Thursday, January 27, 2005


I have never felt so sad in my entire life. I blew it.

Have you ever felt so devastated that you wanted to throw up? So depressed that you kick and rant and rave like a three-year-old throwing a temper tantrum? Okay, at the risk of this sounding like a "slit-my-wrists-emo-live-journal" entry, I'm gonna just get to the story and stop complaining.

Yesterday I was dutifully typing a biology essay on my computer, when I got a phone call from a good friend who was in distress. She needed three paper cups. Being the benevolent person that I am, I came to the rescue with three stolen paper cups which I obtained from my roommate. I then proceeded to talk to my friend for the good part of an hour.

Upon returning to my computer to continue the essay, I noticed that I'd received an e-mail from Death Cab for Cutie. I've been on the mailing list for quite some time, and I assumed it was a standard update or newsletter of some sort. Curious, I opened the e-mail and almost peed my pants.

The e-mail was an announcement that Ben Gibbard, my idol, was performing an acoustic set at an exclusive Sundance film festival concert. The e-mail stated that the first five people to respond would have the opportunity to attend. My heart began to race and I felt the chaos of panic erupt in my head. My eyes darted to the time when I received the e-mail: 4:40 p.m. I glanced at the time on the monitor: 5:30 p.m. I'd missed the e-mail by almost an hour!

I hurriedly rushed an e-mail and sent it, begging them to let me go. I then sat in terror for the next half hour, until I received an e-mail back, stating that I would be unable to attend because I was not one of the five first respondents. Cue stomach convulsions and near epileptic shock.

For the next hour I was a victim of my imagination. I thought back over the last two hours -- how I could've been at the computer when the e-mail arrived. I would've been the first person to respond! I would be going to the most amazing concert of my life. It could potentially be the most amazing experience of my life! I would probably never see Ben Gibbard perform again. These sobering thoughts triggered more spasms and screams. I nearly tore my hair out.

As the night progressed my system never really returned to status quo. I felt like I was in a coma, like I'd overdosed on Lithium. I was given to fits of giddiness and inexplicable fainting. It was out of control.

Then, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. A thought suddenly crossed my mind which had a very calming and comforting effect on me. As I repeated the thought over and over in my mind, I became more and more convinced. The thought? Any concert in Park City that has an exclusive A-list of celebs and guests is bound to be held in only one type of venue -- a club, which almost certainly serves alcohol. 21 and older. And I'm only 18. I finally got some sleep.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Jacket Coat

Since viewing an episode of "Just Shoot Me," I've had a liking for the term "jacket coat." Not just jacket -- jacket coat. The absurdity is analogous to referring to the New York Times as the New York Times Paper. I just like it.

Anyways, I've discovered a problem with shopping at "cool" stores with "cool" clothes. Other people are bound to buy and wear them as well. Over the holidays I purchased an amazing jacket coat. It's a maroon track jacket with white lining with a collar that actually stands erect. Simply phenomenal.

Today I wore this jacket coat, and to my dismay, so did half of campus. It seemed that everywhere I went, someone else was wearing MY jacket coat. I felt like I was being stripped of my individuality. With each breath I exhaled I felt a part of Sven evaporate into the air, probably collected into some corporate think tank of jacket coat clones. No longer was I proud of my amazing jacket coat. Instead I was ashamed of my lack of originality, and a friend and I determined that we'd have to shop at second hand discount stores.

I was particularly frustrated by a man in my chemistry class. He must seriously lack in hygiene because I swear the guy wears this jacket coat every single day. And it's obviously not about the cold weather, because the jacket coats aren't particularly warm, and the man wears shorts as part of the ensemble. I feel like he's infringing on my right to wear the jacket coat. I don't know why he can't just pick one day out of the week to wear his jacket coat, and I'll just take Wednesdays.

Monday, January 24, 2005


It was my favorite pond. I’d already forged thousands of memories
among the beautiful scenery. And as I stood with her, neurons were firing and new memories were being conceived.

It’s the perfect place to go for a bonfire, or a rainstorm, or for building a dam. Tonight, we were here to feed the ducks.

We broke the day old rolls from Dick’s market into small pieces, and held them out to the greedy water fowl, who came charging from the water to the shoreline. Many were bold, taking food directly from the hand, and
others were aggressive, fighting each other for each morsel.

Then we noticed the duck who had remained at the water’s edge. This was the crippled duck, who had the misfortune of missing one foot. We took special care to throw pieces of bread directly at our monoplegic friend.

“What should we name him?” I asked her, to which she made no reply. “I think we should name him Pegleg,” I joked, answering my own question.

“No, not Pegleg,” she replied, “Something better.”

Captain Jack Duck and Long John Silver were promptly tossed out of the name pool. Until inevitably, we could think of no proper name for him,
and it stuck, Pegleg.


Today was very dreary, and I thought about Copenhagen. Everywhere I went the lights were either dim or off, and outside the inversion blocked out a great majority of the sun's warm rays. It was dismal and frigid.

With an audible shiver I pulled my jacket around my body tighter, adjusted my scarf, and rubbed my hands together as I walked back to my apartment. It was all very much like a scene in a movie.

As I walked I focused on my visible breath. I'm always enthralled by the entropic movement of the steam as it rises and diffuses into the air. My thoughts reverted back to the winters of elementary school, when we'd pretend to smoke as we waited outside for school to start. I imagined a person standing on a curb somewhere, lighting up a cigarette, and casually blowing the carcinogenic smoke into the foggy air.

My low spirits weren't assisted by the emptiness of my apartment when I arrived. Wishing I had a fireplace to warm up next to, I lay on my bed and imagined a photographer sitting in his Copenhagen apartment -- a monochromatic room as gray as the black and white pictures he'd snapped in the park that day.


I made a mistake and took a nap, effectively sleeping off the rage.

Have you ever felt like the enlightened minority? Have you ever felt like you're the only one who really sees what's going on, and everyone else is just an ignorant sheep in a flock of suckers? It is one of the loneliest feelings in the catalogue of human emotions. I feel like Winston Smith from 1984. I want to liberate the proles, but they're too moronic.

I have a class with one those professor's who considers himself the authority on everything. He is a religion professor, and has an amazing grasp of scriptural references, as well as quotes from religious leaders. No one could doubt that the man is quite knowledgable.

The problem is that the professor is arrogant. He's not arrogant in the snobbish context, but in the constant gloating style. He's just so pleased with himself all the time, and he wants everyone to think he's so brilliant.

At the beginning portion of class the students are allowed a Q&A session, where they can ask any question they want related to the doctrine of our church. Not only is there a lack of focus in these sessions, but students ask the most ridiculous, trivial and obscure questions that I just want to stand up and yell "C'mon!"

The professor, however, just eats this stuff up. He loves every opportunity he can get to dazzle us with his vast knowledge of worthless gospel nonsense. He's a sensationalist teacher who feels it is his mission to educate everyone in speculative details. He's very proficient at twisting the meaning of scriptures to match his interpretation, so there is generally little room for arguing.

Today someone asked the bombshell question, "What's the deal with polygamy?" The professor got a big grin on his face, ready to save the class from their innocence, to pollute their minds with doctrinal flapdoodle that would neither help nor hinder their eternal progression.

After a very strained and unsatisfactory answer, someone asked for clarification. My professor then went on to explain a very logical sequence of thoughts, which was obviously speculation. Before I knew what I was doing, I raised my hand and asked, "That's all very logical, but do you have any doctrinal reference for that?" The professor stared at me incredulously. I stammered, "Like a prophet, or something?" His face a little redder, the professor quickly answered with an obscure scriptural reference which I know didn't answer the question, and then he quickly changed the subject. I was left more than slightly infuriated, fuming the rest of the class period.

As I sat listening to his lecture, I observed the dopey grins and blank stares on everybody's faces. Everybody laughed at his lame jokes, even when he repeated them. It was like sitting in a warehouse of mannakins with a laugh track playing on a broken phonograph. I sat with disdain and listened to him spout off more false doctrine, unable to do anything. I couldn't fathom how everyone was just eating this up like ice cream, savoring every bite and rejoicing in its sensationalism. Damn zoobies.

Sunday, January 23, 2005


There is a line in the lyrics of a Death Cab for Cutie song, Sound of Settling, that haunts me. It goes, "I sit and wonder of every love that could've been, if I'd only thought of something charming to say." Every time I hear this song it has a very sobering effect on me.

Think about everytime you meet someone of the opposite sex, and then you never see them again. What if you had said the perfect line, a real zinger that established you as an interesting person -- someone worth being interested in. What if you had been so charming that the person couldn't help but fall in love with you?

Wednesday, January 19, 2005


Girls possess a mysterious power that resides almost completely in their eyes and smile. One look can render a male completely helpless and vulnerable. As one would assume, there is great manipulative opportunity in mastering this look.

The look is not the same for every girl, but I would submit that almost every girl possesses a unique glance that could essentially help them subdue the entire male race. I suppose I should not speak for all men, but I know that I have fallen victim many times to the intoxicating properties of the look.

For some girls, the look may be as simple as seductively raising an eyebrow, for others it may require a little more sparkle. A particular favorite of mine is the "you're-such-a-card" look. When accompanied by a specific smile, all of these looks become lethal weapons of control.

Girls can basically use the look to get whatever they want, whether their motives are altruistic or not. Maybe she got in a fight with her boyfriend, and she uses the look to melt him into submissive apologies. Maybe she walks into a room full of boys and uses the look to say, "Hey, you. Get over here before the best opportunity of your life walks right back out that door." I know girls who have used these looks to get out of tickets. "Oh was I speeding, Officer?" they coyly ask, batting their eyelashes with a not-so-innocent smile. Girls use the look to get into events for free, or to get a free meal at a restaurant. Girls have immense power, they only need to find the channel. And boys need to be on their guard.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005


Last night I was having a conversation with a group of people and the term "Zoobie" came up. Someone asked what a zoobie was, and the subsequent pondering led to this entry.

A zoobie is a derogatory term for a certain genre of people who attend BYU. The term evolved from the word zoo, which was a common nickname for the university in the 80's. Possible explanations for this nickname may include the chaotic, often carnival-like atmosphere of raging hormones and desperate hunting for mates.

A zoobie is the quintessential BYU student. A zoobie is just a member of the flock of sheep. Zoobies don't think for themselves, they are the oblivious morons who roam BYU campus in droves.

You can't tell a zoobie by appearance only, although there is certainly a stereotyped look. Preppy sweater boys and plastic girls are often associated with zoobiehood. The real determining feature of a zoobie is what they do.

You can often tell a zoobie by their choice of activity. Zoobies go tunnel singing. Zoobies hike the Y more than once a semester, for reasons other than exercise. Zoobies attend every single sporting event, whether they give a crap about women's gymnastics or not. Zoobies laugh at every joke your idiot professor makes, even if he uses the same one everyday. Zoobies believe everything they are told by authority figures. Zoobies are under the impression that the only important thing at college is to hook up with someone. A zoobie may be looked at as the unconditional conformist. When it comes down to it, Zoobie is just the term created by elitists to describe the most base people on campus. In the BYU caste system, Zoobies belong below the Untouchables.

Sunday, January 16, 2005


In honor of my sister, I also "jump off the cliff," and fill out this silly survey.

Three names you go by:
1. Sven, Stevonovich, and other plays on the name Stephen
2. Buford, a civil war style name my mother calls me
3. Amazing, simply amazing

Three screen names you have:
1. deathcabforsven
2. tenenbaumer
3. sven_the_swedish_model

Three things you like about yourself:
1. my eyes
2. my taste in music
3. my memory

Three things you dislike about yourself:
1. I’m an uber lurp
2. lack of common sense/ street smarts
3. my hair

Three parts of your heritage:
1. I’d like to think I’m Swedish, but I’m actually Danish
2. A little pompous Brit in this one
3. I’m pretty sure I go back to Adam

Three things that scare you:
1. “plastic” girls in large groups
2. Bela Lugosi or Cher
3. humiliation

Three of your everyday essentials:
1. Pasta-roni
2. good music
3. proper hygiene

Three things I am wearing right now:
1. bootcut jeans (not girlpants, but close)
2. a Death Cab for Cutie shirt
3. some mismatched socks

Three of your favorite bands/artists today:
1. Anything with Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie, Postal Service)
2. Sam Bean of Iron & Wine
3. A close tie between Elliott Smith and Frou Frou

Three of your fav. songs at present
1. Such Great Heights (Postal Service, Remix and Iron & Wine)
2. Neighborhood #1 – Tunnels (Arcade Fire)
3. This Temporary Life (Death Cab for Cutie)

Three new things you want to try in the upcoming year:
1. Cricket
2. Serving an LDS mission
3. getting published

Three things you want in a relationship (love is a given):
1. Genuine interest
2. Adventure
3. Clarity

Two truths and a lie (in any order):
1. I sleep with my socks on
2. I have an identical twin sister
3. I have a secret man-crush on Johnny Depp (pssst, don’t tell anyone)

Three things about the opposite sex that appeal to you:
1. eyes
2. smile
3. hair

Three things you just can't do:
1. Dance Dance Revolution
2. Drop the sarcasm
3. Play the trombone, I’ve never tried, but I’m nearly certain I just can’t do it

Three of your favorite hobbies:
1. going to shows, finding music
2. watching amazing movies
3. swimming

Three careers you're considering:
1. Medical Doctor (orthopedic or thoracic surgeon)
2. Owning a record store
3. Medical research

Three places you'd like to go on vacation:
1. Northwest Coast
2. Caribbean or Thailand
3. Europe

Three kids names:
1. Andrew
2. Benjamin or Noah
3. Eisley, for a girl

Three things you want to do before you die:
1. set a guiness world record
2. sail a yacht
3. write a best-selling novel

The cliff aforementioned is metaphorical. My sister did not commit suicide.


Upon returning from swimming last night, my roommates and I were famished. To our surprise, there was a platter of brownies waiting at our doorstep, with a note saying it was from some girls next door. It struck us odd that these particular girls would leave us brownies, because we'd recently had an unpleasant run-in with them. Letting our hunger cloud our better judgment, we took the brownies into the kitchen and promptly devoured them.

Later that night we ran into the girls and thanked them for the brownies, to which they asked with confusion, "What brownies?" I would've thought they were messing with us, but these particular girls are almost too upstanding. It felt like a lead weight hit the bottom of my stomach, and I had an overwhelming sense of alarm. We quickly questioned some other girls in the area if they had been the brownie benefactors. No one knew what we were talking about.

We quickly came to the conclusion that we'd been pranked, and that these brownies had been tampered with. Our imaginations began turning like a Rolodex, trying to conceive all the wonderful things you can do with brownies -- methylene blue, laxatives, dirt, etc. Feeling slightly ashamed of ourselves, we retreated back to our apartment to watch a movie. Throughout the duration of the film it became more and more evident what we'd partaken of. Basically everyone in the room had the worst case of indigestion of their lives, and it smelled like it. We rapidly realized the added ingredient was almost certainly a laxatives, and we went to bed in fear.

Needless to say, we were up all night using the bathroom and stealing other apartments' toilet paper. The following morning we awoke with a bowel hangover, seething with malevolence and anger. We spent the morning contemplating who we knew that was so sadistic. The suspects included our roommate's girlfriend's roommates, with whom we had previously ended a prank war by burning their beloved poster of Shania Twain before their eyes. The other suspects included some boys who lived across the street who we had busted for egging our windows. Now we are scheming for revenge and trying to get the taste of Pepto-Bismol out of our mouths.

Saturday, January 15, 2005


My roommates and I recently started swimming laps at the local university pool. One would think little could be accomplished from swimming back and forth in a narrow lane crowded with pear shaped women. But such a seemingly pointless activity has served as a great escape from life. It becomes a sort of chlorinated baptism that, however exhausting, revitalizes my spirits.

Time moves in slow motion underwater. When I'm immersed all I hear is the occasional effervescent leak of air. Then I rotate my body and take a breath of oxygen. The moment my ear breaks the surface, my hearing is flooded with splashing and whistles and children shouting. Then my head is underwater again and I evade the chaos.

With my amazing put-together-by-me Swede goggles, my vision is quite clear underwater. I see the monotonous blue mosaic of the floor tiles and the infrequent, but occasional, band-aid. Every once in a while I note the choppy waves created by the floundering beaver swimming in the lane next to me -- his miniature whirlpools and bubbles breaking the smoothness of the water.

No visit to the pool is ever complete for us without a few jumps off the diving platforms. I'm not talking about the wimpy high dive springboards. I'm talking about the super high skyscraper platforms that give you altitude sickness just from climbing the spiral staircase. Rather than just walk off the edge like lemmings, we sprint from the back end to the edge and leap as far as we can, temporarily flying through the air, trying to control the involuntary flailing of our arms. Less like swans and more like Japanese macaques, we hurl ourselves into air and crash into the pool. Once we've mastered the technique it becomes a competition for distance, until we've sufficiently tuckered ourselves out.

We crawl out of the pool and stumble into the locker room, then take a few minutes in the sauna. We note that we can no longer tell if we are wet from the pool or our own chlorinated sweat, and decide it's time to leave. But we'll be back tomorrow.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Hair Dye

So I gave into social convention, or maybe it was peer pressure, and dyed my hair. My natural hair color is a light brown - some would even say dirty blonde. The color I selected for dyeing was maple brown, just one shade short of black. When I first emerged from the shower to look at my new hair, I was startled by the contrast. It looked like a wig. Once my hair was thoroughly dried I could fully appreciate the change. I looked like a completely different person. I was a little worried.

The truly interesting thing was to witness which people noticed and which did not. To my surprise it was primarily the males that noticed the different hair color. Many of my good friends that are girls didn't even double take. My two sisters had very delayed reactions, noticing about five minutes after meeting. The males, however, picked up quite rapidly. I'd say at least five guys have asked me if I dyed my hair, to which I must sheepishly reply, "Yes," or "No, it's just raining like crazy outside."

After much deliberation, I decided that I wanted the good old me back. It seemed that every time I passed a mirror I had to look three or four times at myself, just for recognition purposes. I'm worried what my parents will say when I go home to visit, and I'm worried what a certain girl will say as well. Because the hair dye was labeled "28 washes" I thought I could speed up the lightening process by washing my hair more than once a day. I don't recommend this.

Luckily, and quite by accident, I found a solution. A couple friends and I have recently taken up the hobby of swimming laps. Call it a new year's resolution, but we really just need something to do. In the last week we went swimming at the university pool twice. Since we swim at night, I neglect to shower directly after, and merely go to bed. The next morning the shower smells strongly of chlorine as I wash my hair. One thing I've noticed, however, was that my hair has grown significantly lighter upon leaving the chlorine in it. Pretty soon I'll be back to the same sandy brown haired kid I always was.