Saturday, June 9, 2012

A Change Is Gonna Come

This past week has been something of a life-changer for me. Things have been so incredible lately. I'm living in a place that is so far removed from the everyday hustle of life and yet, I've felt more and more like a person that I used to be. A part of me that until recently was a void, has decided to bloom again -seemingly overnight. I feel so invigorated that I'm not sure the fibers of my being will be able to contain it.

How do you wake up and suddenly remember how good it feels to be alive? To have your heart race at a glance and a half smile. I'm remembering that it's okay for me not to be the coolest kid on the block. That I can  say something cheesy without having to apologize or feel self-conscious. Sometimes, people are put into your life to help you see the light of day again. Not that I was wallowing in depression, more like I didn't feel anything. Just a good reminder that I want to be a better person and that there are amazing people to help you when sometimes you didn't even realize that you were still broken.

Friday, June 1, 2012


3 months.

Not bad if you think about it, okay really. My blogging has been terrible as of late. So an update for those of you who may not know (but most likely don't care either). I took an internship in Capitol Reef National Park at the UVU run field station. So technically I'm an employee of the university, but live within the park boundaries. I live out away from most everything, it takes me about an hour's drive to get into a two where I can get cell service.

I haven't really had a Friday off work yet, so now that I'm all alone until Monday morning, I thought it would be a good time to sit down and record some thoughts.

It truly is lovely here.  I mean it. As a Utah native, I thought I knew what it was to live in the desert, but I was mistaken. An area that I once deemed dead and only admired for it's geologic beauty, I now see in a new light. It is amazing to me how fragile the plants and animals are here, and to be honest, that fragility gives them an extra measure of beauty. A new lease of life and a soft part in my heart. How truly special it is to be here. To wake up and feel the wind on my face, to see the endless blue sky that is so deep at times it seems purple. To experience the night sky like I never have before. Obviously the rocks, oh, the rocks. At times I can't help but think that the designs in the cliff faces were carved by giants long before man ever stepped foot into the world. Gentle creatures that took to time to make this place, for the betterment of those that they knew they would never know. But then I think about how awesome the geologic processes are that composed this vision of splendor and am in awe all over again.

It's not without it's challenges, but nothing worthwhile is.

Friday, March 23, 2012

It was a fine night.

It has been quite some time since my last post. A lot has happened, and I fully intend to give an update on my comings and goings. But not tonight. Tonight is about a burning desire to write that I've been lacking as of late. I believe it came from a lack of reading, I haven't been challenging myself. That was before I started reading real books again.

Lately, I've been having feelings of adventure budding up in my everyday life. Not that I'm actually going on adventures mind you, but more feelings of excitement of things to come. It feels a little like opening a new bottle of soda. A surge of energy comes rushing to the surface, changing my perspective- if even just for a moment, then dissipating into the atmosphere...

I just finished Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises (hence the sentence fragments) :). I don't intend to spoil, but just so you know- I may unintentionally give something away. Also, I feel inadequate in even writing my feelings about such an amazing author, but whatever. I won't be using literary terms, and I don't plan on dissecting it.

Jake Barnes is the main character that is an expat living in Paris, writing at a newspaper. At this point, you're probably asking yourself, "Brandon, what does this have to do with love?" that is when I counter and say, "now." Jake has Brett- and by has, I mean is desperately in love with. FYI Brett is a woman named Lady Brett Ashley but he always calls her Brett.

To me, she represents the full spectrum of an unhealthy relationship. At times, she is sweet and loving and vulnerable. Especially when she is alone with Jake. She tells him of how wonderful their life would be together if they could just be together. But she is also cruel and thoughtless and selfish. She brings other men around him, asks him to help her seduce men, and is engaged to another man from the beginning (whilst going through a 2nd divorce I might add). The way that the author tells of Jake's mostly hidden pain is wonderfully done.

It got me to thinking about my own life. Mores specifically about my Brett. It's easy to read about Jake and think to yourself, "man, what an idiot!" but when I read about his pain (even though it wasn't brought up often) I thought, "man, I can totally relate." Sometimes we do stupid things for people we care too much about. Sometimes, we don't see how helping the one we love is self destructive behavior and ruins us for a long time. But I like to think that Jake figures it all out in the end. I know he'd be a better person if he did.

A chapter of my life is finally ending, and a new one just beginning. Some has to do with opportunities that are coming up soon (like I said, I'll write another post about them) but it also has a lot to do with realization of certain elements of my life that have been on hold for sometime.

It's good to be back.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Don't Worry Baby

It seems like the more relationships I go through, the less I understand them. It's amazing that we put ourselves into turmoil and the depths of depravity just to feel the thrill of being wanted. Or maybe it's the fear of being alone that drives us? I used to try and make relationships work for as long as possible not because I wanted to try and date a particular person anymore, but because I didn't want to hurt them. Now I try not to get involved in the first place because I don't want to get hurt and because I want to cause as little hurt to others as possible.

I know it's a bad way to look at something as powerful and potentially positive as love. I just can't change it. I used to always want to be with her. To hold her hand all day and just stare into her eyes. I used to consider myself a hopeless romantic but when she left she took the romantic part with her and left me with the hopeless.

I think it has effected my ability to connect with someone. I want to fix it, to throw caution to the wind, but perhaps that isn't the best way. Because more than just young love, I want something real and concrete. Who doesn't want to be the 70 year-old couple that walks down the street holding hands?

I guess I'll wait... hopefully not too long though.

ps- I keep listening to this song.


Tonight I spent a few minutes reading A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold and then went for a drive. I'm not sure why, but I ended up in a canyon near my place and it was one of the best decisions I've made all week.

The night was beautiful up there it was raining in the valley but there it was snowing lightly. I'm always amazed of just how much fresh snow changes things. It covers the world in such a way that no other natural phenomena can. All of the imperfections of the day to day are gone. A fresh sheet, a new slate. Even the tire marks were beginning to fade as I trudged on.

When I reached the end of the road, I was at a parking lot that is used for a small reservoir and also an unloading place for dirt bikes and the like. I pulled up to the edge where the snow had been piled up from plows and with my high beams, and tried to peer across the small body of water to the other side. I couldn't see anything. I turned off my car, unplugged my ipod, covered the annoying blinking lights, and sat. As one would expect, slowly my eyes adjusted to the light available. Then I remembered one of my favorite quotes from Edward Abbey that goes like this.

“There's another disadvantage to the use of the flashlight: like many other mechanical gadgets it tends to separate a man from the world around him. If I switch it on my eyes adapt to it and I can see only the small pool of light it makes in front of me; I am isolated. Leaving the flashlight in my pocket where it belongs, I remain a part of the environment I walk through and my vision though limited has no sharp or definite boundary.” 

It was nice to feel like I was closer to the natural world. (Keep in mind, I didn't actually get out of the car. I love nature, but it was freezing cold and snowing. Plus I have an irrational fear of cougars.)

So there I sat, with my car off letting the warmth radiate out of the car and into the night sky.And
I realized a few things. 1) I don't want my tracks to be covered up when I'm done here. I want to be remembered, and honestly I know that isn't weird but I've never before felt that in my own life with the clarity and very real possibility that it holds. When we leave here, our only contribution is through the lives of others. 2) I've felt like lately I've been turning my wheels and staying so busy but I am not making much progress. I need to better focus my activities while at the same time seeing the big picture. Turn off my proverbial flashlight as Abbey says. It was all very beautiful.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Weekend Thoughts

Over the weekend I had the chance to spend some time with great friends. We had a 'guys night' with some of my very best friends and it was so fun to see people that I hadn't had much interaction with in the past few months. Most of them are married so we rarely get an opportunity to all get together like we did. In honor of the occasion we ate sushi and watched a movie (side note: go see Chronicle, it's amazing) then after the movie, about half of the group needed to go home to their wives.

As I watched them walk away, a pang of sadness struck me as the thought came to me, "the chapter of my life with those wonderful people in it is over." I don't mean that I won't see them again. It's just that they aren't there like they once were, and I don't blame them. I wouldn't change it at all. I've seen their entire personality light up with the joy of sharing their lives with another person. I couldn't have picked better spouses for them myself. This probably sounds juvenile- because in a way it is.

I guess the main reason for my feelings that night was that I want that too. I want to be able to make excuses to leave 'guys night' early; for someone to go home to. Sure- I've had a lot of adventures, and I plan to continue that in the future. But who wants to go it alone? To experience the love of someone that makes you a better person is what I crave. I want to live my life for someone that knows without a shadow of doubt that they have my heart. Like a child nestled in layers of blankets on a cold winter's night; knowing that though the storm may be raging outside, you are safe and because of that, you can rest easy.

An amazing song:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Loneliest Library

Yesterday, as I was sitting in Biology class I noticed a boy and girl in front of me that were unabashedly flirting. It wasn't a bad thing really. I mean, good for them! You could tell by their disregard for the professor's lecture that they were into each other. Maybe it was the fact that he was turned 90 degrees in his chair talking to her, so that his feet rested under her chair. Or maybe it was that when she said she had just shaved her legs he touched them lightly, whilst making eye contact. It even went as far as her touching his chest lightly telling him that he worked out a lot. Overall, it was the second best part of Biology class... next to the Cell Membrane.

I'm sure you thought I was joking.

It's funny how viewing things like that change your perspective and what you tend to notice. It wasn't that I was attracted to her- or him for that matter. It was that puppy love that they were experiencing.

Case in point: after class, I was in the library studying and I couldn't help but notice another couple. At first, it was just the boy standing oddly at the edge of a row of books, like he had somewhere to be but not impatient, just apprehensive. Then a girl came into the library, she had a look on her face that was pure excitement. I was on the upper floors so it is considered a quite zone. She walked quickly up to him, put her arms around his neck and they embraced. For the record: I'M NOT A CREEPER, they happened to be in my field of vision. At this point, they moved into the bookshelves, which are barely wide enough for one person to walk through, holding hands. I'm sure it was all very romantic.

much more narrow.

It also didn't help that I was listening to Death Cab for Cutie. I enjoy their (older) music quite a bit.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Hardest Button to Button

Last week I was wearing an old pair of slacks at work. This might be an odd way to begin a story, but trust me- it's important. I also happened to drink two energy drinks and because caffeine is a diuretic (which means it increases the formation of urine in your kidneys) I had to go. Luckily, I was at work, no big deal right?
I entered the bathroom, a nice, big bathroom with three stalls and three urinals. I stepped up to a urinal, and when I went to unbutton my pants, the button popped right off and landed in the urinal and sunk to the bottom. I'm sure it would have been awkward to walk in at that point because as I'm standing there, I couldn't help but chuckle at how funny this little moment was!

The culprit.

My first mistake was thinking, "well, these are old pants and I don't really need that button." so I decided I was just going to let the button be flushed down the drain, so it goes. About midway through, I realized two things 1) I really liked that button and 2) the urinals were on an automatic sensor, so when I stepped away, I'd loose it forever. 

cleaver girl.

So I had but one choice, I waited until no one else was in the bathroom then slowly I moved my hand towards it's goal. I waited until the last possible moment to move my torso so if someone did happen to come in, it would be as normal looking as possible. Then I retrieved my button from a fate worse than death. 

Surprisingly, it was a lot like this.

 Needless to say, I did wash my hands and the button a numerous times after this.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Home Movies

On Sunday evening, I was coerced into watching some old family videos and I'm so glad I did. A good portion of that had to do with the fact that someone had taken the time to make the archaic contraption known as a VHS player compatible with our television. The remaining part is due to an inspired idea from a great person.

We watched old videos, and started out with my Aunt's wedding in 1990. It was great to see my 5-6 year-old self, complete with mullet and cummerbund waddling around "helping out" at the reception. So much has changed in 20 years for everyone that was in the video. Now, I realize how stupid that sounds of COURSE people change over the course of 20 years. But it wasn't just the kids growing up. It was the now apparent wrinkles where smooth skin once dominated, the fact that romances that were just beginning, so fresh and full of life, have long since been dead. It was the obvious strength of loved ones that has since faded and eventually failed. While all of these observations were important to me and each memory touched me in a unique way, the thing that struck me with the most force was how fragile life is.

My heart was so full of love and joy not only for the scenes playing out on the screen but the thousand other memories that each image sparked. How amazing are our minds that we can recall all of these complex emotions with just a few light particles? In addition to the good, there was also a pang of loss for each new memory. Part of it had to do with loved ones that had passed away, both expected and untimely- but the loss of youth and innocence was present on every face that played across the screen.

At the end of the night, I walked into my room tired and full of thought only to find that my 5 year-old nephew had fallen asleep in my room. He was curled up like a cat in the middle of the bed. It was such a perfect moment. I had a beautiful glimpse of clarity- a sense of what life is, and the purpose of why things are the way they are. I couldn't have asked for anything more.

I listened to this song probably 5 times while writing this post btw.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Music by Numbers

During a spreadsheet stint at work today, I looked at my ipod play list count and thought, "How cool would it be if I could count up how much time I've spent listening to The Strokes? " Well turns out, you can just copy and paste iTunes data directly into spreadsheets. So that is what I did. Brace yourself- it's about to get nerdy up in here.

I can't help it     

Basically I took every song I have on my iPod by The Strokes then took the play time per song, converted it to seconds and then multiplied that by the completed play count and added it up. It is important to note at this point that while this may reflect the amount of time using my iPod (since '08) it does not include listening to The Strokes via vinyl, CDs, radio, my old iPod, my old computer, or friend's musical devices. That being said, here are my results:


222,837 seconds
3,713.95 minutes
61.89 hours
2.579 days


8,913,480 Blinks of an eye

11,141,850 Humming Wing beats

~ 928,48,750,000,000,000,000,000,000 Helium Half-Lives
(A Helium Half-Life = 2.4e-21 Seconds)

Do I regret any of that time or the time spent figuring this all out?  Not. one. second. 

*and one little gem by The Strokes & Regina Spektor called Post Modern Girls

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sheets by Damien Jurado

Sometimes when I listen to music, I picture a montage someone's life, experiences, emotions, loves, and losses running through my mind. Not all the time, and yes- this may sound extremely abnormal but hey, whatever man. Usually it isn't cohesive, and may not make sense but it is just the way I experience good music. This was most definitely the case when I heard the song "Sheets" by Damien Jurado (conveniently listed below).

I wanted to post the video/song first because I'm going to talk about my feelings.

It may not make sense, but basically this is how I envision this song. It's a Texas windswept range-land with black rocks jutting out like broken teeth from the hilly, sagebrush strewn and scorched earth.  In the distance an early afternoon rain storm sweeps in, though the sun continues to light the sky in a soft yellow and gray light that only magical afternoons can produce. The main character moves off of a ridge line and out of frame, probably a cowboy type character on a horse. Cut to some time later that day, he is in a little farm house, white washed and wood floored. The sky is a rolling sea of gray, but just enough light is let through to let him see a young woman in a white sundress. The clouds open up and the rain comes down hard and fast. Almost no sounds can be heard over the sound of the rain...

and THAT is what I thought when I heard this song.

Saw This, Loved This

"So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more dangerous to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun." — Chris McCandless 

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Freakin' Weekend

I'll admit it- I've never been much of a runner. The concept of becoming a runner has always been appealing to me but the dedication of it all is just a lot to handle. However, this last summer while hiking Mount ChirripĆ³ in Costa Rica I met a German Kick-boxer that ran the mountain in 8 hours (At some point I'm going to need to do a post about that hike). It sparked in me something that changed my idea about running and I instantly wanted to run an ultra marathon (the 50K version). When I got home, I started to train. In the past when I've started to run I always end up having my knees hurt or something so I decided to take it slow and the first step of my journey was completed this weekend in the form of the St. George Half Marathon...

After work on Friday I left my home with an old friend (Sonny) and headed for St. George, Utah which is about 260 miles away from my home. We planned on staying with a friend (Ryan) and I planned on going to bed at 11 or worst case scenario 11:30. 4:40 am rolls around and we are still up. Now at this point it is important to note that I hadn't really ran in about 2 weeks. Not ideal for running 13.1 miles. I was extremely nervous that I wouldn't be able to finish and consequently disappoint my ancestors, family, friends, etc.

In the end, I got about 3.5 hours of sleep. I woke up, get dressed, ate a bagel, and then walked outside to the rain that has been coming down all night. Luckily, I brought another shirt/jacket thing and threw that on. Ryan drove me to the Dixie Center (the start point). We left with about 30 minutes to spare, but I didn't anticipate the traffic so when we arrived 15 minutes before the start time, I jumped out of the car and took off. I didn't take my phone (because I knew that Ryan would just meet me back at the pre-determined location) and as I watched Ryan drive away, I realized that I left my music in the car. Talk about lame. It was raining, and now I didn't have any music.

When the announcer told everyone to line up, I felt my stomach jump a little. It was intimidating seeing all of these people that looked like runners line up around me. Once the race got underway, I settled into a pace time that was about 1 minute faster than I was planning on running. This made me nervous because I hadn't ever run a race this long and it only added to my fear of bonking midway through.

After the first mile, the rain had receded to a light drizzle or stopped all together, I couldn't really tell. After the first few miles, I was in my groove. After about the eigth mile, I way feeling like a pro. Then I caught up to an 11 year-old kid and it hit me, I felt like I was running like this-

But in reality, I was running a lot more like this-

It didn't matter though, I was still keeping a good pace time, and I figured that based on how I felt I would be able to complete the race for sure. As the miles wore on, I felt pretty good about it. Just after the 12th mile marker, I heard someone yell out, "TONIGHT'S THE NIGHT" ... silence... "MOZEL TOV" ... nothing... "I GOT A FEELING". I looked behind me to see a 60 year-old lady that couldn't have been taller than 5'2" running behind me. I couldn't help but smile as I ran, easily the best part of the race.

I ended up finishing in 2:03, which ended up being my PR- mostly due to the fact that it was my first race. Overall, it was a great experience and I can't wait to run my first marathon in April.

Monday, January 16, 2012

and so it begins...

Recently, a friend lent me a book called The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. I was apprehensive at first because even though I love to read, I wouldn't consider myself a fan of the romance genre. However, once I did start the book I found that some of the poems- and in general the way that the author describes the art of writing made quite the impression on me. So much so in fact, that I decided to start this blog about my impressions and experiences in life regardless of how mundane they may seem to others. Note: I do not consider myself to be a writer and my goal here isn't to do book reviews.

I wanted to pass along a few quotes from The History of Love that I found moving- also, I'm a hopeless romantic.

“She was gone, and all that was left was the space you'd grown around her, like a tree that grows around a fence. For a long time, it remained hollow. Years, maybe. And when at last it was filled again, you knew that the new love you felt for a woman would have been impossible without Alma. If it weren't for her, there would never have been an empty space, or the need to fill it.”

UGH Right? I loved this, and it probably has to do with the fact that I've been madly in love. I'm not talking about a passing fad. I mean the kind that you stay up late because you can't wait to start a lifetime of adventure with that someone. When in those tender moments between wakefulness and sleep, you feel your hearts beating as one, and somewhere deep inside you know that whatever faults you have can be absolved by her goodness. Unfortunately, it didn't work out. Fortunately, it didn't work out. In the words of The Avett Brothers, "... I'm a better man for having gone through it".

Another one from Nicole Krauss:

“Once upon a time, there was a boy. He lived in a village that no longer exists, in a house that no longer exists, on the edge of a field that no longer exists, where everything was discovered, and everything was possible. A stick could be a sword, a pebble could be a diamond, a tree, a castle. Once upon a time, there was a boy who lived in a house across the field, from a girl who no longer exists. They made up a thousand games. She was queen and he was king. In the autumn light her hair shone like a crown. They collected the world in small handfuls, and when the sky grew dark, and they parted with leaves in their hair.

Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering.” 

The way that she writes is so wonderful, the way that she describes love, falling into love, and the after effects thereof touched me in a way that has allowed me to see more about myself and yearn to share it.

I didn't mean for this to be mushy.