The other day as I was waiting for my order at the Taco Time on campus a guy from my poetry class last semester, whom I shall be racist and refer to as "Texas", strolled by. I waved to be friendly. He's cool, but I'd only ever talked to him a couple times, so I was a little surprised when he enthusiastically stopped, exchanged a few pleasantries, and said, "When are you going to -"
As he was still in mid-sentence the thought flashed through my mind, Do I have an unfulfilled obligation to this man? I don't think so...
"- be published?" he finished. "It doesn't seem right in the eyes of God for you to not be published." And that totally made my day.
Non-fiction Writing has turned out to be a breeze since I'm quite accustomed to sharing my life with the world whether they want to hear about it or not. Unlike my previous two classes in this vein, our peer reviews are done by the whole class instead of just groups of four, so I've gotten to read everyone else's essays. I can't help evaluating each person's writing skills to see whether they're equal to, greater than, or less than mine. But I try to see and encourage the potential in everybody because we're all in this together until we go out in the real world and have to compete. There has only been one essay in this class that, when the teacher asked "What can we do to make this better?", prompted me to think Put it through the shredder and turn it into confetti. Actually, I liked it because it made me laugh, but I'm pretty sure that's not what the author was going for. The only reason I'm making fun of it is because it was so arrogant and pretentious that it begged to be made fun of. It can be summarized by one brief line on the third page: "This makes of me, in my mind, a god." No kidding.
Other than that, I don't put people's writing down because mine has lots of room for improvement too. It has become obvious that my need to continue revising my novel is not merely owing to self-deprecating perfectionism, but actual problems such as continuity errors, plot holes, and clichés. A lot of the continuity errors happened because I wrote many chunks of it completely out of order, and sometimes I changed things and forgot to change the repercussions references to them elsewhere in the story. As for the plot holes and clichés, watching CinemaSins on YouTube has been surprisingly helpful in noticing them. I listen to that guy absolutely skewering what I used to think was a good movie and then I imagine how he would skewer what I used to think was my good novel, and after I recover from the blow to my self-esteem I go in and make more changes.
I didn't take this image, as you can probably tell, because you probably know by now that I wouldn't have bothered to censor their names or pictures.
In all seriousness though, this discussion does raise a legitimate theological question which in all non-sarcastic seriousness troubles me. Why did God create this level of stupidity? Just as a test to see if I could still be humble? So far I'm failing.
Here's another theological question I thought of that my fellow Mormon readers can use to derail a Sunday school lesson (though it will probably be of little interest to anyone else, sorry). You're welcome. It is generally understood by Mormons over the age of eighteen that "soul mates" as a general principle are not real and that almost anyone can make a marriage work and yadda yadda yadda. It is also generally understood by almost everyone that children's appearances are determined by a mixture of their parents' DNA. It is also generally understood by Mormons that our bodies look the same as our spirits and that our spirits predate them by a very long time. So how does that work? Obviously God, with His foreknowledge, could foresee which pairings would come together to reproduce and plan accordingly. But by accommodating those future choices, He would seem to be precluding any other choices and thwarting agency. What if my parents had each married someone else? Where would I be and what would I look like?
Figure 1: My brand of apostasy resonates with a surprising number of Mormons.
Public Service Announcement: My sister is home from her mission. Anyone who tries to date her and does not meet my approval will be punched in the throat by me. That is all.
Americans, are you looking forward to this election? I'm not. I have no enthusiasm for any of the candidates and I don't understand how anyone does. I see that a lot of people are "feeling the Bern", and good for them, but I anticipate him being a disappointment regardless of his views or promises simply because he's a federal-level politician and it's in their nature to be corrupt, incompetent, or usually both. I would love to be pleasantly surprised but I'm not getting my hopes up. Dumbocraps suck, Repugnantcans suck, and our country is going to continue its moral, intellectual, and financial decline regardless of which group of thieves wins. No human empire has ever lasted forever. What makes ours any different? And with that cheery thought, let us move on.
Someone blocked me on Facebook for agreeing with one of her posts. I can see how she might have misinterpreted my remark if she didn't read it carefully, but she could have discussed it instead of jumping to conclusions and acting like a twelve year old. Number of times I have blocked a friend for disagreeing with me: zero. Number of times I have unfriended a friend for disagreeing with me: zero. Sometimes I have unfriended them for being jerks about it (e.g. the girl after the 2012 election who said "If you're upset that Romney lost, you are RETARDED"). And a couple times when their posts have showed up in my news feed all the time and gotten really annoying, I've unfollowed them. But that's all. I think Facebook's blocking feature should be used to avoid harassment, not to avoid developing and avoiding conflict resolution skills like an adult, but that's none of my business. Speaking of controversy, it's a bit late, but this video in reference to NARAL's anti-baby gaffe made me laugh.
Last night was the Ladies' Choice Dance at the institute, and someone unexpectedly asked me the night before that. Since I didn't think I was going to get asked this year I had been planning to talk about last year instead so that's what I'm going to do. I didn't expect to get asked last year either and that was fine. Most guys didn't, because most girls weren't asking anyone, either because they were hypocrites or they just wanted revenge. When the dance was announced in class my teacher felt confident saying, "Guys, go ahead and make other plans, because none of you are getting asked to that," and none of them argued.
When some unknown number texted me to ask if I had a date for it I thought I was about to become the victim of some tasteless prank, but I wasn't. She did that thing where you make the person look up scripture verses and pick out certain words to string together a sentence. In the meantime I was wondering who this could be that could have gotten my number without being a total stalker, and I suppose it was kind of arbitrary to add that caveat but she turned out to be one of the seven roommates of this girl I had met like a month ago and hung out with a few times. I didn't know if she was interested in me or just lost a bet. There was one time when we were all walking past the cemetery at night and I scooped up a plastic flower on the sidewalk and gave it to her, and she kept it, but who knows if that meant anything.
All the roommates and their dates were going together. I made sure to show up on time, but then we had to wait nearly an hour for one of the dates to show up. Everyone was in the lobby talking but I just sat on the floor and listened because I'm not talkative in big groups. Then we walked over to the institute on the opposite end of campus, and my date and I were soon two blocks ahead of everybody else because she was the only girl not in high heels. This allowed us to talk freely and that was really nice. Then there was a lot of food at the dance, and I'm a slow eater, so I spent too much time eating and probably annoyed her. And then we were all planning to leave early and make pancakes, but we ended up only leaving like five minutes early, so I had to go home because my perpetual sleep problems didn't leave me in a position to stay up late on the weekends like a normal college student. "Just sleep in tomorrow," one of them suggested. Ha! If it were only that simple... But after I got to bed I just lay wide awake for three hours, so I might as well have stayed.
In decorating for that dance as part of the Service Committee, I had stuck cheap old records to the gymnasium walls. One of them - I wish I could remember its title - had a painting of a couple cuddling under a tree on a hill at night, looking down at an orchestra in the valley. I noted that the year of release was 1963, and when I think of 1963 I automatically think of the civil rights movement. So on a whim, I looked more closely at the orchestra. To my astonishment, although their heads were just dots of paint, still it was quite unmistakable that every single orchestra member was white, yet the conductor was - wait for it - black. I thought that was really interesting. I told my date later while we were walking there. I don't think she thought it was interesting. She just kind of smiled and nodded as if to say "Oh, I didn't realize you were one of those people."
Well, after that night I didn't know what to do, so to stall for time I invited her to my stake's dance that was conveniently the following week. I don't understand the purpose of having dances for only one stake in Utah. It's like deliberately narrowing down the options. Oh well. Anyway, she couldn't make it and then she went on a mission and that was the end of that.
I'm still on the Service Committee so I was in on the planning and decoration for this one as well. I don't participate much in those meetings, though. They were like, "Okay guys, think of some fifties and sixties themed decorations." And I immediately thought, A sign that says "Whites Only". There's a reason I keep most of my thoughts to myself.
This week I decided to continue the theme of love songs in foreign languages. Even my French friend Marie, whom I asked about the meaning of the lyrics, thinks this one is weird. But I like it, and the video is full of non-stop action. Will Elli open the window? Watch and find out!
Elli et Jacno - Anne Cherchait l'Amour
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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.