Doing Stuff Again
The powers that be trained me to scan CDs and DVDs and had me do those instead of books almost every day for the past two weeks. It's been a nice change of pace, but since I don't want to make anyone jealous of how great my life is, I'll focus on the negative aspects here.
1. Most of the hundreds of CDs that I've handled per day fall into one of four categories: (a) albums that I own, (b) albums that I want because I recognize the artist and/or know I'd like them, (c) albums that I want because they look intriguing, and (d) albums that I want because they have music on them. And I either have to send them away to get sold or throw them away. This is eating away at what little sanity I had to begin with. I'm not made of stone.
2. Amazon's search function, which I have to use to title search the CDs that can't be scanned, sucks. If I accidentally leave out a letter, which happens fairly often since the keys are stiff and clunky compared to the laptop I'm used to, more often than not it declines to autocorrect or suggest what I really meant like Google or any other search engine would. But on the other hand, it takes the liberty of autocorrecting words that I did spell correctly. I searched for "Myst III" (the video game) and it said "We couldn't find any results for 'mist iii'". I searched for "overcoming the guilt of your past" and it said "We couldn't find any results for 'overcoming the quilt of your past'". I kid you not. When this happens I have to put quotation marks around the inexplicably controversial words to stop Amazon from changing them. Grr.
I know, I know, first world problems. Also I got this promotion that I neither want nor deserve and I'm not comfortable with it.
It seems like at least half of my coworkers are in my stake (cluster of LDS congregations similar to a diocese, whatever that is). One of them, "Sally", is now an ex-coworker but because of this I still see her around. And when I do I always get this weird vibe like "It's great to see you, now go away." I don't know, I don't interpret vibes very well. I don't see why there should be any awkwardness because we both made it clear where we stand vis-a-vis friendship and other stuff. One time we were talking at work and some other coworker commented something about "blossoming romance". And then Sally said something, I don't remember exactly, but it was something to the effect of "No no no no no no no no no."
And I, trying to be witty but really just being stupid, said, "It's like a bromance but with a sister." Because "sistance" doesn't really work, you know.
And then Sally was like, "Oh, great, I've been brozoned."
And I was like, "But... I thought that's what you wanted."
And she was like, "Oh, it is, it is."
And the other coworker, mockingly imitating me, said "I can't do anything right!"
But Sally offered me free ice cream at the ice cream place that her treasonous backstabbing self now thinks is better than Jenson Online, and I took her up on it recently because I'd felt like crap for so long. So she can act as weird and standoffish as she wants. This just goes to show that if you make friends whenever you can, statistically some of them are bound to justify it by getting you stuff.
After an email from the LDS Church's Correlation Research Department, and a survey about my testimony, church attendance, problematic issues etc., I was invited to participate in a reading of sample chapters from the upcoming four-volume church history publication that's part of ongoing efforts to be more transparent and forthcoming about "controversial" stuff. I wish they'd done it at least twenty years ago, but nobody asked me. Of course, once I accepted, only death could have made me miss this opportunity. If someone had cut off my arms and legs, I would have dragged myself with my teeth until someone took pity and gave me a ride.
I've never done this sort of thing before and it wasn't what I expected. I thought they were going to have some historian guy, like our local hero Phillip Barlow, read the chapters out loud to us. But actually they had the chapters printed out for us to read on our own, highlight the parts we liked in green and the parts we didn't like in red, write comments, and answer some brief questions. And they had it in the Primary room. So I showed up to this church building I'd never been in, looked in the Primary room, saw people highlighting and thought they were coloring in an attempt to recapture their childhoods or something. I thought it was a separate thing from my thing. So I ended up sitting in the foyer, frustrated and baffled, but I wasn't the only one. There were at least eight equally confused people there with me by the time someone found us and told us where to go.
The guy in charge of the thing was totally bald yet not super old-looking, like Elder Oaks, and wore a long black overcoat that was distinctive from the suits normally worn by General Authorities and church employees. This made him seem like part of a secret branch or something. He explained what to do, including the table of snacks and the $20 Amazon gift card for each of us at the end. The emails had neglected to mention those details - obviously the push for transparency has a long way to go. What I actually read is, of course, confidential. I'll just say that it was very pleased. I'm better-versed in church history than average but there were quotes and anecdotes I hadn't seen before, and the "controversial" bits were seamlessly woven in like I wish they had been all along. I had to press myself to find enough criticisms to justify my participation, and I had to stop myself from critiquing historical events and people like I would a fiction story. "This is an irrational way for this character to act." "That was a stupid thing to say." I did feel compelled to write "Rude" next to one quote.
History throughout history has essentially been propaganda written to assert the superiority of the author's nation, religion, favorite color, etc. Omitting whatever facts they didn't like and exaggerating or fudging the remaining ones was the norm. That only really changed in the twentieth century, and the LDS Church is finally catching up. Elder Dallin H. Oaks remarked on this lag a decade ago: "[W]e're emerging from a period of history writing within the Church [of] adoring history that doesn't deal with anything that’s unfavorable, and we're coming into a period of 'warts and all' kind of history. Perhaps our writing of history is lagging behind the times, but I believe that there is purpose in all these things - there may have been a time when Church members could not have been as well prepared for that kind of historical writing as they may be now." The thing I read was well-written history, not propaganda, yet it didn't back away from or compromise on its religious truth claims. So I liked it.
I am hopefully going back to school this semester so I can get closer to being a real writer and not just a pretender. I had no idea how to go back, but up to this point it's been ridiculously easy. I emailed the registrar's office to ask what I needed to do so I could enroll again, and they arranged it. I emailed my adviser to ask what I needed to do to get my major changed in the system, and she arranged it. I couldn't have dreamed it would be so simple. And I didn't want to go back, but now I'm really excited. Writing classes are the best.
Sarah Brightman - Here With Me
Yes, sometimes you can judge an album by its cover. That's why I bought this from Deseret Industries one day a couple years ago, having never before heard of the artist in question. I knew I would like it, and I wasn't wrong.
And this, in my opinion, is the best track - a cover of Dido that she, Dido, apparently doesn't like, but with all due respect to her it's much better than the original. Largely because Sarah Brightman's voice has got to be in the top ten most beautiful sounds produced on planet Earth. Listening to her now, with all her classical and operatic and vocal and New Age and whatever, you would probably never guess that she made her debut at age 18 as the lead singer on a sci-fi disco single called "I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper". So that was a thing that happened.
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About the Author
C. Randall Nicholson is a white cisgender Christian male, so you can hate him without guilt, but he's also autistic and asexual, so you can't, unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual. This blog is where he periodically rants about life, the universe, and/or everything.