Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Where you were then? Where are you now?

I had a loose sock hanging from my ankle, and I was wearing a bathrobe, when a friend of a friend came into our apartment and told us what was happening.  Remember, it wasn't just one thing, first there was one plane, then another plane, and we watched people jump, and then the towers came down. But before they did there was this empty terror, this feeling of hopelessness that these people, our people could do nothing.

Then that whole day, we all wandered about trying to do something, I remember everyone at my work wandered over to the Hospital to donate blood. Blood that wouldn't go to anyone in New York, blood that probably went to new infants and victims of motorcycle accidents. But we had to do something. So we gave our blood, even if in small, measured amounts.  In the next days people sent donations via text messaging, and built impromptu memorials. And for a few days it seemed like we all shared something, we were a grieving nation and we mourned together. I didn't know a single soul in those airplanes, or any of those buildings, yet it was my family that was hurting.

When Nathan Hale said "I regret that I have but one life to give to my country" at his execution, it was September, The Declaration of Independence had been signed a mere 2 months earlier, and there wasn't even a constitution to defend (that would come almost 11 years later). But he was willing to fight, then die for a belief in a country, a nation, but really for an idea for a land better than what it was before.

So today, I wonder, what am I willing to give to my country. Am I only brave enough to argue in snippets from the safety of my home and office. Am I content that my prior service is enough. Those people in the towers didn't give their lives, it was taken. But there were a few in at least one of the planes, who fought, who worked together. People who didn't take polls or point fingers, they just moved in the only way they saw to protect others. They didn't even know whom they were protecting,

And in that one moment they did more for the security of our nation than all of the dollars spent on the  TSA in the last ten years. They showed us that without weapons, there are few forces as powerful as a handful of Americans united in a goal.

So today, I will spend a few minutes and think about what I can do. What little bit of blood I can give.
What we could do together, to make this country a little bit better. I think it is amazing for those who work for one candidate or another, who sacrifice tirelessly for a cause. I even like the passion of those who vehemently post on Facebook, but I hope we can remember that  if we want to build something greater, or save a country in peril, we need these fellow passengers on this plane. After all, aren't they who we are giving our life for?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Understanding the Mormons

Hello, I am a mormon. As you may or may not know, we are having a "moment" right now. You have probably read some news articles about us, they are full of half truths and 3/4 truths and some are like .6 metric truths. Let me make one thing clear: All of us believe exactly the same thing. We are not ALL Republican, we still allow a few Libertarians in, and when Democrats aren't murdering babies, some even vote that way.

Here is a little history about my home town: It was founded by More Mons, there used to be just a few, but now there are More. That is where the name came from, We prefer to be called LDS (pronounced "ELLDS". If you meet a missionary it is his job to make you LDS, so he is and "ELDER"(as in: "That guy is really good at Elding, he made WAY more mons than you. He is a really great Elder"). We don't have female missionaries, because we don't believe in women. In fact I refuse to believe that they exist.

 We will be kind to you, and good neighbors, and help you move, JUST so you think we are good people. We want you to like us.

I know what you are thinking, "Don't Mormons have horns?" I want to let you know that we got rid of those YEARS ago. You may also think, "Don't Mormons have lots of wives", well some of us don't even have one, so back off, I don't really need that pressure right now.

So here are some facts about Mormons: All Mormons live in Utah (pronounced YOU-ta" because we want YOU in it).  We used to pronounce it "Uh-tah" but that just convinced you heathens that we were as dumb as you thought we were. I am kidding, we don't think of you as "heathens", we think of you as "gentiles" or "the Wicked" (Which isn't so bad because my people LOVE musicals).

 You will meet ELDS in almost all parts of life, Politics, ScienceTV (Philo T. Farnsworth invented the TV, and he was a Mormon. I include this fact because his name is awesome) We don't believe the world is flat, we know it. Our top scientists at major universities play along with everyone else until we take over (one day we are going to ELD you ALL).

My Hometown got its name from "The Great Salt Lake", They call it that because the pioneers were liars. The truth is, the lake is not that great. It is big, and it is stinky, but it is NOT great. In the early days we used to call the town "Far from Big Stinky", but that's only because "Big Heathen Pit City" gave people the wrong idea. I mean they though that the city was the heathen pit, when in fact, we would cast the lake was where we cast the heathens, and by "heathens" I mean "the UNELDED"

I know for a fact that the Pioneers were liars because they say that they walked all the way to Utah from Missouri (motto: Missouri Loves Company!) because there was an "Extermination Order" against them. You and I both know that can't be true. First, if you have ever driven through Nebraska you know it is WAY boring, I can barely drive through it, there is now way that the pioneers wouldn't have just gotten bored and stayed at the Best Western. Second, There is NO way that our country would ever allow discrimination against a group of people just because they believed differently, much less call for their "EXTERMINATION". If that's true, then you can convince me that there really is a guy named Philo T. Farnsworth.

Anyway, the full name of our Church is "The Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter-Day Saints". For us, the word "Saint" means that we are absolutely perfect and none of us ever makes mistakes, because "duh" we all believe the exact same thing.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Burritoship 1.5 stars

Peter Berg did Friday Night Lights, which is pretty incredible in it's subtlety and story telling. It's SO good. So I guess as a film, he wanted to do something completely different.

Battleship, a summary 

Riggins is in a bar then he sees this totally hot chick who wants a burrito, but the microwave won't work, so he goes and steals a burrito. So his brother is like,'Why'd you steal the burrito, you better join the navy." So he joins the navy and gets to be the boss of the guns. They go to this ceremony on the Battleship and he is like "Destroyers are WAY better than battleships" to this kid, but there are also Japanese there to do a practice war. I forgot there was this soccer game between the navies and Japan won, but did a foul to Riggins. So then Riggins gets in a bathroom fight with this Japan guy, but they are like "Whoops I slipped" and the boss of the navy (who is also the hot chicks Dad), is like "You could be AMAZING, but instead you are not" Then they quote homer. Then the navies go to a practice war at Pearl Harbor (which seems like a good idea). But also, some scientists used a satellite to send a message to a space planet, and the ships from that space planet go to earth and go in the ocean. All the ships that is except the radio ship (only one ship can radio) which crashes at Hong Kong. They build a forceshield and all of the practice navies are outside of it except Riggins, his big brother who is making him do Navy, and The japanese guy who did a foul. Whenever they want to use their weapons on the aliens, the aliens can see them, but when they aren't using their guns, they turn green and the aliens don't kill them. Also, a little bit earlier Riggins brother says "Hey riggins, you are probably going to get fired from Navy". (he is a disappointment). The three destroyer ships all get destroyed (irony) except Rigginses ship. He wants vengence, HARD so he is like, "BLAST THEM" except every person on his crew, like Rihanna and Landry, disobeys him and says we need to rescue the people in the water. Then for some reason there is a alien in the ship, with weird thumbs, I think he is from Halo. Then other aliens blast in the ship to rescue him, but they also leave another alien there that is good at punching and changing his hands. Mostly he wants to punch the engine, but after some punching, they get him to come on deck. Then this big canon blows him away (literally). The aliens shoot pegs from the game "battleship" but the pegs blow up SO HARD that it can sink ships. Then there is some more battling where they use buoys to create a grid like the game battleship and they sink the aliens battleship (which is irony right there) so the Japan guy, who comes up with the idea takes over, which shows how riggins gets humility (finally), then Landry tries on the alien helmet and for some reason it makes him think of his lizard, and so they realize the aliens weakeness is sun. so they make the aliens look at the sun and blast them (HARD). But I forgot, also the scientists were on the island and have communication satellites and the hot chick is the only person who can stop the aliens from using the satellites, and her army friend with metal legs who is about to give up. But nope, he doesn't give up, he punches a alien right in his face and then chokes him out with his metal leg. Well the destroyer gets destroyed so the Japan guy is like, "We need a boat", so Riggins remembers the battleship (from the title). But everyone is like, how are we going to drive this boat? and Riggins is like "Old People", Then there are all of these old people in sailor outfits who know a thing or two. Then a montage from A-team happens. When they run out of battleship bullets (real big ones) the only people who can move them are the captain, the japan guy and some old people. Then the battleship does a rail slide (using it's anchor) and the alien can's defeat railslide. But then that trick is done, so I guess it's "game over" Except NOPE! The shield goes down, And some other stuff happens and they beat some of the aliens, maybe all of them. And then they all get awards, even Riggin's dead brother. Hot Chick's dad (Navy Boss) is proud of everyone. But can Riggins mary his daughter ('cause of all the herosim)? NO WAY JOSE! How about burritos?(laugh)



Wednesday, April 04, 2012

a little great and a little weird

Last year was a weird year. I think I spent the year licking my wounds. I don't think I fully appreciated the profound effect that my mother's passing had on me. I think only recently have shaken the haze of mourning.

One of the things that I have tried to do is to give back, specifically with regards to Cancer. My mother spent the last few days of her life at the Huntsman Cancer Institute. There wasn't much they could do medically at that point, but they helped us get the most out of those last days. We had a large room where over 200 people visited her in her last days. The nurses moved her and kept her comfortable, but perhaps more importantly to me, they let me participate in her care.

Rewind a few years and you'd find me, a young lab tech, with no lab experience working at the Huntsman Cancer Institute. I worked in the lab of Diana Stafforini, a quick-witted, and insightful scientist. I think my sloppy lab work didn't help her much, but I gained some insight. So since then, I have jumped at the chance to do whatever I could to help the Huntsman Cancer Foundation raise money and awareness for cancer. They are a great foundation and spend the great bulk of any donation directly towards research. Here is the latest piece that I got to work on for them: