Its no secret that I drive a real piece of shit.

Javier, with his euro tail lights, muffler which sounds as though an explosion (or a race with some guy in an accord with a mis-matched body kit) is eminent, and problems accelerating when under 3000 rpms. Like, real problems. Especially when the air conditioner is on. Lord save me, if it is hotter than 70 degrees outside and I need to go up a hill. On on a flat surface. Anything other than down hill, really.

While I'm a little embarrassed that my car has euro tail lights, when I bough Javier, I was secretly really excited. I mean, I would most definitely never actually instal such things of my own accord. But boy, did I secretly love those twin diamonds adorning the ass end of my sweet little Javier. It made him seem deceptively cool, and possible fast, which Javier is definitely neither.

There are often moments when, while stopped at an intersection, another man in a Javier-esque car will pull up next to me. He will have most definitely noticed the euro's, and will then start sizing me up. I've thought about duct taping a can of hairspray, or something, to the inside frame around the window, to give off the appearance that I may actually have NOS capabilities. But I fear getting caught up in the moment and forgetting, due to my heart of hearts wish that it was actually NOS, that it isn't, and instead spraying myself in the eyes and mouth with hairspray right before take off. Probably no way to salvage dignity when that happens.

So, rather, I look at the other guy. He looks at me. He rev's up his piece of shit. I give mine a couple of foot pumps. Light switches, and we both take off, accelerating at somewhere near the rate of 0-35 in 10 or 12 seconds. And, of course, I lose. Partially, because Javier just can't handle anything beyond a Geo Metro, and partially because I just don't really give a damn.

I feel like, as Javier and I are zipping around the valley, I periodically notice other Honda Civics and Accords that have altered body kits. That make them look lower to the ground, and obviously extra fast. With super tinted windows, and pretty often a massive Virgin de Guadalupe decal on the rear, if we're going to be honest. But one universal thing I have noticed about these "tricked" out cars, is the fact that they ALWAYS look just absolutely beat to hell. It's like, one of the main requirements for putting a body kit on your dumpy Honda, is to probably never actually paint it to match the rest of the car. But also, to bump and scrape it against every tree, cement barrier, rock, or child with which you come into contact. I feel like I have never seen one of these vehicles that isn't scratched and dented all over, with at least 1-3 sections being held on my black/duct tape.

I think my first order of business, upon finishing grad college, will be to give Javier the body kit he has always wanted. We may not go so far as NOS, but he might get some super premium gasoline pumped into his tank now and then, if he is good. I'll have to take a friend vote on whether or not to fix the exhaust pipe. Because I can only imagine that sitting in the back of my car, feeling like your chest/inner ear components are about to explode from the sonic vibrations, can only be an extra pleasant experience.

If you ever wanna see what that's like, let me know.


Things that make me uncomfortable

As I approached the front door to my house (I share a 3 way entry with the cat lady and the chola) I set down my dirty clothes hamper and searched for my keys. I heard someone fiddling with the locks and door handle. Is it the cat lady, coming out to remind me to take out the trash cans tomorrow, or the ever elusive chola, slathered in liquid eyeliner and headed out to the bar? I was hoping for the latter, because then I would avoid the possibility of getting stuck discussing cat dander, or something equally pleasant. Turns out, it was a dude, exiting the dark interior of the chola's abode. As he stepped out of the door and pulled it shut behind him, he reached down, and zipped up his pants.

"Huh," I thought.

Then we made eye contact. He said, "Hey."
I said, "Hey."
Then I awkwardly moved me and my clothing hamper out of his way, and off he went. He definitely saw me see him do the zip up. Maybe next time he will remember to zip up before he takes off.


I was listening to some conservative talk radio yesterday. Because I forgot my Ipod, and have listened to the NOFX album "Coaster," about 175 times, because it is the only CD in my car for roughly the last year, and is therefore the default if there is nothing worth listening to on talk radio and I don't have an Ipod. I was tuned in to 105.7 KNRS, family values talk radio, home of esteemed queen of moral values Dr. Laura Schlessinger, and Lord of all assholes, Rush Limbaugh. Glen Beck used to be on around 4, but has recently been bumped by a local guy named Ron Arquette. When I tuned in, he happened to be talking to Terry Jones, pastor of the Dove World Outreach center in Gainsville, Florida.

The church over which this abominable shithead of an imbecile pasteurizes, plans on declaring 9/11 "National Burn a Quran Day." Bigotry and hate. Cool. So, Ronald asks Terry what message he, and his churches congregation of primordial sheep hope to get across, by burning Islam's most sacred book.
"Well, we want to send a clear message that sharia law won't be accepted here in America, and that radicals aren't welcome."
Ronald asked Terry if this was his own idea.
"Well, it actually wasn't my idea. A member of the congregation came to me with this, and after a lot of contemplation and praying, I felt like this was the right thing to do."
Ronald asked Terry if he thought that maybe this would be sending the wrong message to moderate muslims the world over, and further drive a wedge between Muslims and Christians/Americans.
"Well, we believe that it might, but that the message is too important not to send. And, more importantly, the radicals will get the right message."
Ronald asked Terry if he thought that, by burning the Quran, Islamic radicals would twist the footage and story, and use it to show that America hates Muslims.
"Well, we believe that they will do such things anyway, and again, that the message is too important."
Ronald asked Terry if he would be offended by Muslims burning bibles.
"Well, yes, I would certainly be offended. But, again, this is different. We are sending an important message here. This isn't a message against moderate Muslims (which, throughout, he pronounced mawzluhms, which was super annoying), but rather against the radicals, and it is too important. The radicals will get the right message."

I don't even know where to start with this. I don't know how anyone with even 1/8 of a brain could possibly think this was any kind of a good idea. That this is anything less than pure, unadulterated bigotry, carelessly "hidden" behind the claim of "taking a stand," or "sending a message." These people are just as bad as the nefarious "Christian" refuse that pickets soldier's funerals with "God hates fags" signs. I understand that there is a national conservative fear that "we have become dangerously tolerant of radicalism," and that people fear that political correctness enables terrorist cells to grow and fester to the point of horrendous, deadly acts. But if nothing else, this sort of behavior CREATES AND LEGITIMIZES these cells. It, simply put, provides endless fuel for the "American infidels hate Muslims, and therefore must be destroyed," fire. How can these people not see that? Well, because they are blinded by pure, unfettered hatred. By the absolute epitome of ignorance. The fact that he said that he had prayed about this was even more infuriating. Maybe I'm just naive when I think that Jesus isn't a Muslim hating queer bashing condoner of common Nazi tactics e.g. book burning.

Burning a Quran doesn't send a message that "America hates sharia law." Burning a Quran simply sends a message of hate. Pure and simple. And the worst part is, the media plays right into it. If the media would simply ignore what this horse's ass is doing, nobody would ever know about it, and it would be a completely benign publicity stunt. I mean, if a church in Nephi Utah decided to burn every Quran in Juab country (which would probably be fewer than 1), if nobody reported it, nobody would know about it. So the media is pulling an equally stupid boner.

About 2 hours later, I was heading somewhere else, listening to the same show. Apparently, according to a Gallup pole, Obama is less popular among Mormons than among any other faith. He dropped from like, a 48% approval rate, to around a 23% since election. Whatever. So Mr. Arquette opened up the phone lines with a question: In one sentence, tell us why you like, or dislike Obama.

The overall tone and outcome of this question, I think, is pretty obvious, considering the station and the demographic. Me, I don't love Obama. But I think it is pretty silly to open up a "call us and tell us why you don't like Obama" forum. Maybe embarrassing, is a better word.
"I like Barak Hussein Obama because he is hastening the return of my Savior."
Followed by, "I dislike Barak Obama because he is a Gadianton robber." Not, he is LIKE a Gadianton robber (which would be equally ridiculous,) but he IS. (For those of you not familiar with the Book of Mormon, the Gadianton robbers were a group of, well, robbers and thieves and murderers who made a pact with Satan, essentially, to overthrow righteousness/the government, through secret combinations, or clandestine, underground groups, as it were.)
Double sigh.
And it went on, and on, and on. It just seems like such cheap, pathetic radio, to have a "Let's all call in and say why we hate the president" forum.
Here is the thing. If you want to sit at home, in your private little Mormon cottage adorned with every Greg Olsen painting ever created, and all of the various vinyl lettering inspirational sayings that Seagull Book and Tape ever offered, and think that Barak Obama is a Gadianton robber, effecting the complete moral destruction of the united states, and is, in effect, causing Christ to have to come even sooner than planned...can you PLEASE just keep that thought to your self? If that is what you believe in your heart of hearts, then God love you. It's your prerogative. But just don't make the rest of us (Mormons) sound like back woods, ignorant idiots, hunkering down for the eminent apocalypse. I'm not saying for people not to stand up for what they believe in. But have you ever heard any of the quorum of the 12 say anything about Obama being a Gadianton robber, or hastening the coming of the Lord?


So shut your mouth, and keep it to yourself. Stop making me feel embarrassed to be a Utah Mormon. Don't get me wrong-I feel like I need to rephrase that. I'm not embarrassed to be a Mormon. I'm not embarrassed by my religion. I am, however, embarrassed to be culturally and intellectually lumped in with people pulling crap like the aforementioned...crap. You may think Obama is destroying America with his policies. But to compare him with a group of murderers who made a pact with Lucifer to effect the destruction of all that is good and holy, is simply ludicrous. Maybe think about what you are really saying there, before you open your stupid mouth and word vomit all over the Utah airwaves.

Maybe, just maybe, this illustrates a little tiny fraction of what moderate muslims feel, when their radical brethren pull shit like explosive martyrdom. It's a shaky comparison at best, but I think there were a whole lot of Muslims cringing when those towers went down.

I guess we all cringe sometimes because of those with whom we share a faith, a political party...or a front entry way.


Burning wagons and fashion dilemmas

I went to lake Powell last week, because the best thing to do when unemployed is go on a vacation. I was getting so tired of sitting at home, sweaty in a chair, reading fantasy novel after fantasy novel, eating maybe like a thousand grapes, and 30-70 otterpops. In like a week. I just needed to DO something.

Isn't it weird how whenever you are working like, mostly full time, there always seems to be at least 100 shit that you need to do on your days off? Like seriously...100 shit, every time. There was never enough time on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays for all of the biking, swimming, cooking, vegetable eating, motorcycling, responsible adult things that I wanted/needed to do. But as soon as I lose my job, I'm sitting there naked in my easy chair (because putting on clothing after a shower seemed like the worst idea ever) book in hand, wishing I had something important to do. Wishing someone would give me a task. Like maybe the mail man would knock on my door, and ask me for help re-sorting all of the junk mail that spilled all over my lawn when he tripped over Smokey (the cat lady's outside cat). He wouldn't even care that I was naked, that junk mail needed to be re-sorted so bad. People gotta get their coups.

Wait, I just remembered that such a scenario would be impossible, because Smokey is dead. After 15 years, he just finally succumbed to old age and maybe lung cancer. Although, he probably had less severe lung cancer (as comparable to her other 2-6 inside cats) due to being a mostly outside cat. God rest his little mouse catching soul. I'll sure miss the dead mice in the doorway.

Anyways, so when my friend invited me to go to lake Powell, even though I knew I would in all likelihood be spending 3 days in a sweet bro workshop, I finally felt like I had a task. Like life would be meaningful again. Lake Powell needed me. Which was a totally stupid thought.

So, to lake Powell I went, and boy oh boy, did I ever burn down the meat wagon. I really didn't think about it when I decided to go, just exactly what I was going to eat. Sometimes I forget that people don't eat like I do. There are still dudes in the world who want to eat every hotdog they can. And stuck on a boat, with nothing but Malt-O-Meal cocoa puffs as an alternative, sometimes even the guy who won't eat anything irresponsible breaks down and eats FIVE HAMBURGERS. Nothing ever felt so wrong, but at the same time so right. Especially when one was sandwiched between 2 slices of government texas toast (Walmart's G.V. ((great value)) brand always translates in my mind as "government" whenever I see it) with garlic butter slathered on both sides. The buttery saturated fat juices were literally dripping down my forearms. I guess if you have to fall off the meat wagon, that sure as hell is the way to do it.

I'm back on.

I think I ate more terrible food during those 3 days than I had in all the previous 3 months combined. Which I'm fairly certain caused me to gain no less than 5 lbs. And probably, unfortunately, in my neck/jowl region.


I started grad college yesterday. I feel like this is totally going to mess up a really good thing I had going, which was wearing basically the same 3 or 4 things, over and over again. Which made life really easy. I could get away with this because there are very few people I see more than once or twice a week. So I can wear like, the same pants and shirt 3 days in a row with no fear of social repercussions. And because I'm not a smelly dude. But now, I will be seeing the same people for 3 or more hours a day, every single day of the week. So now I have to come up with at least 5 distinct clothing combos. Which is logistically feasible, since I have no fewer than 20 pairs of jeans, and an assload of shirt that I never wear. I have a problem saying no to sub-$30 bargain jeans.

Anyways, in 6.5 hours I have to wake up and try to figure out what I didn't wear yesterday and the day before. Which may be hard.

Things are foggy for me before 10 am.



So I've been thinking about this Islam cultural center that seems to be the big political controversy right now. In case you live under a rock, or watch nothing but E!, or whatever, Muslims are going to build an Islamic cultural center 2 blocks from ground zero. And a whole lot of Americans are pretty pist about it. Many argue that putting it there is insensitive to those affected by 9/11. That it is simply too close. Others argue that Muslims can put it wherever they choose, because of religious freedom and whatever. And there is also the question of, "how close is too close?" Which, honestly, I think is the only REAL question. Answer that question, and that will solve the problem.

If they were building it 10 blocks away, would that be too close? Or 5, or 8 or 20? Where is the real line by which this culturally sensitive question can be measured? Where does it go from making a so-called mockery of those who died on 9/11, to being just another place for people to pray on rugs facing east?

Sometimes, I wish they (they being "The Government,") would just call a random person, and say, "Hey, is this Phil?"
"Uh yeah, I'm Phil."
"Hey Phil."
"Anyways, it's us, 'The Government.'"
"Oh. Hi."
"Anyways, hang on, let me transfer you to a different department. I'm actually just in charge of getting a hold of people."
"Wait, what's this..."
"Hold please."
Then, about 10 minutes later, (due to the efficacy of "The Government,") "The Government" is ready to ask Phil the big question.
"Hey Phil."
"Still here."
"Great. Hey, it's me, "The Government" again."
"We just have a question for you. Were going to just let you decided the outcome. Whatever you randomly decide, that's what were going to do. Follow your big, American gut. Now, I'm going to ask you this question, and then put you on hold for the agency that will receive your answer."


If I were Phil, and "The Government" asked me about how close was too close, I think I could come up with a pretty simple equation for figuring that out, that would probably satisfy most Americans.

Put a New York Yankee on the very top of the freedom tower (that doesn't yet exist.) Now, it needs to be an American citizen. No Mexicans. Probably not even a Puerto Rican. And not just some naturalized player. A real live multi generational citizen. Now, let that Yankee drop hit a baseball as far as he can, from the tip top of the non existent freedom tower(s), and where that ball lands, is the closest that any Mosque may be built.

I feel like the whole argument has digressed about to that point. Can we fix the economy, and THEN maybe worry about how close is too close?


Dodging bullets

It's a pretty disheartening feeling when you are unemployed, and suddenly you rear end somebodies car. And it is down right utterly demoralizing, when upon looking up to see the car you just banged, it happens to be a Mercedes Benz. At that point, you mostly just want to say the f word and throw up all over the steering wheel.

But that would merely compound the horror of the situation, and be pretty much embarrassing when you had to get out of the car and confront the Benz owner, covered in puke.

"Good job asshole! Why didn't you wa....why are you covered in vomit?"
"I don't really know."
"Me too."


My car was covered in bikes, and my sun glasses were covered in dust. There was one particularly prominent dirt splotch right in the middle of my left eye, which I had been hopelessly focused on for about 5 blocks. Stupidly, as I was coming to a stop at a light, I decided that it was time to remove my glasses, and look down to study the splotch. For some reason, I thought I was stopped. Apparently, as was made evident by the sudden "thud" in front of me, I wasn't. I looked up, and to my utmost horror, saw the telltale doom of the Mercedes sign on the ass end of the car in front of me. On the ass end I had just plowed into. Because the dirt splotch was bothering me. Good one, idiot.

The first thing I thought was, "Oh no. Oh oh oh no. No no no no. I'm unemployed. Ohhh no." The second thing was, "Of all the cars I never hit, why did the one I finally did have to be a Mercedes? I'm unemployed. You don't hit a Mercedes when you are unemployed. Or not unemployed. Ever, really." I think out loud, that was all compounded into, "Ohhhh SHIT. I don't have a job. I can't hit a car right now."

As we pulled over to the side of the road, I was really hoping somebody would plow into the back of me, wreck Javier into oblivion, and give me some mild whiplash. Then I could just sit in the front seat, with the air bag exploded, and maybe a bloody nose, and moan and hold my neck. Then maybe the dude with the Benz would just feel really bad, and leave. I wouldn't even have to puke all over myself, AND maybe I'd get a good settlement, which would take care of both the unemployment problem, and Javier's really, ultra loud muffler.

None of that happened. I got out of my car, and he stepped out of his convertible, hunched his shoulders, lifting his hands in the air, making a pretty good "what the hell?" gesture. Which I took to mean he was going to probably be a real jerk about the whole thing. He walked over and checked out his bumper, which seemed to be completely fine. He said, "It seems completely fine." I said, "Yeah. It sure does." He said, "well, no harm no foul."

I definitely didn't expect him to be so completely magnanimous. I said I was sorry, and told him about the dust problem on my glasses. He seemed sympathetic. We then shook hands, and parted ways. I'm not sure why he shook my hand, since I certainly did my damnedest to wreck his bumper.

I think last time I felt so relieved, was when I was 14 years old. I had just moved to Nephi several months before, and was still absolutely enamored with the idea that I was going to school with a ton of polygamist children. I was in the school choir. We were heading up to a competition in Orem, on a bus. As we were passing the plig colony, just south of Santaquin, I wanted to yell something clever about the fact that we were passing a colony full of Big Love. Something like, "Hey! Look! It's the polygamists! So many wives! Baahahahah!" Something REALLY clever. But something inside me said, "Don't do it, asshole." So I didn't.

On the way back down from the competition, our bus made a detour directly into the heart of the colony. Bewildered, I wondered just what the hell was going on. Upon reaching the deepest bowels of the compound, the bus stopped, and half the kids got up and went home to their moms.

The "no harm no foul" Mercedes Benz crash felt about like that. Like I just dodged a big, fat, polygamist bullet.


Naked and jobless

Normally, at 6:54 pm on a Monday, I am certainly not recently post shower naked, writing a blog, and dreading putting on clothing in this sweltering hades we call Utah. Also, I am usually not a part of the 10+ percent of Americans who are currently unemployed. No, today is certainly an abnormal day, to say the least.

Let me tell you what it means to work in corporate mega chain restaurant America.

Apparently, a manager can tell a female that she has terrific, big boobs in front of several males, and also the female with said big boobs, with little or no consequence. Or he can tell a girl that she "needs to lose some weight," because she said she can't get her fingers down into the wine glasses to properly polish them. Or he can wrap his arms around a male employee and proceed to, for lack of a better way to say it, hump said employee, saying "**** just needs a hug, and a hump." Or he can tell another employee that he finds his wife attractive, because she isn't like other girls, she has "some meat on her bones." Or he can look at porn in the office. Or about 100 other things. He can get 2 corporate complaints, and chance after chance after chance. And after all that...what happens to him? Waaaaaiiiit for it........drum roll please.....ba dum da da dum boo beep boo....
A transfer to another store in Vegas.

My, how it kicks ass to be a Corporate mega chain restaurant manager. Apparently, sitting in his basement, looking at orc porn and playing World Of Warcraft for hours on end has somehow lent him freakishly potent powers of persuasion, and a slimy, snakelike ability to slither his way out of a sticky situation. That, or corporate mega chain restaurant America is more concerned with keeping their investment, than with actually meeting out punishment in the vile mire that is acceptable restauranteur jargon. Where anything goes, as long as somebody else is saying it too.

Working in corporate mega chain restaurant America means that, if such a person as the aforementioned dirt ball happens to be your manager, and happens to commit all (and many, many more) of the previously stated infractions, and then gets transferred to another store, the remaining proprietor will defend said bag of shit, to the tune of firing at least 3 employees.

Working in corporate mega chain restaurant America means that the previously described bag of douche can have endless opportunities to say all manner of vile things to or about employees. However, if one of these employees happens to mention just how spectacular a dickbot this porn loving creature happens to be on Facebook AFTER said fiend has been transferred, in RESPONSE to the firings of 2 fellow friends...well folks, we have yet another corporate mega chain restaurant fatality.

Working in corporate mega chain restaurant America ultimately means, that money is more important than people. That sticking up for a man who can't get through a shift without making someone feel uncomfortable is more important than people. That bending over backwards for customers is more important that taking care of YOUR people. That maintaing a clean managerial image is more important than people. Even when these people you dump on are the ones who brought you success.

Working in corporate mega chain restaurant America means YOU don't matter. Only the money matters.

Which, upon reviewing this little rant, I imagine the first comment will be,

"No shit buddy."