Saturday, December 31, 2005


A guy who used to be in the same LDS ward as me is in jail.


So odd to read about an acquaintance being tried for some heavy-duty felonies. The public record sanitizes his very identity, distilling it down to "a Salt Lake man." Strange. I'm "a Salt Lake man," too.

Bank fraud, forgery, ripping off friends and strangers alike - it's not looking good for Baylor Stevens. He could be in the hole for most of his natural life.

Of course at this point he has only been indicted, not convicted. But...let me put it this way: if most anyone else from that ward had been hauled in front of a magistrate I would be "shocked, yes, shocked." In this case it's more like, "hmm, that answers a few questions." I always thought him to be vaguely oleaginous, with the sort of reserved blandness you'll sometimes get from people who never really say what they think.

The article was still shocking, though, for it contains the appalling revelation that he is younger than me. I thought he was like 35. He has old eyes.

My mom wanted my sister to go out with him.

So, now what? Do we wait for stern and dispassionate justice to run its course, for better or worse? Or do we go ahead and make up our minds on the matter?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Free at last

Finals have just ended. I don’t think finals have ever been as stressless as this iteration was. MBA students are more or less guaranteed that they will graduate; a failing student is bad for the program too. Anyone who is only moderately disruptive and merely kind of stupid will still escape with a B-.

It’s a liberating thing, knowing one does not have to worry about meeting artificial measures of achievement. The humble student focuses instead on actually learning something germane to his interests and plans.

This week’s The Coolest Thing Ever is a quote I found from a guy named Damien Counsell relating Michael Jackson to Darth Vader:

“Michael Jackson’s story is Darth Vader’s in reverse. In Star Wars, a whiny, sexually frustrated, white man-child no one trusts turns, via hideous disfigurement, into an all-conquering, super-cool black guy who first made it big in the 70s.”

This kind of idea is what makes the internet so valuable.

Friday, December 02, 2005

False Crises

I remember as a child, the frightening scene in Superman where Lois Lane is trapped in a wrecked helicopter, hanging from a slender wire off the side of a building. I recall being terrified that any person would have to face such a situation. Oh, the anxiety of the fraying wire, the ugly stirrings and twistings of the wrecked machine, the gulp of horror as she falls, falls, falls only to be saved by Superman! What luck that he was there. And could fly.

My youthful mind was not sophisticated enough to anticipate this turn of events (or recognize that Margot Kidder’s striking Superman at a hundred miles an hour would hurt at least as much as pavement ever could). But now, to my mind, the hanging-from-a-helicopter-bit is a yawn-inducing cliche.

I get angry at having to sit through such scenes. Must it be so predictable! There is no anxiety, for the characters are in no danger; they will be rescued. Most every crisis is a false one, and viewers with even basic familiarity with the storytelling conventions of film can recognize it.

Do you disagree with me? Have you ever once thought, “Gosh, I wonder if Indy will get out of this one?” Or, “How can Richard Gere and Julia Roberts ever fall in love now?”

Of course Richard and Julia get together. They always do. More than that, when you go see their predictable by-the-numbers romance, you do so on the strength of a guarantee from the filmmakers of a happy and predictable ending. You don’t WANT a surprise. You want to invest emotional energy in interesting and likeable characters that end up just the way you expect them to.

And then you want to curse Hollywood for its dearth of fresh new ideas.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

your new music source

I didn't discover this until yesterday, but you can select from thousands of music videos at Yahoo music. For free.

Their marketing plan is an interesting one. In exchange for loading and running a 30-second commercial that you cannot fast-forward or skip, you get to see the video.

You may think wow what a deal, but keep in mind that back when MTV and VH1 actually played music, the ratio was three or four videos per commercial break, not one to one. So maybe a little bit of a step backwards, though at least you get to choose the video yourself, and don't have to endure gangsta misogyny or pop-tart banality before finally getting to the good stuff (unless the commercial is a promo for their latest...shudder).

So I've gone through and seen some of the old favorites. As an iPod man, Metallica is of course going around the top of the list. Some offerings have proven disappointing with more exposure. Metallica's "Fuel" is not the rush I remember, and Hole's "Celebrity Skin" is downright boring. Glad I never bought that album.

But "Head Like a Hole" surprisingly weathers the test of time. And Pearl Jam's disturbing "Do the Evolution" is fascinating in a sickening sort of way. Anything by R.E.M. is good, too.

Check out the service, but don't indulge too much. Those videos dull the mind when watched with profusion.

(Trent Reznor is an awfully good musician. I wish he would write tunes that are not so ugly and depressing.)


I wrote & edited a couple of posts at the start of the week, so as to parse them out and be able to post daily despite the hectic lead-up to finals and projects currently passing.

But now I find I am fresh out of ready-made scripts to paste in. Not wanting to lose the literally couples of readers that are faithfully checking back regularly, I want to post SOMETHING. Thus the final expediency, typically very worst: free-form mental vomitings.

So right now it's just me, live, writing to you. And you alone!

Tonight I was talking to a friend, and the subject of dating came up. Explaining her continuing singlehood in the face of eminent eligibility and desirability, she said there weren't any of "her type" of guys around.

Now, for a variety of reasons she can afford to be picky, but the primary things she avers she is looking for are neither exceptionally rare nor hard to identify. So I asked her how exactly local men are lacking.

She answered something like, "Well, I would like someone that shares interests. For example, I love to such and such obscure thing."

It so happens that I LOVE this too.

Does declaring so equate to saying I am interested in her? You may say no, but context context context.

So, like the tin-eared social deafie I am (wow, what an unholy combination-metaphor...and packaged inside a similie, I note), I blurted out something like, "I love that too!" then quickly reprised with "...and...I...didn't think I was out of the ordinary, so there you have it!"

I don't know about dating her. Wouldn't oppose it, I suppose, but I haven't really considered it as she does not seem the sort that would go for my sort. Now, the really interesting question is whether this raises me in her estimation (as I also meet the other criteria she mentioned), or if I still fail on the numerous secret criteria we all harbor and are ashamed to admit in polite company.

Well. This relating-to-other-people stuff is hard. Harder yet to describe in a public forum. And not really cathartic one bit. Blarg, why even discuss it? I envy friends that can extemporize on their dating futilities (you know who you are!) so effortlessly.