Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Social Distortion

I realized recently that I am socially retarded. My crippling introversion makes me incapable of communicating with people that I am not already familiar with. When forcefully placed into a social situation (class for example) I will not say one word to anyone present unless a third party thrusts me into a conversation (i.e. introductions)

As such, I made a goal last week to say hello to the people I pass throughout my day. The first day was good. I had a wing-man; Dave and I made some 30 salutations to the nice freshman girls around the frisbee golf course (not ain't nothin' wrong with that...actually, there is something wrong with that), then I promptly forgot about the goal--until today.

It's amazing how much it catches people off guard when you throw them a casual "How ya' doin?" Four out of five times there is a visual startle as they reply "good." They think in their heads "who is this creeper?" and then slowly the barricades crumble down and there is a quaint smile that says, "you know what? I AM doin' good!"

I love America, but we as a people can be really messed up sometimes. We literally run every where we go, and the slightest unplanned distraction is met with disgust and contempt. Recently I sat in at a small town meeting where it was debated to remove a planned road in order to conserve the open space on a farmer's property. While the road was eventually removed, there were some present who voiced their concern on the extra sunday traffic they would experience as a result of one less route of exit.

Serious? Is it really worth dissecting gorgeous century-old farmland for the sole reason of getting home from church a minute faster?

But I digress. Americans are cold. In Brazil it was not uncommon for me to be greeted by a complete stranger with a hug or a kiss on the cheek (both innocent and not-so-innocent). We are over-focused, over-rushed, egotistical slobs, and no one more so than me. I have gone 5 weeks without saying so much as two words to the person who sits next to me every other day. That's why I'm trying to be better.

How are YOU doing today?

Monday, September 28, 2009

A Word on Women--exerpt

The following is an exerpt from a larger work that I wrote over the summer. I have recently finished and will be periodically posting segments here on Wood's Stock. Comment, both positive and negative, is greatly appreciated.


Everything is about love: movies, television shows, music, books. Even Jack Bauer on 24 has had his share of romantic interests. It is the proverbial driving force in the earth’s rotation. Excluding heavy metal you would be hard pressed to find a song that doesn’t speak of love in some way, shape, or form—that is, of course, including all the Rap artists and their army of Bootylicious Ho’s.

In my eyes this causes a problem. When men watch a movie, or listen to a song, we manage to look past the kissing and see the building blowing up in the background; past the angst and emotion to the kick-a## drum solo. Women, however, don’t. Frequently their chief reason to watch a certain cinematic production is for its love story. You’ve seen it a million times; the socially awkward yet beautiful girl/woman longs from afar for the affection of the muscular football player/co-worker, gets her chance but in a display of typical male stupidity is heartbroken, only to have said muscle realize the err of his ways and show up on her doorstep with flowers, OR her slightly awkward yet charming plutonic male friend confessing his undying love, punches muscle and they live happily ever after.

Men are pigs. From the time females hit puberty—which is cruelly before males giving us no chance to defend ourselves—they are taught that men at every corner are just waiting to seduce them and break their hearts. We serve no other purpose than this, so get as much free lobster as you can and get out before you let yourself get hurt.

And that’s the rub. The guy wasn’t a jerk—at least not any more so than any other guy—the girl was, in her own mind, foolish enough to let herself get hurt.

It’s true, some guys are swine. Some men are horrible, disgusting, loathsome creatures; but then again, not every girl is a Disney princess. Sometimes when prince charming shows up to break the spell, sleeping beauty pretends to still be sleeping so that she won’t get hurt again.

I always tell my male friends “no matter what you do, it’s wrong.” If you call, you’re coming on to strong; if you don’t call, she’ll go out with the guy that does. If you never ask her out then you’re not interested; the minute you ask her out, you cease to be interesting.

I don’t consider myself an exceptionally ugly person. I have no glaring facial disfigurations, I bathe daily, brush my teeth in regularity, I even work out; yet tonight I couldn’t get a date to save my life. It’s a Tuesday, on Thursday I have two free tickets to a jazz night with music and dancing, the kind of stuff that girls eat up. The first girl has “a dinner” that night— tough luck—the second has plans with her roommates— no dice—the third has a big test the next day and has to meet with a study group—we’re in college, and apparently some of us are responsible.

Three girls, three soft rejections; granted Thursday night isn’t the optimal night, but I can personally guarantee that tomorrow all three of these women will be complaining to their girlfriends about how they never get asked out. They’ll badmouth all the “pretty girls” that have guys crawling all over them and watch reruns of Grey’s Anatomy and McDream of Patrick Dempsey.

I’ve always felt that in the majority of dating endeavors the female holds all the power. Guy asks out girl. By that simple gesture the girl already knows that guy is interested. Now the fun part. After guy and girl go out it’s still the guy’s job to call the girl. Guy has no way, other than a basic evaluation of the date’s success/failure, to know if girl is even remotely intrigued. If guy decides the date wasn’t so good, he closes the door, problem solved. If guy is still interested, he’s now up inside his head, going over and over in his mind the conversation, body language, subtle gestures and circumstances of the first attempt. He’s racking his brain, doubting himself, on whether or not he should call again. It is truly a horrible experience.

What does the girl do? She waits.

I have been known to become somewhat irritated with my female friends when they get all bent out of shape waiting for a guy to call. Did you give him a reason to call? Did you make it clear to him that a second attempt would most likely be a success? Simply saying “call me” before shutting the door is not clear evidence, its common courtesy.

It relates beautifully to the employment field. We men try to sprinkle up our resumes in order to stand out amongst the other applicants. We put on our best suit and try to look nice during our interview. The woman throws us into a giant manila folder and if we’re lucky enough we get a callback interview only to be told that, while extremely qualified, we’re just not the best fit for the company.

The girl has the power. If it were poker she would have a clear view of the guy’s hand. It is the societal norm for the man to do everything. All the woman has to do is wear a nice dress, eat free food, and decide if the poor sap is, as Elaine Bennes would say, sponge-worthy.

It’s all about choice. Many women keep every man that enters their life at arms length, relying on the built-in instinct that the creature means her harm. Until they choose to “let themselves get hurt again” all we men can do is throw mud on the wall and hope some of it will stick.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Cave of Wonders

I'm a little late on blogging about this but last weekend we all went spelunking.


Me and Trevor were joking mid-cave that we could die happy but honestly, going through that cave was one of the coolest things I've ever done. In my head I thought it was just gonna be some nice little cave in the side of the mountain to look around in, instead it was 150 yards straight down through cracks and crags.

It wasn't so hardcore as to require ropes and rockclimbing gear, but that sucker was narrow. Probably half of the trip was spent crawling in a horizontal position, and often your stomach and back would be scraping along the muddy rock sides.

My feet dangled in this position for a few minutes until I could finally wiggle my torso enough for gravity to take effect.

I'm cave hungry now. Sadly the Logan winter is rapidly upon us but when I can that cave is gonna get another piece of the Ben Wood pie.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My Love that is Tee Fury

I've name-dropped TeeFury before on this blog. Yet, here is another example of why I love the shirt-a-day website.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Benjamin's Love Inc. Applicant

Just to let you all know what kind of thing we're looking for in the application process, here is an example of an excellent resume that we received.
If anything, this person is OVER-qualified, were it not for the fact that HE is MALE, it would be a shoe-in.
Go and do likewise young McTasties.

Benjamin's Love Inc.

Position Applying For:
Friend with massive amounts of sexual tension

Currently in first year of Graduate School working on a Masters in
Electrical Engineering. I also have minors in Math and Physics.

Work Experience:
I've worked at a tutor for music and math. I spent the past two
summers doing research in the areas of communications and signal
processing. I am currently working on implementing a fast algorithm
for synthetic aperture radar on a GPU using CUDA.

Character References:
Alisa Leake
Sonnie Leake
Amy Sullivan
Natalie Glover

Essay Portion:
I was born in Colorado, but I've lived in Utah for the past 12 years
or so. My hobbies include skiing, racquetball, squash, the occasional
game of tennis, disc golf, and playing guitar. I also enjoy mountain
biking, running, sitting in a hammock and reading, listening to piano
music, studying the rules of ping-pong, attending republican
conventions, and a well written newspaper article. I do not currently
play the cello, but I believe my guitar playing background may give me
a head start in that area.

I'm not one to regularly wear any scented product besides old spice
antiperspirant, but on special occasions I will wear some dollar store
versions of acqua di gio or paris hilton and if I'm really trying to
make an impression I'll put on some Sex Stallion.

I have one sister who is two or three years older than me. My father
was in the National Guard in college, but he is not a military father.
My entire family graduated from USU, and includes no BYU fans. I enjoy Carbon Leaf, Fun., Jack’s Mannequin, Collective Soul, Dispatch,
Guster, The Kooks, Iron and Wine, and many other bands. My movie
interests include Memento, Batman, The Prestige, About a Boy, Hellboy I and II, Fired Up, and 500 Days of Summer.

There are many reasons that you should place me above the other
qualified applicants, but I’ll just list two. The first reason being
that I’m the only qualified applicants. The second, I could do things
to you that would blow your mind...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

If Only I Could

Someday, when I'm financially stable (read: good luck stupid journalist) I would like to get into photography. I know absolutely nothing about the art but you stick a camera in my hands and I get giddy like a school boy.

Why did I take a picture of that fire hydrant? Well...it's red?

I would love to be one of those free-thinking crazies that run around getting close-ups of sunlit concrete and glass, looking at the world through odd angles and lines and capturing the subtle nuances of life.

There's two little kids in there, ain't that cute?

So, the next time that I have a couple hundred dollars lyin' around (ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, whoo) I'm buying a camera and a big 'ole lens, hiking the windcaves before dawn on a bitterly cold morning to snap one shot of the sunrise.

Be Calm

The Woody Style review of Fun is up. Enjoy! Unless you like Nickelback.

Friday, September 4, 2009

(500) Days of Summer--Review

Click here for my review of (500) Days. Even though I wrote it, it is the property of the Utah Statesman. Ahh, the life of a writer.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

This is how a heart breaks

Honestly, I'm sick of the stereotype that guys are "the heartbreakers." Grab your remote and flip the channels and I guarantee that you see something portraying men as the using, manipulatvie gender. I guess that's partly because women actually buy that crap, whereas we men spend our money on Megan Fox and fighting robots (saw it for the second time, nowhere near as good).

You'd think the world would've had enough of this silly generalization, but I look around me and I see it isn't so. Maybe there's just something about Mormon men that makes us dupes, or Mormon women that makes them cruel, but either way the above picture is false.

Also, the title of this blog IS a reference to Rob Thomas, but I am in no way endorsing that song, or it's accompanying video. Three and a half minutes of Robby boy drooping his head in mock melancholia is not what I consider entertainment.

So, back to business. I got my heart broken this week, bringing my life-total to a staggering 2 (oh Jency, you sure did a number on my 15-year-old soul). I would go into details but it is:
a) too soon, and
b) all too probable that the person involved could read this blog.

Needless to say, I was an absolute mess for a couple of days but I'm feeling a lot better now. I was at work this morning, moping and scowling at the world around me, when all of a sudden I started singing along to Guster while making sandwitches for an influx of geriatrics (grrrrrrrr) and I felt like my old self again.

Now here I am at life's precipice with absolutely no bridges to cross and frankly, I am romantically exhausted. I don't have the energy that I once did to approach a complete stranger, make useless awkward small-talk and nervously segway the conversation into a post-dated encounter or exchange of numerals. Just last night I was at a gathering of sorts and while my peers hurried to and fro in their mating rituals I sat on the grass enjoying my hashbrown wedge in tranquility. A young man (rather magoo truth be told) approached an acquaintence sitting next to me and made a casual entrance into a conversation.

"NICE CAMERA!" not so much shouted as the capitals would infer, but forcefully thrown like a regurgitation.

"Um...thank you." she replied, not in a nice way but in that way that girls will make a simple expression sound soooooo demeaning.

".........(too much silence) I BET YOU TAKE GOOD PICTURES WITH THAT" regurgitated, but with admirable poise.

"Um...yeah," in a crushing blow that only a mormon girl can extract from two syllabils.

By this point there were about 6 of us watching this poor soul. I actually felt sympthay pains for this young man and wanted to hide my own head in the dirt. After an excrutiatingly silent pause he turned and scuttled off to try his luck somewhere else.

"Good for him," I said. The group thought I was kidding, I wasn't. It probably took him 10 minutes to work up the stones to crash that hard, but at least he crashed. All I had to show for the same 10 minutes was an empty plate.

In the words of Murtauch, I'm getting to old for this stuff. As such I have decided to start taking applications for my future romantic pursuit. Anyone interested can fill out the attached form and return it to me via email or in person (preferred, to eliminate some of the guess work).

Benjamin's Love Inc.

Position Applying For_________________(i.e. friend with massive amounts of sexual tension, booty call, potential paramoure, or spouse--fortune favors the bold--)

Education_________________(we have to make sure they've made it to upper-classmen status, with the exception of those applying for the position of eye candy)

Work Experience________________(no innuendo on this one, it's important to have someone with a strong ethic)

Character References______________(other female friends are probably better than ex-boyfriends, plus I might get more applicants that way)

Essay Portion_________In a paragraph of at least 250 but not exceeding 750 words, tell me a little about: yourself, your hobbies; interests; preferred activities; brand of perfume or other scented product; family (no military fathers thank you); music and film tastes; cello-playing ability; religious affiliation (I don't discriminate...promise), any linguistic accents; and explain why I should place you above the other qualified applicants (Zwa!). A photo should be for archival purposes.

After turning in your application you will be contacted to set up an interview appointment. Anyone applying should be a legal resident of the United States, in good mental and physical health, and able to be supported by a small canoe without capsizing.

There is no deadline for aplications, but positions are filling fast (Zwa!).