Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Life Lessons: Walking to the Gym

When walking to the gym, I used to walk along the edge of the parking lot. Last week, though, I realized that the edge of the parking lot curves out quite a bit to the right, but the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, so I set my sights on the gym and forged straight through the parking lot. This actually saved quite a bit of time.

Life Lesson #1: Always take shortcuts.

This morning, though, I couldn't see the gym in the distance ahead of me because it was foggy. Luckily I knew where it was because I've been there before.

Life Lesson #2: Always do things you've done before, because you know you can.

Sunday, January 28, 2007


The bishop asked me to meet with him Thursday evening. I was a little anxious because I knew he wanted to give me a calling, which meant I'd have to explain to him where I currently stand with the church. Knowing that ahead of time, though--and knowing for the past few months that this conversation would come sooner or later--gave me time to plan ahead how I'd respond.

I continue to attend church in order to support FoxyJ and to be involved in this part of our children's lives, but I don't believe the LDS church has any more claim to truth than any other religion or philosophy. When I asked to be released from my calling in the elders quorum presidency and stopped attending the temple, I felt more at peace with myself than I had in years. A year and a half later, I continue to feel that peace with my decision, despite the difficulty and heartache I know it causes FoxyJ and other faithful Mormons who love me. This continual resolve is significant for me, the man who spends his life questioning every decision he's ever made.

Regardless of my commitment to this sort of Christian agnosticism, though, I've been feeling a little guilty lately for not contributing anything to the church in the way of service. The LDS church, after all, functions only through the efforts of volunteer clergy, where every single member is essentially a member of said clergy. And whether or not I believe in the organization's doctrine, I can't deny that it does a lot of good, particularly for my family. The weight of moving to a new city, away from family and most of our friends, has been lifted tremendously by the built-in support network of the local ward. Basically, I've been feeling like a freeloader.

So when the bishop asked me to serve in a clerical position (i.e. one that wouldn't require me to teach anything I don't believe), I told him more or less all of the above, then said that I'd be willing to accept the calling if he still wanted to give it to me. He said he was (in fact he didn't seem surprised in the least), so long as I'm living according to LDS standards. Being as how I despise the taste of coffee and extramarital sex would be sort of counterproductive to making my marriage work, I told him I am living worthily by that definition, and will continue to do so.

So I have a calling. Assuming, that is, that when the bishop proposes that I be sustained, no one in the congregation objects*. Truthfully, I feel better about this calling, knowing that I was completely honest about my reservations before accepting it, than I have about any other calling I had under the pretense of complete faith.

*This is not entirely impossible, as only a few weeks ago a woman gave a talk encouraging ward members to not be afraid to raise their hands and speak when they object to a calling, and I'm getting the distinct impression that there are members of the ward who know a lot more about me than I have personally told them--which comes as no surprise, all things considered.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Up on Cloud Nine

by Anne Fine

For the readers' advisory class I'm taking from an action figure, one of the assignments was to pair up with another member of the class and perform readers' advisory interviews with each other. Based on a book that my partner told me about, I had to make five suggestions for her, and vice versa. Then, each of us had to choose one of the five suggestions to read. I told my partner about A Separate Peace, a book I read in high school about a boy who pushes his best friend out of a tree. Well, other stuff happens too, but that was the best part as far as I was concerned. So my partner went with that and suggested to me five books I might like, the most intriguing of them being Up on Cloud Nine by Anne Fine.

Up on Cloud Nine is about Ian, who is writing a biography of his best friend, Stolly, while Stolly recovers from falling out a third-story window. Stol, like Finny in A Separate Peace, is a quirky, charismatic liar who can get away with anything. Ian, like Gene in A Separate Peace, seems to be somewhat jealous of his best friend--Ian worries, in fact, that his mother wishes Stol were her son instead of Ian. Unlike Finny, though, Stol was not shoved out the window by his friend; it becomes clear rather quickly that Stol jumped. Much of the story revolves around Ian's attempt to understand why.

At first I was unsure I'd like this book. The first-person narrative is written in a strongly British teenage colloquial voice, quite similar to the voice that endeared Marcus in About a Boy [the movie] to me. For some reason, though, the voice annoyed me in Up on Cloud Nine. As I approached page fifty, I feared I'd have to follow Nancy Pearl's Rule of 50 and stop reading. When I got to fifty, though, and I still wasn't enjoying the book, I decided to ignore the rule. I'd already invested fifty pages of my life in this book, after all, and if I stopped reading that meant I'd have to pick one of the other five suggestions I'd been given and start over from scratch--I simply don't have that kind of time. Besides, the book's only 150 pages total. What did I have to lose?

It turns out I'm glad I broke the rule. Ian eventually grew on me, teen Brit slang and all, and I ended up really enjoying the book. It's not quite A Separate Peace, but then I'm not sure I'll ever find another A Separate Peace, especially considering the fact that the reason I loved that book so much had more to do with where I was at that point in life than it did with the book itself.

Please don't tell Nancy I broke the rule.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Poker Face

This afternoon my boss, InfoMan, asked what I'd thought of a presentation he'd given earlier today. "I don't know you well enough to read your face," he said.

"Few people do," I replied, but I'm not sure even that is true. It's more likely that no one does.

FoxyJ often laments the fact that she has a horrible poker face. If she's bored with what you're saying, you'll know. If she thinks you're the most fascinating person ever, you'll know. If she's upset with you because you've taken the time to blog but not to do the dishes and she's spent the day trying to write a thesis and cook dinner while caring for your screaming baby and your grumpy toddler, you'll know.

On the other hand, I tend to be unreadable. Even FoxyJ, who is arguably the person who knows me best, has a hard time reading my expressions. I snapped at her a few weeks ago for asking if I was upset when I wasn't, but obviously she's not the one to blame for the fact that thoughtful, bored, tired, and upset are all identical on me. The fact that it bothered me so much that she misread me is indicative of an internal conflict that is the story of my life: I desperately want people to understand me and share in what I'm feeling, but I'll be damned if I show you--let alone tell you--what that is. Making matters worse, I'm afraid my overreaction has (understandably) made Foxy hesitant to even ask how I'm doing.

Despite his proclaimed inability to read me, InfoMan did point out today that lately I've seemed a bit more stressed than usual. This is an understatement--the truth is I'm barely able to function these last few days--but were it not so I doubt my stress would be visible at all. I tend not to notice it myself (or acknowledge it, anyway) until it reaches some point of critical mass and suddenly life is a huge melodramatic mess. Melodrama, of course, being defined by my standards, meaning I'm allowing myself to feel anything.

InfoMan's presentation earlier today, as it turns out, had to do with interactions at the reference desk in the context of our 21st-century culture of isolation. Ultimately, InfoMan argues, any human interaction, whether it be in the library or at the grocery store, is more about connecting with people than it is about getting information or groceries or whatever. People need people, plain and simple. The primary job of anyone working in a public service position, then, is to first ensure that the customer/client/patron feels a satisfying human connection, then to do what we can about meeting their other needs.

InfoMan is good at practicting what he preaches, not only with library patrons, but with the student employees he supervises. This afternoon while we worked together for an hour at the information desk, we didn't talk about the details of what's causing me stress of late, mostly because to do so would have required me getting into a whole lot of backstory that I didn't want to in the two-minute breaks between patrons, but we did talk about how each of us deals with stress, how we do or don't build the human connections he'd been talking about, and other random things like cultural differences and overpopulation. It was no orgy of emotional bonding, but it was a nice moment in the midst of an otherwise long and difficult day.

Who knows? If not for my poker face, I might experience such nice moments more often.

Monday, January 22, 2007

ALA Midwinter in Seattle

I went to the American Library Association's Midwinter Conference in Seattle this morning. Some highlights:
  • The Washington State Convention Center is built on top of the freeway. And I was there. How cool is that?
  • The reason I paid to go: I got to be there at the Youth Awards press conference where they announce the Newbery, Caldecott, and Printz winners. Most significantly, American Born Chinese, a graphic novel, won the Printz. Very cool.
  • I was happy to learn that Allison Bechdel's Fun Home won the nonfiction Stonewall award.
  • Lots and lots of vendors in the massive exhibition hall. They all wanted to sell me stuff. "Yes, ma'am, I'm quite impressed by your automated checkout system, but I'm afraid I don't need it for my home library."
  • Free books. Nothing great, but they were free--today's the last day of exhibitions and nobody wants to haul them home, so they were giving them away for free or selling them at half-price. I picked up a couple free books, plus a free Transformers comic.
  • There were cinnamon rolls, but, as per Foxy J's and my New Years goals making today a No Treat Day, I abstained.
  • I finally got myself a Nancy Pearl Librarian action figure, and it only cost me six dollars. They were selling it for fifteen in the ALA store, but the Library of Congress booth had it cheaper in the first place, then half off.
  • I got to observe the Best Books for Young Adults committee debating about which nominees to include on this year's list, then did obseved the Great Graphic Novels for Teens committee do the same.
  • I spent the morning in downtown Seattle, which is just a cool place. I haven't spent a lot of time there since moving here, and whenever I have been downtown I've had little people in tow, which meant I couldn't spend a lot of time wandering around and enjoying the sights.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

To All the Girls I've Loved Before
Part VII

My freshman year of college, I made a new best friend. Fabio was a returned missionary, one of the few in our freshman ward, so therefore cool enough to hang out with the marriage-minded sophomore girls in the ward. I tagged along. We started hanging out with an apartment of six girls (the girls in the ward lived in apartment-style on-campus housing, while the boys were in true dorms) because Fabio was pursuing one of them. For some reason, though, things didn't work out with her, and as per the apartment rules one of her roommates was assigned her leftovers. So Fabio started dating Lois, which meant that I was often paired up with Lois's room-roommate and best friend, the Spastic Wet Noodle.

Noodle and I quickly became good friends. She was witty and wacky and she liked giving and receiving back scratches. All six of the girls in the apartment were very physically affectionate with me in a joking sort of way--me being a pre-missionary and therefore not serious dating material--but I particularly enjoyed the attention from Noodle. I began to wonder if she liked me as much as I liked her, but the problem was that she was already waiting for a missionary, a guy she'd dated her freshman year. It would be silly to ask her to date me, knowing she'd then have to wait another two years while I served my mission. So I didn't. And I still don't know if she was really interested in me or if I was just a convenient placeholder while she waited for her missionary. Either way, it was fun while it lasted.

The funny thing--funny now, but tragic at the time--is that she didn't marry her missionary when he came home. About halfway through my mission, after not hearing from her in quite a while, I got a tape from the girls, in which Noodle mentioned that she was engaged to some guy she'd met at church. I was devastated. I didn't get over it until I came home, had a bit of a reunion with the girls from the apartment, and met Noodle's husband. He's a nice guy. Now they have four kids.

Fabio and Lois also have four kids now. They live not too far from Noodle & Co. This is interesting because when I imagined myself married to Noodle, it was always in conjunction with Fabio and Lois, who we'd live close to and all be jolly good neighbors. This is not to say that I didn't like Noodle for herself, but my interest in marrying her had a lot to do with preserving the group dynamic we had that year. It seems my life is a series of efforts to fiercely cling onto the status quo, only to find eventually that it's okay for things to change.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Three Good Things About Yesterday

1. We both like our counselor.

2. Little Dude survived two and a half hours of being babysat by a relative stranger.

3. S-Boogie has finally caught on to the threat of having her toys taken away if she doesn't clean up (as suggested by Mandi). Last night I got out the basket to start taking her things, and she quickly put them away herself.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Body Fat

Inspired, perhaps, by my brother's decrying of the inaccuracy of web-based body fat measurements, a kind member of the blogging community (who may not want you to know he lives in my real world vicinity and therefore shall remain anonymous) has lent me his body fat scale. According to the scale, I have 20% body fat with my clothes on and 22% with my clothes off (this actually makes sense if you think about how it works). So, as it turns out, I need to shave off 7%, not 5.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Have You Seen Tolkien Boy?

Because I have not. And he is thirteen minutes late.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

five reasons I don't like myself much at the moment

1. When I sent a fellowship recommendation form to a professor in Utah with only a week and a half before the deadline, I did not think to put Priority postage on the return envelope to ensure I got it back in time. I figured mail between here and Utah usually only takes two or three days anyway. The professor put the recommendation in the mail last Thursday. The deadline was yesterday, then extended to today because of bad weather. The recommendation still has not arrived.

2. I get angry at S-Boogie lately. A lot. For stupid reasons. I got angry at her this morning for falling down on the sidewalk and hurting herself.

3. It's cold in the library lobby. I'm going to be here for another five hours, and it's only getting colder.

4. I'm tired.

5. Really, mainly, it's the first one. At the moment.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Brainwashing Alert

I have reason to believe that the preschool we're sending S-Boogie to is a Soviet brainwashing facility. She learned a song there the other day and she's been singing it all morning:

Little red babushka, ka
Little red babushka, ka
Little red babushka, ka
Behind the train.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

To All the Girls I've Loved Before
Part VI and a half

Channadoodah, not to be confused with her cousin Shannadoodah, doesn't quite count as a full-fledged crush because my thing for her was rather short-lived, but I include it here because it's a mildly funny story that illustrates the effect I have on women. I'd known Channadoodah all through seminary (the scripture study class Mormons take while in high school), but never really hung out with her until we were both freshmen at BYU. I decided briefly that I was in like with her, but of course I didn't tell her this. In fact, I told her I liked her cousin while I was telling her cousin that I liked Channadoodah. Rather poor taste on my part, I'd have to say. (And it only now occurs to me that they probably shared this information with each other.)

At any rate, I asked Channadoodah to Homecoming, and because I was at BYU where you don't just ask someone out, I had a handful of my floormates appear in an elevator and sing to her my request that she accompany me to Homecoming, then disappear as quickly as they'd appeared. She agreed, but later realized that she couldn't go because she was performing in the orchestra both nights when the Homecoming dances were. Not one to give up easily, I insisted that I would go to the performance to watch her, and then take her out afterward, even if we didn't go to an official Homecoming dance. She agreed. Then she called me back and asked if her roommate could come along. No, women don't tell me in so many words that they aren't interested in me, but they certainly aren't subtle about it. So I watched her perform in the orchestra, then took her and her roommate out for ice cream. I'll have you know, though, I paid for them both.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Nothing More Than Feelings

I've read two applications today in which the applicant talks about his or her parents divorcing because the father came out of the closet. This makes me feel something, but I'm not sure what.

To All the Girls I've Loved Before
Part VI

I went on a total of six dates during my high school career: two Mistletoe Balls, two Junior Proms, and two Senior Proms. Considering how both Mistletoe Balls turned out, and the fact that for one of those Junior Proms I was an emergency backup date for a girl who pretty much ditched me once we got there, you may wonder why I did not give up on females altogether, particularly considering the fact that I don't tend to be hugely attracted to them. That, however, is a question for another day.

As I briefly alluded to yesterday, I had a fairly decent time at my Junior Prom with a girl who was actually happy to be my date. I had an even better time at both the Senior Proms I went to. My senior year in high school I spent a lot of time at my friend Dandypratt's house and attended many of his church activities (his family had moved out of my ward halfway through high school but he continued going to the same school because he's stubborn like that). At one of these activities, a ballroom dance night, I was partnered up with Red, a fun redhead who, along with her two younger sisters, made it clear quickly that she was interested in me. I was flattered by the attention, but didn't expect any more to come of it.

Then, one day, I got a phone call from Red. She wanted me to accompany her to her Senior Prom. We talked for an hour or so, and that's when I knew I was in love--I had never had such a long, comfortable phone conversation before with anyone. I hate talking on the phone, but for some reason talking with Red felt natural. So I invited her to my Senior Prom (I'm regretting my decision to capitalize Senior Prom now, but too lazy to go back and fix the earlier occurrences and too anal to change now for consistency's sake), and we had a blast at both.

I intended to ask her out again that summer, but never gathered the nerve despite the fact that our mutual attraction was obvious. Then I went to BYU and she went to BYU-Hawaii, and I figured that was that. Except that wasn't entirely that, because we wrote back and forth a couple times, and each time I got a letter (email? I don't remember) from her I was newly in love. I even prayed once to know if I was going to marry her, and the answer I thought I received was yes. It's strange in the first place that I would pray about such a thing as a college freshman, and stranger still now to consider how sure I was of that answer. Whether I misunderstood the answer or completely made it up, I think it's clear that things like marriage choices are not so fatalistically determined. If I had chosen to marry her and she had chosen to marry me, then the answer would have been yes. Obviously, the answer ended up being no.

I spent a couple years wavering between not thinking much about Red and remembering that I was madly in love with and destined to marry her. Fate showed its hand one last time when I was in Spain, halfway through my mission, visiting Madrid's Temple Square one day. I was minding my own business when I heard from high above me, "Master Fob!" This was unusual because I was accustomed at the time to being called Elder Fob, being a missionary and all. I looked up toward a fourth floor window of the Missionary Training Center on Temple Square, only to see... a face I couldn't quite make out. Thirty seconds later, Red, bearing a black nametag that said Hermana Red and followed closely by another sister missionary, came running out of the MTC entrance. She was, as it turns out, on her way to a mission on the Canary Islands, and very happy to see me. I was happy to see her too. We exchanged addresses--but not hugs, as that was illegal for missionaries--and I spent one final month or so of believing that Red was the one for me. Sadly, though, I never got around to using her address and she never got around to using mine.

One of the sister missionaries in my district, who observed and later teased me incessantly about the Temple Square reunion with Red, was one Hermana FoxyJ. About three years later, I ran into Red once more, this time while standing in line at a movie theater in Provo, accompanied by a very pregnant FoxyJ. This last reunion was, at best, awkward.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

To All the Girls I've Loved Before
Part V

Despite the fact that I was never any good at it, I spent three years of high school on the swim team. My high school swim team comprised a dozen girls and one or two boys, depending on the day. This is perhaps the reason I chose the swim team over any other sport, apart from the fact that they were willing to take me without any skill--boys intimidated me, but hanging out with girls was comfortable. One of the girls, for whom I can't come up with a more creative nym than Swimmer at the moment, was also in most of my honors classes, as well as my French classes. Swimmer was an intelligent, hard-working, fun person. She was not shy but she was unassuming.

My crush on Swimmer is significant in that this is the first time I was aware of an actual longing to be with a girl--a feeling that came from inside me and not from my attempts to disguise my feelings for men. I will not deny the possibility that, however genuine my attraction to her felt, it was a product of societal pressures to be straight; I will not, however, automatically dismiss it as such. The important thing is that to me the attraction felt real, and that was a new experience.

Swimmer was the first girl I ever asked out. Despite the fact that I saw her daily at swim practices, I waited until I was home to call her and ask her, very awkwardly, to the Mistletoe Ball (this was my junior year; I took Dandypratt's sister my senior year). I was quick to clarify that I was only asking her to go "as friends." She told me she'd get back to me. The next day she told me the answer was yes, and that was more or less the last thing she said to me for the two months until the Ball. Whereas we had been good friends for the two previous years, suddenly now she would hardly acknowledge me. This had much to do, no doubt, with the teasing she received from a friend who had a personal vendetta against me. The night of the dance we had a decent time, but still she was quiet and aloof. Afterwards I pulled into her driveway and got out of the car with the intention of walking her to the door--I would not have dreamed of being so forward as to attempt a kiss--but like a bolt she was out of the car, up the steps, and standing in the open doorway. "Thanks," she said. "See you Monday." And the door shut. I was left standing in her driveway, kicking myself for having ruined a perfectly good friendship.

For the next couple of months she kept her distance, but literally the day after I asked another girl to the Junior Prom (who you won't read about because this girl really was just a friend, though I think she might have been interested in more), Swimmer was my friend again, as if the Mistletoe Ball had never happened. And I'm glad, because she was a good friend, and remains so. We keep in touch via Christmas letters, and this year she sent us a wall calendar without even knowing we needed one. Unless, of course, she's psychic. If you are psychic, Swimmer, or if you're just reading this blog, rest assured that my crush on you has long since passed, but I'm glad you started talking to me again.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

To All the Girls I've Loved Before
Part IV

This is easily the most embarrassing and uncomfortably revealing one. I tried for years to convince myself that I liked Dandypratt's sister. Now, Dandypratt's sister was a nice girl, but to be honest she and I had absolutely nothing in common. She simply wasn't my type. In my attempts to believe that I was honestly interested in her, I tried desperately to have conversations with her, to no avail. We had nothing to talk about. No doubt she was weirded out by my forced interest--I was her brother's best friend, after all, not a potential suitor--which only made things more awkward. I only gave up on this hopeless cause after she somewhat reluctantly agreed to accompany me to the Mistletoe Ball my senior year and obviously had a miserable time, despite my efforts to ensure that she enjoy herself.

The "liking" came down to this: Whenever I imagined myself with her (as in married to her, at some point in the future), it was in relation to her family, as her brother's brother-in-law and to a much greater extent, as her father's son-in-law. I had always been hugely jealous of Dandypratt's seemingly perfect family, and though they gladly treated me as one of their own, the father frequently referring to me as his other son, I feared that without a permanent tie the connection would fade as I grew older.

In the ten years since I left Hawaii, that connection has faded somewhat, but it has not completely disappeared, as I feared it would. I still keep in touch with Dandy's parents--they just sent a Christmas package for S-Boogie and Little Dude--but it's not like I visit them every weekend. I will always value my relationship with them, particularly the memory of what they meant to me as an insecure adolescent, but something happened that I never anticipated: I grew up. Surrogate parents, like real parents, take a different role and a different importance once one starts a family of one's own. And, also to my surprise, that's okay.

Fun Home: A Tragicomic

by Alison Bechdel

This graphic novel, a memoir of growing up as the daughter of a closeted gay funeral home director and later coming out as a lesbian, is one of the best-crafted stories I've read in a while. Bechdel jumps between her father's life and her own, from her childhood to her early adulthood, weaving allusions to James Joyce and Oscar Wilde in seamlessly. She portrays her father as an eccentric, cold, unlikeable man, and indeed much of the story seems to be justifying her anger toward him, but somehow she manages to use this harsh portrayal of her father to make her love for him convincingly apparent.

As is my tendency, I read myself into this book, wondering how S-Boogie will see me, her semi-closeted gay father, twenty or thirty years from now. I think it's safe to say, though, that I am not quite as neurotic as Bechdel's father, who seems to have seen his children as little more than assistants in his neverending quest to remake his antique home into a masterpiece of architecture and interior decoration.

What stands out to me most in Fun Home is Bechdel's literariness. She takes her life from the personal to the universal by tying it to literary giants from Homer to Virginia Woolf. In recreating and reviewing her life, Bechdel applies the lens of classic literature, and she does so naturally because these great books were such a part of her growing up, they become characters in her story. I look at my current attempt to write something approaching a memoir, and I'm incredibly jealous of Bechdel's superior craft. Tolkien Boy once praised the allusiveness of my writing, but my allusions to pop musicians and superheroes pale in comparison to Bechdel's ability to casually throw in a reference to Fitzgerald and make it work. I could try, but the truth is that high culture is not naturally a part of me as much as it is for Bechdel. This may have something to do with the intellectual envy I have for geniuses like Tolkien Boy, FoxyJ, and pretty much everyone else I surround myself with.

At any rate, read Fun Home. Even if you're a low-brow brute like myself, you'll enjoy it. I give it only four and a half fobs simply because it has a couple somewhat graphic lesbian sex scenes, and I find lesbian sex utterly uninteresting.

To All the Girls I've Loved Before
Part III

When I was thirteen, I not only decided I liked Shannadoodah*, but I decided retroactively that I had liked her since I was about ten. Shan and I had known each other since we were wee babies. We weren't particularly close friends, but we had somewhat of a bond because my birthday was in November and hers in October, which meant that when everyone our age turned twelve and moved up to the next class in church, we were the last ones left for a couple months. Shortly after she did turn twelve and left me alone in that Primary class, her family also moved downtown, out of our posh suburb. As fate would have it, my family ended up moving downtown less than a year later, and Shan and I ended up going to church together again.

In my new ward, I quickly made a new best friend, Dandypratt. It was not long before Dandy revealed to me that he was completely and eternally in love with Shannadoodah. We would stay up late into the night, lying on his bedroom floor, talking about the many qualities of Shan, all of which he'd observed from a distance--unlike me, Dandy was somewhat intimidated by girls, particularly the ones he was completely and eternally in love with, so he didn't actually talk to her much. Somewhere along the way, he convinced me: Shannadoodah was indeed the most wonderful female on the planet. In my weird sort of competing/emulating way--I looked up to him and envied him, wanted to be just like him and better than him at the same time--I decided that I too would like her. It wouldn't be good enough to like her in imitation of my best friend, though. I had known her first, after all, so I laid claim to having liked her first, even though that was a shameless lie.

At least I think it was. Tolkien Boy and I were talking yesterday about the phenomenon of lying to oneself so convincingly that one begins to believe one's own lies. It's hard for me to remember the true chronology of the liking now because I worked so hard to change it in my mind. Going back to my journal doesn't help because I even lied there. The truth, though, is that my "liking" of Shannadoodah had everything to do with the odd relationship I had with Dandypratt and very little to do with Shan herself.

Which isn't entirely true either. My freshman year of college, when Shan and I both went to BYU and Dandy stayed in Hawaii, I called her up and invited her out for ice cream on her October birthday. And whether it was a residual effect of having told myself for so long that I liked her, or just that she was a genuinely attractive person (she was), I really enjoyed her company and wanted to hang out with her more. For some reason, though, we didn't. Partly it was that she had other things to do, other people to hang out with, but I think it also had something to do with the fact that Dandypratt had long since moved on, so the prospect of winning that competition no longer held much appeal for me.

*Names have been changed to protect me.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

To All the Girls I've Loved Before
Part II

In fourth through sixth grades, I was in like with Amy Furahashi (this is the last one I'll name, as all the girls after this point I've had contact with as adults, and therefore such disclosure would be more awkward). Amy was in the Gifted and Talented program with me and sat next to me in fourth grade. You'll see a pattern here, and you'd see the same pattern if I were bold enough to talk about the guys I've liked before--I tend to decide to like people who are close friends. I never did the get-to-know-someone-through-dating thing, and I don't think I ever could have. At any rate, I secretly liked Amy for a couple years, until in sixth grade when other kids were starting to pair up and I gathered the nerve to have my people talk to her people about us hooking up. Her people got back to my people with the message that she was not ready for a relationship, which was probably a good thing because I wouldn't have known what to do with a girlfriend anyway. Perhaps a bit more embarrassing, though, is that on a separate occasion when I had my people ask her people if she wanted to dance at the sixth grade dance, the answer was still no.

Monday, January 08, 2007

To All the Girls I've Loved Before
Part I

The first girl I liked was Pomai Kekuna, with whom I played during recess in kindergarten and first grade. It seems there was another girl or two in our little group, but Pomai is the one I remember. I can remember clearly what she looked like--brown hair, fair skin, and a pretty smile--but I don't remember much else about her. She might have been shy, possibly a good reader. I suspect the fact that I attached the word and meaning of liking to her had to do with the influence of my older sisters, who no doubt were amused by their baby brother having a girl friend. I remember having a conversation with one of my sisters in our car about whether I was going to marry Pomai, and picturing me and her as adults, lying in bed; I had no idea what married people did in bed, though, so don't worry--the mental image was G-rated. Nevertheless, I'd be rather embarrassed if Pomai, wherever she is, were to Google her name and find this post. But not embarrassed enough to give her a blogonym.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Hang Out With All The Boys

If ever I am asked to choose the opening song for a priesthood meeting, I will choose "YMCA."

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

2007 Goals

1. Cut down to 15% body fat. According to this site, at least, I am currently at 20%. Getting down to 15% is the equivalent of losing fifteen pounds, but I'm focusing on body fat percentage instead of weight because ideally I'm adding muscle weight as I go.

2. Make five writing submissions, or one successful submission, whichever comes first. This will make Th. happy, I hope. By "successful" I mean someone actually wants to buy my work.

3. Read at least twelve leisure books. Yes, I more than doubled this goal last year, but I wasn't in school most of last year. I've mainly made this goal again because it's a good way to read for fun without feeling guilty about it.

4. Read the New Testament. This is a joint goal with FoxyJ, and hopefully we'll do better than we did with the Old Testament.

Monday, January 01, 2007

My 2006 Report Card

My 2006 goals:

i. Read the Old Testament.

Meh. We made it through Leviticus, I think. Almost.


ii. Get a six-pack (my own, not someone else's).

See results below.

iii. Read at least one book per month.

Woo hoo! Take a look at the list in my sidebar. 27 divided by 12 equals 2.25, meaning I met this goal and raised it another 125%. Go me!


iv. Read more poetry.

Well, technically, I did read more poetry, meaning I started two or three books of poetry over the course of the year. Maybe I'll be more specific next time I try to get me some culture.


v. Do something fun and surprising for Foxy on a regular basis. (This one's a secret; don't tell her.)

As I've mentioned before, this goal was way too foggy. Over the last few months, though, I have managed to surprise FoxyJ with flowers and chocolates and stuff like that more than once.


And now for the six-pack goal. I really didn't put as much effort into this as I wanted to until the last three months, but I made a lot of improvement in that time. It pays to use the ab machines at the gym--when I tried to do crunches at home, it just didn't happen consistently. Also, my bathroom scale says I've lost 15 pounds since moving to Seattle, which helps.

So I present to you the results of my efforts, with a warning that if you are grossed out by sexy man abs, or conversely if you are turned on by sexy man abs but don't want to be turned on by my sexy man abs, you should stop scrolling now.

I'm warning you...

Resist temptation!



for those of you who have persevered,

my abs as of this morning:

Can't see the six-pack? Maybe this will help:

And in case you need a before picture to compare the after to, here is me three years ago:

(I'm the fat one holding the baby.)

RETROACTIVE WARNING: If you are grossed out by flabby man bellies, or conversely if you are turned on by flabby man bellies but don't want to be turned on by my flabby man belly, you should have stopped scrolling before you saw the above picture.

So I give myself a B+ on the six-pack goal because I didn't quite get that six-pack, but I made some progress, and my wife says my tummy is sexy.

GPA for the year:


I'll do better next year. (2007 goals to come.)