Monday, October 19, 2009

Felt like writing something tonight.

I'm back in Utah, finally.

I've probably left out more of what has happened in my life this past year than I ever have since starting this blog. Just too much personal stuff and too many people who know who I am that read this blog. It doesn't quite feel like my own little corner of the internet anymore. Maybe another blog is in order...or just a journal.

Suffice it to say, this summer had some of the worst and best moments of my life in it...times when I wanted disappear completely, but also times when the world felt like my playground again. Someday, perhaps I'll write more about things that happened, but right now isn't the time.

Being back has been a lot of crazy and a lot of wonderful. A few of the highlights:

1. Snow Patrol concert with Robbie and Meg. Such cool music and videos. I want to go to Belfast, Ireland. And who knew you could create the entire universe out of Origami?
2. Hitchiking failure with Robbie and Evan that turned into a documentary success. This is why these guys are two of my best pals. Video on facebook forthcoming.
3. A date with Dawn up the Canyon. It actually turned out to be a date almost to Vernal, because I took a wrong turn and didn't notice for about 90 miles. We drove over 200 miles in all, but I think we were both where we wanted to be. Dawn is the best. And dinner and gelatto in Heber was pretty nice too.
4. Climbed upon my sister's roof to think and scope out the view. Also climbed on Robbie's roof.
5. Mom accused me of doing drugs (one of the few things I actually HAVEN'T ever done aside from inhaling pot smoke hitchiking back from Ohio)
6. Lots of "serious" talks with a whole bunch of different people.
6. Got to see Josh in TWO plays. And even got INTO a play with Josh - A Christmas Carol at the Orem Hale. I'm Fred. Don't know crap about acting and only very little about singing, but if it means getting to do something with Josh, I'll just have to do my damnedest :)
7. Two interviews for jobs down here. One at the In-N-Out opening in Orem, (I used to work at In-N-Out Burger in high school, and as lame as it may sound to work at a burger place, In-N-Out is one of the finest companies I've ever worked for. They pay well and treat you right and its fun) and another at Telos, a residential treatment facility for teenagers which would be a great job for someone who hopes to be a teacher. With any luck I'll get at least one of those.
8. Constantly working on a top secret project. I can't tell you about that.
9. Went to Park City with Robbie and Andy and Caitie and Laura. Beautiful canyon views, learned about "shabby chic" and how that should be my style. Also, Caitie and Laura are two of the funniest and most genuinely good people on the planet. I wish more humans were like them.

All in all, I'm trying to make the best out of life. And usually that works.

Monday, September 28, 2009

A Skagway Farewell to the last cruise ship of the season

This whole night was so much fun:

Couldn't miss out on the opportunity to do this:

Incidentally, the last cruise ship of the season was bought out by Olivia Cruises (read a horde of lesbians) and they were LOVING it. They all started singing "Nah nah nah nah, hey hey hey, goodbye!" and even chanting "Skagway! SKagway!". Happy times. :)

Sunday, August 09, 2009

The night I first rode a motorcycle.

My buddy Canyon came to visit me in Skagway on his way back from riding his motorcycle to the Arctic Ocean. He started in Utah, so thats a lot of riding a motorcycle and I'm thoroughly impressed. I want to pull a Motorcycle Diaries with this kid someday. Learn more about Canyon here.

Riding out to Dyea. Beautiful and awesome.

The next day, I somehow got Canyon to let me ride his bike for the first time in downtown Skagway.

After this one, I tipped the bike after trying to turn a corner too fast. I didn't really have "stopping" down yet. We later learned that I bent the rim on Canyon's bike which caused a slow air leak in the tire. Oops. I felt pretty bad, but fortunately Canyon was very very cool about it all and his first priority (after making sure I was okay) was making sure I got back on the bike to conquer any doubts I might have about my ability to ride. And thats a testament to what a stud Canyon is. And no worries, he got the rim fixed and made it back to Utah in one piece (if you haven't checked out his blog already.)

Busted a hole in my jeans, as well as in my shoe and lost a shoelace.

But I still want to own a motorcycle...

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Feeling stuff.

Sometimes my emotions are pretty fucked up. I wish I could just manufacture feelings sometimes. I sure do try, but even if I manage to put other people at ease, I never feel quite right inside. Sometimes I wish I could feel one thing, but I feel something completely different, like my emotions are colored coded wires that were plugged into me by a color blind old man.

This manifests itself in all sorts of ways in my life. I was going to give some examples here, but I've decided to instead just be vague instead/

I'll want to feel excited or extroverted, but instead I feel indifferent and alone. I'll want to gush happiness or pride in someone else, but instead I just feel my own self esteem cut down. I'll want to feel secure and grounded, but instead I feel unstable, unsure, raging. I'll find myself wanting to be silly, and for the first time all day I'll have nothing silly to say.

On the flip side, I usually feel excited and happy in a disaster. I like being extroverted and making friends with people who aren't comfortable in their own skin. I'm always hilarious when it doesn't matter.

Maybe this is a result of my upbringing, or maybe its some kind of genetic flaw. Maybe I have the wrong attitude about stuff. Maybe I have the wrong perspective or maybe there's a divine order to things that I'm going against. Maybe I'm surrounding myself with the wrong people. Maybe I'm bipolar. I don't know, but I'd like to know how to fix it and just feel what I would like to feel at the right moments. Does anyone know how to do that?

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Men That Don't Fit In by Robert Service

There's a race of men that don't fit in,
A race that can't stay still;
So they break the hearts of kith and kin,
And they roam the world at will.
They range the field and they rove the flood,
And they climb the mountain's crest;
Theirs is the curse of the gypsy blood,
And they don't know how to rest.

If they just went straight they might go far;
They are strong and brave and true;
But they're always tired of the things that are,
And they want the strange and new.
They say: "Could I find my proper groove,
What a deep mark I would make!"
So they chop and change, and each fresh move
Is only a fresh mistake.

And each forgets, as he strips and runs
With a brilliant, fitful pace,
It's the steady, quiet, plodding ones
Who win in the lifelong race.
And each forgets that his youth has fled,
Forgets that his prime is past,
Till he stands one day, with a hope that's dead,
In the glare of the truth at last.

He has failed, he has failed; he has missed his chance;
He has just done things by half.
Life's been a jolly good joke on him,
And now is the time to laugh.
Ha, ha! He is one of the Legion Lost;
He was never meant to win;
He's a rolling stone, and it's bred in the bone;
He's a man who won't fit in.

The Quitter by Robert Service

When you're lost in the Wild, and you're scared as a child,
And Death looks you bang in the eye,
And you're sore as a boil, it’s according to Hoyle
To cock your revolver and . . . die.
But the Code of a Man says: "Fight all you can,"
And self-dissolution is barred.
In hunger and woe, oh, it’s easy to blow . . .
It’s the hell-served-for-breakfast that’s hard.

"You're sick of the game!" Well, now that’s a shame.
You're young and you're brave and you're bright.
"You've had a raw deal!" I know — but don't squeal,
Buck up, do your damnedest, and fight.
It’s the plugging away that will win you the day,
So don't be a piker, old pard!
Just draw on your grit, it’s so easy to quit.
It’s the keeping-your chin-up that’s hard.

It’s easy to cry that you're beaten — and die;
It’s easy to crawfish and crawl;
But to fight and to fight when hope’s out of sight —
Why that’s the best game of them all!
And though you come out of each gruelling bout,
All broken and battered and scarred,
Just have one more try — it’s dead easy to die,
It’s the keeping-on-living that’s hard.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Alaska the Second









I haven't blogged in a long time for a lot of reasons, so I apologize if this blog seems like a book that skips several chapters. I'll try to be be comprehensive...or at least make up for it later.

I just got fired for the first time (wrote this the beginning of July). I'm up in Alaska working again, and summer here has turned into a series of dilemas. The kind that build character I guess.

I loved my job up here. I toured mostly 50 and 60 somethings around Alaska and the Yukon in a tour bus that we were supposed to call a "coach". Really the only difference between a "bus" and a "coach" is that a coach has a bathroom onboard, which I got to clean out at night - but aside from that and management politics, the job was great. I had an engaging, entertaining, and funny tour going; I learned the history of everything in the area very well, and people liked me and thought I was funny. I even got good comment cards from the people in my groups when they went back to their cruise ships at night, which is something they have to go out of their way to do.

But it all went wrong. Here's how:

As part of my job description every time I picked passengers up or stopped to let passengers off for any reason I was required to get out of the bus, open a luggage compartment, and remove a step stool to put out in front of the stairs for any of the elderly people with frail knees or what have you. I dutifully performed this service for my passengers, but occasionaly I would forget to put the step back into the luggage bay after all of my passengers had boarded. Once in a while, a little old lady would remind me about the stool, still sitting at the bottom of the stairs, and I would get out and fetch it. Other times I would remember it just as I started the engine of the bus. But twice, I completely forgot.

You see, the problem with these step stools is that when you get back in the driver's seat of your bus, you don't see them in the rearview mirror (which I always checked) as you're getting ready to leave again. They're much too short. Incidentally, you don't feel them either, when your bus quietly overtakes the feeble aluminum legs and turns the step stool into a flat piece of useless garbage.

So I ran over two step stools early on in the season. You have to understand that EVERYONE who drives for Holland America (or any other bus company up here for that matter) runs over a step stool, but most people simply don't report it. They discretely throw the thing away after the deed has been done, steal a step stool from upstairs in the mechanic shop or from another bus in the yard, and no one knows any better. The mechanics just have to keep replacing step stools that mysteriously disappear overnight.

My folly was in reporting my smushed step stools to the safety manager. I filled out "incident reports" as required by company policy. It didn't seem like a big deal either. I would get stern warnings, (an overly common occurence when one is working for Holland America) and wouldn't think anything more of it. If anything, I thought that perhaps the managers would look on me as someone who was reliable and honest.

Silly me.

The nail in the coffin came about a week ago when I was pulling out of the bus yard and allegedly scratched the mirror of the neighboring bus. I did not see, hear or feel anything when this happened, but another driver, Carolyn, reported that she had witnessed it happen. I'm not going to deny that it happened....sure enough there was a scratch on the backside of her left mirror with blue paint on it when I checked that night. There are hundreds of scratches on most of the mirrors in the bus yard, but the blue paint indicated that it happened recently. And I was the bus parked next to it pulling out of the bus yard...but it struck me as odd that there were no marks on the outside of MY bus to prove that there was any kind of contact. And the mirror had a scratch but did not move. The safety manager even came out with a camera to take pictures and mentioned the same things. But I got blamed for it anyhow.

The night this happened, I was again unphased. It all seemed pretty harmless to me. I kept getting scheduled for tours the next few days and did a great job on them, until on Monday night I noticed that my name was missing from dispatch for the next day. Shortly after I noticed, I received a phone call from one of the dispatchers saying that I had a meeting with the head dispatcher, Melissa Logan, the next day at 10:30. I was naively unaware of what the meeting might be about. I was pretty sure I was in trouble for some mundane thing (as I mentioned before, you always are when you work for Holland America...just ask Robbie or Evan) but as I said before, this company is in the business of stern warnings about stupid crap.

Much to my surprise, I went into the office on Tuesday morning at 10:30 AM to find Melissa Logan AND Steve Funk. I don't know what Steve Funk's title is at the company, but I do know that he is some kind of regional company officer for the driver guides and that everyone sort of treats him like he's God, so much so that he seems to think that about himself too.

And then Funk laid it on me. Logan just sat to my side quietly. I was being "let go" for safety reasons. I had been involved in three "accidents" with my "coach" and according to company policy, that is grounds for terminating employment regardless of my clean driving record.

I mentioned a few things to Funk in my defense, like some of the other "accidents" that had occured this year that never resulted in termination of an employee. For instance:

1. Matt Johnson, on a highway tour to Dawson City in the Yukon, missed his lunch stop and decided to turn around on the highway. Somewhere in his however-many-point turn on the narrow road, he got half of his coach stuck in the mud and half of it stuck in the traffic lane...with 40 passengers on board.

2. Alyssa ran the side of her coach into a stop sign. A STOP sign. With 40 passengers on board. The paint and metal on the side of the bus is now all scratched up and indented very visibly. Again, 40 passengers on board.

3. Twice drivers have been reprimanded for stopping in the middle of the highway and letting passengers out of the bus to go take close-up pictures of bears. BEARS. HIGHWAY... !?!?!?!?!

4. This girl named Sarah last year tried to swerve when she saw a moose on the road and ended up rolling an E-model coach (a $500,000 vehicle) with passengers on board. She still works for the company. People say this is because last year, Holland America was severely understaffed. This year they are way overstaffed...and looking for reasons to fire people.

This list goes on, but I think you get the idea. After I mentioned a couple of these things to Funk, he asked me "Were you or were you not involved in three incidents in which your coach collided with another object?" I told him I wasn't even sure if I was. He said it was company policy that he not allow me to drive any longer this season. I told him I thought that it didn't make a lot of sense but that the decision was up to him and not me and I tried to stay very respectful throughout the whole thing even though I was a little outraged inside. I shook his hand on the way out and then ducked into an alleyway to call Josh.

In brief, I was in limbo for a couple of days deciding what to do. Wasn't sure if it was worth it to stay in Skagway and just find another job and place to live, or not. I made a few other phone calls, looked around town, and talked to some of my friends here. I considered going home to join the military finally, living here in a tent for the rest of the season, hitchiking to another part of Alaska or anywhere I could find a job, and a host of other options before everything stabilized again.

Its been about a week since I got fired now. I have a new job working for the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad in their giftshop/cafe thing. I HATE retail jobs with a passion. I'm just not that kind of gay at all. I've probably never mentioned on here that I once had a job at Express for about two weeks before I decided to never go back. I hate folding crap and I just don't care about style or cut or size. I have to work very hard to manufacture a sense of urgency in a place that sells clothes or gifts or anything like that because I could just care less about any of it.

But, its a job. And I guess I can handle it until the end of September... and the people I work with and the management seem to be nice. I guess its sort of the opposite of Holland America: Crappy job, decent management. Someday I'd like to have both. And while I'm dreaming of ideal job opportunities, I'd like to do something I care about. And something that allows to me to learn about things that I care about.

And thats all for this installment. Here are some more pictures.




Thursday, April 02, 2009


I've gotta write in this thing just for the sake of chronicling my life. I've written a few posts that I just haven't published, but nothing about what is generally happening in my life.

This post has taken me a long time to put up because my life has a lot of sad right now that I don't know what to do with. I don't want to share it with people I know. Part of me doesn't even want to post this on here because I don't want to be viewed as insecure, depressing, or unstable. But maybe I just am those things right now. Its not that I'm sad all the time, but a good portion of it, and sometimes it starts to leak out in real life and I hate that. I think I feel much more neurotic right now than I've ever felt in my entire life. I just looked up the word neurotic to be sure, and its the exact description of what I feel...just anxious and obsessed and compulsive about a lot of stupid things.

I'm white-knuckling it through the rest of school. I started out the first half of calculus turning in all my homework, I got a 99 on the first test, a 90 on the second test. No grade lower than a B+ on quizzes, and only for stupid stuff like forgetting a negative sign or not completing the chain rule. I was on top of everything and actually feeling like school was something I could do well again.

Unfortunately, I've now fallen back into some old habits and attitudes towards my education. I got a 74 on my last test because I didn't complete all the homework or do enough studying. I was busy getting ready and being excited to go to Portland and Seattle, (awesome trip, by the way) and I was just generally sick of doing math homework. Now I've got one more test to go before the final, and way too much to catch up on. I may have to find a tutor for a few hours someday soon. (Anyone out there a pro with integrals?) Its so hard to feel motivated about that class again though, especially after the 74 on the last test. My mind has already moved into the summer.

All of my other classes are going well except for statistics. Statistics has throughout this semester been my step-child class. When I put in time for homework, I work on Calculus. I didn't even want to take stats this semester, but I had to load it on in order to have enough credits for a student loan.

The recent drop in academic performance doesn't necessarily mean that I haven't kept busy. I'm always overwhelmed with how much I want to get done, and I'm always working on something, I just have a hard time prioritizing sometimes. Some days it feels like school should be the most important thing, and other days I feel I should just quit school for a couple of years and focus all my attention on learning to play the guitar or sing or act. Most of the time I get caught up doing something I feel is important, but which doesn't work out with my schedule for writing my congressman, or reading the BFG to my nieces, or helping my sister or parents out with cleaning or a project. The problem here is mostly that I want to do everything, and so it's hard to follow through completely with anything. I wish school could just run on my schedule.

Other things going on in my life:
Bus driving: I'm headed to Alaska for a summer job again, this time to drive buses in the small port town of Skagway. In order to do this, I had to put in about 15 to 20 hours every week in training classes, driving sessions and small other things like getting first aid and CPR certified. I now have my CDL and I'm certified to drive large vehicles with an endorsement that allows me to carry lots of passengers.

I have mixed feeling about going to Alaska. I want to see Skagway. It looks beautiful and there's lots of hiking to be done there and its far from Utah and I can make a lot of money and I need to just carry through with something that I set out to do right now and I always feel like running away anyways.

On the other hand, I have a wonderful boyfriend down here who I'm going to miss a lot. Tons. Maybe an unhealthy amount. There's also a lot of really great stuff going on here that I wish I could be involved in, like several plays, races and roadtrips and some opportunities to help people that I care about.

I guess I'd better not flake on this though. I leave on the 30th of this month.

Tutoring Jonny: I've grown to love this kid and his mom this school year. Jonny is hilarious, compassionate, very aware of the feelings of people around him (sympathetic?), and even hardworking.

His mom is anxiously engaged in everything. There's no other way to put it really. Always anxious and always engaged. She's also incredibly generous with her talents and any resources she has to offer. She's truly one of the most giving people I know. I love and admire her a ton.

Progress with Jon is painstakingly, make-you-want-to-bang-your-head-against-a-brick-wall slow, but pretty rewarding when he gets the hang of something. We started math tutoring in September and we're just about to start borrowing in subtraction.

I guess it sounds a little cliche to say that there's so much I have to learn from a kid with down-syndrome, but its true. I actually relate to Jonny on a lot of levels, and his success in life has been somewhat linked to mine lately. I have to believe that he can do anything, so that I can believe that I can do anything. I cling to that idea. There's a lot that I feel I'm lacking in many departments of life; mentally, socially, physically, etc, but I have to believe that I can do just as well as anyone else if I try. And now I have math lessons to make or break that perception of the world daily. Mostly he makes it :) Jonny is a constant reminder to me of a lot of things, and as stressful as it might seem to tutor a kid with down-syndrome, he actually keeps me from losing my mind pretty regularly.

I just need to learn to quit saying "retarded" all the time...

Choir Stuff: Robbie and I somehow managed to get into the top choir at school this year, and last week we went "on tour" to Temple Square and the public library and several high schools. We'll be performing at the Covey Arts Center with the Utah Valley Symphony in a couple of weeks, and then at our school.

Robbie is a tenor and I'm a baritone/bass. I didn't even know what baritone meant when they first told me I was a baritone. I had no musical ability other than to generally be able to mimic the sounds I heard coming out of other people or machines. When we first auditioned for the choir, there was a part of the audition where we were divided into quartets... which means I had to sing the bass part with no one else around singing the same part. I started off maybe the first three notes trying to sing my own part, but sure enough I ended up singing along with what I could hear the most...which was this loud soprano girl. The choir conductor, Dyanne, stopped the audition a third of the way through (in front of the whole class, mind you) and asked me specifically why I was singing the soprano line. I got red, shrugged like an idiot and told her I always just sing what I can hear. I was about to say "F**k this, choir is for douche-bags," and storm off, but Dyanne just smiled and asked another bass to come sing next to me, and from then on I hit every note spot on. And that's how I got into a choir.

This last semester, I did the quartet audition all on my own. I even volunteered to do it twice when one group was missing a bass to sing with them. I now have a better ear for the piano, and a better understanding of how the notes go up and down and what all the lines and connectors mean and how the timing on songs works. I can even plunk out notes on the piano sometimes. Not to say that I'm amazing or don't still need A LOT of work, and its still comfortable to stand next to someone who is singing my part, but I feel a little bit more better about myself in there, and I plan on auditioning again next year.

Roadtrip: I went up to Seattle and Portland recently to visit friends and see Wicked. We did a lot and it was all excellent, but the highlights were two-fold: First of all, there was Jessica. The reason she was one of the highlights is sort of a long story, but I'll just summarize: Jessica drove to Seattle from Portland, flew from Seattle to Salt Lake, and then dressed up as a hitchiker so that I would pick her up and she could come on the roadtrip with us back to where she lives. I love that girl with every fiber of my being.

The second highlight of the trip was the musical, Wicked. Now, I expected it to be a good show. I had heard most of the music from it and thought it was all really clever. But I had no idea how brilliant that musical would be, and how intensely I would relate to it. Its about these two very different friends who grow to love and respect each other, but just can't bring themselves to line up on moral grounds. I'm glad I watched that thing with Robbie.

I almost wanted to buy one of those black "Wicked" t-shirts, like the kind you see nerd girls wearing on the bus...the kind of girl with thick glasses whose faces are hidden behind books about dragons and wizard mages...the kind that are mean when you try to talk to them because they've probably been emotionally scarred many times in their life....I wanted to look like one of them. Thats how sold I was on that show.

I'm Elfiba and Robbie is Glinda. I can't believe I just said that.

More recently (Easter Weekend) I also made a trip down to Capitol Reef National Park with some new and old friends.

I've now been to all the national parks in Utah. Robbie postulated that perhaps that is the key to being free of this state. Even if its not, I love visiting all those parks, and I've got a nice first sunburn for the year now. :)

My mood is actually getting better as I write this blog post, so maybe I'd better quit while I'm ahead and go do real things like study math. I probably haven't written everything I meant to write, but this is a start. Catch ya later, blogworld.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I've had a bunch of dreams I can remember lately, set in odd places. Here they go:

1. An imaginary desert east of LA with my brother in law in his truck. We were driving fast and hunting tigers as we went. I was uneasy about it because I liked the tigers.

2. The U.K, Buckinham Palace. My family found out (through my dad's extensive geneaology research) that we are related to Prince Philip, the Queen Elizabeth's consort, through some Danish acenstry. Don't ask me if Prince Philip is Danish, I really don't know. He is in my dreams. At any rate, Prince Philip died and we were invited, all expenses paid, to his funeral. Mom has never been out of the country before and has always wanted to see the UK, so we went. It was a typically awkward social experience with my family. My family doesn't do high society. My Dad started dancing, which, if you're one of the small few who have ever been privileged to meet my dad, is almost unthinkably bizarre.

3. Toronto. Or at least the Toronto of my dreams. I drove up in my beamer and it was raining. I saw the CN Tower and lots of neat looking buildings wandering around town. I loved it and was still thinking about just staying before I woke up. I met my friend Steven there, and drove him to an old man's house where he needed to make a trade. Steven had some stereo equipment and electronics he was dropping off. Maybe it wasn't a trade because I'm not sure if he got anything in return. It was a little shady. And Steven might have stolen the stuff. Sometimes he's a klepto. He stole me my first Calvin and Hobbes book, but thats another story. We proceeded to drive around Toronto and loved it there.

Alright, back to stupid real life. Got Calculus homework to do.