Sunday, February 27, 2005

Blame

A Google search reveals "about 110,000" matches for the phrase "illegitimate son." Throw in equivalent phrases for daughter, child, and children, and you've racked up more like 348,000 matches. Definitions for "illegitimate child" can be found in references like the Wikipedia, Dictionary.com, Everything2, and Datasegment. The word "bastard" is often thought of as a cuss-word, and is defined as follows:
  1. A child born out of wedlock.
  2. Something that is of irregular, inferior, or dubious origin.
  3. Slang. A person, especially one who is held to be mean or disagreeable.
Google yields only 1,650 matches for "illegitimate father"--a number which, by some queer quirk of Google, actually decreases to 640 matches when combined with searches for "illegitimate mother" and "illegitimate parent." Even using the higher number, that means there are less than 5 references to illegitimate fathers for every 1000 references to illegitimate children.

It is interesting to me that in an age that emphasizes personal achievement over inherited wealth, where we are taught never to judge or discriminate based on a person's race, religion, sexual orientation, or origins, that we still label children for something they have no power over, and ignore the irresponsible attitudes and actions of the people who put them in that position in the first place.

What do you think?

Saturday, February 26, 2005


I was feeling very photogenic this afternoon. I didn't get dressed until then because Liz and I stayed up way too late last night. (But I loved it!)

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Paradigms and Dirty Old Men

In case you haven't noticed by now, I love swing dancing. If I don't get my weekly "fix" of dancing, I don't function very well. So each Thursday I make it a point to go to the University of Utah Swing Kids club. I've been doing it for years now. It's free, it's fun, they have lessons, and it's a great way to get some exercise and let off steam. This story is not about that.

Every once in a while, I will go to the Murray Arts Centre to dance. Either I am for some reason unable to get to Swing Kids, or Swing Kids skips a week on account of some holiday, or I just feel like I need a double hit for the week. So the MAC (as it's called) is a decent dance spot on Saturday nights. It only costs $6 a person, and there are two buildings to choose from.

First you've got the old person place, where they've usually got a live band playing slow music and average age is probably about 50 years old. This is where the cute old couples go: the ones who love to dance romantically with each other and are finally old enough to have time to do whatever they want.

Then you've got the Hatchery. Average age is probably about 17 years old. Average song is about 5 years old. They have a D.J. who does his/her honest best to find good swing dance music and at the same time appease their constituency. Nevertheless, each week they must endure requests of Santana, Christina Aguilera, and even the Boot Scoot 'n Boogie. (shudder). This is where the good kids go, who want something to do on a Saturday night, who don't care for the drug-and-party scene, and who are finally old enough to have a car to go wherever they want.

I don't really fit very well in either place, but I generally stick to the younger crowd when I go there. And I suppose, technically, you could go to both buildings, but nobody does...

Nobody, that is, except the D.O.M.

Nobody knows for sure where he comes from. Maybe he has a perfectly normal house, and he drives to the MAC in a perfectly normal car. Some say he got married recently, and that his wife abuses him. Who knows? One way or another, it seems that he starts out by going to the old person place, and then meanders over to find fresher meat. He wanders around the sides of the dance floor, watching for the perfect opportunity. Then, he sees it: The song ends, and some poor, cute girl is momentarily vulnerable. For one brief instant, she is neither in the protected territory of an interested boy, nor surrounded by the impenetrable bubble of her friends. She is apart: alone in a sea of faces. As she smiles and nods a goodbye to her former suitor, the girl steps back and turns around to find herself face to face with the D.O.M. She barely has the chance to wonder how he managed to appear there, and then to realize he is looking at her, when he opens his old, wrinkled mouth and utters that powerful phrase. Coming from the mouth of the good, the young, and the attractive, this phrase can ring out in the sweet, sonorous tones of elfin tongue. But here, tainted, as if from the mouths of Tolkein's own orcish horde, and with the sudden and compelling force of a flash flood, come the words, "Wanna dance?" Like a rabbit in the headlights, she is frozen. A murmur escapes her lips and her head absently bobs a nod. Gone are the years where she would say "no" to whomever she felt like, and yet she has not yet learned that sometimes it is okay to politely decline. So again, she is in limbo, caught between the points of safety and unable to escape that awful age of uncertainty. And he takes her, and he dances with her--not sensuously enough that she can justify getting angry with him, but just close enough that she is always uncomfortable. And she is stuck there.

One of the more chivalrous things a guy can do at the MAC is to figure out who the D.O.M. has picked as his next target and preempt him. If he's really bold (i.e. if she's really pretty), he might even steal a girl away from the D.O.M. mid-dance.

And this is how life has been at the MAC for ages untold. It's accepted. Nobody's ever considered any other way. But I was thinking the other day, what if somebody went up to that Dirty Old Man and asked to talk with him? And then what if they sat down with him and explained all of this? What if they explained how uncomfortable he makes the girls here feel with the way he dances with them? And what if they explained that it's just not proper for a man his age to come and dance with girls their age? What if they talked with him and listened to him long enough to understand why he does it, and then convince him to stop? I would venture a wager that it has never been done. And why not? Indeed.

It's funny how we get so set in our ways, and how we just tolerate the status quo as long as it's tolerable. Isn't it strange that we can live in discomfort for years and never, ever think of a way to change things? We can get jobs and work hard and get raises and marry and have kids and die. Those are all paths that have been tread long before us. The way has been worn and cut into the rock so deep that it seems impossible to escape. Those who try are pushed back by the stone walls that we've cut around ourselves, or pulled back by the river of a people too busy to move aside long enough for someone to get a foothold. Much of the time, all we can do is exhaust ourselves clawing at the edges, picking away a piece of sediment here and there, but mostly just bruising and scraping our own fingers.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Success!

Ho-lee cow! I just got a whole bunch of stuff done today. I completed nine items on my task list! That's not just working on items, like doing a load of laundry. That's finishing them, like doing all of my laundry, from basket to drawer. Awesome. I got a haircut, which feels great. In addition to all the tasks completed, I also managed to watch the kids for a few hours in the afternoon and a few more hours at night, including making sure they get ready for bed and quelling uprisings and everything! God must've really been walking right along with me because there's no way that I could get all that stuff done on my own. I love it.

Now, I need to get to bed, but I'll leave you with some lyrics to a Michael W. Smith song:
She asked him for forever
And a promise that would last
He said, "Babe, you know I love you
But I can't commit to that"
She said "Love isn't love
'Til you give it away"

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Grrrr!

Tuesdays suck this semester. I work from 8 to 3, go to class until 5, often have some sort of group work or meeting to do after that (it lasted until 8 tonight), and then I have to find time for dinner and make up all the work that I didn't get done Monday, plus anything that came up today, since I really don't have time either day to whittle away at my task list. The result? 25 incomplete tasks on my to-do list, seven of which are high priority and two of which are past due. And I haven't seen Liz for two days, and I won't get to see her until Thursday. Gripe!

Luckily, Liz was a darling and helped look over one of my assignments for me. Love you Liz!

Monday, February 21, 2005

Hi ho, Hi ho.

Well, here I am, Monday morning, back at work. I get to work until 2:30, then go to a meeting for a group project at school. With luck, we'll get that assignment done. At some point I need to find out where my work shoes got off to. I think I may have left them at Swing Kids last week. Rrrr.

You'd think in a company this big somebody would remember that it's a holiday!

Sunday, February 20, 2005


The weather's been a lot clearer lately.

Dad

I spoke with my dad the other day regarding my mission. He doesn't really think that I should serve one, but since he knows that it is important to me he has promised to pay a good chunk of the expenses. That's a big relief for me. Mom really wants to pay a big chunk too, but I don't know how I feel about that. She doesn't really build risk management into her spending habits, which means the little unexpected expenses tend to hit her hard. Right now she's barely skimming by but for some reason she always thinks that she'll be able to handle more expenses in a few months. It never really turns out that way. She's been getting better, but I really think adding a big monthly expense isn't a good idea right now. I'll need to pray about it and talk with her.

As for now, I'm trying to save my money and get done with school. I haven't spent as much time on school work as I really should be because Liz and I have been spending a lot of time together. Not that I'm complaining; we've only got a couple of weeks to really spend together. A week from this Thursday I'll be going on a vacation to Hawaii with my dad's family. Liz and I have decided that that's going to be the best time for us to make the final step back to prepare for my mission. At that point we won't cuddle, we'll only hold hands if we're walking, and hugging will be extremely limited. We'll also start spending less time together and focus on other aspects of our lives. The hope is that when the time comes for me to leave on my mission, we will already have dealt with a lot of the separation issues.

Anyway, I need to get to church now, but keep an eye on this website for more updates. I'll be sure to take lots of pictures in Hawaii! Also, if you see anything you like on the google ads at the side of the screen, please click on them. I actually get money from them if enough people click on them.

Let me leave you with some lyrics I really like from a Casting Crowns album that I bought recently:
Father, hear my prayer
I need the perfect words
Words that he will hear
And know they're straight from You
I don't know what to say
I only know it hurts
To see my only friend slowly fade away

So maybe this time I'll speak the words of life
With Your fire in my eyes
But that old familiar fear is tearing at my words
What am I so afraid of?

Chorus:
'Cause here I go again
Talkin 'bout the rain
And mulling over things that won't live past today
And as I dance around the truth
Time is not his friend
This might be my last chance to tell him
That You love Him
But here I go again, here I go again

Lord, You love him so, You gave Your only Son
If he will just believe; he will never die
But how then will he know what he has never heard
Lord he has never seen mirrored in my life
....

Tuesday, February 15, 2005


The "card" that Liz gave me for Valentines Day. It came out of the envelope looking like this...

... and the back.

Dias del amor

Yesterday was the first Valentines Day that I wasn't lonely and single for. You know what? It rocks. I mean, for one thing, our dating anniversary was on February 13, so this weekend was very special for that reason. We celebrated that on Saturday (see Liz's blog for more details, and my last couple of entries for pictures). Then yesterday we had an absolutely awesome Valentines Day. I love how we can just sit and cuddle and talk about anything, for any number of hours. I also love how she'd rather just spend quality time with me than have jewelry, flowers, or anything else. That's a really good thing because I didn't have any gifts ready in time for our anniversary or even Valentines. This afternoon her first gift will be ready: a really nice mattress and box springs for her bed. She's been complaining about how she can feel the boards of her bed through her mattress, and she had to rotate the mattress the other day because you could see an imprint where she lays down. It's no wonder she always needs backrubs! So I figured that since I'm going on a mission soon and won't be able to give her backrubs, she should at least have a decent bed. The other gift I'm giving her will be a little item of jewelry for her to remember me by, but we're waiting until we can go shopping and she can pick out the one she wants herself.

Liz was a little better about getting me gifts on time. Her first gift for me was a gift card to Deseret Book so that when we find out where I'm going on my mission I can get a CTR ring in that language. She is having CleanFlicks edit a copy of Braveheart for me, so that we can watch it together any time. It's my favorite movie of all time, but it's rated R for a reason ("brutal medieval warfare"), so it's not up to her standards. This way we get the best of both worlds. That should be ready in a couple of weeks. She also gave me a cute little heart puzzle card... I guess I'll just show you a picture of it later.

Sunday, February 13, 2005


Liz made me a wonderful pie for our 1-year dating anniversary.

Turtle cheesecake pie. Yum!

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Adventures in Logan

Liz and I went up to Logan to see Frankie Manning Saturday. The guy's 90 years old and still teaching dancing! Unfortunately, about 15 minutes out of Logan, the bolt holding the brake calipers in place over my rotor fell out, causing the calipers to scrape up against the wheel rim. It wasn't pretty, and it didn't sound pretty either. Fortunately Liz remembered to pray as we were leaving Salt Lake City, so the bolt happened to fall off just as we were practically stopped, right next to the nearest gas station in miles. And the folks at the gas station were kind enough not to have my car towed. And Liz happened to have a couple of cousins in town, one of which (Pam) was one of her best friends. They hadn't really been in touch in quite a while, so it was a really neat opportunity for them to spend some time together. We all went to catch the last bit of the dance, and then spent the night at Liz's cousin's house.

Logan is a very, very Mormon town, and there wasn't anyplace open Sunday that could fix my car, or that even had the right bolt. So instead of fixing the car Sunday, we went to church with Liz's cousin (Pam). Where we went, they had 4 different LDS churches, all right next to each other. It was weird. Anyway, I spent that night at Liz's other cousin's apartment because part of the school code at BYU, where Liz is going to school right now, says that she isn't allowed to sleep in the same house with a member of the opposite sex that's not her own family. The night before, it was a bit of an emergency, but Sunday we had time to make other arrangements.

Monday morning I had the car towed to a repair shop, who told me they'd call when they were done. They didn't (call, that is), but I called them and found out they were done later in the afternoon, so we were able to leave. We made it back to Salt Lake City safely (apparently we just missed a huge snow storm), and boy did it feel good to brush my teeth and take a shower again!

Two churches

2 more churches (pic taken from the same parking lot)

Swing competition

Swing competition

Liz and Pam

Frankie and me!

Frankie and Liz

Frankie Manning telling a story

On the way out of Logan

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

No gote for you!

Well folks, my chin is now bald. I shaved off the goatee this morning as just one more step toward becoming a missionary. It's weird how I can feel the breeze blow against my chin now without that protective layer there.

Chin...so...cold...

Tuesday, February 01, 2005


There's still a bit of pollution, but it sure is nice to finally be able to see the other side of the valley!