Tuesday, September 27, 2005


-Lion Monument, Lucerne, Switzerland

Singers, Female:
-Nelly Fertado
-Amaia Montero
-Chicks from Tatu
-Charlotte Church
-Leigh Nash (Sixepence None the Richer)

Male Voices/Bands:
-Dave Grohl
-Josh Groban
-Rufus Wainwright
-Damien Rice
-Garth Brooks
-Jack Mannequin (from Something Corporate, but also on his own)
-James Taylor
And..I can’t remember all their names so I’ll just put their bands:
-Jimmy Eat World
-Postal Service

Most Beautiful People:

Coincidentally they are on the same TV show....

Hair Products:
-Iced Tea Shampoo

-American Crew hair gel
-Tea tree hair wax

Female Characters:
-Nicole Kidman in Bewitched
-Sam (Natalie Portman) from Garden State

-Amelie (Audrey Tautou)
-Harper, (Mary Louise Parker) wife in Angels in America
-All the models who played shy girls in Shallow Hal. (SO hot, by the way)
I find that most of these characters are people who can hold heir own and do what they need to do, but are still incredibly self-conscious about everything as adults. I identify with that.

Male Characters:

-Guido Orefice (Roberto Benigni) in Life is Beautiful
-Yoda (okay, so maybe he’s a puppet. whatever.)

-Calvin and Hobbes
-Tobias (from the Animorphs series)
-The man being tempted in The Screwtape Letters



-chow mein
-pasta in general
-curry chicken bowls from terriyaki sticks
-BYU brownies
-Naan (Indian bread) and most other Indian food
-warm fajitas, enchiladas, and good, fat burritos.

Most things generally accepted as food and placed in front of me on a serving dish. Or even just placed before me.

Ways to Get From Here to There:
-Train - any type, but I’m especially fond of the tube in London, night trains from France to Switzerland, and Amtrak from California to Utah in the viewing car.

-In the car, alone, music blaring, me singing horribly.

Types of Weather:
-Cloudy mornings, fog and rain: Feels like magic, like survival. I think: home, walking to seminary in the morning, outerwear, my pale face in the cold, running,
-Summer, at night. Feels like fun, carefree. I think: Venice, gelattos, the beach at sunset, looking over city lights, solitude, playing

-Reading at a moderate pace.
-Sleeping, or basking in those few moments before I completely fall asleep, and those little leftovers of dreams that I have left when I wask up early in the morning.

Mountains that I’ve Seen:
-Mt. Pilatus, Switzerland

-Grand Tetons, Wyoming
-Y mount, and that sort of rocky mountain just left of Provo Canyon. I always think it looks very cool
-Sierras, all of them.

-green, like ivy and/or pinetrees
-very deep, dark blue
-Orangey/pink like a sunset
-reddish-brown like redwood trees.

Ha! you’d think I was a hippie...

Superheroes and Mutants:


-Jean Grey

-Sailor Moon et al.
-Super Grover

-Lead Kindly Light
-Be Still My Soul
-Where Can I Turn for Peace?
-Praise to the Man
-A Poorwayfaring Man of Grief
-Come Come Ye Saints
-Nearer, My God, to Thee
-Abide With Me ‘tis Eventide
-I Stand All Amazed
-Because I Have Been Given Much
-Lord, I Would Follow Thee

Articles of Clothing:
-London T-shirt
-green silk tie from Italy
-big blue Hoodie
-Green BYU shirt
-Mom’s old blue 70’s track jacket
-Yellow/black/green clubbing bicycle shirt
-Fall sweater with patches of different colors
-old green sweatshirt
-green track jacket
-green cardigan with brownish shirt that Given picked out for me.
-Running shoes, even though they are dying.

-Nicole Kidman - One Day I’ll Fly Away
-Jimmy Eat World - Hear You Me
-The Streets - Dry Your Eyes Mate
-Colors - Soledad
-Leanne Womack - I hope you dance
-Garth Brooks - To Make You Feel My Love
-Weezer - Hold Me
-Madonna - X-Static Process
-John Denver - Annie’s Song
-Irish Rovers - Waltzing Matilda
-Les Miserables - Who Am I?
-Lots more...

Beautiful Scriptures and Quotes (just a few. we could do a whole other post on this)

1 Corinthians 13:12-13
12 For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known
13 And no abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity

Doctrine and Covenants 84:88
And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.

Alma 7:11-12
11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities

"I ask you to stop this criticism. You are discussing a matter you know nothing about. Cold historic facts mean nothing here, for they give no proper interpretation of the questions involved. Mistake to send the Handcart Company out so late in the season? Yes! But I was in that company and my wife was in it, and Sister Nellie Unthank whom you have cited here was there, too. We suffered beyond anything you can imagine and many died of exposure and starvation, but did you ever hear a survivor of that company utter a word of criticism? Every one of us came through with the absolute knowledge that God lives for we became acquainted with Him in our extremities.”

"I have pulled my handcart when I was so weak and weary from illness and lack of food that I could hardly put one foot ahead of the other. I have looked ahead and seen a patch of sand or a hill slope and I have said, I can go only that far and there I must give up for I cannot pull the load through it. I have gone to that sand and when I reached it, the cart began pushing me! I have looked back many times to see who was pushing my cart, but my eyes saw no one. I knew then that the Angels of God were there.”

Francis Webster, my great, great, great grandfather, mom’s side.

“Jesus did not condone; he declined to condemn; but he sent the sinner away with a solemn adjuration to a better life.”

Talmage, Jesus the Christ

"He wants them to learn to walk and must thereforetake away his hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles. Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy's will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys."

C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

Places I Want to Go:
-Hong Kong
-All over the East Coast

Places I Want to Go to Again:
-The Grand Tetons/Yellowstone
-Zions National Park

-Everywhere I went in Europe...especially London, Switzerland and Germany.
-Santa Clara, California...and all over the bay area

Places I Wouldn’t Mind Not Seeing Again:

Favorite People I’m Missing in California:
-Little Nick

Yeah....pretty much everyone really. So much so that continuing this list would be silly. Trip to California anyone?

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Angela Merkel is my homegirl.

Angela Merkel

Elections get me very excited. I imagine they do for me what Monday Night Football does for most other guys, with American presidential elections being a sort of superbowl.

Above is a picture of Angela Merkel, poster-girl for the Christian Democratic Party in Germany, and quite possibly the next (and first female) Chancellor. I was going to write all about her politics here, but I understand that politics make people bored and/or cranky most of the time (despite the fact that they fascinate me and I would love to explain everything about them to you all on my blog.)

Suffice it to say that people like this make me want to run for office. If you want to be updated on the current political situation in Germany, just ask me, or click on the link I made.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

The value-pack post. Don't forget to cut-out and collect points.

Calvin and Hobbes.

In case any of you haven't read The Daily Universe lately, Calvin and Hobbes is being re-published in papers nationwide for a while in anticipation of a...get this...three volume hardcover set of every Calving and Hobbes comic strip ever created! I haven't been this excited since...I can't remember! I'm going to have to purchase this whether I can afford it or not.

Feelings. They have been so perplexing lately. I guess they always are. I'm the biggest emotional sap.

So naturally I went to Smith's last night. I walked by the sushi and noted how dang expensive it was. $4.99 for six little pieces of sushi! What a rip-off. And then a thought came to me...

"You could just steal it..."

WAIT JUST A DARN MINUTE! WHAT THE F***!? I literally stopped, twisted my head to an angle, squinted my eyes really hard, white-knuckled my shopping cart, and mouthed these words to myself. I'm sure someone must have seen that and rightfully thought I was nuts. Did I just think that? I NEVER think things like that, EVER.

Stealing is what my best friend Steven always used to do in high school. He was Blaxican, so he could pull it off real smooth if he wanted to...but I never had any part in that. (Though he did once leave a stolen book at my apartment, which I still have....hmm) I'm not a klepto and never have been. Satan is coming at me from a whole different angle, ladies and gentlemen. That was bizarre. Everybody had best watch their stuff from now on.

And now for a brief sidetrack entitled: The Top 3 Ways in Which Satan Generally Tempts Pinetree:

1) Anything in regards to homosexuality. This is pretty much constant.
2) Cussing like a sailor from time to time. I can't help it, its in my blood, and sometimes stuff can be pretty nerve-wracking...like playing Taboo.
3) Ignoring people, places, and responsibilities for the sake of being interested in something much less important.

...So I decided to buy and pay for the sushi like a good kid, despite the price, and then go on and eat the whole thing under a tree. This has actually become one of my favorite pastimes.

And that is my story about spiting the devil.

Apparently, I spontaneously combust. Someone is going to have to explain this to me sometime. Usually I can't think of anything to do or say at all...especially around cool people like those of you who read my blog.

I found some old journal writes that I did in English class from my senior year of high school. Basically the teacher gave us a prompt (questions, quotes, thoughts, etc) and we would have to respond every day. (Cry Me a River should remember these...) Here are a few of them.

"Life is worth living, since it is what we make of it." - WIlliam James
Man, I think this is the trickiest prompt yet. I do believe that life is what we make of it. I like to think we can do anything that we want to with our lives. But some people are just planted in bad circumstances to begin with. I go mad just dealing with my life, my issues, my family, my weaknesses, even when comparatively my life isn't so terrible. I live in America. I eat every day. Some people are given such crap that I just don't understand how they go on living. I'm sure that somewhere there's a 17 year old kid with all the problems I have in life, but on top of that he's starving and doesn't have access to an education and all sorts of other things just piled on top. There is someone out there with absolutely no reason not to be miserable. If I was this person, I'm not sure where my will to live would come from. And really none of it would be my fault, it would have to do with how and where I was born and my genetic make-up and all sorts of variables that aren't under my control. So in some circumstances, how does one make his life worth living? It would take an enormous deal of effort, if such things are possible. I admire people who find a strong will to live out of despicable circumstances. At the same time, I think there is probably some other 17 year old living in some Los Altos Hills gated community who thinks that his life is over because his girlfriend of two weeks has just dumped him. Would this person be able to handle my life? I don't know.

"Respect a man and he will do the more."
Definitely. I think people really aspire to the respect other people hold for them...or the lack thereof. Take Jessica Simpson for example. Jessica is a hot, typical blond sex symbol for America. People have little respect for her. Her parents probably treated her like a Barbie Doll; kids at her high school probably couldn't see past her knockers. She probably commands very little genuine respect (even if she does command a lot of attention) because she is so hot. She's an object. So how does she act on her cable TV show? She's a complete bimbo. All she knows how to do is pose for cameras and act flirtatious. She says cute little stupid things all the time. She lives up to the respect people hold for her. She probably isn't REALLY so incredibly dumb, she just literally puts on a show for everyone because she knows that is what they expect.
In contrast, I think that those who are given respect will live up to it, even if it seems like that couldn't possibly be so. I think that many times in my own life I was only motivated to do something because other people believed I could do it well.

Free Write
So the other day my little brother and I wanted a phat breakfast. Like IHOP style. So I whipped out all the ingredients and made pancakes from scratch. They turned out light and fluffy and golden brown. Just perfect. The we realized that we were out of syrup...only a minor setback we thought. We could just use a little jam. We then realized that we were out of both bacon and ham. So what did we resort to? Hot dogs. Yes, little tube-shaped chunks of processed beef and chicken meat. Then we realized that we were out of milk. Pandemonium. I had used the last of if to make the pancakes. The only really normal thing in our grand breakfast was eggs. Needless to say it was indeed a disappointing morning.

What is your most treasured memory?
This is difficult to answer. I have several memories that are all my most treasured; all equally valuable. They all feel the same. I think their common thread is just the love and happiness that was being felt at the time. The Grand Tetons is one of them, being there, sitting on the rocks in front of the lake with the majestic mountain in the background and me and some friends just feeling great and relaxed. Being in Salt Lake City at Temple Square on the lawn for testimony meeting with a bunch of people I've known my entire life, looking at the temple and the lights and the night sky and everyone being really happy. EFY, when everyone was in that concert hall at BYU and we were all singing, hundreds of kids singing, and everyone just loving each other unconditionally and all the girls in tears and the boys trying not to cry and everyone was glowing and it seemes like there were angels there singing with us and nothing could have made the moment wrong. Or having conversations with Wade or Ashley about people or the future or aspiring to be a zuchini farmer or our ideas and philosophies on everything. Or the stake play, dancing the waltz with Julia with the bright spotlights in our eyes and glittery costumes and our faces caked with make-up and knowing that everyone was in awe of us for that single moment. Or running down hills at Rancho San Antonio with the wind in my face feeling really fast and meditating, talking with God and just feeling so tired but so energized...man. I'm sure there are loads more. But really they're all the same. I wouldn't give up a one of them.

If you could ensure that your child has one experiencethat you have had yourself, what would you want it to be? Why?
There are loads. Again, I can't just pick one. But my kids will learn what they need to from life I think. They may not necessarily need to experience the same things that I needed to experience in my life. With a great dad like me though, I'm sure they will be exposed to many amazing things and places and tastes and sounds. I really look forward to being a dad, mostly because I will be able to give a child experience. I want to introduce the world to someone. I think it would be fantastic and that it is somehow part of my eternal being. My children will be an extension of me, and I an extenstion of them.

This is just a few of them, I will perhaps post more later. I've been noticing that my posts are rarely about just one thing. Sorry about that, my thoughts don't come individually wrapped. I mostly get them at Costco, rarely at Safeway.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Sunday, September 04, 2005

New Frontiers

I’ve been neglecting my blog lately.

Where to begin....

The last couple of weeks have been great. So much has been going on. I’ll try to break it down for you.

The New Place

My new apartment is a humble little thing, but its in a great location and suffices nicely. People in the complex are really nice. The girl who works in the office has the biggest hair of any girl I’ve ever seen....and I’ve been in Utah for the last year, so I pretty much know big hair by now. My ward is fun, active, and outgoing, and I haven’t missed a single activity/church meeting/function yet. This is good.

My roommates are awesome; they are really fun, cool guys. And they are genuinely good people too. I’m hoping this will rub off on me some.

My room roommate's name is Ted. (Oh the irony....) This Ted is from a small town in northern North Dakota by the Canadian border. His graduating high school class was about thirty strong. They had to import prom dates from Canada. Ted served his mission in Samoa, and I think that must have been fitting because he’s sort of a big, laid back, island-type guy who knows what is important to stress about and what isn’t. Coincidentally, Ted has been hired to work at my brother in law’s company, so he’s basically part of my family now. His girlfriend is really sweet and bakes good things like banana bread and cookies (as any good domesticated Mormon girlfriend should...*wink*... Kidding! Kidding! ...especially if Eleka is still reading my blog... :/ ) which I am allowed to eat

I just realized that naming names on a blog as bold as mine probably isn't such a good idea, so my other two roommates will remain nameless. I will leave the first roommate's real name as it should be a bit of comic relief.

Roommate number two is on the BYU band and plays the trumpet. He is sort of quiet most of the time, but perfectly agreeable and nice to talk to. He’s also very neat and organized and owns a big electric griddle which will be fun to play with. Everyone needs to come over for breakfast sometime.

Roommate number three is a fairly attractive guy, so the ladies in our ward dig him I think, and he’s a good contribution to the collective coolness that is our apartment. Number three is on the folkdance team at the same level as JD, so I’ve met a few of their mutual friends already. Number three got me to try out for the folkdance team the other night...

The Folk Dance team

...and I made it! Actually this isn’t such a huge deal as most of the guys who tried out made the cut, but I’m excited about it. I went to my first folkdance class Friday, and we learned this wicked cool dance that you do in a circle with lots of shouting and turning and fun footwork. Tons of fun. We basically learn a bunch of ethnic group dances, like the kind of thing you see in the family get-together’s on My Big Fat Greek Wedding where everyone shouts “Opah!” Folkdance is a lot more casual and playful than other social dance at BYU and much less rigid. Although things like Waltz, Swing and Cha-Cha do have their appropriate times and places.

Oh! And one or two people couldn’t make the folkdance class, so there is an opening or two for guys on the team. I figured they would just call back some of the people from auditions, but apparently not. The teacher said to see if any of our friends wanted to come, so if you:

A) are male,
B) can walk straight and know your right foot from your left,
C) are able to take simple instructions, and
D) want to have loads of fun with a bunch of cool people on a BYU folkdance team,

talk to me and I may be able to get you in. It’s really not that hard and very worth it.

Another interesting aspect of the being on the Folkdance team is...

The Girl

Chick happens to be on the same team as I. Chick is a cute, fun, perky girl from my stake back in California. Chick has given me her number twice this year, and accompanied the digits with a smile and a quip about how we should go do something sometime. Now, I’m certainly not an expert in the field of female flirting (for reasons that should be obvious) but the Deutschlander agrees that this is probably a good indication that she’s interested in me.

And the weird thing is...I don’t mind that. Chick is a lot of fun, and I may even ask her out sometime. Now, I know what you’re thinking....Pinetree is gay. He’s 100% naturally grown-in-the Bay-Area-California-homosexual. But Chick is one of those extremely, EXTREMELY rare girls I wouldn’t mind trying to make things work with. I am not physically attracted to Chick (or any female really) in the slightest. In fact, I’m not sure if I am smitten with Chick, or just infatuated with the idea of going out with Chick.

A real wake up call came to me later last night when the UofU boy called wanting me to show up in Salt Lake. He thought it would be cool to see me again.... and as I hung up the phone, I melted. I didn’t go to Salt Lake, (mostly because I can’t) but whatever attraction there is to this guy, who I have only talked to a couple times, was a hundred thousand million times stronger than anything I’ve ever felt for a girl. I want to stress that this is the attraction alone, and not necessarily love. I think I have been in love with girls before, but not attracted to them really. This is a difficult concept to explain, but I think all the Family out there will understand what I mean. Anyhow, after the UofU boy called I tried to think of Chick again and it just wasn’t doing anything for me. I felt pretty lame for a while... until the Deutschlander picked me up and we went to Village Inn to eat our feelings like two adolescent fat girls. Mmm....feelings.

So I’d like some female opinions here.... What would you think if a gay guy was trying to pursue you? I mean, he may not do the best job at it as it just isn’t something that comes naturally for him, but he’d be making a real effort. And he would want things to work out, but wouldn’t be sure if they could or not. Oh yeah, and he wouldn’t be physically attracted to you in the slightest. Making out would be sort of a chore, like cleaning your room. Sounds magical eh? Yeah...

Never the less, I stand commited to doing what I know is right. Or at least what I believe is right. With or without a female.

And honestly, the last little while has been quite guilt free and very peaceful and happy. There’s this vitality that has returned to life lately. I mean, I haven’t felt ...hmm, whats the word here...euphoric? at all. There’s this feeling I would get while dancing at a club or something that was just ...being on air....rapture, jubilant, fun, attractive. I’m never going to deny the fact that going clubbing is extremely fun for me...and I probably shouldn’t even promise that I’ll never do it again ...but I know what is right and I’ll try to live life minute by minute, making each moment a little bit better than the last. It’s definitely not always fun, and sometimes it simply comes down to pure discipline; fighting the little things in my brain until my head aches. Reading my scriptures regularly has helped a lot. Its an interesting phenomenon. It all seems very tedious, but I can face myself when I look in the mirror in the morning, and I haven’t been hurt or ashamed. I think this is much more healthy than the alternative, but that’s just me.

Some might be able to take my words and decide that I’m wrong, or tell me how I’m not living because I don’t know the depth of their pain and the height of their bliss. And who knows? Maybe their argument is valid. But it only seems so some of the time.

My mom always said the devil was nine truths and a lie.

My grandpa would always say that a man standing on a toilet was high on pot. And that a fat woman riding a bicycle was pedaling ass all over town. Grandpa was a wise man.

The Paper

I have an interesting assignment for one of my classes. I’m supposed to write a personal statement; a paper that describes my character and what has shaped it. I think I’m going to have to make a lot of it up, for the sake of my TA's sanity.

I’ll quit writing now. My blogs make less sense the more I write. I’ve discussed the focus issue before right?

I’d just like you all to know that I’m still alive and doing pretty well.

I’ll leave you with a quote I left on another’s blog recently. I’d like to post it here too. It had an impact on me.

“Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy's will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys."

from C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters. Read the book. It's good.