Saturday, August 16, 2008

Biting off more than I can chew.

I need to just sit and type out my life for a few minutes.

I've decided to try to become a high school math teacher. I'm at least pretty solid about the teacher part.

A teacher for a couple of reasons: first of all I think its a job I could have a sense of satisfaction in. I'd have a direct influence on lots of different people. Secondly, I find that I grow tired of any job after about a year, (sometimes less) and teachers get at least a few months of sabbatical in the summer to recharge and re-motivate themselves. I can take the summers off to go work elsewhere, travel, or just be a hermit for a while and consider other options. Perfect. :)

A "math" teacher mostly because if I'm qualified to teach math in high school, I can get a job anywhere I want to live. I'm not especially great at math, but I do alright at it and I'm willing to put in the work, I think.

High school because thats when teachers actually have an impact on you. Elementary school has some good years, but people forget about most things that happened to them way back in elementary school. Middle school is just a horrible, awkward time in life when you have to be separated from all the other kids because of all the stupid things hormones make you do. No one ever wants to remember middle school. High school is different, and best I think.

So there it is, my career choice. If you'd have asked me two years ago, I probably wouldn't have even considered this option. But that's where I am, and this is the plan for now.

Robbie and Greg and this girl Shelly and I all auditioned for Seussical the Musical at the Orem Scera Shell. (Robbie and I also got into Fiddler on the Roof a year or two ago, but dropped out after a couple days because our schedules got too busy. So we can't bail on this one or we'll never be accepted in community theater anywhere in the valley again.)

Robbie is the Grinch, so he gets this whole little scene about the Whos' Christmas Party to be in the spotlight. Shelly is a Zebra in the Jungle of Nool. Greg is a citizen of Who; Papa Bell Ringer Who, (I always want to say Smurf instead of Who...) and I am a Wickersham Brother. In case you don't know who the Wickersham Brothers are, refer to the book Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss. The Wickershams are monkeys in the Jungle of Nool. We mess with Horton and steal his clover upon which rests Who, the tiniest planet in the sky, where Whoville is located. I'm basically one of the bad guys. In Seussical the Musical, the Wickershams are portrayed as sort of a 20's Zuit Suit/50's Greaser young gang of trouble makers. Its a fun role. Or at least it should be with a LOT more practice. There's a lot of singing to remember and our choreography is tough sometimes. There's one dance where I have to spin around on my kneecap. That knee is killing me now.

I also have a bunch of silly small roles, like circus member, hunch, and my personal favorite, "water". I get to wear rollerblades to be water. Hopefully I can still rollerblade alright.

Its been a really long time since I did play stuff. Like middle school. I was in a couple of productions with my older brother and some church kids at the Santa Clara Rec Center. I played Becky's little brother in Tom Sawyer. Then I was the wizard in Once Upon a Mattress. The only really performance oriented thing I've done post-high school is folkdance at BYU. And if you're a boy, that doesn't really take a lot. So there are all these high school kids in the play putting me to shame right now when it comes to singing and dancing and stuff. Embarrassing. Oh well, should be either really fun, or a decent story to tell years down the road.

I quit my job at Papa John's Pizza.

Mostly it was on principle. Gas was getting insanely expensive, but our compensation (90 cents per trip, even to houses two towns away) was not getting any higher. I was paying about 50 bucks a tank to fill up. We were getting paid 5.85 plus whatever tips we made plus the 90 cents per delivery. We drivers thought we would all get saved by the new minimum wage that went into effect in July. It was supposed to increase our base pay from 5.85 to 6.55 thereby possibly offsetting the rising price of fuel, but instead the corporation decided that it would come up with a new payment "system" to avoid having to pay its delivery drivers more. I would start to explain the new system to you here, but its complicated and boring. Suffice it to say, our regional manager was telling us we were going to make the same amount of money only with a difference in the way we were paid, but that simply wasn't true. We were going to start making quite a bit less. I did the math a few times. Add recent inflation to the top of that and not only were we making less, but much less.

So, sick of having to maintain a car for my job and angry with greedy corporations in general, I started a small insurrection at our employee meeting by calculating the new numbers and showing everyone how this would result in a considerable paycut despite what our regional manager was trying to tell us. I quit on the spot (the flip side of having a right to work state is that employees can quit anytime without notice) and got lots of people steamed. 3 more drivers quit within the next few days. Maybe more have left by now, but I don't know. Likely they were hurting for a few days and then recovered, but I haven't kept up with it.

So I went through finals week without a job. Which was actually really nice. I did reasonably well in school this summer. I got an A- and a B+ in my second term classes, Biology and Astronomy respectively. That may not sound like much, but its a huge improvement on what I was getting at BYU the last year or two.

Now I'm in between semesters of school and looking for a job. The problem is that between this play and school, I don't have much time to squeeze in regular work shifts. I'll be going to school from 8 to 2 on weekdays, then rehearsals or shows from 7 to 10 most weekdays, and 10 to 2 some Saturdays. It's a mess. I've interviewed at a couple of places now but can't make anything work with my schedule yet. Something is going to have to give. I might have to drop out of school this semester or just not work and pray that things work out until mid-October when this play is done.

There are actually two small sources of income I may have. There's an 11 year old kid with down syndrome in Seussical who's mom is desperately looking for a math tutor for him. She found out that I'm now looking at being a math teacher, and so she asked me about filling the position. I met with her the other day and I really like her. So I think I may do that for an hour or two on weekdays after school.

I also do yardwork, cleaning, simple repairs and replacing, and whatever else at some condos my parents own in Provo, and they have decided to pay me for that. Should help out a little. I've been putting in several hours there lately because one of the condos is between tenants.

But yeah, this semester is still going to be a crunch in a few ways for a while.

I'm also dating someone again. A boyfriend.

I met him wakeboarding, my second time out on the boat. I really wasn't looking for a date or anything on those boating trips other than to learn how to wakeboard. In fact, to be honest, I sort of went on the trips assuming everyone else would be sort of a douche-bag. (Have I gotten tons more judgemental over the years?) You have to understand some of what happened on these things to get why I assumed such. Its a bunch of gay guys who are trying to outmacho each other in whatever way possible so they don't look gay, but at the same time they're getting drunk and making out with each other. Kinda ridiculous.

Well, this guy Josh was on the boat but he wasn't doing as much of that. I didn't really pay him a lot of attention at first. But then he asked me on a date, and it kinda caught me off guard. I went on the date. We saw Get Smart. Then he asked me on more dates. I asked him if he wanted to hike the Y around 2 AM one night and he came and we did a lot of talking and I liked him. He got me started playing this question game all the time where, well...we just ask lots of questions. The questions can be pretty basic, from things like "What is your favorite ____?" to slightly more insightful questions like "What's one place you want to go before you die?" to deeper things like "Do you see God as more of a father, grandfather, mechanic, etc?" to goofy silly stuff like "If you were a supervillain how would you dress your henchmen?" Its a good game that I like.

The weekend after the Y hike we went up to the Tetons and stayed at his parents' place, which is in a town very near the park. We went up mainly to climb Table Rock, but my birthday just happened to be that weekend too, and he got his whole family in on celebrating it with me. It was kinda on the spot and awkward for me a little, having only known the guy a couple weeks, but it was also really endearing and both he and his family are great. And I think I hit it off with at least his dad and favorite sister, but hopefully the rest of the family too.

After another week or two we decided to talk about where all this was headed and voice some concerns and what not, and we decided we were dating. Legitimately.

Josh is probably the most considerate person I know. I couldn't even keep up with how nice he is if I tried. Every time I turn around he's doing something nice for me or someone else. Robbie is sick of hearing about that.

He's also really bright and witty and easy on the eyes. He's always up for doing stuff, and he's full of great stories. I feel like he's got his priorities in order too and we line up on the importance of a lot of things. He's not as hung up about material stuff and cars and gadgets and clothes as Jon was, and thats refreshing. He goes way out of his way to treat people kindly, and he passed the Robbie and Greg approval test.

So I'm trying to make that work. This semester could be trying, but we'll see.

I have the same worries about a relationship as I did with Jon. As soon as I'm in, I'm all worried about getting out; afraid I'm stuck. My mind fast forwards to years from now and I wonder what that could be like with a guy. For now, I'm taking it all in stride.

And this post will be done now.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


I was just talking to my friend Ben the other day about how I wish there was more spontaneous mass dancing in the world! Man, I would love to be this guy!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Interview with Paulo Coehlo at the end of The Alchemist

In The Alchemist, you refer to Soul of the World. What exactly is this? How is it tied to religion and spirituality?
Well, let's distinguish religion from spirituality. I am Catholic, so religion for me is a way of having discipline and collective worship with persons who share the same mystery. But in the end all religions tend to point to the same light. In between the light and us, sometimes there are too many rules. The light is here and there are no rules to follow this light.

You mentioned that you're Catholic, but you've said elsewhere that your Jesuit upbringing was painful in some ways. What do you see as the value of, and problems with, organized religion?
The value is that they give you discipline and they give you collective worship and they give you humbleness toward the mysteries. The danger is that every religion, including the Catholic one, says "I have the ultimate truth." Then you start to rely on the priest, the mullah, the rabbi, or whoever, to be responsible for your acts. In fact, you are the only one who is responsible.