Jeff's online journal, ramblings, whatever.

Archive for October, 2007

The name of the blog, or Una Pregunta. . .

Elder Proctor

Well, I think it’s time to explain the name of this blog. It is Spanish for “Do you like to read?” While appropriate for a blog just like that, the backstory comes from my mission in Spain. I served in a district with a senior missionary, Elder Proctor, and his wife. Elder Proctor was around 70 years old or so, and had never learned Spanish in his life. While his wife at least tried to learn some basics in order to communicate with the people of Spain, Elder Proctor never even attempted to do so. Instead, he wrote out an entire sales pitch for the Book of Mormon (he started his professional life out as a door-to-door vacuum salesman) and had another missionary translate it into Spanish, which he then memorized. Unfortunately, he memorized the written form, and consequently didn’t know how to pronounce anything in Spanish very well, so he had an absolutely horrendous accent. So whenever I went out to do street contacts with this man, he’d just brazenly walk up to anybody and rattle off this whole sales pitch regarding the Book of Mormon. Most of the time on my mission when we’d try to talk to Spaniards they’d wave us off, telling us that they were in a hurry and didn’t have time to get into a religious discussion at that point in time. However, when Elder Proctor would start, people would just stop and stare, transfixed at this crazy man who would gesture wildly, whose speaking was barely intelligible and who wouldn’t listen to their excuses, but just keep going on with his speech like a train wreck. He’d also frequently say, “Perdón mi poor español,” which isn’t even a valid Spanish phrase!

The first two lines of his spiel were “¡Una pregunta! ¿Le gusta leer?” which translates to “One question! Do you like to read?” Then, even if the person said “No,” he’d go on with it. Not only was the accent bad, but he threw in some gems in the speech like, “This book, completely in Spanish. . .” and “this proves that through the ages, more than forty principles were taken from the teachings of Christ.” While I suppose that’s correct, I wonder exactly what forty he was referring to, and I’m pretty sure that he just pulled them out of his own ear, and not from anything sanctioned by the missionary program.

The subtitle of the blog refers to a story one of my companions told me. He was on an exchange once shortly after Elder Proctor had arrived in the mission and hadn’t completely memorized his “le gusta leer” speech yet. He was giving it out to a guy when halfway through he forgot it in Spanish. He was in the middle of the line talking about these 40 principles that got lost over time, so what came out of his mouth went something like “más de cuarenta principios. . .Gone! Lost! D’you understand what I’m saying?!?” At this point he started waving his arms wildly in a futile attempt to communicate with the now thoroughly bemused man on the street, but to no avail.

Great guy, but man, that was an ineffective approach. He was worth a good story or two, though, like when he almost got me killed by driving the wrong way down a one-way street in Murcia, and got pulled over by a cop. We had gone so far on this wrong road that even the cop admitted that the only way we could get out of there was to keep breaking the law and driving down the street a pretty fair distance.

For your amusement, even if you don’t speak Spanish, I’ve uploaded his entire “¿Le gusta leer?” speech. Well, most of it; the tape ran out before he got to the end. You can get the gist of it, though.

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Now playing: El niño querido – The King’s Singers – A Little Christmas Music
via FoxyTunes


Partial explanation

If that last post made no sense, I apologize. It was mostly due to tiredness, caffeine, and this crazy medication I’m on for toe-fungus that has steroids in it. Ever since I started using that stuff I’ve been a bit loopy; but don’t worry, I’m off it on Monday. We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.

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Now playing: Walk Upon the Sky/Travels – Nate Winder – Travels
via FoxyTunes


Fuzzy Mind

Mastermind

I don’t know where this will end up. I just feel I need to type. To start, it’s too hot in here. I believe I shall open a window. Damn. The window’s already open, and I’m still horrendously hot. My brain ain’t feeling so hot, either. I don’t know what it is, but lately, and especially this week, I just haven’t been thinking right. I don’t know why. It just feels fuzzy, somehow. Like I can’t quite grasp reality as it should be and see it for what it is. Most disturbingly is an overwhelming sense of apathy injected into pretty much every corner of my life. In my gut I don’t care about school, work, my church calling, my relations with others; I probably wouldn’t even feel like eating if it weren’t for hunger. I have to work to live, and I have to eat to live, but pretty much everything else is backseated. Is that a word? Backseated? I have a new roommate who always calls me on my little quirks, and sometimes I want to rip his face off and feed it to lions. Lions, lyin’ around. Yep. It’s the mane thing they do. blah! To heck with heck! I heck your heckiest burping bottle of rabies. Randomness. Random your mom! OK, it’s digressing time again for Jeffery, apparently. Like I said, it’s just words. Nothing. Nothing at all. Can a man go down and become a normal individual, or must he conform to societal pressures? What societal pressures? Can things be the way they should? Can I be able to think correctly? Even here, sitting, typing this, my head tilts, my mind slips in and out of awareness of what I’m really typing. Colors fade. Not really. The music fades in and out. What can the music fading mean? Is it just exhaustion? Exhaustion from what? I haven’t been working especially hard at anything this week. In fact, on Monday, I had a very nice time with a Spanish girl who happens to live in this ward and is someone that I haven’t decided yet whether I have a crush on her or not. It’s a tough decision when your heart feels like it’s made of lead because you don’t want it broken. It’s like that C.S. Lewis quote that I have on my Facebook. Page. I’m not even looking at the screen, but I will spellcheck this mess, just so it makes sense, spelling-wise. Not Tori Spelling-wise though. That would be sillier than a garbage truck filled with rabid dogs and Josh. Can you feel it, now? Oniris Cristal! Wow, this is awkward. Spiraling downward, in a twisted barrage of colors. That’s not what it is. Just fog. My mind is fog. I try to break through, but it’s fog. I must concentrate to really have an effect on the world around me. Will I go quietly into the night? Where’s the resolve? Where’s the reason for getting up in the morning? Isn’t the gospel supposed to provide that? It isn’t really at the moment. I don’t know what’s going on, but I feel like it’s completely my fault. I’m ultimately responsible for all my own actions. Why, then do I feel like I’m dragging my entire inert frame through molasses and mud every time I have to do something that requires the least bit of thought and effort? Why does it require every single bit of willpower I have in me just to roll out of bed at the proper time? Indeed, the improper time? I can’t even get out of bed until 9:00 PM. That’s not true at all; I’m out of bed by 10:00, but that’s skipping classes already. Not good, especially since one of the classes is the Class from Hell that is Music 301 starring the one guy from What’s Up, Doc? that has rocks. Bored, indifferent, and looking through fog. Sometimes I’m even in class, taking notes, and I get up afterward and realize I took maybe four or five lines of notes and can’t remember what the damn class was about. Then I take an insanely difficult test. I didn’t buy the books for the course because I cannot afford them. I’m getting deeper into debt and I don’t want to put out my mother anymore than I have by having her pay tution. My job is fortunately simple enough to do without a great deal of cognizance. What the world is going on? Is it just my imagination? Can that be possible? Is it just me being too damn damn lazy, or is it something else that’s going on? Why all this week? Why? Darboe, tell me why! Gegegegegehm! Words! Are ! Like! A Dollar Sign$%! Electric Highway, I fall over, slowly slipping out. But I can’t rest. I can’t rest. too much not being able to rest. Can rest? Dogs can rest? Can the guy who’s in my pants rest? What? Not intermittent, nor referential, just simply a redo button that happens to rest. Rest. Arrested your ghostly form from the underdark and the ghostly ghostlin ghossamer. Sam Cardon. Tyler Moore. Brandon Miur. Amanda Hawks. Wendy Ricks. And Jessica Sharp. Letters, can they mean more than Romans mean them to mean, I mean, they mean what they mean to your mean mean man. Got milk? Forget yourself and to go work! I can’t go to work! MY FOG CAN’T HELP! WHAT?!? Take me away, on electric wings, to find my bears and my dog-thing. Take me to Mario’s house, take me to the control center on the hill, take me to Elder Keller to smash away at the thoughts that I can’t have. Smash them.

Steve just came in and brought me back to reality. I think I’ll wrap this up.

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Now playing: Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel) – Billy Joel – The Essential Billy Joel (Disc 2)
via FoxyTunes


Conference in a nutshell – version 2

LDS Conference Center

Here are some things learned from the Oct. 2007 LDS general conference:

  • New 2nd counselor in the 1st Presidency – Henry B. Eyring
  • New apostle – Quentin L. Cook
  • Church has a lay clergy to confound the learned and manifest the power of God.
  • A strong, simple testimony and a willingness to serve is all that’s needed in any calling, whether it be a Sunday School instructor or a member of the First Presidency.
  • General authorities not “holier than thou” either in their own eyes or especially in the eyes of the Lord.
  • Ward members have the responsibility and the privilege to serve those in the ward in need, especially in emergencies. What happens to one happens to all.
  • Young men and women also have a responsibility and privilege to increase the spiritual strength of their families, whether they be an ideal family or the most troubled one.
  • If our parents were not good examples of spirituality, it is up to us to break the cycle. Our family, both present and future, depends on it!
  • This is the only church with the power of the priesthood to bless families.
  • The Lord fulfills his promises only according to the faith of the recipients. Have patience, too!
  • The gospel will lift you up in the direst of circumstances, even in a war-torn WWII Germany.
  • Enduring to the End is an active principle! It brings joy, in fact!
  • Death is not a tragedy, but simply a “see you later,” thanks to Christ.
  • Talk to those interested in the Church about facts, faith, families, and fruits of the restored gospel.
  • Without charity, the gospel, the priesthood, and faith availeth us nothing.
  • A broken heart and a contrite spirit allow the Lord to shape us
  • Preach My Gospel ain’t just for missionaries!
  • Serve everyone, even the scruffiest of them all. (Matt. 25:40)
  • The Nicene Creed is not what we believe, but that doesn’t make us not Christians.
  • The Bible and Book of Mormon are witnesses of each other, establishing the gospel.
  • Raising the bar involves a degree of risk, but it’s the only way to improve
  • On your mission, as in the high-jump, there is a minimum bar height to qualify. But don’t just qualify, but do well!
  • Learn social skills for a mission. The worlds’s so filled with electronic communication, but that won’t help a missionary.
  • Premies, get a job that involves contact with other people.
  • Don’t procrastinate, especially in spiritual matters!
  • You’re either growing or shrinking spiritually. If you’re not growing, you’re shrinking.
  • Being compelled = receiving no reward
  • Procrastination leads to loss of exaltation
  • Easy Street is a dead end. (At least in Hawaii!)
  • Pornography is like a fish-trap: easy to enter, tough to get out of. Don’t take the bait!
  • Pornography ebbs away self-respect.
  • If something in a movie isn’t “too bad,” it probably isn’t “too good” either.
  • The Church and priesthood organizations were swift to respond to an earthquake in Peru.
  • Priesthood leaders = leaders in service
  • We must be prepared for life’s earthquakes before they shake us up
  • Depart from all bad influences, even if the influence is your brother.
    • Note: My brother is not a bad influence! It was an example used in the talk!
  • Others may seem more able or prepared to serve the Lord. But remember these things:
  1. Remember that the Lord has previously helped you through tough times
  2. Forget yourself and your inadequacies. Pray about those whom you serve.
  3. Go to work! You have the powere to bless others, so go out and use it, galdernit!
  • Your calling is not easy! It sure wasn’t for the Savior, and it’s not for his disciples either.
  • Always seek the Spirit.
  • Watch your eyes! No lingering!
  • Watch what you say! Vulgarity is just as offensive to the Spirit as immodesty, and just as common too, if not more.
  • If you can’t control other people’s bad influence in your life, pray about what to do. If He doesn’t take care of it, He will at least make it bearable.
  • The marks of a true priesthood holder are:
  1. The Mark of Vision
    • We are the product of our choices. Pay heed to past, present, and future.
  2. The Mark of Effort
    • Don’t say you’ll make the effort, just make the effort.
    • Work! Work! It’s the way to do it!
  3. The Mark of Faith and Virtue
    • Have faith in the Lord, and have faith in His faith in you. Or, in other words, have faith in the Lord’s faith in your faith in Him.
    • Sin is preceded by thought.
  4. The Mark of Prayer
    • Pray always!
  • Redheads are awesome!
  • DON’T BE ANGRY! YEARRGH!
  • School your feelings. Don’t act on instinct.
  • Laughter can defuse anger
  • Divorce almost always has roots in anger. Pres. & Sis. Hinckley never had a quarrel.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. No grudges! They suck!
  • If you have a fight in your marriage, take a walk. (Tell your wife this’ll be your policy before you’re in the heat of the moment.)
  • If you control yourself, wonderful peace is the result.
  • Keep a journal and record the works of the Lord in your own life.
  • Don’t forget God!
  • Tell your family you love them.
  • Mother are pretty cool.
  • The goal of the gospel is not just redemption from sin, but to effect a change of heart to not desire to sin.
  • The restoration happened! It’s real!
  • Revelation is essential for the gospel to work
  • Testimony is gained through personal revelation, which comes through prayer and study
  • Revelation comes on the Lord’s timetable
  • Don’t seek signs, but do seek the best gifts.
  • How can truth be found in today’s media barrage?
  1. Scientific method
    • Very valuable, but can’t be absolute. Also, not infallible.
  2. Ask the source of all truth
    • Have faith, and keep the commandments to get an answer.
  • Remember the properties of ten video
  • Don’t give in to donuts!
  • Exercise of faith builds character, which increases your capacity for greater faith
  • Horses don’t like eating dirt!
  • Elders don’t like hearing crap lessons!
  • It is possible to feed without nourishing. Teach essential doctrines! Don’t teach about the physical whereabouts of Zarahemla!
  • Preach by the Spirit.
  • Use cute kids to get less-actives to church
  • Remember Felipe & Isabel. The Plan of Salvation brings peace to those who’ve lost loved ones.
  • Put off the natural man!
  • Keep on keepin’ on. Pres. Hinckley’s still going strong at 96 or so; certainly you, as a twentysomething, can do pretty well.
  • The only important witness in the gospel. . .is you.
  • Truth is not dependent on the number of people who believe it.
  • Know it’s true! Know you know it’s true!
    • This comes through prayer and fasting, and study.
    • Also comes through testimony building, especially to your kids.
    • Pray to not lose your faith and/or witness!
  • Moms ‘r still cool.
  • SERRRVE! When needed, not convenient!
  • Don’t say, “Call me if you need anything,” but do things! Take out the trash, make gazpacho, whatever!
  • Service is the rent we pay for mortality.
  • Prioritize your good acts (Mary & Martha)
  • Don’t choose good if you can choose better or best.
  • Good books, entertainment, recreation, occupations, etc. can still take up too much time.
  • Spend one-on-one time with your kids! Teach values in these times.
  • Don’t over-schedule yourself or your kids. Eat dinner together.
  • Simplify! KISS!
  • Magnify your calling != complicate it
  • Measure of success = individuals improving under your leadership. Not # of meetings or activities.
  • Some young people are amusing themselves to (spiritual) death.
  • Always aim to improve lives.
  • Drive safely, everyone!
  • When you have a family, help them take notes during Conference so they actually get something out of it.

I love you all!

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Now playing: Joy to the World – Kurt Bestor – An Airu Christmas II
via FoxyTunes


Music 389: The first half

Music 389 montage

For my Music 389 class (Projects in Media Music), I’ve been composing a couple of tracks that I figured I’d post for all y’all to enjoy. The point of the class is to get MIDI compositions to sound professional enough to show to a client so that he/she will OK the budget for actual live instrumentalists to play the piece. So far I’ve done four works in the class:

M1 Romantic Cue – Done to show we could follow a chord sheet. Most people made their romantic music all strings and piano, or a jazz trio. I tried to go the Barry White route. This is the only piece of the four that was done at my house instead of the studio on campus, and sorry to say, it shows.

Strings – A rendition of the Tetris theme that I actually wrote for a counterpoint assignment back when I was going to BYU-Idaho. For the glory of Mother Russia!

Woodwinds – This sprightly tune is entirely original, although the bassoon line starting it out starts out about a million other songs. Still, it’s a fun little ditty that may make you think of a puppy parade! In fact, I think that’s what I’ll call it: “Puppy Parade!” Yay!

Brass – Theme and Variations on Pitfall II. This one isn’t done yet, but you can hear its progress. I’ll update this post when it is finished. You can get the gist of it with what I have so far, though. Quite majestic, especially toward the end!

That’s all for now. We’ve got a fair number of songs left to go in the semester, so stay tuned!

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Now playing: Uranus, the Magician – Gustave Holst – The Planets
via FoxyTunes