Saturday, December 31, 2005

Brokeback Mountain

Tolkien Boy commented last night that he was thinking of writing a review of Brokeback Mountain, but concluded that if you're the type of person who's interested in seeing gay cowboy movies then you'll probably see it regardless of what he says, and if you're the type of person who isn't interested in seeing gay cowboy movies then you'll probably not see it regardless of what he says. Having said that, I'm going to review Brokeback Mountain. (Also keep in mind, I'm by no means an experienced or even decent film reviewer.)

Brokeback Mountain is a faithful adaptation of an Annie Proulx short story about Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) and Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal), who meet working in Wyoming as young sheepherders in 1963. Over the course of the summer spent alone on Brokeback Mountain, the two men develop a close friendship and one night, in a moment of passion, end up having sex. Each insists that he "ain't no queer," that this is a one-time thing. They part at the end of the summer and each of them gets married and has kids. Over the next twenty years they see each other infrequently, telling their wives that they're going on fishing trips while continuing their love affair. Only when it's too late to do anything about it do they realize that their relationship is more than a friendship, more even than a series of sexual encounters. In the end, because they've chosen neither their wives nor each other, they succeed only in hurting everyone involved.

Yes, I just told you the whole plot, but it's not the sort of movie you watch because you're in suspense about what happens next. You watch it because Ang Lee directed it, because of the beautiful Wyoming scenery (never thought I'd say those words together), and because each of the actors plays his part phenomenally--Heath Ledger as the silent, brooding rancher and Jake Gyllenhal as the high-energy rodeo cowboy. The supporting actors, Anne Hathaway and Michelle Williams, also do a great job. As I said above, the adaptation is very faithful to the source; the fact that it's a short story makes it easier to turn into a feature film without cutting out any elements of the original. The only changes I noticed were minor additions that, in my opinion, improved on the story. The character of Ennis Del Mar's daughter, for example, is developed much more than in the short story, and she adds an element of hope to an otherwise tragic story.

As a side note, be aware that if you're watching the movie in Utah, and I presume pretty much anywhere else, the audience is going to react strangely because they don't know how to deal with a gay movie that is neither camp nor porn. At an intensely tragic moment in the film when Alma Del Mar sees her husband making out with Jack Twist, the whole theater was rolling with laughter.

In case you're interested, there's a hugely amusing (though somewhat crude) review at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10342237/ .

Friday, December 30, 2005

By a Nose Hair

Hours of stress, reams of wasted paper because of formatting booboos, $95 for acpplication fees and $27.30 for postage later, I have guaranteed (according to the United States Postal Service) that my application to the University of Washington's English PhD program will arrive tomorrow by noon (two days before the deadline) and my application to the University of Hawai'i's English PhD program will arrive Sunday by noon (the day of the deadline). Now I just have to finish getting my application for UW's MLIS program ready by January 15th (and hopefully soon enough before then that I don't need to pay for express shipping again), and then if none of those three programs wants to give me money to go to their school, I'll apply to UH's MLIS program (whose deadline is April 15th).

(I love parentheses.)

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Wisdom at 3:54 am

S-Boogie has been sick. (It's either Tolkien Boy or Melyngoch's fault--we're not sure which.) She just got up and came into our room. I took her back into hers and rocked with her for a while. In that time, she shared with me the following observations:
  • Mommy is sleeping.
  • Her bear is hanging on the door handle (which is where it always hangs).
  • Her toes are inside her jammies.
  • Her bum is inside her jammies.
  • Her belly button is hiding inside her jammies.
  • Baby S-Boogie (referring to an enlarged black-and-white photo of herself as a baby) is making a funny face.
  • Baby S-Boogie is wearing Olivers (referring, I believe, to overalls, which Baby S-Boogie is indeed wearing).
  • Baby S-Boogie is in her carseat (I'm not sure whether this is true).
  • Her milk is in the closet (not true--I checked).
  • S-Boogie is tired.
  • Daddy is tired.

Monday, December 26, 2005

S-Boogie and the Vegas Dog

Last night Earth Sign Mama gathered up the family and took us carolling and cookie-delivering to the neighbors. They invited us in to say hi, and S-Boogie was delighted to discover that the neighbors had several yappy dogs. She shrieked and shrieked and shrieked. Then they showed her their humongous cat, which she was equally delighted with (sidenote: S-Boogie also loved Grandma's cat, but the kitty wasn't so fond of the little girl constantly chasing it, yelling, "Kitty cat! Eat your chicken!"). The neighbors asked if S-Boogie has any pets, to which I replied, "No, she doesn't like animals." They didn't buy it, but, being sensitive to my obvious disregard for our four-legged friends, Mr. Neighbor offered S-Boogie a stuffed dog instead. This is, however, no ordinary stuffed dog.

It is a Vegas Dog.

Sadly, Mrs. Neighbor came over this morning shortly after the above-linked video was shot and sheepishly explained that she collects Vegas Dogs and that her husband should not have given that one away. In exchange, she offered a ballerina bear that neither dances nor sings. S-Boogie, being her usual carefree self, thanked Mrs. Neighbor for the bear and waved bye-bye to Vegas Dog.

Foxy and I didn't mourn the passing of Vegas Dog too greatly.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Thankyous

Milob (mother-in-law of Master Fob, aka Earth Sign Mama) and Filob (father-in-law of Master Fob, aka Cool Guy):Silob (sister-in-law of Master Fob, aka Skyej):
Fob (father of Master Fob):
Sob (sister of Master Fob) #2:
Mob (mother of Master Fob):
Bob (brother of Master Fob, aka Svoid):
Wob (aka Foxy J):
And, lest we forget, the sneaky presents not wrapped or otherwise marked as presents but left discreetly at Milob and Filob's house for me to find:

Fob #2 Manifestation #3 (aka Tolkien Boy):
Fsilob (future son-in-law of Master Fob, aka the Big O):

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas from the Fobcave

Okay, we're not actually in the Fobcave. We're in the J Cave, I guess (have you noticed that Foxy J and her sister, SkyeJ, both have J as their surpseudonym? Coincidence? I think not).

But I still want to wish you a merry Christmas. Even if you're not going to read this until long after Christmas when you go back to school or work and are reading my blog instead of studying or working. I hope you have a great day with your loved ones. And I don't feel like getting cheesy at the moment, but let me just say that I think Jesus is cool and I'm glad he was born and lived and died and lives again. That is all.

Friday, December 23, 2005

W;t

I watched HBO's production of Margaret Edson's W;t again last night. I'd seen it once before and read the play, so I wasn't unfamiliar with it. This is the first time that I've figured out why I'm so strongly affected by it, though.

It's about an English professor, Vivian Bearing (played by the talented Emma Thompson), who is diagnosed with cancer and becomes a test subject for the residents at the university hospital. She's an expert in John Donne, so she's spent her life thinking about life and death from an intellectual standpoint, but now she's forced to look at it from a very personal point of view. For the first time in her life, she can't solve a problem by understanding the vocabulary, by analyzing, by using her wit. The thematic climax of the movie comes when an old professor of Vivian's visits her in the hospital (her first and only visitor), and while Vivian lies in bed, speechless and drooling, the elder professor reads to her from The Runaway Bunny. "Ah," the professor concludes (and I paraphrase), "how darling. A little allegory of the soul. Wherever it may hide, God will find it."

When I was seeing a counselor at the BYU Counseling Center last year, he pointed out that I'm great at verbalizing my thoughts about life and philosophizing with him about homosexuality and religion, but getting me to actually express any kind of emotion was like pulling teeth with his bare hands (sorry for the cliche simile--Tolkien Boy, help me out here). The problem is that whenever I feel anything, I don't know how to interpret it except through words, and when I use words I use logic, which means if I can't explain it then I don't know how to feel it. So when I have this hungry pit gnawing away at my insides, I ask myself "Why?" and either I come up with an answer and take care of the problem, or I don't have an answer and I tell myself to buck up and deal with life. This is quite useful for continuing to function as a librarian, teacher, husband, or father when I'd much rather curl up in a ball and hide from the world, but I'm not sure how healthy it is in the long run. Sometimes I secretly wish that I could get in an accident or come down with a hospitalizing illness or have something else horrible happen just so I can have a reason to stop forcing myself to function, to have something visible for people to gather around me and sympathize over. This is certainly not a rational desire, though, so I ignore it and keep going.

When I watch Vivian Bearing forced to stop thinking and just feel, even though that feeling is excruciating pain, I'm jealous of her. When I read the play and both times I've watched it I've ended up on the verge of crying. I don't cry--even when my brother-in-law died, it took me two days to actually cry--but I get really close. My gut crawls up toward my throat, which twists and tightens and makes my mouth dry up and my eyelids quiver. It's not an entirely logical reaction, but that's okay, I think.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Christmas Letter Preview



Dear Fobs fans,

Welcome to Season 5 of The Fobs. What you are looking at is a very special limited edition virtual boxed set of America's other favorite family. This set, collecting all 24 episodes of the best Fobs season yet, is jam-packed with special features: hear Fobs creators Master Fob and Foxy J comment on the making of each episode; watch outtakes from S-Boogie's second birthday party at the Scera Pool; and view the entire season in English, Spanish, or Swahili! Here are some of the highlights of Season 5:

"The Graduate" (FB050422): Master Fob graduates from BYU with an MA in English. Family and friends get together for a party. Hilarity ensues.

"Hawaii 0-5" (FB050427): The Fobs fly to Hawaii to visit Master Fob's family. S-Boogie loves swimming at the beach. Hilarity ensues.

"Powell Rangers" (FB050604): The Fobs spend a weekend with Master Fob's dad and siblings on a houseboat on Lake Powell. S-Boogie likes the water. Hilarity ensues.

"In-N-Out" (FB050813): In a special crossover episode, the Fobs visit the Thmazings in San Francisco. S-Boogie and the Big O play together. Cuteness ensues.

"Master Fob the Professor" (FB050829): Without even an interview, Master Fob gets a job teaching English 1010 at Utah Valley State College. He loves it. Financial solvency ensues.

"Master Fob the Writer" (FB050910): Master Fob's first official (i.e. paid) publication, a pair of personal essays in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, comes out. Controversy ensues.

"Three People and a Baby" (FB051013): Foxy J takes a pregnancy test and passes with flying colors. (Actually, two pink lines.) Nausea ensues.

"Vegas Vacation" (FB051219): The Fobs and friends spend Christmas with Foxy J's family in Las Vegas. We don't know what ensues, because the trip hasn't happened yet at the time of this writing. [EDITOR'S NOTE: The trip is happening at the time of this writing, the online edition.]

We hope you enjoy the show! Coming next season: Will Foxy J finish her last classes before the baby arrives? Will Master Fob get accepted to the English PhD or Master's of Library Science programs he's applied to? Will the Fobs move to Hawaii or Washington? Will S-Boogie learn to clean up her toys? Stay tuned to find out.

Love and Aloha,

Master Fob, Foxy J, S-Boogie, and Baby Fob


Deleted Scenes:




Photos by Skyej

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Best Friends

When I was twelve, my mom and sister and I moved into a different part of Honolulu than we had been living in. When one of the kids from church who had been dragged by his father to help us move in noticed I had several boxes marked "Lego," he recognized immediately and informed me that we would be great friends. Dandypratt and I did, in fact, become fast friends. There was only one problem: he already had a best friend. Dandy didn't seem to see anything wrong with having two best friends, but it seriously bothered me. I tried hard to be friends with the other best friend, and he was a decent enough fellow, but I couldn't help feeling threatened. I wanted to be the one and only best friend--doesn't the term "best" inherently imply that there can only be one? As it turned out, it was only a few months before the other best friend moved back to New Zealand, leaving me as Dandypratt's only best friend for the next six years. I felt guilty even then for being so pleased with this fact.

When I came to college in Utah and Dandy stayed back in Hawaii, it came time for a new best friend (Dandy remained my long distance best friend for a long time, but one needs a local best friend in college in order to go on double dates and hang out at girls' apartments). Fabio, the resident assistant on my floor in the dorms, filled the role. Fabio had served a mission in Hawaii so we had that connection, and he was also a bit on the geeky side, which meant that (a) I could hang out with him without violating my social boundaries, and (b) I didn't find him as threatening as less geeky guys. We quickly became best friends, but it wasn't long before I realized he had another best friend, a less geeky guy who (a) existed on a different social sphere than me, and (b) intimidated me. I only felt a little guilty for being happy when Fabio stopped hanging out with the other best friend because he (Fabio) had started dating (and eventually married) the other guy's ex-girlfriend.

The interesting thing is that I don't require this level of exclusivity of myself. I currently have two best friends*. They've met, in fact, and don't appear to hate each other, which is nice. I'm glad my friends aren't as neurotic as I am. I'll do my best to return the favor.


*I don't include Foxy J in this number because the title "wife," while including all the importance, rights, and privileges of "best friend," means a lot more. Suffice it to say that Foxy is, among other things, my closest friend.

The Good Life


As may be evident from the posts below, I've spent the last couple days with some of my favorite people in the world. Add to that the Blog Party last week, where others of my (old and new) favorite people came to the Fobcave, and the rest of this week which will be spent with other favorites (Foxy's family), and next week when I'll see more favorites at Queen Zippergut's wedding on Tuesday and then at Fob on Thursday, and you can see my life is good.

Who? What? When? Where? Why?

Master Fob and Foxy J
saved the children
on the fifth day of the seventh month of the year of the howling monkey
in your pants
because Foxy J's uterus fell out.

Andre 3000
tiptoed through the tulips
when the stars fell from the sky and the sun burned out
on a mountain high, near the clear blue sky
because, just like me, the end of the story looks better in a Speedo.

King Kong
broke
before the Earth and Moon collided
in the place between dreaming and waking
because who doesn't like merengue?

The David
decorated the Christmas tree
during the War of 1812, or maybe it was the Korean War, or maybe it was just the finals of American Idol
under a rainbow-colored sky
because sometimes less is more.

Share Bear
lunging
during Ramadan
under the futon
because there was no toilet paper in the bathroom.

The Big O
erected a block tower
in the middle of some pagan brouhaha
behind the Port-a-Potty behind the Monte Carlo
because what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

The Little Drummer Boy
masticulated [sic]
last night
in the bathroom of the Bellagio
because the devil made him do it.

Melyngoch and Roth
juxtapose inappropriate movie quotations
during the Spring Equinox
in the swimming pool
because no matter how you look at it, fish just aren't that tasty compared to snowflakes and candy canes.

Bigfoot
conquered the world with love
after a late supper
in the pool
because the monkeys were restless.

The fish that was Melyngoch in 1902
licks toe hair
when the days were accomplished
beyond the Swamp of Doom, in the Dark Tower of Morbid Death, on the planet Zizufryxx
because he needed to deliver a very important package to a very special girl.

Tolkien Boy, who wasn't foreign to those parts,
kicked the bucket
during the Norman invasion
inside a tent made out of Saran wrap
because God has a purpose, not a plan.

What if?

Q: What if Tolkien Boy and Melyngoch produced a love child who grew up to conquer the world?

A: Then all the men in the audience would confirm Master Fob's suspicion and become gay.

Q: What if Tolkien Boy got a job dancing in the show at Bally's?

A: Then Fob Reunion 2025 will have to be African-themed.

Q: What if S-Boogie and the Big O get married and live in Madagascar some day?

A: Then maybe TB and Melyngoch shouldn't have a child after all.

Q: What if we're all robot clones of our former selves?

A: Then Melyngoch would, for the second time in history, have nothing left to say.

Q: What if Fob (official and honorary) were to give up your mom jokes forever?

A: Then her baby would die, and that would be tragic.

Q: What if Foxy J's uterus fell out?

A: Then, perhaps, we could be translated like the City of Enoch.

Q: What if Fob became a communal society?

A: Then they would have to reduce his allowance by the same amount.

Q: What if Th. and Lady Steed had a child named Maximillion, but the nurse got confused and named him Maxithousand?

A: Then they might end up on one of those annoying inspirational billboards.

Q: What if the Fobs attempted Everest as sesquecentarians?

A: Then we would know that everyone in this house is among God's chosen people.

Q: What if both California and Utah were struck by an 8.0 earthquake tonight at three am?

A: WHO TOLD YOU???

Q: What if Th. were a spy sent from the planet Thmars to prepare Earth for an invasion?

A: Then writing would give way to school bus zombies.

Q: What if Master Fob became Master Shake?

A: Then he would have to go on a national tour and get beverage companies for sponsors.

Q: What if Foxy J named her child Fobapalooza while Master Fob wasn't watching?

A: Humankind would change forever.

Q: What if... Melyngoch... and a pumpkin... and a trout... met up and... you know?

A: MADD would form a secondary group: MAFOB.

Q: What if FOB was the basis of a Vegas revue?

A: Then we would know where the wrath of God will strike.

Q: What if the Church bought the Las Vegas Strip?

A: Then it would be purpler on the other side.

Q: What if grass were purple?

A: Then the world is not very strong.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Live from Las Vegas--Fob!

.

Theric: About three hours ago I drove into Las Vegas and was graced with more shots of naked breasts than I recall from prior drive-throughs. This proved to a poor omen as within about fifteen minutes what I actually found in Vegas was some fellow fobsters (fully clothed).


Melyngoch: Of course, when th. says "fully clothed" what he means is "half-naked," but to his breast-innundated eyes, I suppose we were close enough to clothed for his purposes. (He has not yet told us what his purposes are.) In the Bellagio, you can buy coloring books that have a lot of penises in them. (The plural might be "pene".)


Tolkien Boy: As this is my first experience being on the strip, I had to work hard not to look like a gawking tourist (as a side note, we've realized that a pun of Melyngoch's name is Melon Gawk. As she points out, "Time flies when you're making puns"). The trouble was my experience with naked women has been limited to watching Manon of the Spring in high school and an unfortunate incident involving my cousin. In my attempt to be blase about it all, I'm afraid I made a number of gaffes. A naked woman approached me and asked me if I had the time, and I, blushing, replied, "It's 12:30 am in Utah."

Okay, that didn't really happen, but it's the sort of thing that could happen here in the City of Lights. And I have every intention of letting it happen, so that Melyngoch can kick said naked woman in the shins (my long experience in soccer has taught me that naked shins sting when they're kicked).

Foxy J: Well, they call it the "strip" for a reason. Unfortunately, no one wanted to stop at any of the wedding chapels we passed on our way back to my parents' humble abode last night. I still think that one of my favorite moments of the evening was when my mother invited Melyngoch and TB to "get cozy" in the single bed because she did not realize that they weren't married. The slogan does say that "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" but I'm afraid that this entire post violates that agreement.


Theric: I just came up with a great idea for next year's bad Christmas movie: Undercover Santa--however, I realize that in the context of this post, the particulars of this film may be miscontrued in such a way as to render it family-friendly no more.

As for stuff staying in Vegas, the can keep it for all I care. A pox on you and your pleasures of the world!


Melyngoch: Suffice it to say that I would have kicked more than the naked woman's shins, given the chance and the reason. (Incidentally, Master Fob just walked in and announced that he will not be contributing to this post, so we all feel much freer to say what we really think of him, without danger of rebuttal. At least, in the same post.) Also, I wanted to stop at the wedding chapels, but FoxyJ totally rejected me. Fortunately, TB was there for the rebound, and our elopement was solemnized some time last night after the fifth or sixth shot of Absolut.

Other than propositioning Tolkien Boy via FJ's mother, my favorite part of Vegas so far has been getting lost in the industrial waistland and climbing over police fencecs in the mysterious parking lots on the wrong side of the Monte Carlo.

Tolkien Boy: I decided that I wanted to get to know the real Las Vegas, so this morning while the house slept I took a walk. I saw so much of Vegas I actually travelled all the way out of the city. Climbing the hills behind the town, I discovered a grave, a capuccino machine, and someone's discarded wife-beater (before Melyngoch asks, no, I did not try it on). And that, I assume, is what the real Las Vegas is all about.

Oh, and apparently the police don't like you discovering the real Las Vegas. I was trying to reconstruct the capuccino machine that sat at the summit of the mountain I was on, and a police helicopter came by and made menacing motions in the air (by this I mean circling me and then spraying the ground around me with machine-gun bullets). I can see why they'd want to protect the secret of Las Vegas - discarded wife-beaters are dangerous commodities in the modern world.


Theric: I remember the last time I was shot at in Vegas and it had nothing to do with those things which Tolkers has so euphemistically referred to. In fact, it had less to do with mountain tops than gutters and more to do with bus benches than weddings. Which is one long way of saying that before we all leave, Master Fob will be dead. There is a reason he "decided" not to post here. But I shall not "reveal" it.


Melyngoch: S-boogie would like to say "Hello," if "Wooby wooby hee?" means "hello". Master Fob would like to say -- oh, just kidding, I forgot, he's -- um. Out. Yes.


Lady Steed: I have been busy trying to get the children to go down for a nap, so I am not quite sure how it is that Master Fob became or is to become dead. My alibi is sound, I have no doing in this knocking off of Master Fob, that is certainly not why th. and I sped down here to Vegas. We certainly did not bring my meat cleaver with us...


Tolkien Boy: Melyngoch just realized that Master Fob is out, which is a good indication that she's not keeping up with his blog.

Today we sat in the hot tub of Foxy J's sire and dam. I give you this short ode:

I sit here in the hot tub
far whiter than the moon
but soon the change will be complete
I will be a prune.


I must admit that my poetic ability has suffered somewhat since my ride with Melyngoch. She got so angry with my constant poeticising she said, "I'm going to hit you so hard you'll never have children; so hard that, even if you were able to have children, your children would never have children."

Foxy J: And so we leave you from the neon splendor of Las Vegas. Watch for our next series of crazy adventures--perhaps we will visit Disneyland, or The World's Largest Prarie Dog.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Master Fob's Theory

I have long suspected that, in fact, everyone is gay. 95% of the world's population, though, stays in the closet because they assume everyone else is straight and don't want to be in the minority. This theory seems more and more likely to me all the time.


On a completely unrelated note, loyal fobs, don't forget to come out to the party on Saturday.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Oat Clusters with Bacon

This week I'm eating Western Family Oat Clusters with Strawberries for breakfast. It's the generic version of Honey Bunches of Oats with Strawberries, which I really like. (I'll let you figure out which part of the main clause the dependent clause modifies.) The Oat Clusters are not bad, really, except this morning I noticed that one of the slices of freeze-dried strawberry, with it's white body and pinkish red trim, looks a lot like bacon.

If you're looking for a point to this post, there's not one. Except that if you come to the party on Saturday, we just might serve Oat Clusters with Bacon.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The G Word

Tonight I went to David Sedaris' The Santaland Diaries at the Salt Lake County Performing Arts Center with my brother and his friend's wife (a setup only slightly more awkward in theory than the time Svoid and I took Melyngoch as our shared non-date to a play because Foxy J had to stay home with a sick S-Boogie, but really neither situation was awkward in practice).

The Santaland Diaries is a one-man show about a guy who gets a job as an elf at Macy's in New York. It's quite amusing, and has a nice quasi-heartwarming moment at the end to temper the cynical sarcasm of the rest of the play.

At one point in the play the elf mentions that one of the other elves he works with is cute, and that he enjoys flirting with him. This is really all you get to tell you that the character is gay--my even mentioning it is making a bigger deal about it than the play does, and I feel like I'm violating the point of such a low-key representation of homosexuality, and my own stance on the matter, by doing so. But I'm getting to a point, and it's that I really like the approach the play takes. The character is gay, and once he establishes that, the audience is aware of it, but it's not at all the point of the play. It just is.

One of the major points of "Getting Out" (see sidebar if you have no idea what I'm referring to) was that I feel that, regardless of one's religious/moral stance on homosexuality, it should be something we can talk about without making a big deal about it. A guy should be allowed to casually mention that he finds another guy attractive.

The problem with this is that there tend to be two extremes: either I'm not going to mention homosexuality at all because it's a dirty secret I have to hide from the world, or I'm going to run around yelling in people's faces, "I'm gay! I'm gay! Ha ha, pooh on you, I'm gay!" In my attempt to avoid the former, I have been accused of the latter. I don't think the accusation was justified, and I told the accuser so, but still I'm concerned because I recognize that it's easy to jump from one extreme to the other.

Here's the thing: Your average straight man doesn't run around yelling, "I'm straight! I'm straight!" (and if he does you can be 98% sure he's not). But, in the course of his everyday conversations, he mentions the girl he's attracted to, or he mentions his wife, or he mentions the dream he had last night about Katie Holmes. Not because he needs to affirm that he is straight, or to rub it in your face, but just because those things are part of who he is. This is why I like the approach Santaland Diaries takes. The character doesn't say, "Look at me, I'm gay"; he just mentions a part of his everyday life that happens to reveal his sexuality as part of who he is. I don't expect anyone to put up with gay people shoving their homosexuality in one's face, but I do think that a gay man should be able to mention, in the course of his everyday conversation, the guy he's attracted to, or his husband, or the dream he had last night about Christian Bale.

This puts me in a strange situation. The fact that I am gay is an integral part of my identity. I am aware of this, either consciously or subconsciously, for a large portion of my day. I claim my right to talk about this part of who I am. At the same time, though, I'm not going to talk about my husband because I happen to have a wife, and I'm not going to talk extensively about the guy I'm attracted to or the dream I had last night about Christian Bale because to do so, I think, would be disrespectful of my wife. Just as any wife, she's aware that I'm attracted to people besides her, but it wouldn't do much for our relationship for me to spend a lot of time talking about who has a cute butt and who has a sexy chest. Which means that, if I choose to talk about the part of my identity that has to do with my attraction to men, I can say, "I am gay." And that's it. And who knows? Maybe by choosing to marry a woman I've given up that right. Maybe I should listen to the people who think I'm an asshole for publishing "Getting Out" and say nothing at all. (Though it's a bit late for that now, and to be honest I have not a single regret about publishing it; I'm just entertaining the possibility that they're right in order to appear openminded.)

Just to be absolutely clear, I'm not complaining. I chose to marry Foxy J because it felt right at the time and I have chosen to stay married to her because it still feels right and because I have weighed my options and decided that this is the choice that will make me and the people I love happiest. And, lest anyone give me a hard time for not stating something I find obvious, I am married to Foxy J because I love her.

I just want you to know that if I seem like I use the G word excessively, it's not that I don't think there are more tactful ways of affirming one's sexual identity, but because I don't think there's a more tactful way for me to affirm my sexual identity.


(And don't forget to come to the party, which has been changed to next Saturday.)

The NEW Blog Party II

Attention, loyal readers:

You are hereby invited to Master and Mistress Fob's second blog party, to be held on Saturday, December 17, 2005 at 7:00 pm at the Fobcave. Dinner will be provided by us. Holiday treats will be provided by you. Entertainment will be provided by S-Boogie. RSVP in the comments section.

Contrary to my previous post, Fob will not be held the same evening as the party, but if you really want us to we will demonstrate the world famous fob-paper-scissors match. And, in lieu of fobbing, I invite attendees to bring and present a piece of holiday poetry (any holiday will do--Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, Atheists Day...). Even if you aren't a poet. But especially if you are, and especially especially if you are a poet known for your public poetry reading skills.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Blog Party II: Fobs United

NOTE: This post is preserved solely for historical purposes. The information in it is entirely inaccurate. Except for the fact that Melyngoch did in fact say six short weeks, not six short weeks and two days.

Attention, loyal readers:

You are hereby invited to Master and Mistress Fob's second blog party, to be held on Thursday, December 15, 2005 at 6:15 pm at the Fobcave. Dinner will be provided by us. Holiday treats will be provided by you. Entertainment will be provided by S-Boogie. RSVP in the comments section.

As per Melyngoch's request, this blog party will be held exactly six short weeks after the last one, and we will honor the day of her birth, which occurred a short twenty-four years and three days before this blog party. I haven't, you know, actually checked with her, but she darn well better be back from Indiana in time to be here.

At 9:15 on this same Thursday night, the next meeting of the world-famous Fob writing group will be held, also in the Fobcave. Depending on how nice you are to Tolkien Boy, editorgirl, and the Marchioness, they just might let you stay to observe the excitement of the rock-paper-scissors match, the thrill of the your mom jokes, and the unending wit and talent of our writing. Or maybe not. I haven't really checked with them, either.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Vote 2005

English PhD or Master's of Library and Information Science?

Regression

Once upon a time, I blogged to avoid real writing. Now I browse Amazon, eBay, and iTunes in order to avoid blogging. Well, not to avoid it so much as to waste time while I'm trying to think of something to post.

Friday, December 02, 2005

FOB

Multiple choice:

a. Fob stands for truth, justice, and the American way.

b. Fob: "v. (to fob) to endure multiple hours of 'your mom' jokes" [definition provided by editorgirl]

c. Fob: v. (to fob) to critique others' writing and to have one's own writing critiqued in the Fob writing group

d. Fob: an all-purpose word--can be a noun, verb, adjective, adverb, or, occasionally, a preposition--used to mean just about anything, much like smurf. For example, "It's a fobby day, isn't it, Papa Fob?" or "No fobbing way!" or "Fob over here right now, before I fob you in the fob."

e. Fob: a prefix used to describe all things pertaining to Master Fob, i.e. the Fobcave, the Fobmobile, the Fobarang, and the FobtoothbrushTM.

f. Fob: The Friends of Master Fob, a term referring specifically to the elite group of writers who are currently or ever have been in Master Fob's writing group and generally to anyone who professes amicable feelings toward the master of fobbiness. A brief history of Fob (pre-eg & Marchioness) can be found in this longish post.

g. all of the above

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Please Schedule Your Protest With the Dean of Students

From BYU's Newsnet:

University Police were called to disband a dozen students protesting the Iraq war, Wednesday, during a Student Honor Association-sponsored activity honoring the military.

[...]

Associate Dean of Students Jonathan Kau arrived at the request of the Student Association to tell the demonstrators to disband because they were imposing their dialogue on others.

“They didn’t have the right to be there,” Kau said. “They were detracting from the ROTC and honors group. It was never intended to shut them down just for the protest’s sake but more because they were disrupting the legitimately scheduled event.”

[...]

“Their cause was important enough that they didn’t have to follow the rules,” Kau said. “That doesn’t justify it in our minds.”

University policy requires permission from the Dean of Students for all events of public expression. According the Dean of Students Web site, “Brigham Young University encourages responsible non-disruptive public expressions as part of its intellectual climate.”

If I were still a student I'd be tempted to contact the Dean of Students and schedule a war protest.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Rice Krispie Treats

are fortified with 10 essential vitamins and minerals. And I'm sure they're low in fat. And they're mm mmm good. Which is why I feel absolutely no guilt over the fact that Foxy J and I (mostly the I part) will likely have finished a full pan within 48 hours of its making.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Another Way to Waste Time...

The Dante's Inferno Test has sent you to Purgatory!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
LevelScore
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very High
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)High
Level 2 (Lustful)Low
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Low
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Very Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Very Low
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very Low
Level 7 (Violent)Low
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)Moderate
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Low

Take the Dante's Divine Comedy Inferno Test

Monday, November 28, 2005

Too Many Master Fobs


Edgy Killer Bunny's post tonight resonates with the post that's been forming in my head for the past couple days. On Saturday when I was trying to grade papers and S-Boogie wanted attention and Foxy J needed to do homework and my sister wanted us to come over to help watch her daughter while she worked on a family photo project and as always the twin shadows of the approaching deadline for the Delacorte First Young Adult Novel contest and my crappy not-even-close-to-ready-to-enter-in-the-contest book hung over my head and really I just wanted to curl up in a ball and hide from the world, I realized something: I am trying to be too many people. I simply don't have the time to be a husband and father and brother and friend and librarian and teacher and writer (and blogger, if I'm honest). Well, I probably do have time to be all those things, but I don't have the time to be them well. I often feel lately like I'm doing a half-baked job of everything. And that's really frustrating, because I know I can be an excellent husband, father, librarian, etc., if I just put the effort into it.

The other problem is that if I fulfill all my roles that relate to other people (i.e. Foxy's husband, S-Boog's father, my students' teacher) I end up sacrificing the role that's just me for me. And, let's be honest--I'm not going to paint myself as some martyr here--I have never done that and I probably never will. A large part of the reason that I was so stressed to get things done this weekend is because I had wasted a lot of time downloading music and reading comic books and tracking down the latest rumors about Ms. Hill (yes, I managed to download music even while our internet was down; I am a determined time-waster).

At any rate, since I had this epiphany I've been trying to figure out what can go. In the first place, I don't want to give up any of my roles. On top of the fact that I don't want to give them up, all of my familial relationships carry with them a certain sense of responsibility and moral duty. I'm not about to give any of those up. Similarly, I don't teach or librarianate just for the hell of it--each of those pays for our roof and our food and S-Boogie's monthly bottle of Singulair (by the way, JB, yes, Boogs has asthma). I suppose no one's paying me to be their friend (though now that I mention it, that is an idea), but I'm not going to give up that role either.

I'm this close (picture my fingers really close together) to concluding that the writer has to go. It certainly doesn't make me any money. Well, that isn't true. Dialogue gave me a nice little check. But I think that paid for the trip to California we took a month or two before I got the check. And I haven't written anything worthwhile in a few months. I have a pretty decent rough draft of a novel I plan to submit to Deseret Book one of these days, but before I do that I'll need to revise it. And before I revise it I'll have to finish revising the other book I want to submit to Delacorte. And, even assuming that doing a good job of revising is within my capabilities (and I have yet to prove that), I can't do any serious revising until after I'm done husbanding and fathering and brothering and friending and teaching and librarianating. And let's not forget that important task of chasing down L-Boogie rumors.

Alas, I don't think I can give up writing. Even if I do a crappy job of it, it's one thing I do for me and we've already established that I'm too selfish to give up any of those things.

And, apparently, blogging counts as writing.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

I am thankful for:

  • the library across the street from my home, which has several computers with working internet access, and which I happen to have a key to, allowing me a 24/7 connection to the outside world during our weeklong banishment from the web by our service providers
  • my sister’s cell phone, which has made it possible for us to sit on hold with MStar for hours at a time during said (still going) banishment, which, since we switched to fiber optic internet and phone service a few weeks ago, also means our phones aren’t working
  • the cell phone MStar loaned us last night, in order to make it through the long weekend, in which fiber optic repairmen won’t be working, without continuing to use up my sister’s minutes
  • modern technology
  • the fact that we have nearly reached the out-of-pocket maximum for S-Boogie this year, meaning that if her current congestion leads to (another) hospital visit, we’ll only have to pay about a hundred dollars
  • the nebulizer the insurance company gave us a few months ago, which may prevent said hospital visit
  • the sweet deals I found at DI yesterday—a brown retro polyester Lee jacket for $4, a long-sleeve striped Gap dress shirt for $5, and some brand-new-looking brown wool flat-front dress slacks for $5
  • my employer, who gave me a nice holiday bonus this week, which will help me pay off the student loans I foolishly acquired while in school (it won’t make that much of a dent, to be honest, but still I’ll be that much closer)
  • my wonderful friends and family, all of whom I will not name here, except
  • my brother, Svoid, who is preparing a yummy Thanksgiving dinner for the family as I write this
  • my wife, Foxy J, who made two yummy pies—pumpkin and chocolate pecan—last night, to be devoured later today
  • my daughter, S-Boogie, who reminds me every morning that I need to wake up, put on my glasses and my watch, eat breakfast and take a shower (who knows what I’d do if she didn’t tell me what to do)

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Who Knew Chain Blogging Would Take Over The World?

Courtesy of Mandi:

2 names you go by: Master Fob; Slappy White

2 parts of your heritage: Irish (hence the black hair); Danish (mmm... Danish...)

2 things that scare you: heights; chainsaw-wielding maniacs

2 things you are wearing right now: n/a

2 of your favorite bands or musical artists (at the moment): Michael Franti & Spearhead; Common (you thought I was going to say Lauryn Hill, didn't you?)

2 favorite songs (at the moment): "Love of My Life (An Ode to Hip Hop)" by Erykah Badu and Common; "The Last Trumpet" by Lyrics Born and Lateef the Truthspeaker

2 things you want in a relationship (other than real love): intelligent conversation; lots of "your mom" jokes (and no, the two aren't mutually exclusive)

2 truths: I have a birthmark right below my rear that everyone on the swim team in high school made fun of; my hair isn't really black

2 physical things that appeal to you (in the opposite sex): shiny fingernails; long, dark eyelashes

2 of your favorite hobbies: reading comic books; listening to snooty underground hip hop

2 things you want really badly: to publish everything I've ever written and ever will write; your mom

2 places you want to go on vacation: England; a cruise (anywhere)

2 things you want to do before you die: live the rest of my life; hm, that about covers it

2 ways that you are stereotypically a dude/chick: well, I'm not a dude/chick, and I'm not sure what one is like, stereotypically (confused?), but I am stereotypically a dude in my inability to talk (in person, as opposed to in writing) about my feelings and (this one contributed by Foxy J) my aversion to housecleaning (in my defense, however, I do wash the dishes as much or more than Foxy)

2 things you are thinking about now: the last question; the next question

2 stores you shop at: Target; Media Play

2 people you would like to see take the quiz? Foxy J; Svoid (keeping it in the fam)

Friday, November 11, 2005

Nine Reasons I Love Foxy J
(not necessarily the top nine)

1. She has cool links on her blog's sidebar.
2. Even though she pretends she doesn't like my music, she knows off the top of her head that "First in Flight" by Blackalicious is a good example of African signifying and she volunteered to do a presentation in her Spanish class on hip-hop music and the signifying monkey.
3. She saves me many trips to the dictionary by knowing the spelling and definition of every word in the English language. And 86.2% of the words in the Spanish language.
4. She used to kick cerebral ass in College Bowl alongside Ken Jennings, before BYU cut the funding (presumably in favor of their oh-so-much-more successful football team), and now she's got S-Boogie asking to watch "Jeppy" every night before bedtime (even on the nights Jeopardy isn't on).
5. She likes my friends (and the feeling appears to be mutual).
6. Her parents are the coolest pseudo-hippie biker intellectual Mormons I know.
7. She has been 100% supportive of me publishing "Getting Out" and "Staying In," where a lot of wives might not have been so comfortable with the idea. (Someday she'll revise and publish her version of "Staying In.")
8. Her eggs, when fertilized and incubated properly, grow into beautiful and intelligent children (at least so far).
9. She talks to God and listens when he talks to her.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Letter Betwee M ad O

There's a letter o my keyboard that does't work lately. You have to press it really hard to make it work, ad more ofte tha ot that requires goig back ad retypig a word or a etire setece because I do't otice util a while later that it did't make it oto the scree. It's a big pai, really. I've cosidered simply droppig the letter from my repertoire, but the problem is that the ctrl ad shift keys are o the way out too. This may or may ot have somethig to do with the little perso who bags her fists o the keyboard o a daily basis.



...I fid it hugely iroic that while typig this post That Key has bee workig just fie ad I've had to delete the letter as I go i order to preserve the gag.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Digitized

The editor of Dialogue has just informed me that my two essays, as well as the two essays responding to my first one, are available online. They put it up in response to Ron Schow's request to post it on his website on resources for gay Mormons (whose link is not working today but it was working yesterday so presumably it will work again).

I should close this post with a clever line or a pithy word of wisdom, but I'm drawing a blank. Ideas?

Monday, November 07, 2005

Dilemma

There is a dilemma inherent in having a propensity to be self-indulgent in everything one writes, particularly on a public blog, and having a propensity to be self-conscious in everything one does, particularly on a public blog.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Blogging in My Head

I find myself lately writing blog posts in my head. As I help a difficult patron or teach a well-prepared class, I narrate the occasion as I intend to write it later on my blog. I always have many humorous and introspective things to say, and humorous and introspective ways to say them in. The problem is that, if I ever do write the post, I forget all those wonderful bits of blogging epiphany and end up with a much watered-down version of what all of you would surely find a life-changing post if it ever made it to the screen in its pure Adamic state.

And then sometimes I just plain forget to include all the parts of the story I set out to tell. Case in point:

I forgot to tell you the most amazing thing about the blog party. It was when Bawb pointed out that when S-Boogie says "brake" meaning "grape," she is switching the bilabial (b/p) and the velar (k/g), but she is preserving the voicedness of the initial consonant and the voicelessness of the second. There is logic to her babble!

If no one else appreciates this, I know Melyngoch will.

A Fobby Day

Yesterday I saw each of the current members of the Friends of Master Fob (FOB) writing group, individually. This was good because it gave me a chance to conduct PFIs--Personal Fobhood Interviews--in which I ensured that each of them is living up to high fobworthy standards of conduct.

First I spent a large portion of the day working with Jane Austen at the library. I gave her a hard time about disagreeing with everything Lunkwill said at the party the other night, but I'm not very good at giving people a hard time because inevitably they will say, "I'm not all that bad, am I?" to which I will have to honestly say, "No," because if they really were all that bad I wouldn't say anything in the first place. A better hard time giver would carry the joking remonstrance to the point of tears if necessary. Alas, I am a softie.

After work I was supposed to go to the gym with Tolkien Boy, but thanks to emergency homework on TB's part and several Utah Disaster Kleenup trucks blocking the entrance to the athletic building on my part, that plan was changed. Instead TB came to dinner at Sonic with me and Foxy J. I had a jalapeno Super Sonic burger and onion rings. It was yummy. TB and I exchanged "your mom" jokes, which is about all we would have done at the gym anyway.

Then Editorgirl treated Foxy and me, as well as a couple other FOEGs, to a Divine Comedy show. In the spirit of the PFI, EG informed me that Fob has not nearly lived up to the level of "your mom" jokes and general offensiveness she had been promised before joining. We'll do our best to remedy that situation this Thursday, I promise (as you can see, TB and I have been practicing). I considered writing an Ode to Editorgirl to post in gratitude for the delightful show, but I'm not a good enough poet to even write humorously bad poetry. I assume she'll post a review on her blog so I won't attempt one here, but I will say that my favorite skits were "Freshman Nights" (in which a BYU student and her missionary boyfriend tell their friends/companions about their freshman fling) and "Medieval Girl" (in which a member of BYU's medieval club sings about living in a modern world as a medieval girl).

Friday, November 04, 2005

The Party


A report for those of you who couldn't make it (but were waiting outside in your bright orange shirts) and, for those of you who did make it, a chance to relive the memories (oh, the memories):

The party was sponsered by Costco--frozen taquitos, frozen mozarella sticks, frozen jalapeno poppers, frozen shrimp, veggies & dip, grapes, and juice. Foxy J, thankfully, unfroze everything before people got here. She also made an incredible chocolate cake (not frozen).

Editorgirl was the first to arrive. Then Tolkien Boy, and then Brozy and Bawb. The eating commenced. We discussed such things as the origins of various noms de blog. Jessica Benet and Lunkwill arrived, and I met them for the first time. They are, by the way, fobulous people. JB brought chocolate chip rum extract cookies. They were yummy.

Then the doorbell rang and I opened it for what must have been something like the moment Lauryn Hill walked on stage for the first time in three years for her MTV Unplugged performance: Queen Zippergut, who had not been seen by anyone except her English lover in at least three months, was standing there. (Someday Th., QZ, and I--the three OOFs [original official fobs]--will be in the same place at the same time and it will be like when the Fugees performed together for the first time in seven years at Dave Chapelle's block party.) Her Majesty, of course, was the life of the party, delighting us all with stories of her European conquest and pending wedding extravaganza.

Editorgirl left shortly after QZ arrived, presumably because she feared that reality might fold in on itself if the two of them occupied the same place at the same time, even though I assured EG that she had replaced Melyngoch, not QZ, as an official Fob and therefore had no need to worry. Jane Austen, who did take QZ's official fobby place, showed up after finishing a presentation on her namesake at the library, but thankfully the fabric of the time-space continuum survived Jane and the Queen's co-presence in the Fobcave for the rest of the evening. Someday we'll have to get Tolkien Boy and Th. together and see how the universe holds up. (Sorry if none of this has made any sense to you. I'm self-indulging, I know.)

At any rate, S-Boogie was entertaining as usual. The evening was filled with laughter, sexual innuendo, "your mom" jokes, Simpsons references, and friendly philosophical/religious/political debate, enlivened by the fact that Jane disagreed with literally everything that Lunkwill said.

Thanks everyone for coming and/or for waiting outside in orange shirts. I had a very happy birthday.

Watch this space for Blog Party II: Revenge of the Oof, coming soon to a Fobcave near you. The excuse next time will be Queen Zippergut's birthday.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Moral of the Story

In my rush to get a post out before work yesterday, I forgot the point of my story:

Check your mail early. You'll save yourself a lot of grief.


And come to my party.


That is all.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Blogging Instead of Preparing for Tomorrow's Class

Following is my stupid story from last night:

At 10:30 I got home from the gym and checked the mail, not having done so previously. In the box were two items of interest: a coupon from Media Play's Replay Rewards promising triple reward points if I made a purchase by October 31st (the 31st being yesterday); and a birthday gift from my parents-in-law. Not one to leave an unopened package sitting around, I opened it immediately. It was a fabulous book--The Art of Reading--and a card with money in it.

So Foxy J and I flipped through the book and admired all the pretty pictures, then I thought, "I have a triple reward points voucher that expires today and money to spend. There's no chance Media Play is still open, is there?" It was then 11:00. So I looked up the number, called them, and got a message that said, "Join us for a release party at midnight, October 31st, and be first in line to buy yadda yadda yadda. Store hours are: Monday, ten to midnight, yadda yadda yadda." They're open till midnight! Score!

So I hopped in the car and drove to Media Play. The hours on the door said they were only open until eight or nine on Mondays and I didn't see anyone inside, but the message had said they were open until midnight, so I tried the door. It opened, as did the next one. The lights were on, and as I looked around I saw people roaming around. I double checked that these were real people and not just the employees doing a midnight inventory with the doors unlocked. They were real people. Employees were roaming around as well, but I noticed none were at the registers.

I went to the CD section and happened upon a newish Angie Stone compilation that I had not heard of before. It was on sale for $8.99, though, and I've always wanted to get an Angie Stone album but wasn't sure I wanted to get all her albums so a greatest hits disc seemed perfect. After all, the cover said it was not just the best of Angie Stone, but The Very Best of Angie Stone. So it must be good.

Then I saw that Welcome to Jamrock by Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley, which I've been hearing all sorts of wonderful things about, was on sale, so I picked it up too. I spent the next twenty or thirty minutes browsing and deliberating, but ultimately decided on those two and headed to the register.

I was surprised to see that now there were four clerks at the registers and a line about ten people long. I got in line and realized after a minute that it wasn't moving. And everyone had a copy of Star Wars: Episode III in his or her hand. And the 36-year-old behind me, wearing an Episode III t-shirt, was arguing with the 15-year-old in front of me, dressed in a grey Jedi robe, over rumors each had heard about the debatably upcoming third trilogy.

36-year-old: "Yeah, I hear they're making an animated series first, which should come out in 2007, then a live action TV spinoff, which'll be out in 2010, and then in 2015 they plan on starting pre-production on Episode VII. It'll be out in about 2020." [Because, of course, production plans 15 years in advance are always accurate.] "I read it on the website of this guy who George Lucas has chosen to direct the next trilogy. Nobody knows his real name, but he goes by Super Something-Or-Other and there's a picture of him on the site so you know it's not Lucas's son or anything."

15-year-old: "I think I saw that site. It looked dumb."

36-year-old: "No way, man, the next movies will be awesome. They're going to resurrect Some Random Character Master Fob Doesn't Remember (Possibley The One Played By Samuel L. Jackson) and he'll be an old guy, like Luke's mentor or something."

Eventually, I figured out that Media Play was not really open until midnight. They just had the doors open so Star Wars fans could gather and pick up their DVD, poster, and commemorative button, but no one could actually buy anything until midnight because the official release date for the DVD was November 1st.

Grr.

By the time they opened the registers at 12:01 and I paid for my CDs, of course, it was no longer the 31st, which meant my triple reward points voucher had expired, nullifying my purpose in going to the store last night.

Except that now I have two cool CDs to listen to. Welcome to Jamrock, especially, is fantastic. While most reggae I've heard either tries to sound like Bob did thirty years ago and fails to have the substance he did--dance beats and inane lyrics have overtaken the social and political activisim Bob was all about--Bob's youngest son manages to sound like Bob would if he were alive today, and he actually has something intelligent to say. Go out and buy it right now.

And come to my party on Thursday.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Happy Halloween



Not bad for my first pumpkin, eh? For some reason, stabbing a sharp knife into someone's face came naturally to me. Hm.



Just one more reason for you to come to the party, of course.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Svoid will be proud of me...


And I will no longer invite viruses in through Outlook Express.

And I will cut down on blogchecking time.

(If you are offended that your sitefeed is not listed, notify me and I will fix that as soon as possible. I just barely set this up so I might have missed some blogs I frequent.)

Oh, and don't forget about the party.

Party Over Here

Want a preview of what next week's wild and crazy blog party is going to be like? Check this out.

Sethillama introduced me to this masterpiece of a music video last week, and, frankly, it concerns me that I hadn't heard of it before. How many people in the world are suffering because they haven't seen this and don't even know it? Hopefully my little act of missionary work here will help rectify that problem. Please, my friends, once you know the beauty of "Just 2 Guyz," spread the love.


DISCLAIMER: Knowing me and seeing something called "Just 2 Guyz" linked from my blog, you probably think you know what it's about. It's really not. I promise.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

BLOG PARTY

Here's the deal:



Next Thursday, November 3rd, 2005, Master Fob turns 26, and I'm throwing myself a party. Okay, Foxy J will likely do the majority of the throwing, but I'm doing the announcing.

If you are reading this, you are invited*. Dinner will be served at 6:30 pm and after that we'll party like it's 1999 until 11 or 12. Meaning we'll sit around and talk, and if we get bored we'll pop in a Simpsons dvd. You are welcome to come and go as you please. Unless we tie you to a chair, in which case you won't be.

The party will be at the Fobcave--not this blog, but the place where Foxy J and I live in the real world. (Click on "Fobcave" to find the location of our secret hideout. I've used a special html tag to allow only true fobs to open the link--if you are an eob, it will crash your computer.)

Following are the rules:
  • No gifts. Many of you hardly know me and many of you are poor college students, and I don't want anyone to feel awkward because some people brought presents and others didn't. My birthday is just an excuse to get all you random blog people together in the real world.
  • Wear clothes please. We'll save the nudist party for another time.
  • You may go by your real name, or, if you prefer to preserve your secret identity, wear a mask and go by your online alias.
  • If you want to contribute to the hardy partying, feel free to bring munchies.
  • RSVP in the comment section so we know how much food to make.

*If you live in California, Arizona, Hawai'i, Barbados, England, or anywhere else that's not Utah, buy a plane ticket and I'll reimburse you just as soon as that Nigerian prince I gave my bank account info to gets those millions of dollars to me.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Heaven Somewhere

Each of the rapper Common's albums ends with Common's dad, Lonnie "Pops" Lynn, rapping--in the pre-hip-hop sense of the word, meaning he's talking--on a song. On "Heaven Somewhere" from Electric Circus, Pops says:
Heaven?
Heaven is being Pops.
Heaven is spending the day with your grandchildren,
Listening to their voices when they laugh and play,
And then at the end of the day we hug, we kiss, and slowly they walk away,
And then suddenly they turn and rush back to me and hug me round the knees.
Yeah, that's Heaven to me.
Too many people, I think, wait until they're grandparents to recognize this. It seems silly to spend your parenting years waiting for your kids to grow up, then spend the rest of your life after that wishing you had little children around. I'm determined to enjoy S-Boogie now, while she's young. Days like today, when she's in a good mood and she does cute things like insist Mommy and Daddy kiss before either leaves for work or school, that's easy. Days like yesterday, however, when she has five-minute temper tantrums banging her toy cash register against the bookcase and yelling, "No no no no no no," it's not so easy. I'm glad there are days like today.

Racist

This summer, my sister M, who currently lives in Spanish Fork, Utah, went to Hawai'i to visit the family. While there, she went to the beach with Sister T (no relation to Mr. T) and T's kids. Sister T's eight-year-old son was wearing some red-white-and-blue Old Navy board shorts. Now, Sister T is married to a Chinese-American, which makes her kids half-Chinese, but they're all pretty fair-skinned so, especially when they're with her and not their dad, people assume they're just white. Or, as we say in Hawai'i, haole.

So Sister M, Sister T, and Eight-Year-Old Nephew are walking down the sidewalk at the beach. A couple locals--meaning people who look local because they have brown skin and at least one-sixteenth of their ancestors may have been native Hawaiians--are sitting under a tree maybe five feet from the sidewalk. And as Sisters and Nephew are passing, Local 1 looks at Nephew, then at Local 2, and says, "F***ing patriotic haole."

Sister M shot them a nasty glare (or, as we say in Hawai'i, "stink eye"). To say that about--and in front of--an eight-year-old!

When Sister M told me about this, I was furious. If I had been there, I thought, I would have done more than glare. "What the hell is your problem?" I would have yelled. "You stupid f***ing racist!"

And then Sister T would have reprimanded me for using such language in front of her child.

And, truthfully, I wouldn't have really done anything more than give them stink eye because I'm much bolder in my imagination than I am in reality.

Segue to this past Monday evening. Tolkien Boy and I are in the locker room after another buffifying session of weightlifting. A white dude walks by the brown dude cleaning the shower, then stops, looks at Brown Dude's t-shirt (which I assume said something about Mililani High School on it), and says, "Ho, brah, you went Mililani High School?"

"Nah," says Brown Dude. "I went Kam. But I grew up in Mililani. Why? You from Hawai'i?"

"Yeah," says White Dude, laying the Hawaiian Pidgin accent on thick. "I from La'ie. Our house stay on Naniloa Loop, right across da temple."

They proceed to talk about people they know in each other's church wards. Following are Master Fob's thoughts:

"Who does this haole think he is? There's no way he talks like that naturally. He's just trying to impress the brown dude."

"I bet he's not even really from La'ie. His dad probably did a teaching exchange at BYU-H so maybe he went to two years of high school there. He's probably really from Utah."

"He's not as cool as I am. I was born in Hawaii."

"Stupid haole."

I really don't want to raise my children in Utah. There are things you can learn in a culturally diverse society that you can't learn in a place where everyone looks, talks, and thinks like you. But I really really don't want to raise my children in a place where they'll learn that there's something wrong with having light skin.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Catalogued

Tolkien Boy gave me some good news tonight: I am listed in the BYU Library's catalogue. At first I thought he was talking about my master's thesis, which I knew was in the library and thus in the catalogue, but as it turns out they've catalogued "Getting Out." Now I'm aware that the library carries Dialogue, of course, but it's not common for libraries to make catalogue records for individual articles in a periodical. But they did for me. I'm flattered.

Actually, this goes beyond a pat on the back for me. As I tried to figure out why I was catalogued, I found a lot of other books and articles about homosexuality and the LDS church that were double-listed in the regular stacks and in special collections. So apparently the BYU library is making a special collection of materials on gay Mormons. Which is a way big step in the right direction for an institution that has traditionally tried to pretend that homosexuality doesn't exist. I'm happy for BYU--I don't care what your stance on the issue is, at least be willing to talk about it.

Halloween Preview


OR, watch the movie.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Recent Search Strings Leading to the Fobcave

  • men wearing tights
  • "elders quorum"

and, of course

  • find naked women

Black and White

No, I'm not talking about Michael Jackson. I'm talking about this:


+

=


Forgive me if you're way hipper than I am and you already knew about this (it's about a year and a half old), but I just discovered it yesterday. A DJ well-known in underground hip-hop, Danger Mouse, took the a capella vocals from rapper Jay-Z's Black Album and remixed the songs exclusively using samples from the Beatles' famous White Album. I'm not really into Jay-Z--his lyrics usually seem kind of silly to me--and although I like the Beatles I can't say I'm a fanatic, but I think this is the coolest concept ever.

EMI and Sony--the people who own the rights to the Beatles' music--however, didn't agree. They threatened to sue Danger Mouse and anyone who carried his Grey Album on the internet (it never made it to an official release due to the legal conflicts, so it exists only as an electronic bootleg). But thankfully there exist organizations such as Stay Free!, who sponsor the Illegal Art exhibit, including a history and complete download of the album in order to protest laws that don't recognize the difference between stealing and sampling. I suspect that if Shakespeare were alive today, whoever wrote the original versions of Hamlet, Macbeth, and Romeo & Juliet would sue him. I mean, c'mon, people, this is art. Be flattered that someone used a few bars of your music to make something entirely different and move on.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Young Men in Libraries

In "The American Scholar," Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, "Meek young men grow up in libraries, believing it their duty to accept the views, which Cicero, which Locke, which Bacon, have given, forgetful that Cicero, Locke, and Bacon were only young men in libraries, when they wrote these books." He goes on to explain that, while genius is often the enemy of genius--meaning that if we spend all our time reading the brilliant words of dead people we'll never write brilliant words of our own--we should not completely ignore the words of those who have gone before us:
Undoubtedly there is a right way of reading, so it be sternly subordinated. Man Thinking must not be subdued by his instruments. Books are for the scholar's idle times. When he can read God directly, the hour is too precious to be wasted in other men's transcripts of their readings. But when the intervals of darkness come, as come they must, — when the sun is hid, and the stars withdraw their shining, — we repair to the lamps which were kindled by their ray, to guide our steps to the East again, where the dawn is. We hear, that we may speak. The Arabian proverb says, "A fig tree, looking on a fig tree, becometh fruitful."
As I've been reading the Bible this week--Matthew with Foxy J and Timothy on my own--I can't help but see it this way. Paul, no doubt, was a great man. He was inspired to write a lot of wonderful things. One scripture that I have been thinking about a lot is from 2 Timothy 1.7: "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." God doesn't intend for us to live our lives based on fear of consequences. He wants us to be courageous and loving and wise. He wants us to think for ourselves.

[Musical Interlude]
"Brain Washers" by Blackalicious:
Brain washers
It's when you think how they wanna think
Speak how they wanna speak
Livin' in defeat
When you don't wanna question what they teach
As the truth
With no proof
With the fear of burnin' in eternal heat.
[/Musical Interlude]

At any rate, that was a digression. The point I was getting to is that, besides these wonderful, inspired things Paul said, he also says a lot of really stupid things. The man is a sexist and a homophobe. Sure, that was probably the norm for his time; I'm not trying to say he's a horrible person, but that he's a human being. Not every word he wrote came straight (or even indirectly) from the mouth of God (who, I might add, cannot possibly be a sexist and a homophobe and still be the God I pray to).

This being the case, I have to wonder what then is the point of holy scripture? Or prophets, for that matter? If we can't trust the Bible to be the literal word of God, why bother reading it? Why would God call people to teach his children if he understands that these people he calls are imperfect and bound to say some pretty stupid things? Which is where Emerson comes in. Prophets and scriptures don't replace our ability to "read God directly," but remind us where to look when we forget how to read God. They point us in the right direction, but after that it's up to us to figure out what God is telling us, rather than rely on the words of "young men in libraries."

I can believe that Matthew and Paul were good men who were inspired by God, despite their failings. For that matter, I can believe that Joseph Smith and Brigham Young and Gordon B. Hinckley were/are good men inspired by God. What I'm unsure of is, once they've reminded us that we can talk to God and get personal direction directly from him--a principle Joseph Smith's story demonstrates beautifully--what then is their purpose? Once a prophet has successfully turned my attention to God, what then can he tell me that God can't tell me himself?

Monday, October 17, 2005

Well, At Least He's Not... Oh, Never Mind

Last week I had my students write reviews of books they've read recently. Nine of them wrote about Harry Potter, five wrote about Ender's Game, and three about Children of the Promise. My favorite, though, was a review of Carol Lynn Pearson's Goodbye, I Love You. The student concludes an excellent review with the following:

This book did make me appreciate my husband more. As I was reading the part where he finally tells her he has had affairs with other men, I looked over at [husband's name]. He was sitting there, yelling and screaming at the TV because his football team was losing, and I thought, "Well, at least he's not gay."

Further Confessions
OR
You Might Be a Geek If You Can Name All These Characters...


Tolkien Boy once told me that if he had invented a fictional character as complex as I am, he would be proud of himself. I took it as a compliment. He was referring, if I recall correctly, to the fact that I am a politically liberal married gay Mormon who listens to rap music, writes angsty young adult literature, and reads comic books. A renaissance geek, if you will.

I remember the first comic book I bought. It was Batman 476, cover date Apr 1992 (though it actually came out in February--that's just how cover dates on comics work), written by Alan Grant and illustrated by Norm Breyfogle (to this day one of my favorite writer/artist teams). On the cover, Batman unmasks himself to Vicki Vale. The character Vicki Vale had only returned to the comics in the past couple years, in response to her lead role in the popular 1989 movie Batman. The movie was also what had sparked my interest in Batman and led me to make the walk down Keeaumoku Street to Jelly's Comics in search of a Batman comic. Sure, I had watched the old Batman show from the sixties, as well as Superfriends, when I was a kid, but that was kidstuff. Tim Burton's appropriately gothic vision of the Dark Knight convinced me that, as a twelve-year-old, I could still think Batman was cool. The comic books I started avidly collecting after that first one reinforced this belief.

You see, the majority of comic books--superhero comics, at least--are written for adolescent boys. Meaning they are written with such a level of maturity to convince teenagers who think they're mature that the comics they're reading are written for adults. The ploy worked on me. I read comics because I loved pointing out to the naive who believed comics were for kids that, hey, the Joker just killed twenty people and Batman said "damn" so of course these aren't for kids.

I could easily psychoanalyze another half a dozen reasons why I read comics as a teenager: they were filled with buff men wearing tights; Batman and Superman became my father figures; the DC Universe, a complex landscape populated by literally hundreds of fictional characters with interweaving backstories, was a fantasy world I could escape to when real life was less than ideal; as an unathletic geek I could live out power fantasies through the aforementioned buff men wearing tights; high school didn't challenge my mind enough so I filled it with trivia such as Superman's height (6'3"), Batman's first appearance (Detective Comics #27, May 1939), and the Elongated Man's secret identity (Ralph Dibny). Okay, I think that was only five, but I could easily come up with a sixth one if I really wanted to. I just don't want to.

At any rate, one has to wonder why, as a going-on-twenty-six-year-old, I continue to read superhero comics. Part of me still wants to insist that comic books are a genuine literary form, just as valid as any other genre or medium. And they are. Some comics, at least, really are written for educated adults. But when I read those comics it's mostly just to prove a point--that such things exist, because I believe they should. The comics I read on a regular basis and look forward to every month are superhero comics, which, no matter how you look at it, are written for teenaged males.

Part of the reason I enjoy superhero comics still is the same reason I got addicted to watching Days of Our Lives with my older sisters when I was ten. No, not sex. It's the serial nature of the genre--when I read a book and I get into a character, I hate to see the book end because I want to know what happens next. I really like that over the past thirteen years I've watched Tim Drake, the latest Robin (as in Batman & ...), grow from an unsure fourteen-year-old to a slightly less unsure sixteen-year-old (I'll save time and aging in comics for another post).

Another part of it, I'm sure, is the nostalgia factor. Reading comics brings me back to my youth. But then, considering how much I enjoyed my youth, I'm surprised I'm not running away from it as fast as I can. Maybe it's just that I'm still a teenager at heart. Hence the writing angsty young adult literature thing, and possibly the rap music thing--the media librarian I work with insists that hip-hop is primarily for adolescents despite my insisting to the contrary.

Then again, maybe it's just that I like shocking people. "You have a master's degree in English and you read comic books?" But I hope I'm not really that shallow.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Deep Thought of the Day

You can often get what you want by being an ass, but then you have to live with yourself and who wants to live with an ass?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

And LAST night

was even worse. S-Boogie has a cold and it's preventing her from sleeping. Foxy and I split the getting up duties, though, so this morning we're both exhausted.

But on the bright side, I'll probably call in sick to work today in order to take care of the sick child while Foxy goes to class, which means I'll have more time for grading papers.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Last Night

11:00. I finished the first batch of student papers (a third of the total) and went to bed.

12:00. I am awoken by bloodcurdling (though I admit, my blood didn't really curdle; would that give me cottage cheese blood if it did?) screams from the next room. The screams don't stop, so I go in and rock with S-Boogie to help her go back to sleep.

1:00. I'm not quite awoken by the sound of someone trying to turn a door-handle in the next room. In my not-quite-awake dream the noise comes from the bathroom, where a mysterious man is about to head over to the next room and kidnap my daughter. I'm not quite awake, though, so I can't do anything. My body does not respond to my command to jump up and attack this mysterious man. Instead I moan very loudly. The moaning wakes me up. I suspect the knob-rattling was S-Boogie but I don't hear it anymore so I go back to sleep.

3:00. I'm awoken by a small person standing next to my bed, saying, "Hi." I pick up S-Boogie, hold her in bed with me until I gather the energy to get up, then go back to her room and rock with her till she falls asleep.

7:00. I'm awoken by more doorknob-rattling. Then knocking coming from the inside of Boogie's door, and a little voice calling, "Come in!" (She usually performs both parts of a social transaction lately; i.e. "Thank you you're welcome.") It's time for me to get up anyway, but it's not time for Boogie to get up for another hour. Foxy stumbles into Boogie's room, tells her it's not time to get up yet, rocks with her, and puts her back in bed.