Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Home for the Holidays Part 1

I went home for the holidays, as if you didn't know or couldn't tell, and in a lot of ways it was a blast. I'll split this up into two parts, for convenience for any readers who still follow my blog, but really this could be done in one. I'm just gonna make it short.

First off one of my friends drove me from the airport to my humble abode and with him the discussion of religion came up. Now, he's not LDS but he and I had many discussions about Mormonism in the past. This time we talked about agnosticism more than atheism, and probably talked about specific religions more than religion, but it was fun to be open with someone who is foreign to the 'atheist culture' but open-minded and curious.

Going home means I get plenty of time to catch up on TV. Especially when I don't have a computer/laptop to use. In truth I watched maybe 6 hours while home, not very much considering, but in that time I received a barrage of atheist propaganda and agenda. On the book channel I ran into Deepak Chopra and Leonard Mlodinow having a debate about science and religion. The only episode of Futurama I watched was the one where Bender is in space, floating around, with little gnome people living on him (started into it late so I don't know how he got into this) who all worship him like God out of the OT. And he even acts like Jehova such as accidentally setting one of the villages on fire and then trying to blow the flames out and knocking them all out into space. Meanwhile everyone else is using religion to try to find him and asking for help: 'we shall pray for your friend' says the priest, "how about we do something useful instead?" is the reply.

The I watched an episode of Wifeswapping, where it was some crazy Latino lady and a crazy religion lady being swapped. Course the religious mom homeschooled her kids, canned food, had homemade milk, etc.... and the dad was right there with her. The Latino mom was all up in their faces saying their kids were robots and didn't have any friends, to which the kids enjoyed meeting other kids at the public school. The best part was the first day the Latino kids went to school while the religious mom was there ... she didn't know what to do! She was like, "I don't need time for myself," as she sat there, bored, so she decided she would make kids if she couldn't be with them at school or home. And before you think I'm referring to her trying to seduce the Latino dad, no, it's much worse. She cutout cardboard kids, life-size, put them in chairs, dressed them up, and played cards with them. Cause she's not crazy at all.

What else happened? There were a couple other atheistic/non-religious shows I saw, or brief mentions. I finally saw the Family Guy episode where Peter tells his family history, including how God farted the universe into existence, evolution occurring, and Peter stating that the Kansas State Education Board requires him to give the alternative explanation as well, where Genie comes out of the water, music an all, and everything pops into existence. Point being: i witnessed a lot of debatable things regarding religion in a very short span of time.

Another movie experience was watching The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo with the rents. Rape scene, minor hit against religion, titties, boobies, nipples, and everything in between, it was surprisingly NOT as awkward as I thought it would be. Probably because by the end my parents were rooting for Lisbeth and enveloped in the story. So I discovered that, by my current age, by virtue of an amazing movie, and maybe by only seeing them a couple times a year, some sex and nudity is permissible and won't make conversations awkward for us. Also, I highly recommend the movie, regardless of nude Rooney, but forgo bringing the parents.

That's it for now, I guess. I did have a sudden realization for my perspective on my personal romantic relationships, which came in line with some things with my family, and I had an interesting exchange with some youth and missionaries from the local church.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

My Christmas List of 'Deep' Thoughts

Well, Hitchens is dead, I've had a recent battle against 'woo,' holiday stirrings and stories, going home, questions about my former Mormonism, slight discussion on if parents' rules for what happens in their house or, separately, what happens in their children's lives. I've also been listening to Christian rock music from a mission cd, Team Jesus, lolz.

With all these things I will maybe make posts (such as the Lady GaGa and Patriarchal blessing posts I've promised for years) but I decided I would do something a little more thoughtful. I have, like, five different journals, and one of them is a word document where I put thoughtful insights or quotes I like, little 'one-liners' as I've dubbed them, but most are not necessarily one simple line of thought. I was wanting to post something meaningful for the holidays before I go home, and I decided this probably would be best. I was reminded about the journal when Heretic, my X, shared another blog that had several good, thought-provoking, and introspective quotes and ideas on a post. Some will most likely appear in this post.

I won't put any quotations or write the sources. I apologize for this, but I never planned on sharing these till I started sharing some of them in conversation and online, when some people thanked me for the thought. Due to this I never wrote down the authors for the quotes that are not mine. Then some of them are also paraphrases. And lastly, a good portion are actually written by me ... for me. So maybe some of you dear readers will appreciate a look into my psyche. I'm sure some can be seen as cheesy, but I hope people will get from this what they will. Take your time, come back if you have to, but please feel free to read them all. Happy Holidays!

So here is the list:

I don’t have to be the one person who feels happy all the time.

When someone has had a loss, do not offer condolences, tell them “I take part in your pain.”

Only a fool takes offense when offense was not given.

Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past will change.

In all things strive to cause no harm.
Do not overlook evil or refrain from administering justice; but always be ready to forgive wrongdoing freely admitted and honestly regretted.

Question everything, and question with boldness.

Always be learning: from books, friends, and self.

Friends are worth more than opinions.

Always be willing to admit you are or could be wrong right in the middle of the discussion to the other person: not after, alone, to yourself.

If you hurt the ones you love most, but treat strangers cordially, then where is the fissure and how do you cross it?

There are no true second chances, live with purpose and meaning.

If you were to die in a month, would you feel fulfilled? If not then you must motivate yourself to experience more. If never then you must revaluate what you value.

Doubt is a virtue.

Contentment is when you do not have to climb a hill or walk a beach, to travel.

Stop philosophizing about what a good person is and be one.

Asking “why not” can sometimes be as pointless as asking “why.”

You do not want to be the person who dies where no one at the funeral will have anything nice to say about you; treat those closest, by blood and ties, with love and care.

If you know money doesn’t buy people happiness then stop spending so much.

If you feel motivated to help yourself, then help others.

People laugh and smile in groups and in public, and they show no signs of feeling pain. And some may never understand your pain or sorrow, but they can feel compassion and sympathy and these things should not be discarded.

Be careful where you tread, you could be treading on other’s dreams.

Some things may not be the way you want them, but you must make the best of what you have.

Don’t give up, don’t blame others for your failures, don’t pity yourself, never surrender; stand up and fight, believe in yourself, and succeed.

Pay back ten-fold what you have hurt, including yourself, and pay forward any excess happiness you currently hold.

Are you taking away from the world or giving back to it?

A laugh should always be shared, and shared laughter is worth so much more.

You can buy sex, you have persons to share experiences with, you have family already, you have friends who are willing to drop what they are doing and be there for you; all of their love wholly combined is more than you can ever hope to achieve as a single person, and yet you need one single person to love you the same way for you to be happy?

You discover what matters to you most when you lose it. Learn from this, open a dialogue between your mind and your heart so that you don’t have to lose something in order to give it the respect, care, and love you truly feel.

You see things from your perspective and never from the outside.

Just because you can properly foretell how a person will act or react in one situation does not mean you know them so well as to correctly guess how they will act in any situation; you do not truly know what is in the mind and heart of your friends.

We all lie.

If you were to wait for advice from a person better than you then you would be waiting for a very long time.

The truth about truth is that sometimes the truth does not matter.

There is no pattern or miracle cure to misery; no one is ever always happy.

We are all in this together, brothers and sisters, family and friends.

What do you hope to accomplish with one cruel or insensitive act?

Divorce, in life or death, is a necessary conclusion to marriage; be willing to let go, that is all that is required.

Anger is not necessarily bad, but it must be harnessed and only as a fuel to bring about some good, and not merely a mean to an ends.

Misery is a friend everyone has but no one enjoys having this friend shared with them.

Compassion does not smother the cold flame of misery but compassion can soothe the burn.

Depression, for all its faults, is a deep and powerful emotion and can be used.

Every moment of your life you are destroying the universe, whether you wish to or not; do not be idle, but give back either through adding to the world or to your own happiness.

With all things always take a moment to appreciate the here and now to fully grasp at what you experiencing.

If someone does something truly amazing for you then you must tell it from the rooftops; never stop praising the secret, good actions of others and always respect their wishes.

If you cannot set aside an hour to walk and talk with a friend or loved one then you need to decide how important they would be to you if you lost them forever.

If others know you are critical of them do they know how critical you are of yourself, and does it truly matter if they know or should you instead be less critical?

Compassion comes from knowledge, not experience. Empathy comes from experience, not necessarily knowledge. Knowing and experiencing something are quite different but are the results, the emotions, so dissimilar?

If two things make people, oddly, miserable, those being having too many options to choose from, and not having to struggle to succeed in life, then you must cherish your trials and limitations, and find strength in your weaknesses and joy in the faults of others.

You should have only one gear: go.

Do not reach the end of your life full of regrets of the things you did not do.

Argue against the rhetoric, move against the flow of the river, be your own entity.

If you learn you were wrong about someone’s supposed offense against you then you must seek their forgiveness straight away.

This time, like all times, is a very good one.

Never criticize or make light of someone’s action that has helped another.

Some pathetic people can only express love through broken and hurtful means; you do not have to take this, but try to understand why they do this and how much they truly love you.

We all hurt the ones we love.

We all make mistakes and forgive ourselves a hundred times a day; it would not hurt to forgive others even once.

Empathy comes with experience, and sometimes that experience must be taught rather than learned.

You should daydream each and every day.

Are you good enough?

Even murderers and rapists can still love.

Never ask a friend to forgive another, it is not your place. Offer wisdom, but not advice.

If you avoid people because they tire you, then do you also avoid exercise because it wears you out? Where is your need for growth?

When you experience a black hole moment use the intensity to reaffirm your goals in life; do not go out with a whimper.

When feeling empty, friends can easily make you forget you have a space needing filling at all.

If nothing can remove the feeling of emptiness then you are keeping yourself there.

Momentary pleasures do not give purpose to life and will eventually fade, but they are not to be discarded either.

Beauty may be important but it will be her personality that can destroy you.

Somehow nothing can compare to being in love and the contentment and meaning to life that comes with it; and with so much invested is it any wonder that it will hurt you one day?

If the hate won’t suffocate the love then how do you ever get over past lovers?

If nothing will change then lean back and enjoy the show.

Even worst enemies would not wish some things upon those they hate.

Evil intentions destroy themselves eventually.

If you can’t even learn from your own advice then how will you ever improve?

Do not think of yourself as so smart as to call your advice “sage” by any means.

You will never do everything you want or could. Reel in ambition and be reasonable, but never give up your dreams to anyone or anything; live.

I am a person who says I am a realist, though comes off as a pessimist, and yet is secretly an optimist.

If you have loved and lost then at least you have tasted those emotions, felt as one with another, and graced the sky; bittersweet has only one true embodiment and many would call it a victory.

The neurons in my skull, if lined up end to end, would wrap around the earth and stretch to the moon.

I am made of stardust; the stars died so I could be here and someday I shall return.

The atoms in my left hand are from different stars than the atoms in my left hand; I am a representation of the interconnectedness of the universe and to see this I merely have to look at my palms.

When I die I wish to be buried and not burned so that my energy content can be returned to the earth so that fora and fauna may dine on me as I have dined on fora and fauna throughout my life.

If you’ve never seen the southern hemisphere night sky then you have not seen half the universe.

If a person is happy and loving their fellow human beings, then I have no reason to assault their beliefs except to gratify my own pride.

In the end it is actions that matter; I can care less why a person would do a good thing, except that they do it and keep doing so.

Worry will not strip tomorrow of its burdens, it will strip today of its joy.

If someone wants you in their life, they’ll make room for you. You shouldn’t have to fight for a spot. Never, ever insist yourself to someone who continuously overlooks your worth.

Stop berating yourself for old mistakes.

If you’re not happy with who you are on the inside, you won’t be happy in a long-term relationship with anyone else either.

How do you expect to change something if you won’t do anything about it? Stop fooling yourself.

Stop rejecting new relationships because old ones didn’t work.

Sometimes the battle is two against one: you versus the other person and yourself.

Stop wasting time explaining yourself to others. Your friends don’t need it and your enemies won’t believe it anyway.

Enjoy the little things, because one day you may look back and discover they were the big things. The best portion of your life will be the small, nameless moments you spend smiling with someone who matters to you.

If you refuse to let others know you are in pain, and put on a mask, then why would you feel resentment for others not caring when you’re simply succeeding?

If two things make people, oddly, miserable, those being having too many options to choose from, and not having to struggle to succeed in life, then cherish your trials and limitations, and find strength in your weaknesses and joy in the faults of others.

Friday, December 9, 2011

How the Church Will Collapse

Seriously. This is legit. It's just a theory, with a small 't', but this is COMPLETELY PLAUSIBLE. Completely!There's plenty of ways that the Church could end, cease to exist, collapse, lose its members, but this could be how it could play out.

So, we all know that Monson is getting quite mature in years. And that Packer is second in line to receive that great great mantle. And he could totally get it! Completely plausible! Just, some things would need to happen. In fact, really, the church could collapse this next year. Really! It could! It all comes down to timing!

So, let's say the rumors about Monson are true and that he's growing senile. Just completely senile, but unlike Ezra Taft Bensen, all the other apostles won't hide him away in some hospital or home and keep him out of the view of the public. No, instead he stays in the public eye and come April he's right up front for General Conference. And Monson gets up there and just totally fucks it all up. He starts going off about random stories, doesn't follow his prompter, he's telling crude jokes with innuendos from his early teens, just completely off the deep end! After this he is rushed off to live out the rest of his days under house arrest and then dies at the end of September.

Just in time for Packer to become President cause Packer, this whole time, has been clinging to life, one hateful breath after the last. Just sitting in his chair telling himself, "I'm not gonna fuckin die! I have too much to say, I'm going to use all of this hate inside me to just cling to life and live unnaturally long due to all this pent-up hate and bigoted emotions I have!" And of course the revelations just start rolling forth. The bullshit is just spewing out from his mouth. Cause no one, NO ONE, has had the balls in the last 120 years to ever speak the words "the Lord has told me...!" but Packer would. And he would! We'd have new revelations, he'd be up there sayin, "God told me that this Church...." and it would just be in time for the October General Conference.

And he would speak at every session. Every session! Saturday morning he would remind us of his revelations, the afternoon he would talk about blacks and fence-sitters. During priesthood he would start off talking about masturbation and little factories which would quickly shift to how masturbation leads to being gay and start bashing gays. And every talk would be at LEAST 30 minutes, at least. During the women's meeting he would talk about women's rightful place in the Church, and then remind us again on Sunday and bash feminists before taking the entire Sunday afternoon session to bash the gays as if he really needed to make up for his namesake and truly try to prove that he's not a 'homophobe' who's simply projecting. And that would be Gen Conf of OCT 2012.

Then he'd die a week later. Completely plausible! All these things could happen, it's just a matter of timing.

And that would be it! It would be done! Members would be like, "wow, Gen Conf has been weird this year, it's just not the same, the church isn't true, these men aren't prophets, boy April was weird with Monson but now Packer going all bat-shit crazy in October and then dieing after being president for 2 weeks?" That would be it, the church would get 2 million resignation letters before the end of the month and poor Perry would die from heartbreak, the prophets dropping like flies.

Then the schisms would occur. We'd have the Bednarites going to Idaho. Uchtdorf would take half the women and all the gays and form his own sect, admitting to having had a brief same-gender relation with Packer. Nelson would control the main part of the church, now being the corporation president while the Presiding Bishop took the second corporation of the church and dubbed it The Corporation of the Presiding Bishopric of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They'd start warring with each other and some breakoff would fly a plane into the conference center which would contain all the current 20,000 membership of the original Church, killing thousands and wiping out all the hierarchy down to the president of the 3rd Quorum of the 70, who would be some black guy from Africa who would become the president of the church in a dry sense of irony.

Completely plausible, totally could happen. Maybe not all of it, maybe I take some liberties, but if this happened I think I'd believe in a god. At least some kind of god, like Vishnu or Poseidon or John Frum, cause only a god could orchestrate the collapse of the church to occur in 2012 in such a spectacular way. I mean, to keep all the right men alive at the right time and to make sure they died at the precise moment, that would be a work of art! Only a god could do that.

Anyways, I'm sure this won't be how the Church collapses, but if I'm right, remember I'm the one who said it!


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Life in a Day

I watched Life in a Day recently and have not been able to stop thinking about it. If you haven’t heard about it then let me take a moment to explain. But also realize, if you wish to watch this film, then some things I say may rob you of moments you could have if you went into it without knowing what to expect exactly. Lastly, this has nothing to do directly with atheism or BYU. This is about the human race. It is a movie to be experience.

An invitation was made for people around the world to post Youtube videos depicting their lives on one specific day on earth. On July 24th 2010 thousands of people filmed their lives, either the whole day, simple moments, or awaited the extraordinaire. All together there were 80,000 videos totaling over 4,500 hours of footage. Nearly 200 countries were represented. Ridley Scott produced the film while Kevin Macdonald directed. National Geographic had its hand in the film. The Youtube community, obviously, played a major role in the film as well. Many people did make it to the final cut, though not all. Most people were grateful they got to be a part of it, many felt it was worth just that.

The film/documentary has mixed reviews, though it leans towards the positive. For the life of me I don’t know what people would expect, going into it, and why they would be upset or say it was a waste of time. I guess if there’s no overall plot, no explosions or love scenes, and no overall moral or theme except to depict life and let the viewer take from the experience what they may, then some people will just be hopeless pessimistic cases.

Here is the trailer to the film if you so wish to view. The song at the beginning is Future Prospect, by Biggi Hilmars. The second song is, I believe, Jerusalem, by Keiran. I recommend listening to some inspiring music to get a feel for what I listen to as I write this.

Here's the first song, looped for 12 minutes, it will drive you crazy if you don't like it:

And now for my experience.

If you don't wish to have a corrupted view of the film stop reading now.
I watched the film from beginning to end in one sitting. I ordered it on blu-ray and watched it as soon as it arrived. I made dinner and was finished by the time the previews ended. So I sat back, with some Sprite and let the film start.

Right away the film put across exactly what it proposed itself to be: a collection of videos, persons, countries, perspectives, and right away began to lay out themes, starting with those people who woke up at the ungodly hours of 3 or 4 in the morning. You knew you were about to watch a day in the life of humanity. From a lady locking her door with dogs barking, to a family in a boat on the Nile, to a lady saying spirits spoke to her between 3:00-4:00, I was going to get the big picture. I was going to watch the human race for one day.

Of course some scenes are not as fun as others, though I’ll revisit this thought later. Some parts in the film were slow overall, and at 30 minutes I was like, “hmm, another hour?” But there was one scene which grasped me and motivated me to stay early on.

At one point we wake up with a father and son in Japan, Hiroaki and Taiji. Hiroaki wakes up, seemingly sleeping on a futon in his living room, or only room, and the place is a mess, stuff everywhere. Then I noticed he had a little boy, who he tells to go use the restroom or else he won’t be able to watch TV. Taiji goes to the restroom, navigating through all the items and junk everywhere. The whole time I’m thinking, “wow, this kid is going to grow up and never learn how to pick up.” I thought, “how could he show this without feeling a little embarrassed by the mess?”

Then after a moment the family make their way to the back room, maybe what would be the bedroom on the floor-plan. Bookshelves, a desk, and what I termed as a shrine with a picture of a young woman: the widowers deceased wife, the son’s dead mother.

Suddenly I felt ashamed with myself for complaining, to a video, about this father and his pigsty of an apartment. As they go through a ritual of respect, remembrance, mourning (?), my thoughts went elsewhere as I felt the human condition enter me. I use the term more freely than I should, but whenever I get the urge to partake in something, anything, that another person is experiencing I call it, to myself, the human condition. It’s just the way things are, whether happy or melancholy, and I want to be a part of it.

The broken family lighted a candle and incense, the son, Taiji, picked up a rod to ring a singing bowl, which my ex had one and which I will buy some day. I awaited the noise that would fill the speakers, knowing how it would sound. Blessed as luck would have it Taiji struck the bowl at the wrong time and had to do it twice. A thought of thanks rang in my mind.

Nick expresses his concerns about Global Warming and the changes he has personally seen.

Though, as I admitted, I found some parts boring after this, I was caught and I wasn’t going to go do anything else for the remainder of the film. Besides the beautiful images and personal moments I would share, the music was also grand. The range was wide and fitting, with recurring themes and songs, and some epic pieces here and there. One interesting part was a scene with some Angolan women working in the hot African sun while singing. I thought on how I wouldn’t sing while I worked, as they did, but I wondered how I would carry a conversation while working and decided I would probably sing. As the song carried forth the film went into a montage of other videos, their song carrying me along the way.

Ayomatty, who we watch as he works in the gardens at large mansions in Dubai, so he can send money home to his children so they can survive ....

Life in a Day has many montage scenes. The Angolan scene was the most memorable, but later in the film the piece takes a darker turn as we begin to see more violent images, looking at the inhumanity and carelessness of humanity. From a man keeping two other men from fighting, to a tragedy at a festival in Germany I had no knowledge of that took place on July 24th 2010. On this day there was a festival called the Love Parade, I’m guessing a kind of outdoor, concert, party type thing with loud music. In the film we watch from many different cameras and people as they go to the music festival, a lot of them coalescing at a long tunnel, with the background music building and building, and one group of people saying they’re stuck in the tunnel.

It ends up that someone some kind of stampede happened at this tunnel and 21 people were killed. We watch as people try to climb up out of the crowd, as men and women check people on the ground, some of which were trampled, and as some people continue partying and dancing, having no idea what had happened. From here the movie shows more violent images put against images of the seemingly ever wealthy and effluent western society.

Ron in the hospital.

The film has no overall themes, and tries to show many different ideas and perspectives. The film does have some overarching questions, like what people have in their pockets. We watch as a man pulls out a set of keys, gets in his Lamborghini, and smiles uncontrollably, while a moment later we see workers in some foreign country who have nothing in their pockets whatsoever.

Or what people are afraid of, which most of humanity is afraid of death. Kids are afraid of monsters, people are afraid of ghosts, and a man seemingly in a hospital bed is afraid to die. These question themes make up most of the film, with a young couple in the woods holding up written signs that ask the questions, segueing into the next portion.

The film has some faults, they definitely don’t represent perfectly, and push some agendas. There is a scene where we watch a cow get killed, and the first try is unsuccessful. I felt the scene is fine, but for a moment I was disengaged and felt that I had been agendadized. Also, time is spent on seeing people testify of Christ, or Gusti Kompiang Sari in Indonesia performing blessings and prayer to her Hindu Gods, but there is a lack of representation for openly atheistic viewpoints. Secular points, yes, but no one in the film says anything about not believing in god. We get a girl who says all non-Christians are going to hell and her message is to try to save them, but no atheists.

In the film there are a few very interesting characters we meet. Interesting because they either are unique, or foreign. From Teagan hoolahooping and solving a rubrics cube, and Ardilavov free-running and stealing, to Virginia climbing a human tower and David coming out to his grandmother, we meet a lot of people and get a glimpse into their world, sharing a moment.

Then there are recurring people. Some people got some extra time on screen, such as a family struggling with cancer. The Liginski family gets several spots, from when the father, Bob, and son, Bobby, go to wake up their recovering mother, Cathy, to them having some family moments during the day, real down-to-earth stuff.

Ann and John Walkley renew their marriage vows, which they wrote the renewals, and which is funny. A young boy from Peru (I have not as yet found his name) who we watch leave his home with some wood contraption, being asked questions by the camera-holder. Soon we find out the little kid is going to work, shining shoes, the wood contraption a step for clients to set their feet on. Later we visit him again, in the love portion of the film, as he says he loves his dad most because he cooks all the food all the time. Giving him a moment he explains that it’s not because of the food, but because his dad does it; he knows his dad does it because his dad loves him, and looks out for his son more than himself.

Okhwan Yoon, a Korean who, on July 24th, had been cycling around the world for over 9 years and over 190 countries also shows up multiple times. In the film he is currently in Nepal and we watch him wander around (how he affords this I have no idea). He stops for a moment as we watch a fly stuck in some soup (?) and starts explaining flies he has seen, and how this one looks about the right size for flies in Korea, which reminds him of home, and makes him emotional. It’s the little things that come out a lot in this film. Everyday occurrences.

By the time I was halfway through I was enveloped in the people’s lives. As David came out to his grandmother I braced myself for a horrible experience, only to have him keep repeating, in mild laughter, that he knows she loves him, will see him soon, and that his parents know. As Virginia came onto screen, having a good minute scene, wondering why she was getting a helmet, and why she climbed out of her home down a two-story pole.

Seeing a wife of a solider in the Middle East while going back and forth with a reporter/photographer in Afganistan who wished to show the western world that there is hope in his country and they are normal people, as he showed young girls, some with their hair uncovered, exercising and training. Watching some goat farmers, from Ukraine, as they went about their day, jokes and humor abounding. Watching as a camera person went into a large cemetery in Egypt to find a family living in a shack, a father, on his own, watching out for his underage children, saying that at least they are alive, his god hasn’t forgotten him.

By the end I wanted to see more of these people and I watched with anxiety as the clock neared 90 minutes (the length of the film). I tried to piece together the main moral of the film, but couldn’t. I was experiencing life, the human condition, and I felt I was being a part of it. I felt, as one critic said, that I was a part of, "a rousing success of an experiment: quite possibly the first large-scale, global use of the Internet to create meaningful and beautiful art," and that I had now contributed, even though I wish I could have truly contributed back on July 24th 2010. I was climbing that tower with Virginia, I was in the hospital with Ron as he choked up, thanking the staff for taking care of him, I was with Bob as he looked at his wife’s scars, and I was with Okhwan as he set out, trying to inspire and feel inspired to make a difference in the world, to unite Korea, to make the world a better place.

The violet purge and images, mixed with the Love Parade, culminate into a scene with Okhwan as he gets his hair cut, saying he is now a new man. He mentions that when his eyes are closed he can see all the different people of the world, and for him, I believe he truly can. He says his adventure must continue and he begins to walk away with his bicycle, the person who video-taped him, watching him leave. We revisit the Liginski family as Cathy asks Bob what he is afraid of. Possibly holding back some emotion he says he was afraid of her getting cancer, which she got, and then getting it again, which she did. But now that it’s all gone he has no fear. I literally rooted for him at this moment. As with most of the film, they tie scenes with voices continuing to speak though new images are in front of us, or with music. As Bob looks at the camera an orchestral piece begins to play (Fireworks and Lanterns) and we are shown fireworks and other images. Soon we arrive at a festival of lights, where a crowd releases floating lanterns into the sky (think Tangled). As hundreds of fiery lanterns float upward we watch a couple embrace. By this point I was getting choked up.

Returning to the family we saw in the boat on the Nile we watch as they prepare to sleep in their little boat, the moment I realized the little boat was their home. The camera-man takes a moment to focus on a young brother and sister as they pull a blanket over themselves. Storms begin to break out in the night sky for others on that day, and we end with a woman in a car (I don’t know who she is either) who, above the noise of rain, says she is disappointed that nothing special happened and that she had to work all that day, a Saturday. She wishes she could leave a mark on history, but she hopes that others had an eventful day.

The brother and sister in the boat.

The film ends with a snail going slowly over a small ball, or egg, that eventually resembles the earth. I sat there as the music played on and the as the snail slowly worked its way forward, pressing on. I wanted to watch it again, to experience it with someone else. I knew everyone around me had their own lives, their own thoughts, their own dreams and sufferings. I was suddenly acutely aware that I was one out of seven billion, but that each of us were unique, brothers and sisters, all partaking in the human predicament, all a part of the human condition.

I was hoping that family in Egypt was still alive, that Ron had recovered fine from his stay in the hospital, that Bob and Cathy were still doing okay. I was jumping out of the plane and skydiving again. I was with Taiji and Hiroaki as they mourned for their lost wife and mother. I was with Ayomatty as he peered at the million-dollar homes and sent money home to his children. I was with Okhwan in wanting peace in the world. And I could now see all of those different people when I closed my eyes. I wanted to know their names, to be a part of their lives. That regardless of joy or sorrow, I wanted to be a part of it, to share it.

Perhaps because I feel life is worth something more than myself when I see films like this, and perhaps because I too wish to make a mark in history, I felt completely inspired by this film, through and through. It was deeply moving. It was inspirational.

And I know some people won’t see it the same way. Some will find it boring, or that it’s cheesy, or that it’s nothing special. To that I can honestly say I do not understand. I do not understand how someone could watch this film and not feel the way I do. I admit that if someone took it lightly I would find them inexperienced, shallow, or at least missing the point in life. If something like this film cannot inspire you or cause you to have a greater love and appreciation for your fellow human beings then what hope is there? For all of us.

I have tried to find as many of the people as I can and I stumbled across this site, though much later into my searching, unfortunately:
Besides this Wikipeida and IMDB are also good for basic info.
I purposely avoided labeling some pics as I feel you should recognize who they are now, and if you don't then maybe you should watch the film and meet them.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Some Actual Problems With Mormonism

Here's some valid concerns about the present-day LDS church that I have:

#1 - "How the church advises couples to divorce their wayward or apostate spouses." We have some people like this in the group. Leaving so much 'power' to bishops is one of the faults of the church and this is one realm (most of these are, actually) where bishops can cause problems. Some bishops will advise a tender-TBM wife to dump her husband if he falls away. And some men are advised this on their wives as well, but, lets face it, more men leave the church than women so more men are seeing their families ripped apart by their TBM wives.

But where do bishops get this idea from? Well, that good old gospel of guilt the LDS church teaches, of course. If being married in the temple, being questioned on if you support apostates, and being told the greatest glory is to be eternally married, then all you need is the idea, and one person to say it, that if your spouse falls away you better find a more righteous future spouse ASAP or else you may go to hell!!! A few teachings here and there with some ambiguous doctrines and scriptures and you have a field ripe and ready to be split down the middle ... the family that is.

#2 - "Those gays sure are causing a ruckus," and for Mormons they definitely are. For the life of me I do not understand why our country is even debating the topic of gay marriage. Why is it even up to debate on whether or not 2 consenting adults and get married and have the rights of marriage? Why are we fucking dillydallying on this? But more on this in a moment....

#3 - "Sure am glad none of ma kids are apostates or gay." And oh the joys if they are. Utah, besides leading for porn use with Mississippi, is also a leading state for gay teen suicides and homeless youth. Circumstantial evidence at best, but at one the LGBT panels at the Provo library one lady stood up and stated she worked at the homeless youth center in SLC and 72% of the kids were from LDS homes and a lot of them were gay. Also anecdotal evidence, but I mentioned in the past that there was an apostate daughter who was temporarily disowned and gay son who lived with the threat of being disowned for some time. Family sure is important to these people. You can be a fucking neo Nazi but if you own a coffee maker or stop believing then you are fucked.

#4 - "Well, I'm more happy than anyone else." And maybe this slight rant doesn't help but Mormons sure have balls to say that they are happier than you or that you will never be able to have the same level of happiness they have. This teaching makes people so fucking miserable. Some people literally believe it too, they leave and are getting miserable, calling back on being told that they would be. Now, if they were simply just sad or mad then I'd be like, eh, maybe religion is good for them. But if they are sad and then say, "you know, they said i would be sad and though i KNOW i am not committing a self-fulfilling prophecy, i think they are right," (if they say that) then that apostate is just stupid.

So many people are happy when they leave behind a cultish gospel of guilt like Mormonism. Some people may be better off staying in it, but if you think you're one of those then stop and think on what that actually means. One person recently said that it is tough for her because they can't tell people, or don't wish to tell family, etc ... but think that maybe they could go back to church and be happy. So you want to go back a lie, live a lie, and be the lie, cause it makes you happy? And what is making you sad is being true to yourself, admitting to yourself you don't believe the lie, but then are continuing to lie about who you are to other people? Which is what you would be doing if you went back? Makes no sense.

#5 - read the full study report on the SEX AND SECULARISM study. Helped to confirm some opinions I held with facts. To summarize, Mormonism is self-rated to be the worst of the major religions (16 in the study) for how members view sex and how much guilt and shame is associated with it. Again, this says something of what we already know.

#6 - a minor note on the funds of the church. temples are tithing producers. the Great Britain monetary accounts being made public in some years to show that 84% of humanitarian aid goes into investments. or, as i recently found out, that the massive amounts of tons of items the church ships out is actually much smaller then we may think.

Just some minor points I wished to throw out there. Overall Mormonism has a lot of good ideas and they get good things done, but some things are just so bad, so horrible as to be atrocious. I mean, right here we see a general process of worsening the world. Any child who is gay or bi has a lot of risk, any child who leaves has a LOT of risk, and is getting close to 1 out of 4 in the church. Any spouse who leaves risks losing the rights to see their own children. Aid and money is far less than what the membership is led to believe. People who leave will be left with working out how to live better sex lives and may have some remnant views on whether or not they can be happy. Yup, but it's a good religion.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans Day

Thank you to all those in the armed forces and to all veterans. To those who put their lives on the line for an idea or a dream. For those who gave their lives for their loved ones, and for me. For those whose aspirations drive them to fight for the rights of others and to be involved in the condition of humanity.

Thank you to those veterans and soldiers who represent this country, who represent our culture and freedoms. To those who represent their race, their community, their family, to those who represent their religion or non-religion, to those who represent the majority, and to those who represent the smallest of minorities that our country promises to protect. Thank you for doing what many of us can't, won't, or only would when our freedoms were being threatened on the threshold of our homes. Thank you all.

Though many may disagree on war, and veterans, and all that, I find it despicable of anyone to refuse to give a just nod or mental high-five to any courageous person who would take a bullet for them if it came to it. I enjoy that atheism in the military has had a recent revival of sorts in the last couple years, helping to get rid of that annoying foxhole comment.

Random funny picture because i must.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


When I started this blog it was with the intent to write out my thoughts, get others' opinions, and write about BYU in general. Now I am no longer going to BYU, and for the most part my views on the world have finished going through massive flux and are now settling in a slow-moving river. In other words, my original purposes for the blog are now gone.

Not that I can't still write about some things dealing with BYU, and I definitely can still post my thoughts on things and always like feedback, but it's so much less than it was a year ago.

And when I look at it that way it has been a pretty crazy year. Or course I have basically only one thing on my mind and taking up my energy (exgfdepressedheartbrokenwhattodoimallaloneandsad) but there's a lot to reflect on within the last year. One being the general history of the groups I'm in, though right now I'm not in much of a mood to write it out. But it is something to watch a new group get formed, with a dozen people meeting at Starbucks to reaching nearly 200 on Facebook (even with the small exodus that occurred when the group made the papers).

To be honest I haven't been involved much lately. I am busy, preparing to start the long road to finishing college, working a full-time job, etc .... My current emotional status also leaves me wanting to go home and not talk to people, which means if I have any attachments or duties outside of work then I have completely let those people down, including UCOR. But I guess that's to be expected. I was left feeling a little resentment when I discovered some co-workers didn't realize I was heartbroken; I guess they just thought I was a really depressed atheist, lol.

Also, to be honest, I've lost my drive to collect funny atheist pictures, but I still have a ton I haven't shared so I'll be scraping from the barrel for a while yet.

It has been exciting becoming involved in atheistic culture, watching the changes, seeing people go from one extreme to another. Some people in the group went back to believing in some kind of God, while others feel they are getting out of their "crazy" phase. To be honest I never entered a crazy phase to leave in the first place. I've honestly still been very much myself. I do miss the LDS culture in some ways that my current friends and even current LDS friends don't quite satisfy. But I also realize I never quite fit in to begin with. Music, group games, board games, odd/cheap dates, I guess those things matched though. I like the party scene, I need to go out clubbing more with people, and I don't know many Mormons who would go skinny dipping, but I feel a desire to go to both.

Besides all of this my work makes an interesting place for conversation, especially more recently, but I feel hesitant sharing that information on a blog. I have been more argumentative lately, which often gets trite responses. Some people state their beliefs, usually by saying how something else is wrong or bad, and I simply ask them why and usually they don't actually back it up with any real reasons. I find myself not really caring to even pursue debate over topics that don't reveal any thought beyond reciting what evidence they suspect will support their already formulated opinions. But, hey, maybe I'll post more often now as I piece myself back together.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Life: a long love lost story

Disclaimer: This ended up not being the post I meant it to be, but was therapeutic and enjoyable to write so I'll post it anyway. WARNING: it's about my pitiful stance as a boyfriend and past relationships so don't read on if you're not interested. I'll at least post funny pics along the way.

Listening to Radiohead(cue Nude or All I Need[please feel free to read while listening to what I am. oh, and use youtube you lazy bum]). Music always manages to calm me down. First off I'm not dead or anything. I did stop attending BYU last year, but I guess, since I'm (or use to be as I can't motivate myself to do anything) involved with Post-Mo and atheist stuff out here I decided to keep up with the blog. Course, fewer things to talk about since I don't wish to talk about work/Mormon/atheist experiences too much, or to talk much about college outside of BYU. This and the fact that people still contact me ... I guess I'm in it for the long run.

So what to say, been pretty down lately. It's amazing actually, most of my greatest experiences, worst and best, all have happened in Fall. Or, rather, the season of Autumn. My first love started and stopped in Autumn. My mission started in Autumn. Most schools start in Autumn but that's to be expected. My birthday is in Autumn too. My first skydive, my first time driving alone (again, birthday), my second love and consequent breakup three years later, my first drink (which was not related to my bday since I never did that till 23), my first skinny-dipping, my third love and, again (you know it's coming dear reader) consequent breakup.

Now I am left to reevaluate my thoughts and values. I've done this with other things, my views on abortion actually haven't changed much since I left the church, but my views on swearing have dramatically (though my views on what's cordial and polite haven't). I'd like to think I have a good grasp on the world and maybe it's better in the sense of what's actually right or true, but I'm pretty sure I'm more lost than before. I have a habit of not finding out my views or beliefs should change until I come in contact with that perpetual and infinite opposite that makes me desist, retract, and evaluate what my mind and heart tell me now versus what I blindly believed before.

As with love I feel like something should've changed, but hasn't. I loved once in high school, a girl who was already in love, and living with said boyfriend. But I was young, enduring, pretty naive, and her and I hit it off. I have to pat myself on the back for being a sociable and confident person back then. The initial contact lasted four hours, and one revolutionary conversation later I had the biggest "crush" I had ever had and planted those tender little seeds into her mind which gave her a level of interest that would never make her cheat, but made her realize we could've been. A kiss never happened, a couple other things did, a lot of great experiences, but the whole time I knew what were doing would not lead to what I wanted it to be.

So, with that one timing certainly played its part, and of course being young, foolish, and not truly available, though in my mind it was a relationship I wished I could've seen go all the way. Thankfully she and her now husband were good sports, had a lot of patience with me, and we're still in contact.

I apologize for suddenly bringing up the age-old sad love story, but I'd rather put it here than in my journal and then feel like I'm being a complete hermit when some people, and hopefully readers, are wondering what's going on. But returning, needless to say that pseudo-relationship had me emotionally upset and drained in a few horrible ways a few times over a year, but I eventually got over it.

(cue Iris by Goo Goo Dolls, it has sentimental value for me)

Then my deepest relationship started a year later. October 3rd, 9:15 in the evening; I can name the place and which cushions we were sitting on and roughly what was said to make sure we knew it was an official relationship. Followed by an awkwardly started but tender and passionate hug. Sealed with some tears. Two months of flirting had now culminated into a relationship that I have no idea if it ever should have started.

See, I am a hopeless romantic at heart, my fictional writing is usually inspired by good movies and music, while my poems and journals are generally inspired by love. My music is a bit of both. But I've noticed how NOT like myself I am now. I've really lost that aspect of myself. Whether it has been destroyed and must be regained or simply has burrowed deep into me, afraid to come out after being bruised, cut, battered, and abused, which means I need to relearn and heal. Regardless, here I am, but I want to continue as to how I arrived.

Me and girl #2 dated for a long time. I went to college for part of that, and returned, then went on my mission. The year at college was hard, I was cheated on once during that time, and we even broke up for 12 hours. To be honest the girl had brought up a couple times after that year that she might want to date other people at some point. She was in high school, and I, like I always do, said that while I was on my mission we could count it as an open relationship. That way she could date guys, a little, but still love me. Course, now while looking back, I realize that this was a fatal mistake on my part. And if not a mistake, then a misunderstanding on what something like this would do. It also helps me realize what is important in relationships to me, namely, what is most important, but I'll get to that later.

She broke up with me in a Dear John letter, though she wasn't LDS and wouldn't know what that was. Why she didn't come to my mission, rape me, and try to steal me away from the religion, I'll never know (joke) but she left me, and I can't blame her for that. Btw, this happened between August and October, of course. I won't know if she had a guy in her life by then, but a few months later she did.

We did fight sometimes, she was a people pleaser, and because I loved her and would forgive her it also meant I was lower on the totem pole when she felt she had to choose between people, things to do, etc .... But there was a time for us, probably about months 3-9, where we thought we had found that person we would be together with, forever. We shared everything, all our darkest secrets, journal writings, our dreams and aspirations. We both did not have the best lives in high school and helped each other a lot, her most of all. Lost, confused, delirious and self-afflicting, it is hard to sometimes not think that her love for me was based on how much I helped her. Once she got better and more secure then I was no longer as important and enduring.

Regardless the next year of my mission was torment as she would come back, disappear, say we should date when I get back, then say she had a boyfriend. As my mother would say, "she was jerking my chain" and like any puppy in love it left me feeling very confused and hurt. To end this sad tale when I arrived home we met and after one awkwardly started but tender and passionate hug our conversation reached the apex with her saying in not so many words that 'she did not want me in her life anymore and I was not to contact her.'

That was pretty low. I wonder why sometimes, if it was cause what we had was so real and she wouldn't be able to remain faithful to her 'then' boyfriend; if I had really hurt her in some way that I just can't remember; if I never meant as much as I thought I should have and she really didn't want me there anymore. I probably will never know, and I'm sure her memory would suit her present beliefs rather than what she was thinking then.

With that I was crushed, which I'm hoping isn't surprising. And then I was still home for a couple months before college. With barely any friends (my high school buddies are the college types) and one very broken heart I think I festered in that plagued pool of thought till my bones were saturated with a liquid bitterness while my mind was pierced with needles of self-worthlessness. To speak more straight: I was the lowest I've ever been.

(note: i LOVE the meanwhile meme pictures, they make me lolz)
The rest of that story isn't anything new and I have little to add. When I was still having nightmares about her, and us, a year after I got to BYU, and two years after the breakup, or 16 months after she told me I meant nothing to her, I decided I had some major issues and got a therapist to help out. Sure enough I was very depressed and was reacting as if divorced. After a couple months I was released and had no nightmares till recently.

Which, I have to add, I hope those of you who haven't had a relationship end so horribly one-sided will have no understanding of what I mean by nightmares. So let me explain one thing. Regardless of what happens in the dream, the next day is ruined. I'll have the dream, wake up depressed, and be haunted by thoughts and memories regardless of what I do. I could go to work, be so busy I lose track of the time or even what day it is, but I'll be constantly handed depression and bygone years on a mental platter. Not a fun day.

In fact, that's what got me motivated to see a therapist in the first place. After having three consecutive dreams I had three horrible days missing work and classes and decided I had better move along and admit to myself I am broken.

So with the help of being nudged to move along I again was ready to date. Not that I couldn't before or hadn't tried. But now I was ready to start piecing myself together. For anyone who doesn't know my "exit story" and "how I became an atheist story" it was also 2 months after this that I finally admitted I didn't believe and it was okay to move on from the church. It took being happy to do that, or to realize that some of my misery was coming from believing.

After an end of July party I started my blog and then met girl #3. At least from my early journal writings and memory my perception was that it was very one-sided. She liked me, liked my blog, and I thought she was a weirdo and not my type. Upon meeting she ended up being "sophisticated" and a week later we were official. That week was bliss. I had stirrings before, but this time I recognized the feeling, the same feeling I had two weeks after dating #2, and a few months after #1. I loved this girl. And she felt it too, saying she, herself, was a romantic as well, and possibly as hopeless. The quencher with this was that she lived two states away and was just passing through.

(Lightning Rod by Guster is good, but so are the last three songs so cycle as you please or stick with Iris)
So the long-distance relationship started, which was difficult, leading to some fights and arguments on the phone. I grew up as one of the biggest pricks in my class so I always take the credit for saying something rude or inconsiderate, which I'm sure I did. She said I was 'not enough of a feminist' and other things, trying to make me eat better, do more hobbies, and get out and do things. We met a few times and generally those trips were wonderful. Never bad. She came back down here, we lived together for a couple months, then separately for a couple more, then she left for grad school.

I don't know why it went wrong, but it did, and I messed up, and this is why. Like I said, it began with interest on one side, and I grew to love her, but she wasn't "my type" and I was always reserved, and on top of this I'm broken. So anytime a fight happened I'd go do something by myself, or if she was nagging I wouldn't be afraid to fight back, regardless where we were. Some times I felt like, "well, this isn't permanent so if it get's worse you can leave" and this only fed my 'not caring.'

But now I get to the end of the matter and feel completely lost. Betrayed, drowned, and left behind. And I am left to wonder how I got here. It all culminates to this: if I feel this way now then it did matter to me, and it must've mattered a lot, so why didn't I act like it mattered? She will say it was all her; that it was bad timing in her life, she needed to get school going, doing that in Utah wouldn't happen, she was depressed about things. So if love matters on your geographical location then it wasn't meant to be.

But I don't think anyone believes that. Sure it matters, but at some point if a sacrifice needs to be made and someone loves another, then they will favor that person over themselves. If they favor themselves then "media love" has not brainwashed them ... or their atheistic "this life is my only life" mind takes over. They have to look out for number one.

Once it was apparent that we had issues and she may leave then I began that process of letting go, even being the one to say we should break up, much like what happened with girl #2. Of course it was not what I wanted to do, but if I couldn't make her happy then it must not have been fate, destiny, or a convenient truth or cosmological constant.

(I Can Feel a Hot One by Manchester Orchestra would be a good, mellow closer and afterthought)
And then I am left feeling this way, as I do now, as she already falls in love with another while feeling pity for me and my poor sappy self. And from this, all I have learned is that the most important part of the relationship, to me, the one thing that only happens in those rare, passionate, intense and intensive relationships that people call love, that the most important thing is that I'm the person who makes them smile, who makes them laugh. That when I am in the room or on the phone that they feel content, that the world is an outsider, one that they are ready for, that being with me is inspiring, motivating, and all they need in a relationship. That if we were the last two people on earth they wouldn't have to feel lonely.

And most likely this is because that's how I feel once I reach that point, once I truly love someone. And I've told them so; in a cloud and sky bed with girl #1, or a moss-laden clearing in the woods on May 24th with girl #2, or while lying together after an argument with #3, our essences mixing together till we could lose sense of where one began and where the other ended.

Those were happy times, but unlike Calvin, I guess it is true that I do not have to be the one person who is happy all the time. I believe that. I understand that it's not just girls who can coldly and heartlessly move on; that I only date girls who can reach that level of love and interest and then revert to being less than friends while still being cordial. I understand that it is something about me, either in the way that I am, at the core of my person, or that my yearning for that connection is so strong and so deep that it is beyond what others either want, or can give. I can return to my old relationships in a moment, I could kiss any one of them as if we never broke up. For me, once you share something, once you commit, you stay that way whether you want to or not. There's no reverting, those feelings are there to stay, they've moved in, become comfortable, and are asking favors. Best to get along with them, they gave you so much before.

I don't know how to stop loving someone, and after being so viciously treated, watching as loved ones slowly strangle and suffocate their love for me, willingly, for multiple reasons, after this a part of me shattered, hairline fractures like broken glass, hidden away deep inside. The definition of something being broken is that it can no longer function the way it was designed to, or wishes to.

I can neither move on, nor express the love I have inside me. I obviously have cared before, but didn't make it work, because I either put something else first, or I couldn't get the love I had inside out in the open, the words never came to my lips, perpetual lethologica and circumlocutory speech. A synesthesia of thoughts that synthesized and never came out in the pattern I wished to paint. I can see it too, in regular conversation, I catch myself not being open with people, as to how lately I don't really do anything, though I want to, though I try. And of course little interest from others only helps my mind to confirm how little I matter.

My brother says he only hates two things, one being a thought for later but the latter being people who pity themselves. Well, I'm certainly full of pity for my miserable self, but maybe there's hope for me if I can still feel this sort of pain. Maybe I can one day move on, looking back with a new perspective to learn from how my relationship with Kellie hasn't waned, to one day fully move on from Audrey, and to, better sooner than later, realize what Geneva meant to me and what she will have to mean to me now.

This message has my: