Beauty queen. Drug dealers.

It is funny how being a beauty queen seems to confer life long status in our society. Like being a senator or governor or astronaut (hi marissa).
I just saw a news item about a missing women and the headline mentioned she had been a beauty queen. She is 30 years old now, several years away from her pageant days, yet beauty queen is still her identity. When Sarah Pallin was nominated her having been a beauty pageant contestant seemed to be one of the first things I knew about her.

It is interesting the way news organization identify people. I have recently been noticing when the victim of a crime, even a murder, is a drug user or a prostitute, this is always mentioned even if it has no other relevance to the story, and the reference always seems to be in a sense of saying: it is unfortunate the crime happened, but not too big of a deal because it was just a prostitute or drug user.

To be fair, I can see where one might be coming from in feeling that a crime which has occurred to someone in that realm of society is somehow distinct from a crime affecting the average citizen. People are more interested in and afraid of things which could possibly happen to them. Hearing of a college student getting raped is scarier because that is the world we occupy and it reveals our vulnerabilities. Hearing of a prostitute or drug user getting raped might feel different, they inhabit a seperate world from us, what happens in that world is different than what happens in our world.

However, I believe this way of thinking is overly simplistic. It creates this notion that people who have this label of 'drug user' or 'prostitute' spend all day every day sitting in some trashy apartment shooting heroin and having sex.

I confess I have never actually known a prostitute, but I know many drug users, and anyone else who knows a drug user realizes their is much more to their life than using drugs. To describe someone, as news outlets so often do, with the phrase of drug user is like describing someone as being prescribed an anti-depressant. Imagine a news article reading, 'Pinocchio-Bones Jones, who is prescribed an anti-depressant was murdered and set on fire while celebrating his birthday.' That description would feel irrelevant to the content of the story, and expressing an obvious bigotry, as if somehow their victimization is less meaningful, yet so often that is how drug users or prostitutes are treated in news stories.

Granted, sometimes the information IS relevant, for example if a serial killer was targeting prostitutes, or if the crime happened during a drug deal gone awry, but very often the victims status of drug user/prostitute is mentioned and has no relevance at all to the story, except to say: a crime happened, but don't worry, it wasn't to someone like us. It didn't happen, thank god, to a former beauty queen.

Also, I was surprised how controversial my last entry has been. To all who expressed disagreement, go to hell! J/k, your all cool. I often feel somewhat torn when people leave a comment in disagreement. A part of me wants to provide a point by point refution, but then another part of me doesn't want to be harsh and overbearing. Especially when it is an issue, I don't necessarily feel strongly about.


lava from the jaws.

There is this girl I like a lot these days. Her name is Marissa. It is going well. We both like each other quite a bit and she doesn't even own a comb.(Hi Marissa. Hi Marissa's mom, Kristan Paolacci)
Whenever I like someone romantically I am reminded of how I am as unromantic as I could imagine. I can't help but not see romantic feelings as nothing special, or nothing magical. Rather just a product of our evolution compelling us as members of a species to keep the species going. That if we didn't have this urge within us we wouldn't see the other person in nearly as special of a way as we do when made drunk by the oxytocin flowing through our blood making us feel connected and bonded in unique ways, urging us to couple and reproduce.
I also can't help but see love as something selfish. Particularly romantic love. Here is another person, another universe to themselves, and because you find them interesting and enjoy their company you want them to give you all their attention. Not just that but you want them to give only you lots of attention. We feel hurt and angry if they do not give us enough or not in the right ways, or give too much of their attention to someone else. The language we use in reference to those we are coupled with. They are mine. That is my girlfriend, etc. expresses the way we approach relationships. But this person is not ours and never will be be, they are an entire universe. We just happened to have been around them around, and enjoy their company enough(which itself is very often the luck of having been raised in the same culture, speaking a shared language with a similar genetic heritage) plus be physically attracted to them the time, and this happening during the time of our life when we were choosing a mate to couple with for the rest of our lives. We might this other universe to commit to us that they will share our bed every night and if they end up becoming too connected with another person we can't share a bed anymore.
And as much time as we spend with them, and as much as we think they owe us, we will never really understand them. Because our internal lives are subtle, complicated, we will always have the entire universe revolve around each of us and they will always have the entire universe revolve around them, and as much as we struggle to convey what it feels like to be us, the ability to actually share an experience with another person is impossible.
We like to think that this other web of neurons and atoms, out of all the billions of others very, is somehow the only one we could or should be with. That maybe what is shared between us is something special or magical.
And even though I can't help but feel these things I also get caught up in the romantic feelings as well. Although my mind my see it all as strange I still have a body which feels all the same things as everyone else.
I also think the love of a parent for a child is delusional. Here is a child, not much different from all other children on earth, but because they carry our genes we have been instilled by evolution to value their survival almost infinitely more those of other children.
Because I say I believe it is a delusion does not mean I do not believe it to be a good thing. I do. It is very important to our survival as a species as well as for people to grow up psychology healthy to have loving parents.
And while I think it is, perhaps based on a biological ingrained delusion, I also do not think monogamy is a bad thing. I am all for it, and think that movements which/do tried/try to break down that barrier were/are doomed to failure. The biology of it is too deep. I think it could be done better. People shouldn't be so needy. To quote borrow a quote from Thoreau: 'If my world is not sufficient without thee, my friend, I will wait till it is and then call thee. You shall come to a palace, not to an almshouse.' But it is how our species evolved and so we should accept it, make the best of it.



Being in Olympia feels like nothing. By that I mean, I don't feel any different being here than I felt the other day when I was in Provo.
There is no one in Provo I would see every day or even every other day, and since school hasn't started yet I have been doing what I would otherwise be doing were I in Utah, is reading books, or talking to Marissa in Ukraine on the Skype phone. The main difference is the view out my window, and that I don't have sheets on my bed. I forgot my sheets!
But the view out my window is pretty. I live on the second floor of a nice house with some really nice people. Oh, and Kahea also lives upstairs. There is a bathroom between our rooms. I can here every sound of him defecating. I have started leaving a fan on all the time to drown out the bathroom sound.
Back to the view out my window: On the satellite map there is supposed to be a lake across the street, but i can't see it. Also, everywhere in Olympia is dense with trees unless they have been purposefully removed, except right around my house, for maybe a couple square miles. I am curious why. Some glitch in the soil. But it is pretty. Different colored grasses and shrubs which as I look right now are blowing back and forth. Growing up in the desert I am used to people able to see for miles around me, and while I love the trees in the Northwest I occasionally feel a slight sense of claustrophobia not being able to see more than a few hundred yards. So I find this island of grassland prairie I live in comforting.
Yesterday I bought some groceries and got lost on my return. I was happy to discover a Buddhist temple close to my house. It is a funny building. Imagine if Ivory Homes built a Buddhist temple. Pagoda like terraces constructed with modern western building materials, a stucco facade. I will post a picture when I remember.
We have a greenhouse in the back yard, and washer and dryer in the basement.
One of my roommates is on probation.
I am still having trouble seeing anything as more than a pile of atoms.



It is interesting hearing even John Mccain acknowledge that our current financial crisis is largely a product of deregulation (some of which he was directly responsible for) and that our way out is through re-regulating what has been being gradually turned over to the free markets to regulate for themselves.

Deregulation is at the heart of Republican philosophy. For a republican to acknowledge that one of the most fundamental principals of their party has caused a genuine disaster, one would think should cause people to question the viability of Republican ideals.

But I haven't heard anything like that. I guess I am not surprised. Republican politicians have come to cloak themselves as being primiarily about perceived Christian values so thoroughly that even when their presidential nominee acknowledges one of their most core principals is ruining our economy, party members don't even seem question if their political loyalties have been misguided, because they seem to focus so fully on the two issues of homosexuality and abortion that even if what is at the heart of party is literally destroying our economy, it goes unnoticed.
We are being financially devestated? Well, at least gays can't get married in most places, so we must be doing okay.


a few moments ago at the gas station.

Gas station clerk: How are you today?

Me: Doing well.

Gsc: HA! HA! Ha!

If this had been a comic strip or a graphic novel, I would then be shown with a question mark over my head.

I pay for my green tea and guava juice.
Gas Station clerk:'have a nice day' in a winking sort of way as if referring to my previous 'joke'.

Question mark returns above my head.


i just got finished being arrested. sort of. it lasted about ten minutes. I was pulled over because the cop said he couldn't see my license plate. i was put in cuffs, my car was searched and i was given a breathalyzer. I had to take it three times cause I apparently wasn't breathing hard enough. The cop seemed suspicious about the spoons in my backpack. I didn't really know what to say about why they were there. Sometimes you have several spoons in your backpack. All of this took place about a block from my house. When I got home the cop knocked on the door cause he had forgotten to give me my license back.


Unfinished entries.

I have so many unfinished blogger entries. They exist as saved drafts. I probably have almost as many saved drafts as I do posted entries. Hopefully all will end up being finished.
A variety of things prevent me from finishing these entries. Often, whatever it is I am trying to talk about is complicated to my mind and I struggle to think how I can best explain it without having to write an entry of overwhelming length. So I write down a bit, then save it, hoping I will think of how to finish it. And often I do. But the amount of unfinished entries have begun to really pile up.



My computer came with an excellent Dictionary/Thesaurus program.

I like to keep it open all the time, especially when I read or watch a movie. At first I used it only to look up words I was unfamiliar with, but gradually began looking up any word that while I mostly understood and could even use in a sentence I couldn't confidently define. It has been an illuminating practice. Words I thought I understood well have become much richer, and occasionally even entirely different than I had believed. I have also realized that the amount of words I use regularly without fully understanding is much greater than I had previously thought.

It was about a year ago I began using the Dictionary software as much as I could, but only a few months ago I began using the thesaurus portion of it regularly. I use it whenever I write. It helps me, when I am struggling with choosing the most accurate word to say what I think. While the words I choose with thesaurus help are almost always ones I am familiar with and comfortable using, I often have trouble finding the exact word I want using only my mind. This is probably why I have almost no proclivity towards poetry, and an admiration for those who do (well, those who do and write stuff I like, well, not necessarily a high regard for that person cause maybe they are also a dick, but a high regard and admiration for their ability with words.). Having a list of synonyms to look at is immensely helpful for me finding the closest word to represent my thoughts/feelings.

I have also found myself looking up definitions and synonyms of words I am using, and am confident about, because I am curiosity about etymology and less common synonyms.

This brings me to the reason I am writing any of this. I want to write about one particular synonym I learned recently which stands above all others, it is a synonym for wrangle, but is can also be used with a slightly different meaning(obtain through persuasion or manipulation).
This magic word is:


Isn't that a funny word! And isn't it funny it can be interchanged with wrangle? "I was able to wangle Bill Gates into helping me wrangle money to pay our parking meter" I'm not sure if I used that right. "Wangle Bill Gates" is correct, but I am unsure about the "into". It is things like that which don't matter.


evolution of lying

I think the psychology of lying is really interesting. When a person lies it is almost always to someone else's opinion of them for the positive and so, presumably to increase that liar's sense of self worth.
Interesting because, while I am sure it is ultimately unfilfilling, it does seem to, at that moment and later, allow that person to feel better about themselves by thinking that others are thinking better of them.
Even though the liar knows what they have lied about isn't true! That people can feel good about others thinking they possess a certain quality they know they do not have to me says a lot about our brains. It illustrates how deeply ingrained it is for people to crave acceptance by others. That that craving can triumph over our sense of reality. It should make no sense for a person to feel good about a quality they know they do not possess yet others think they do. A person should recognize, 'Well, it is not true that I_____, so it shouldn't affect the way I think of myself at all.' Yet that isn't the case. The same goes for cheating. It shouldn't make sense that a person should take any satisfaction at all from winning by cheating because they know they didn't really win! Yet people cheat all the time, often the only reward they receive is the satisfaction of others thinking, mistakenly, that they won. And apparently this is a strong drive for many people and keeps them cheating again and again. It actually means something for them to have others think of them in a way that isn't true.
Which is bizarre.
But makes sense if a person considers the evolution of mammals. How our group perceives us has been incredibly important in our evolutionary history. If an animal is seen by the group as being one who doesn't share food(or whatever), then the group won't share food with him/her.(this isn't theory, this is observable behavior in the animal kingdom, and relates to many other things than sharing). It doesn't matter if the animal actually IS a good sharer (or whatever), all that matters is the group perceives him/her as such, and he/she will have better reproductive fitness, because s/he will receive more support and acceptance from the group. I imagine we have this deeply ingrained need to be perceived in certain ways by the group, which as our intelligence increased we were able fool others into thinking we possessed certain traits, without actually possessing them, thus getting the benefits of being perceived as having that trait, without the drawbacks that may come with actually having it.

Rats off to ya!

I have started watching this video every night before I go to bed. It is so funny! It is from a tv show called 'Tom Goes to the Mayor'.
Every episode has the premise that local Citizen Tom Peters who is full of ideas goes to the town mayor with one of them. Often the mayor loves the idea but wants to change it slightly, and his slight change causes mayhem. This episode is about going to the mayor, but the mayor doesn't tweak the idea and cause mayhem.
I only heard of this show earlier this year and kind of stumbled across it accidentally. Reading about it online I learned that when the show was on air it was pretty controversial. Not because of any issues or ideas but just because some people disliked it so much. I think it is SO funny! Here is rats off to ya(also, did you know google now lets you add these unpleasant borders to youtube videos when you imbed them? check it out!):


17 steps to 'evil'.

In my favorite book 'Why We Believe What We Believe' There was a list Titled 'Seventeen Steps to Evil' This list illustrates the steps an organization can follow which will lead otherwise good people to 'evil' acts. While reading it, my mind could not help but make parallels to something I know well(and I am sure many people could draw similar parallels to institutions they know well.). Here is the list, with the corresponding concepts beside in parenthesis. (I am not saying the institution is evil, but it is structured in a way that can and has led to evil ie. Mountain Meadows Massacre, )

1)Establish a set of ideals and beliefs that insinuate your superiority over others.
(One true Church, restored gospel)

2)Provide logical justification for implementing your beliefs.
(It is the will of God. Leads to happiness, eternal life etc.)

3)Have clearly defined behaviors that the members of your group must endorse.

4)Reinforce steps 1, 2 and 3 as often as possible through discussion and written material until they become your primary beliefs.
(Scripture, Weekly Church, Monthly magazine, bi-yearly conference)

5)Have members contractually agree to the above steps, reinforcing a sense of obligation to the group and its leaders.
(Baptism, Sacrament, Temple Covenents. )

6)Select a charismatic spokesperson to advertise your group and reinforce your beliefs.
(Prophets, Apostles, Bishops etc.)

7)Create a range of punishments for those who do not conform.
(Not being 'worthy', Forbidden from participation in certain rituals, ie. sacrament, temple. Disfellowship, Excommuication, shunning by the group.)

8)Emphasize the importance of conformity and punishment to help members aspire to your ideals.
(Obedience as virtue. Unworthiness, disobedience=misery)

9)Insist that each member find new initiates to join the group.
(Every Member a Missionay)

10)Institute severe penalties for those who may wish to leave the group.
(Excommunication, shunning, teaching that to Deny the holy ghost= Greatest of all sins.)

11)Limit alternative perspectives and communication between members of your group.
(Condemning groups like Sunstone. Firing professors who write things in variance to statements by the First Presidency. Teaching that to even read or give consideration to literature opposing the Church is sin.)

12)Exclude, as much as possible, contact with people from outside the group.
(One should date only members. One cannot receive a temple recommend if they affiliate with any group that is against the Church)

13)Identify a group that opposes your beliefs and ideals.
('The World', Non-Members, Gentiles.)

14)Depersonalize and denigrate those who are not members of your group.
(Referring to those not apart of the 'The World', demeaningly and frequently)

15)Gradually increase hostility and aggression toward the out-group.
(Speak often of how 'The World' is becoming increasingly evil)

(16)When dealing with the enemy create a sense of anonymity. Don't use names for you victimizes. Give impressive titles to active members of your group.
(outsiders=gentiles, 'The World'. Active members are referring to as worthy, temple holding, priesthood holding, active, elder, bishop etc.)

17)wear a uniform or a mask or paint your face.
(Clean shaved, close cropped hair. )

eliminate the enemy.

(The Apocalypse and second coming{God's holocaust}. Mt Meadows Massacre, Blood atonement, Opposition to the Equal Eights amendment. Opposition to gay rights etc.)

I think it is interesting that some may see this, recognize that whatever group they may be apart of fits this description, yet feel it is okay for their group because they are correct.

They may feel it is wrong for others, because they are bad, but okay for them because they are good. Even though the actions and motivations may be the same. It is wrong for Nazi's to kill millions of non-christians and homosexuals, but okay for god, in preparation of his glorious return.

As if good and evil is a thing. That if someone has this thing which is evil, their actions, which may be identical to your own, are bad. In what are some of the worst books ever written, the "Left Behind" series, in what is a very rare moment of a character experiencing introspection, he reflects that it is interesting the actions and motivations of the 'anti-christ' and his supporters and those of the christians are nearly identical, the only difference is one is 'good' and one is 'evil'. But what makes one good and one evil? If it is not the motivations or actions, then it becomes a thing in and of itself, and that possessing this 'goodness' can justify identical behavior identical to the'bad guys'. I was watching a clip or Rush Limbaugh online the other night and he seems to subscribe to this way of thinking whole heartedly.

In a fascinating study, also from my favorite book, Jewish children in Israel were given a scenario from the bible. I don't remember the exact passage but it was one where people are commanded to enter a city and kill every living thing in its borders.
The Jewish Children were then asked if the agents who did the killing did correctly. The large majority said they did.
Then, what I presume was a different group of Jewish children living in Israel were given the exact same scenario, however the people and places named were changed to reflect ancient China. This time, when asked if the characters in the scenario had done right or wrong, the overwhelming majority said they had done wrong.

Here is a photo of me at some age... Maybe 8. In this photo I am winning the bronze medal for wrestling. To win this bronze metal I had to lose every single match I participated in.

A little older than five. Maybe even 8