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.