Monday, May 24, 2010

Lost: The End

I arrived home from watching the Lost finale an outright wreck. For two and a half hours I had been amazed, distraught, upset, overjoyed, sad, happy, frustrated, relieved and everything in between. I came close to crying at least twice and was literally perched at the edge of my seat for the duration of the show.

At first I was only confused. While they had resolved the storylines they had not answered a single mystery question in the entire finale and while "disaster" was averted, we were never told what that disaster was. So many questions lingered in my mind as I tried to process the 210 minutes of data that had just entered my brain.

I went to sleep in a near stupor, and woke up enlightened.

For 6 years I have invested my time and mental energy into the intertwining web of enigma and character that make up Lost. I screamed at the finale of season 2, knowing that my mission in Brazil would prevent me from seeing the next chapter for two years. For six years we would take one step forward only to take two step backs. We would unveil and answer, but in the process unearth only more questions. And when it all boils down to it, I don't want to know the answers.

I haven't been watching for six years because of the answeres, I've been watching because of the questions. Questions that involved time-travel, religion, faith, good, evil, secret organizations, mythology, immortality, rabbits and fried chicken.

To unload a two and a half hour marathon of pure answers, wrapping up each and every loose end, would rob the show of its most alluring aspect, stripping it of its purpose and betraying its legacy.

In the end, Lost gave me exactly what I wanted. Resolution for the characters and a stack of questions to continue debating in my mind for a long, long time.

Now, I feel as though I've lost an old friend. Or rather, a number of old friends. Jack, Hurley, Sawyer, Locke, Sayid, Desmond, Faraday, Miles, and of course, the rapturously beautiful Kate. These beings are works of fiction, creatures of the mind, and yet I know them. I have shared in their experiences, laughed with them in their victories and cried with them in their pain.

That is why I watch television, and movies, and read books. There are so many people who act as though giving-in to a work of fiction is a thing of weakness. They puff up their chest and boast of being better than such trivial things of make-believe. They scoff at the water-cooler conversations about last weeks episode as though they were witnessing the actions of children on a playground.

I legitimately pity these people, for they are so wrong. Granted, not all television is created equal. To squabble about who's sleeping with who on Grey's Anatomy is hardly the mind-wrinkling potential of our creative conscious. I do not say this to mock fans of such shows, but instead suggest that one man's trash is another man's treasure, and the truly poor man is he who finds no treasure at all.

Still, all bias aside it is an undisputed fact that Lost will go down in the books as one of the, if not THE, most pivotal and transformational productions of American Television. It shook the very limits of the status quo and gave viewers not just what the wanted, but challenged them to think beyond their understanding. Television itself has now been dared to do better, to be better. Lost will make history, and if for nothing else but that, I'm glad to have been able to participate in its amazing journey these last 6 years.

Lost: A+

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Lord of the Flame

We all met up at Meredith's house in Hyde Park for a farewell hot dog roast - she's heading to Baltimore for the summer, only to return and wed my friend Ingram, so goodbye twice - giving me more fodder for the cannon and another round of night shots.

Isn't fire amazing? The way it just...burns. I've seen all sorts of pictures taken of it, good and bad, and yet there is no replacement for the real thing; watching the colors flicker and feeling the heat on your face.

Dave was able to talk our new friends Tequila and Shenae into coming. Tequila apparently has a thing for hot dogs. She had three and a half with us, and a few more earlier for dinner.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


"Who is this?" I typed, hands numbing to the building chill in the air.
The message on my phone had jarred me violently from my cathartic half-sleep; pulling my mind back to my body slung across a hammock next to first dam. I checked the clock on my phone, not sure when I had fallen asleep whether I had just bounced back and forth in consciousness since I first began reading three hours earlier.
The unknown sender's reply came fast. Their first message had been innocent enough - an invitation to a barbecue from a phone number that I didn't recongnize - their second however, was enigmatic at best.
"Um actually..." it began, "I didin't mean to text you. Trust me you wouldn't want to come if you knew who it was."
Fully awake now, my mind puzzled over the implications of this message. Obviously this person know who I was, and at some point had obtained my phone number. Had I, at some point, deleted their number from my phonebook? Where they a woman scorned whose fury hell hath none? Was it just a simple wrong number with a facetious retort?
At that moment the first subtle drops of rain struck me and I looked up to see an ever-darkening sky. The wind was picking up, sending cool air over the nearby water and up the hill to where I lay.
I took one last look at the message, shut my phone and began gathering my things. I thought about pressing the issue further, then decided to let it be. Whether or not they mean it, I like to take people at their word.
Whoever they were, they didn't think I'd be interested in their barbecue.
Good enough for me.

Monday, May 17, 2010

This is the start of something good

For some time now my elders in the ways of journalism have been telling me that the only way you can get a job in the dying market is to have some photo experience. As such I have been looking towards purchasing a camera about a year and a recent academic scholarship pushed me to do just that.

So, 850 bones later I have a shiny new toy.

My first muse was - obviously - my gorgeously damaged Packard piano. It was 11:30 at night when I finally got my battery charged and went to work shooting my keyboard at different angles for about an hour.

The next day I got kidnapped into a polygadate in Salt Lake. Being the odd man out I brought my camera for some supplementary entertainment. Mostly this resulted in posed fbook-ready shots and the occasional explanation-less gem.

We ate at the pie (sidenote: if you've never eaten at The Pie Pizzaria in Salt Lake, drop what you're doing an go now. Also, if you're thinking "I've eaten at The Pie in Ogden, same thing" promptly take your right hand and slap yourself).

After we got back to logan we found that the block surrounding my apartment was ablaze with the lights of an entire fleet of emergency response personel. Apparently, the apartment complex across my street had caught on fire. We didn't make it in time to see the flames, but I still had a lot of fun scrambling around getting night shots.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

In with the new

I'm going to try and be less gloomy today so, while there's still some light outside let's put the nail in the political process coffin.

Saturday was the Utah Republican State Convention where we delegates bid a not-so-heartfelt adieu to 3-term Senator Bob Bennett. I had actually planned on voting for Bennett, not so much based on ideological support but more in a strategic desire to push Bennett and a challenger to a primary. Leading up to the convention, the polls showed that Bennett was behind amongst delegates, but favored in the general Utah populace. I think that the average voter should have a say in whether or not an incumbent is outed and I hoped to lend my vote to help that happen.

Then I started paying closer attention to Tim Bridgewater.

In my month of delegate onslaught I had been leaning towards Mike Lee. Sure he was a lawyer, but the guy waved a copy of the constitution like a pentecostal with a bible in his hand. I'm not one to simplistically nay-say the acts of congress, but the way I see it the current legislature makes no attempt to comply with the powers enumerated to them in the constitution.

Tim Bridgewater has a voice like a frog. It is raspy and guttural and upon first hearing kind of puts you on edge. At the convention he was in prime for answering questions from the crowd and taking names. Mike Lee was nearby with a wretched sound system creating more white noise than political awareness, and in classic politician form Lee paused mid-answer to say hello to a passer-by, a man who - as Lee made sure to tell us - was Lee's former elder's quorum present. Cheesy much?

Bennett was a ways off and while there was a large crowd around him, they were more interested in talking to Mitt Romney, whom Bennett had recruited for some name-dropping power. A chorus of "you've got my vote," and "nice to meet you President" followed the Massachusetts governor everywhere he went. Republicans (and Mormon ones especially) are easily bought.

After a couple of hours of political hawking the speeches began. Bridgewater led the pack with an extremely poised delivery. Lee, despite his usual demeanor, was noticeably twitchy and rambled a bit. Bennett was old, and let Romney do most of the talking. Rounding out the bottom five was Cheralyn Eager, who sounded straight out of a General Relief Society Presidency talk; Leonard Fabiano, who used his 7-minutes to organize a seemingly impromptu grassroots political organization, One candidate was hardly coy about his religious views, speaking about inspiration and eternal perspective.

In the biggest disappointment of the day, "SuperDell" Schanze failed to make an appearance. I was immensely looking forward to his 7-minute slice of insanity. Instead a friend spoke on his behalf and bluntly admitted that SuperDell was a bit wacko and didn't have a prayer for winning.

The day went on, speach after speach, and three rounds of voting. After the first vote Lee was in first place, after the third he had barely clung to a primary berth. Both candidates have a whole new round of convincing the masses, which no longer involves pandering to my every need. Today I checked my mail and besides my Entertainment Weekly and Netflix DVD's there was nothing. No fliers, no pamphlets, and no invitation to a town hall meeting. I made sure on Saturday to load up on as much Swag as I could and now I'm cut off.

Out of the Dark

There's some blog posts that are for others, and some that are just for you. I've found a strong correlation with the T.O.D of my posts and the latter category. Last night's "Midnight Ramblings" post was written at (as the title suggests) a late hour, and tonight I find myself yet again at my laptop while the clock ticking above my desk reads a biting 12:25 a.m. Tonight's post, like last night's, is mostly for me.

I am celebrating something today. Exactly one month ago I did a bad thing. To be more accurate, exactly one month ago I stopped doing a bad thing.

This semester almost destroyed me. I am not being coy in any way. The last 5 months have been a very dark time for me and as a result of the lasting funk in which I've been operating, my personal relationships have deteriorated, my work performance has suffered, and my general demeanor has changed.

I have watched idly as my auto-pilot has sabotaged the best things in my life and every time that I had the opportunity to enter a better situation my attitude sneered and turned away.

Exactly one month ago I realized that I was miserable and while I couldn't change everything, there was one thing that I could. And did.

Now, I am as lost and hopeless as I have ever felt. And yet, I find a boyish charm in the precarious nature of my circumstances. I don't have the answers - I'm not sure I even know what the questions are - but today, there was a sunrise on the horizon.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Midnight Ramblings

You ask me what I'm doing.
I speak but I do not answer. To answer would be to tell you the truth, that I've been waiting here these hours, waiting for you. I sit here watching as you pass time and time again, crafting paragraphs of prose that will never be spoken. Scene after scene is drawn in my mind yet the sight when I open my eyes is a stunning reality, cold and beautiful.
Solitude suits me, feeds my darker side. It heightens my senses. Slowly I vanish into a moving lie and forget the mundane complexities of an average existence. Their battles are mine. Their triumphs, their deceptions, their lies - mine.
I scream, I laugh, I run and dance. The air turns cold and seasons change while I remain. Here. Waiting. Wishing. Wondering.
You ask me what I'm doing.
I say - nothing.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Delegation

I'm going to tell you this upfront, being a delegate is kind of annoying.

I'm into politics, and I'm a republican. I don't think either of those things is a surprise to anyone. When the Republican caucuses were held last month I attended, partly out of curiosity, and partly out of an altruistic sense of civic duty. While I wasn't planning to pursue a delegacy (not a word) I was open to the idea that since I live in a student-heavy area of Logan I could easily get one.

After all the pomp and circumstance it was clear that no one of the dozen or so people present was interested in attending the state convention, so I put my hat in the ring and was selected. After that some pip-squeek home-school-ee decided that if I was going to adequately represent him I needed to know his views on tax breaks for private- and home-schoolers.

Sorry wack-job, get a job and go to school.

So there I was, Mr. Benjamin Wood-the Delegate. At first it was pretty cool, candidates calling me on the phone to discuss my opinion of "the issues" and being able to tell them what I was looking for in my candidate.

Then the senate race heated up.

Every single day I get 7 calls from automated messages via Mike Lee, Tim Bridgewater, Bob Bennett, and the ever-annoying Cheralyn Eager (I'm "Eager" to be your candidate, gag me). After that, I get about 3 daily calls from "breif" public opinion pollers. Yes, if the election were today I would vote for Bob Bennett. Yes, I disapprove of Obamacare. Yes, while it is completely unfathomable that Sarah Palin ever be a legitimate candidate for the presidency in 2012, I would probably vote for her over Capt. Barrack.

Day in, day out I am bombarded by "the issues."

Last week I attended a meet the candidates debate and listened intently while some angry member of the audience drilled Mike Lee for 10 minutes about "automatic delegates." For those of you who don't know what those are, let me suffice it to say that NO ONE cares about automatic delegates, and a candidates particular stance on this issue will in no way sway the outcome of any election, EVER. Still, we wasted 10 minutes will Mr. Lee attempted to deliver a satisfactory answer to the banal idiocy of his questioner.

The convention is this Saturday. I'm most likely voting for Bennet unless Mike Lee somehow dazzles me. I don't like Bridgewater, he sounds like a chain-smoking robot and his face seems to be frozen in place.

And don't even get me started on Cheralyn Eager.

All's Well that Ends Well

After all was said and done on the Peter Breinholt concert, we had raised $1,007. As you may recall we needed $1,000 to get out of our final exam. Lo and behold, the managers at the Kent Concert Hall had failed to appropriately take into effect the face that we represented a non-profit organization and charged us sales tax, dropping our total to a dismal $816.

We were fine with that. We put on a great show, I got a free pick and a CD from Peter B, and we were ready to take our exam. But...

Dave Herrmann, our professor and as you may recall a featured guest at our concert, selected our group as the Prof's Pick for this year and as such, no final for us. So, since I just got done taking my final for Media Law and since my one and only other final is a breezer on Friday, my summer has officially started.

Watch out here I come.

Media Law has been a particularly interesting little nugget of my life this last semester. After receiving my all-time lowest grade (66%) on a paper, I rallied to receive a 100% and a 95% on subsequent assessments. Now I just have to wait for my results from the Final but it would take something near cataclysmic to result in a failing grade (as long as I pass, I really don't care).

Now the only thing between me and a Grecian life of hammocks and grapes is a few staff interviews for The Statesman. It's kind of bitter-sweet. This will be my last summer in Logan (I would assume, but you know what happens when you assume) so hopefully I can soak it in as much as I can.