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I Lost a Key - May 31, 2014

I lost a key. All I had to do was not lose it, and I lost it.

The situation was simple: I wanted to ride my bike to school and my mom wouldn’t let me ride it to school unless I was responsible. In order to prove I was responsible, my mom gave me a key and said that if I could take it to school with me for one week without losing it then I could ride my bike to school. Her reasoning behind this task was that if I was going to ride my bike to school I’d have to lock it up, and I’d need a key for the bike lock. Why she didn’t think of a combination lock, I don’t know, but to me the responsibility of carrying around a key for a couple days was simple enough, even if the key didn’t unlock anything. My brother was given the same task as me so that he could obtain the same privilege.

I lost it the first day. At recess I was thinking about my task. My quest, as it were, and I checked my inventory. There was nothing in my pocket. The key was gone. Lost. All I had to do was not lose it, and within three hours of arriving at school it was gone. Fate had frowned on me. I was going to have to keep on walking to school. I was a failure. I prayed for a miracle.

At the second recess, nearly two hours after having realized I lost the key, my brother showed up, held up a small object and said, Isn’t this your key? Relief followed. Indeed, it was the very key that my mom had given me to be responsible for! How had my brother come upon it? My brother was a hero in that moment. The key had fallen out of my pocket on the playground, and when my brother saw a lone key sitting on the playground, he thought of my task and supposed maybe it was mine. The miracle I’d prayed for had happened. I was more careful in the next few days not to lose the key. A week later when I showed my mom I still had the key, I rode my bike to school. My mom never knew that I’d lost the key for a few hours.

Categories: 1988-1995 K-6

Parking Ticket Mayhem - May 8, 2014

As I was happily checking my mail one time in August, 2010, I got a notice from The University of Utah’s Commuter Services with Important Parking Information Enclosed. I didn’t know why. I wasn’t attending that university. I figured it was because I had been accepted there and they were informing me about my options regarding getting a parking permit. I threw it out, and forgot about it.

In October, 2010 I got another letter from Commuter Services I opened this one. It wasn’t a flier informing me of my options regarding parking. It was a notice that I had received a parking ticket from them and failed to pay, and I owed them $158.00. I didn’t know how I could have possibly gotten a parking ticket in a city I hadn’t been to in months. I had given my mom a car that was still registered to me, and I thought maybe she’d parked illegally at some point. So I called up Commuter Services and they mentioned that it was for a scooter parked without a permit. Oh great, I thought. I remembered owning a scooter, and I had sold it to some kid almost two years earlier. Apparently he’d never registered it and was getting in all kinds of trouble under my name.

So I tried to explain to this guy, Jake, that worked in the Commuter Services what had happened and that it wasn’t my scooter. The fact of the matter is that Jake could have just cleared the ticket right there. He should have, but he didn’t. Instead he bumped the price up to $204.00, and said that unless I could find the kid I’d sold the scooter to, I was responsible. I was so angry. I was yelling all day. I had no information on the kid I had sold the scooter to, not even a phone number. I was so angry I wrote the governor. I was so angry I called a lawyer. The lawyer wanted money. I didn’t have money since I was a college student.

I asked everyone I worked with what I should do. Some told me not to pay since I wasn’t attending the University of Utah so it’s not like they could delay my graduation for an unpaid parking ticket. The university was threatening to send it to a collections agency, though, and I didn’t want to have a scab on my credit report. I did find out that my university offered free legal counseling. So I went to see the University’s lawyer, Barbara. She offered to call the University for me to try to reason with them. She called them. She was really awesome, but she said they refused to do anything about it. She advised me to pay it, so that I wouldn’t have my credit hurt. I paid. I was so angry at the kid I’d sold the scooter to. He was costing me $204.00. I was angry at that guy Jake for not being reasonable. All he did was send me a picture proving that the scooter was parked there.

On a side note, I want to rant about that guy Jake. I’m pretty sure his full name is Jacob Richard Leany. He currently works for Fidelity Investments. If you married some guy named Jake that had a job in Commuter Services in 2010, then I’m sorry to tell you that you married a real douche-bag. I feel bad for you. You should get a divorce. This guy gets a little bit of power and suddenly he’s a butt to everybody. Just imagine what is going to happen in your marriage! That’s who that guy Jake is. Just to make things clear. The kid that bought the scooter from me had actually got three tickets for $15.00 a piece for a total of $45.00. Heck, $45.00 is nothing. I wouldn’t have even cared that much, I’d just pay the ticket for that kid and consider it to be his birthday present from a stranger. But since I didn’t even know about the tickets for two months, they’d gone up to $204.00, and Jake, the moronic idiot, wouldn’t even budge on the price. He should have lowered it to the original $45.00, at least. That would be the reasonable thing to do.

Okay, so anyway, that was the guy Jake. Yeah, he’s a real loser. (Can you tell how much I don’t like that guy Jake?) Let me tell you about someone else, though. Remember how I said that I was so angry that I’d written the governor, Governor Herbert as a matter of fact? Well, a nice lady that works in the governor’s office, Nancy, responded to my letter, and forwarded my letter to the Board of Regent’s - Commissioner’s Office. The Commissioner’s Office then forwarded my letter to the president of The University of Utah, Mike Young, who then forwarded it to the Director of Commuter Services, Mr. Allred, who then wrote me back and said it seemed reasonable to pardon the tickets. I received this letter on November 15, the very same day that I paid the ticket. That means this letter had been signed and sent before I paid! So basically the right hand in Commuter Services didn’t even know what the left hand was doing. So I emailed Commuter Services and asked for my money back, and they confirmed that, in fact, I’d been pardoned, and then said they’d reverse the charge on my credit card.

I wrote a thank you letter to the lady in the governor’s office, Nancy.

I can’t believe what I went through. That’s why I feel comfortable saying that that guy Jake is kind of a loser, and that his wife should divorce him, or future wife should avoid marrying him, because when it came to reasonable people, such as those in the governor’s office, and the Director of Commuter Services, mercy was shown. Mercy should have been shown by Jake. I would totally vote for Governor Herbert, except that I moved to California and can’t, but I totally support a governor’s office that can get things done for the common man!

I do want to give a little follow up to how much I don’t like Jake. In some fairness to him, I was quite rude to him in some of my emails. He retaliated with equal rudeness. This is the reason why I don’t actually hate him, but if I ever met him in person I would say, Dang, dude! You’re so much more of a butt than the Director was. You got a lot to learn man, but I must admit that I’m sorry for being so rude to you. We both got a lot to learn, I guess.

I don’t know whatever happened to the scooter or the kid I sold it to. It’s very possible that the kid has gone on some kind of rampage, and there are warrants out for my arrest. I hope not. It’s highly likely that the scooter got impounded at some point, and probably hauled to a junk yard. I did report to the DMV that it was sold, at least. That way I can at least prove that I no longer own it. My fear is that it’s still out there, and someday it may haunt me again.

Categories: 2001-2011 College

That Was a Dumb Movie: Murder by Numbers - April 25, 2014

I probably saw more films in theaters in 2002 than any other year of my life, basically I was going every other week. I saw a lot of dumb movies. Most of them I don’t even remember, but a few included Dark Blue and Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones. I’m sure I saw a few good ones too, but the one that has been bugging me for the past 12 years is Murder by Numbers.

The film stars Sandra Bullock and Ben Chaplin as two detectives investigating a murder committed by two high school students played by Ryan Gosling and Michael Pitt. Part of the reason I wanted to see the film was because of Ms. Bullock and Mr. Chaplin. I thought Bullock was hot, she looked like this girl, Charlene, from my school days, and Chaplin had been in The Thin Red Line so I kind of liked him for that. Apparently Ryan Gosling is now famous. I’ve heard his name around, so I assume women find him attractive, but no one had heard of him in 2002.

The murderers wore plastic suits!
Okay, so it’s been 12 years since I’ve seen it, so most of what I remember about the plot was that it was a generic police procedural. There was just one thing that made the movie dumb, though. The thing that has been bothering me for years. The two high school students came up with this elaborate plot to commit murder and not get caught. They went through all sorts of efforts to plant fake evidence, and not leave behind any real evidence. I believe they even wore hazmat suits during the murder in order to do so. I mean in American Psycho Christian Bale also wore a raincoat while committing murder, but that wasn’t to get away with it, it was so his suit didn’t get covered in blood.

Basically that was the downfall of this movie, because honestly, it’s not really that hard to get away with murder. Just drive to some random town you’ve never been to before, kill some random person, it probably doesn’t even matter how. Leave behind as much evidence as you like, and my guess is you’ll never get caught. I mean as long as no one saw you. If you don’t know the victim, who’s going to even think to look for you. There certainly doesn’t need to be all this scheming involved. That’s what’s bugged me about this movies for all these years. These kids could have gotten away with murder so easily. They just thought about it too hard. They were basically idiots. They were twofold idiots. First, for wanting to kill someone at all. And second, for committing murder in such a stupid manner. My real gripe is with whoever wrote this story. It sounds like a high school student wrote this story, because no rational adult would. That’s why Murder by Numbers is a dumb movie.

Categories: Movie Reviews

I Bought a Poem From a Homeless Guy - April 9, 2014

As I was thus driving down the road I saw a man with a sign that said, New Poems for Sale. What choice did I, a man who appreciates writing, have? I needed to buy one from him. So I gave him a dollar, and he gave me a poem.


How and why you lit my flame I’ll never know.
Never got to see you undress only caught your
views and so I’m told yours was unstoppable,
Your times etched in your mind.

Your touch I was not denied, amazingly you
made me so much more than I was. Gratefully
you babe allowed me, contained me, and gave
me your view.

Girl you were politically, moralistically, and
philosophically mature beyond your years. You
elegantly surfed through on top of it all, every
moment shared; no words could appreciate the
love you shared.

Craig A.

When I first read the poem. My thought was, Creepy! Sounds like this guy is a Peeping Tom. However, after careful analysis, I no longer find the poem creepy.

To break this poem apart, we must first make some observations: There are two characters in this poem, the narrator and the woman. We know that the narrator is referring to a woman and not a man because he specifically use the word girl in the third stanza. We will assume that the narrator is a man because the author of the poem is a man. It is possible that the poem is written by the author as if he were someone else (the poem is entitled View after all). However, the title View seems to have reference to the contents of the poem, and not the context in which it was created. Truth be told, however, that it doesn’t really matter what the sexes of the characters are.

Consider first the title, View. The word views is brought up twice. The context of which is that the woman is giving the narrator her views. The likely interpretation is that the woman was making eyes, or in other words making eye contact in a way that suggests feelings of sexual attraction, at the narrator. That alone relieves us of ideas that the narrator is a Peeping Tom or stalker of some sort. In fact the first stanza also states that, [hers] was unstoppable, perhaps suggesting that not only was she making eyes at the narrator, but also that she was rather diligent in her pursuit of him. In fact, it isn’t hard to understand that the narrator was basically surrendering to the advances of the woman.

Thus the first line, How an why you lit my flame I’ll never know. We might actually interpret this to mean that the narrator didn’t even find the woman appealing, but because of her advances, he took interest in her. It’s also possible that this is just generic rhetoric that a man might spout out to a woman in order to flatter her. In any case, the relationship between the narrator and the woman seems to be consensual.

We understand from the second stanza that the narrator and the woman had some kind of physical relationship since the narrator states that, Your touch I was not denied, followed up by some more generic flattering rhetoric, and again referring to the fact that the woman was making eyes at him. We know, however, that their relationship never got too physical, both because the narrator mentions that he, Never got to see [her] undress, and also because he seems more enamored by the fact that she made eyes at him than anything else. We might assume their relationship went only as far as hand holding.

As for the line, Your times etched in your mind, this seems to have reference to the third stanza. The word times could be interpreted as age or experience. The idea that it has been etched in her mind meaning that her life and experiences can be seen through her countenance and demeanor. This idea is supported in the third stanza when the narrator says that the woman is mature beyond [her] years. The phrase, You elegantly surfed through on top of it all, seems to imply that this woman has had some challenging experiences, but dealt with them easily. It’s unclear what the experiences were, possibly something as simple as her pursuit of the narrator being more challenging than she had anticipated. Possibly something else.

I suppose we are to assume that the closing, No words could appreciate the love you shared, is in reference to the narrator. One question is begged however: What happened to the woman? The narrator says Girl you were.... He doesn’t say, Girl you are... He says were past tense. Clearly this couple is no longer together, but based on the lack of bitterness are we to interpret that the woman has passed on? Possibly.

Now let us talk about the poem from a technical standpoint. There is no rhythm to it. It doesn’t rhyme. It has a few suggestions of allusion, but little follow up on the allusion. There is supposed metaphor, but without an external source it has no meaning. There isn’t alliteration. The poem doesn’t emote anything, as, even though I’ve provided a non-creepy interpretation, it still uses the line, Never got to see you undress, which is undeniably creepy. The third stanza ultimately implies that this is a young woman. The line, You [are] ... mature beyond your years, is a line that older guys use with young women, even teenagers, when they are trying to get into their pants, which is about as creepy as anything I can think of.

Truth be told, I lied when I said that after careful analysis I not longer found the poem creepy. I do. It’s freaking creepy. On top of that, a homeless guy wrote this poem, think about that!

A quick search of the internet revealed more work by this struggling writer: Life in the Spin Cycle.

That Was a Dumb Song: One of Us - March 21, 2014

Ever since I first heard it back in 1995 I hated the song One of Us as popularized by Joan Osborne. The song is by an American singer, released in America, and made the America Top 40 Billboard. Clearly this song is targeted at an American audience. Most of this critique will be based on that fact, but I’m going to go into some other ideas as well.

Before I get into things, let me say that, despite what some people may say, America is not a Christian nation. The founding fathers weren’t necessarily Christian. It is a nation of free choice when it comes to religion. Even so, there are a lot of Christians in America. Let’s break apart the song.

If God had a name, what would it be?

Well, there are a lot of answers to this question. If you subscribe to Christianity as I mentioned, it’s Jesus. If you subscribe to Islam it’s Allah. For the Hindus it’s Shiva, Vishnu, Shakti and a host of other names. So basically the singer is asking a question that’s almost impossible to answer. It’s a ridiculous question. There are so many possible names for God that the question is moot. Okay, I’m kidding a little bit here. Obviously it’s a question to provoke some thought. Which it does, and that’s fine.

And would you call it to his face, If you were faced with Him in all His glory?

Again, this one depends on what religion you subscribe to. For Christians, the answer is no. You refer to him as Lord.

What would you ask if you had just one question?

Nothing wrong with this question. It’s not really a particularly profound question, though. If we go back to the example of Christianity, God is open to many questions. You can ask them through prayer. I’m guessing that other religions also have techniques to commune with deity, and also methods to receive answers, such as meditation and scripture.

Okay, so I’ve actually just been picking at straws here. None of that really even bothers me about the song. These are perfectly fine questions to meditate on. In fact I have respect for anyone that has meditated upon such questions. The part of the song that actually bothers me is the chorus:

What if God was one of us?
Just a slob like one of us?

To really explain why I dislike these lines let me explain a few things. You really can’t argue that the religion that the song is targeted at is Christianity. There are numerous references to the Pope, Saints, a term used in reference to the followers of Christ is used, and Jesus himself is mentioned. Basically there’s little room to claim that this song’s intended audience is agnostic, atheist, or some non-Christian audience. What I’m trying to get at is that as far as Christianity is concerned, God was once one of us. His name was Jesus. He lived from around 7-2 B.C.E. to 30-33 C.E., was crucified, rose the third day, then returned to his throne in heaven. So in answer to the question, What if God was one of us? Read the New Testament if you want to know what it was like for God to be one of us from the Christian perspective.

I admit that maybe the singer is merely asking from the point of view of someone who refuses to accept Christianity. But, Christianity is not even the only religion that believes that God was one of us. Hinduism claims that the Gods have manifest themselves many times as people, Krishna being one of the more prevalent incarnations. Once again, the question being asked is moot. It has many answers.

Okay. I want to admit one thing. That doesn’t even really bother me. I think it is perfectly fine to pose such questions in song. It’s really the second line that makes me hate the whole song, Just a slob like one of us? This line implies that if God was here he would be a slob. Frankly, I don’t think he would be. But even that’s not what bothers me. It’s actually that the song says a slob like one of us. This song is accusing me of being a slob, and honestly, I’m not a slob, and that’s why it’s a dumb song.

Categories: Music Reviews

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