Monday, September 24, 2007


When I first came back to Provo I wasn’t all that thrilled about it. It’s not a city that I’ve ever really been in love with, mostly because there’s not a lot to do here. Or so I thought. Because of my increasingly tiring, schedule during the week I’ve made a special effort to do productive and/or interesting things on the weekends. So far we haven’t had any trouble finding things to do. In fact, quite conveniently, things usually find us. There’s always something random going on somewhere, if you just know where to look.

Over the weekend my roommates and I attended the Sego Film, Music and Art festival in Provo. It was a brilliant collaboration of the independent culture in Provo. Unfortunately it was pouring rain all day Saturday, but that didn’t stop the loyal supporters of local bands from coming out to the indie fashion show. I saw some weird clothes.

The venue itself was fantastic. Hidden up behind the Mental Hospital and Seven Peaks water resort is a park with a castle amphitheater and pond. They’d set up three stages, one on a huge stretch of lawn, another beside an algae-infested pond, and the third at the castle. Each stage was protected by a tent but it was impossible to stay completely dry. All the fans piled under the canopy and crowded the musicians, essentially eliminating the idea of a “stage.” My favorite group was definitely Seve vs. Evan. The crowd was pulsating with energy as this highly entertaining duo played their extremely fun keyboard techno melodies like Bomberman and Destination Tokyo. It was pretty dang charming.

The night before, I also had an enjoyable time. Fisher and Andrew drove down for the Sego kickoff concert (which was lame, except for the spin art) and we went out to dinner at Thai Ruby. Fisher brought a date, and Mike had one too, so it was kind of awkward just chilling with Ryan and Andrew, definitely dateless. It wasn’t for lack of trying on my part. So I ended up talking mostly to their dates, which was cool because I didn’t have to pay for them.

While we were eating Gelato’s (Never get the mango. Even after sampling it I still fell for it. True idiocy), I got a phone call from a certain someone who has made a habit of tactfully dogging me. It was all too obvious this time, and I don’t know if I’ve ever been so disappointed by a single phone call. We went back to my place and watched Howl’s Flying Castle. Trippy and anime. Weird. “I’m a prince from a neighboring village!” What kind of non-sequitur was that?! I’d still pick it over Elizabethtown though. That movie was absolute garbage.

It wasn’t until Sego on Saturday that the full import of the previous night’s phone call occurred to me. As I watched various artists and fans sucking the marrow out of life, I realized I didn’t need her to do that. From now on I’ll be sucking with a good old-fashioned flexi-straw.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


I had a very bizarre experience Saturday that is certainly worth documentation. Although the meaning of the events is still unclear to me, I hope that writing it down will provide me with enough information to sort it out in the future.

So Saturday morning I drove back from Bountiful a little later than I planned, mostly because I slept through my alarm. Being out late the night before didn’t really help my already exhausted system, so I didn’t feel guilty lying in bed till nine. I arrived in Provo with just enough time to go on the hike I planned with my roommates before I had to go into work. Unfortunately, because I arrived later than planned my roommates were already engaged in other pursuits and I found myself beginning the strenuous hike by myself.

I wasn’t opposed to doing it solo, I’m a big fan of alone time. But in light of Camille Cleverly’s tragic passing I felt a little unnerved to be going by myself. But I was determined to do something active and outdoors because I’d spent the previous week confined in the walls of the library, so I went.

Taking time to soak in the beautiful scenery and staying hydrated, I quite enjoyed the hike. It didn’t hurt that I was listening to the New Pornographers either. After about an hour and a half I found myself approaching the summit, and I quickly climbed the final stretch, excited for a chance to rest. The view was incredible, brilliantly highlighted by the autumn change of the leaves. I sat perched on the edge, taking it all in and listening to the dull humming sound of civilization below. I flipped my i-Pod to something a little more reverent – Iron & Wine.

As I listened to that man’s sweet honey voice I caught something in my peripheral vision. I glanced right and saw a beautiful falcon riding the wind up and around the edge of the peak. My eyes followed him as he swooped high up behind me and I was startled when he halted his circular motion and realigned his course in my direction. Suddenly he was dive-bombing, and he let out a loud shriek as if to say, “Here I come!” I froze in my place, captivated and a little unnerved by Nature’s unexpected assault. I smiled as the falcon swooped past, missing me by a good yard, and then he turned and began to circle up again. As he approached me another time from the rear I thought about putting my arm up to see if he’d land on it, but panicked at the last moment and barely dodged out of the way as he dove past me again. As if two rounds weren’t enough, the falcon made one last circle and dive and I involuntarily threw up my leg to protect myself. He missed me by inches and landed on a rock two feet away.

I stared at him completely enthralled and quite baffled. I reached into my bag, pulled out my camera and began documenting this up-close-and-personal encounter. “Horace (I named him Horace), why did you attack me? Can’t we just co-exist?” Horace looked at me and shrieked, and I glanced down at his foot. He had a little strap wrapped around his ankle with a severed band attached to it. It appeared that Horace was an escapee, a runaway, and that explained why he wasn’t afraid to approach me.

He jumped up on the rock next to my bag and stretched out his wings a little bit. I was still pretty shocked about the whole thing and continued to snap photographs, knowing he could take off at any moment. Seconds later he did just that, leaping from the edge of the peak. He stretched out his wings and glided upward, and I was incredibly jealous.

I couldn’t help but wonder what this all meant. In all actuality it was just a ridiculous coincidence. Who gets attacked by falcons? But it did not escape my notice that several elements of the experience seemed symbolic.

The omen was airborne, possibly a sign from heaven? He definitely came at me from a pretty high altitude. I also thought it was interesting that he dive-bombed me three times, a rather significant number. In recorded scripture people often witnessed visions and dreams in multiples of three, like Peter and Joseph Smith. This was done to get the message across, to emphasize the importance of the details.

Another significant detail was the severed strap around his ankle. Horace had broken free from something, and was now at liberty to soar in the sky without the constraints of a leash. He did, however, still have a piece of the leash, which certainly tied him to his past captivity. So although he was free to fly, he still carried with him the remnants of his past.

I’m not so dense that I couldn’t see the parallels in my own life.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Team Zissou

So this weekend was just as brilliant as last, if not more. It was the last weekend I could hang out with Annie, one my absolute best friends, before she leaves on her mission to London (tomorrow morning). I drove up from Provo and we began our rigid search for some red beanies so we re-enact the "storming the beach" scene of Life Aquatic. After visiting several large stores for low-income shoppers, we finally found our prized hats, although we had to compromise on color. Bright colors just aren't in at Big K. Maroon looks quite nice, however.

Donning our maroon Team Zissou caps we cut apart a pillowcase and made our team flag. Andrew was a sting ray, I was a sea turtle, Annie a seahorse and our mannequin head friend Virgil was an octopus. Thanks to Annie's brilliant artistic skills and Andrew's skill with a staple gun, our flag looked pretty fabulous. We decided to take a break and get some Indian food. We decided that it was against the rules to leave without eating the lamb. The food was good.

Fisher joined us and we made our ascent to the mountain we had previously decided to claim. To the tunes of Of Montreal we stormed that mountain in the dark and took many photos to document our claim. After the adrenaline wore off we found ourselves at the edge of the lookout point hitting rocks off makeshift golf tees with Andrew's left-handed taylor made driver. Fisher and Andrew reacted with glee each time the head of the club struck the rocky ground, exploding in big sparks. The highlight was definitely when the sparks landed in some dry brush and actually ignited. They excitedly stomped it out and redoubled their efforts to make more fire.

Maybe a little excited by the fire, we went to Andrew's with the intention of creating a bonfire in his backyard and making s'mores. We ultimately failed at making the bonfire because we had no kindling and the newspaper wasn't getting hot enough to ignite the logs. We still managed to waste an entire bottle of "fire gel" and make our s'mores, so we were happy. We ended the night with "The Motorcycle Diaries," most of which I slept through because it was late and I was tired.

Hot springs

So pretty much every minute of spare time in the week is spent studying, reading, reviewing and studying. Between class and work I rarely even have time to eat. The cumulative effects of such a schedule transform you into a robotic zombie with bloodshot eyes and a constant humming in the back of your mind. It really helps you appreciate the weekend so much more.

Two weekends ago I was determined to spend my time in productive endeavors. Friday night we went to P.F. Chang's with the intention of only purchasing the delectable lettuce wraps, the appetizer that P.F.Chang's exists to serve. We were also enticed by the chocolate wall of cake, which proved to be much more than we were prepared to consume. Our crew was a pretty random assortment of people. One of the best coincidences was the awkward discovery that the half-British girl's brother served in Ukraine with me and Fisher, and he happened to be the most loathed missionary there. Of course we didn't tell her that.

After P.F. Chang's we spent a good 2 hours driving up and down Provo Canyon in search of the mystical Homestead hot springs. After flipping at least 6 U-turns we finally chanced upon the right turn and found ourselves driving through a Midvale suburbian hell. We found the hot springs encircled by a growing subdivision and pulled off onto the dirt road. It was pretty dark outside so we kinda just followed the sounds of giggling and banter until we arrived at the legendary pond. Our hot springs were occupied with other college students but they were more than willing to share the space in the natural jacuzzi. They were even kind enough to explain where the dangerously hot parts were located and directed us to where we could sit down on submerged concrete slabs.

We spent an hour or so discussing important matters like "the Office" and the ratio of sulphur to animal feces in the pond sediment. After a lot of immature splashing and an enormous group of newcomers we decided it was time to go and hit the road. We went back to my place and put on V is for Vendetta, but it was already much too late and soon it was 5 a.m. and Andrew was waking me up so he could sleep on the couch.`