pretty well with a certain girl that will currently remain nameless (mainly because I’m not sure how to spell it) and we talked almost nearly the entire length of the dance. (See, I go to dances to meet people who don’t like to dance! Somehow it works!) Anyway, it went so well that afterward she came over and we had hot chocolate and watched What’s Up, Doc? I didn’t put my arm around her or anything, but I definitely could have without problems. (Ooh, put your arm around her! That’s daring! Especially for a freakin 24-year-old! Well, in two weeks.)I suggested that the next day (which was yesterday) we could watch another if she had time, and she said something to the effect of if she had the time she’d like to. So, yesterday rolls around, and what happens? Absolutely nothing. We don’t watch a movie together; heck, we don’t even see or hear from each other. Boy, what a budding romantic, eh? And my excuse? I was playing Baldur’s Gate II. It’s the guys’ responsibility to set up those things, especially if it was the guy who suggested the activity in the first place.

Now, gentle readers, put aside all knowledge of me personally and consider the following. If you were a girl and you really liked someone and you were pretty sure that someone liked you back, and you go watch a movie at their place and they invite you to watch another movie the next day, but then never contact you, and you find out later it was because he was playing computer games all day, what would you think of that person? A cad, perhaps. A jerk, certainly. At the least, an irresponsible, immature boy with his priorities screwed up. In short, Arnold J. Rimmer, who blames his failures on ludicrous things instead of taking the steps to fix them. Like says, “Dysfunction: The only consistent feature in all of your dissatisfying relationships is you.”

I’d better end this post, before I get the urge to smack myself in the face for being an idiot.


That’s right, mates, it’s “Talk Like Monterey Jack Day!” This ‘oliday wuz invented by the regulahs at the Acorn Cafe (including yoahs truly, of coahse), and wuz intended tah celebrate that mastah of Ozzie mayhem, Monterey Jack ‘imself! Crikey, it’s a bonza ideah to ‘honah this great mouse every Octobah 19th.

That’s ’bout all I gotta say ’bout that, mates! In conclusion, heah are some bonza avatahs from way back, now in a seasonal form.

All seasons

The Teddy Bear Syndrome

Daring duck of mystery,Darkwing Duck
Champion of right!
Swoops out of the shadows,
Darkwing owns the night.
Somewhere some villain schemes,
But his number’s up!

(3-2-1) Darkwing Duck!
When there’s trouble you call DW
Darkwing Duck!
Let’s get dangerous!
Darkwing Duck!
Darkwing, Darkwing Duck!

Cloud of smoke and he appears,
Master of surprise.
Who’s that cunning mind behind
That shadowy disguise?
Nobody knows for sure,
But bad guys are out of luck.
‘Cause here comes

Darkwing Duck! (Look out!)
When there’s trouble you call DW!
Darkwing Duck!
Let’s get dangerous!
Darkwing Duck!
Better watch out, you bad boys!
Darkwing Duck!

Well, folks, I’m now living in Provo once again (actually have been for more than a month), and lemme tell you, it’s been different. For starters, I’m running out of money and haven’t got a job yet. Secondly, this is the first time I’ve lived on my own since 2001 (not counting the mission or living with my brother), which was the last time I was in Provo. Thirdly, and completely non-consequentially, I bought all four Vol. 1’s of the Disney Afternoon shows from Ducktales to Darkwing Duck. And, oddly enough, I think my favorite is Talespin, though with Rescue Rangers only a smidgen behind. Talespin just seems to be the most mature (not in a smutty way) of the DA shows, and thus I enjoy it more as an on an adult level.

I always find it interesting and a bit self-enlightening who I turn out to be and who I surround myself with when my siblings aren’t around to make my friends for me. Many times it turns out to be people they’d never associate with except for in a cursory way. When I was at BYU the first time, living in the dorms, I hung out with a group of absolute nerds playing D&D and apparently scaring off girls. I was OK with that, though; we had a wicked awesome game of D&D going throughout the entire semester, and since it was pre-mission I wasn’t pursuing girls anyway. When I moved back home and started attending the ol’ Riverton singles’ ward I ended up with Holly Fuellenbach and her friends, who seemed to fluctuate every so often. I really liked her, (and even tried to woo her, with limited to no success), but time proved we weren’t right for each other. Of course, when Kjersti came back from school and started attending the ward the paradigm shifted somewhat. Now, I’m back in Provo, living with Stephen Porter, and I’m still hanging out with people who lament their lack of date-itude and play games until the wee hours, just like five years previous. The only difference this time: they happen to be girls! None I’m terribly romantically interested in at the moment, but girls nonetheless. I guess that reinforces my theory that the gender gap isn’t as big as people may think it is.

I seem to have achieved the status of teddy bear, though, and I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or not. Let me explain. A long time ago, back in high school, I had a conversation with my friend Chris Leigh about girls and relationships and stuff, and he pointed out what he called the teddy bear syndrome. That consists of a guy that a lot of girls like because he’s a nice guy, and funny/smart/clever/etc., and a guy that girls can go to with problems/hang out with/ask for favors/etc. In short, he isn’t a guy, he’s a friend. And that’s where the trouble starts. Often one of the first signs of this syndrome is when the girls in question stop referring to the guy as a guy. In Chris’s case they called him the “teddy bear” (all hugs, no kisses!); in my friend Billy’s case they’d say, “He’s not a boy, he’s a Billy!” and in my current case I’ve been dubbed “not a guy, but Jeff years old,” whatever that means. When a person loses his gender status and becomes “one of the group,” he immediately loses all chances of a successful romance with anyone in that group. Girls can even talk to him about their relationships candidly and openly, because she feels there is no danger that she will be in the same situation with the teddy bear. Any dates will inevitably turn into a fun night out with no “romantic pressure,” just a night with a friend.

Sounds great, huh? And it is, if you’re not looking for a relationship. Unfortunately, if you are, it becomes a bit frustrating, especially when you have little to no romantic experience to help turn one of these friendships into something more, as I haven’t. My only (failed) try happened last Christmas when I gave Holly Fuellenbach a rose. Just one freakin’ rose! And she pretty much ended the relationship right there through subtle estrangement (a la the entry from July 13th on this blog). At the moment I’m not hopelessly in love with any of these girls, which makes things a little less stressful. However, I am at least somewhat interested in at least one of them, but I don’t want to upset the balance with the rest of them, especially since the one who’s most interested in me is not the one I’m most interested in. That sounds kind of cryptic, but I hope I’ve put my point across. In any case, it’s dangerous to be friends with a group of girls, simply because it handicaps your chances of beginning a romance without hurting some feelings. Man, if it’s not one thing it’s another!

I must point out that this problem isn’t gender-specific either. There are girls who fill this role in groups of guys as well (Haley Greer comes to mind, at least in our high-school group).

Maybe in a later blog I’ll talk about the other side of this situation, i.e. my self-image vs. these girls’ adoration, which doesn’t compute in my brain. For now, though, I shall leave you with this:

Ha ha ha ha!
Spin it!
Let’s begin it!
Bear ‘n grin it!
Spin it!

Talespin logo
Friends for life, through thick and thin
With another tale to spin
All the trouble we get in
With another tale to spin
Spin it!
Spin it again!

Oh-ee-ay (Oh-ee-ay)
Oh-ee-oh (Oh-ee-oh)
Oh-ee-ay (Oh-ee-ay) Oh-ee-oh (Oh-ee-oh)
Hey! Hey! Hey!
Spin it
Let’s begin it
Bear ‘n grin it
When you’re in it
You can win it
In a minute
When you spin it, spin it, spin it!
So spin it!