This week I kind of became a fitness buff (not to be confused with fit and buff) in about thirty seconds. I know I need to take care of my body, but since it stays the same size regardless of what I eat or how much I move, and since I already walk everywhere I go and take additional walks just for fun, it doesn't usually feel like an urgent priority. The other day, however, I stopped in at the new Aggie Recreation Center on campus. I was opposed to raising student fees to construct this building when the university already had exercise and sports facilities. As soon as I stepped inside, however, I was converted, and I've been there every day since, though I won't go tomorrow because of the Sabbath.
First of all, instead of swiping your ID card, they take your handprint. The only thing that could be cooler is a retinal scan. And then the facilities themselves are laid out in such a way as to be warm and inviting and everyone is all over the place getting fit and it makes my own adrenaline rush just to look around. Somehow it even smells of perfume rather than sweat. I like having those other people around, since it contributes to the effect, but I do feel self-conscious about whether I'm running as fast as them or lifting as much as them. I don't usually care one iota about not being particularly muscular or athletic, but I do care one iota in that kind of environment where everyone else seems to be. Oh well. I saw Lenny again, and also another friend who was there with her ex-boyfriend to "play a little basketball and discuss why we shouldn't still be friends".
My favorite thing to do is run on the treadmills. Running is a mindless activity already, and on a treadmill I don't even need to look where I'm going. I just let my mind wander wherever it wants to go and I don't need to feel guilty about being lazy in the process. Sometimes I find that my mind gets into the rhythm of my feet and then my mouth starts beatboxing along, "Boots and cats and boots and cats and boots and cats and boots and cats and..." Then I see how many calories I've allegedly burned and I become less content. I want to build muscle, not burn calories. I think I'm skinny enough, thank you. The treadmills have this cool thing where you can use Google Maps to virtually run through some route elsewhere in the world, and the elevation automatically adjusts as you go. Apparently it's a demo because it only has Monterrey and Cape Town, but still.
I finally got to see “Jurassic World” in its entirety. I kept waiting for it to show up in the cheap theater, but either I spaced out for too long or it never did. It was shown on the quad near the beginning of last semester but I missed the first half because I was talking to a close friend and decided some friends are more important than movies. This time the North Logan Library was showing it, conveniently on the Monday when my ward had nothing scheduled for home evening. To my surprise, almost everyone else there was children. To my dismay, they were shouting and jumping around and throwing popcorn and stuff. To my surprise, they settled down almost entirely when the movie actually started. I'm very proud of them.
I consider it the third best Jurassic Park movie (original, Lost World, this one, and III, in that order). I heard that more are potentially going to be made, though, and that's just ridiculous. Enough is enough. We get the idea: humans play God, dinosaurs teach them a lesson in a morbidly entertaining manner. I enjoy it as much as anyone but it doesn't need to be rehashed a dozen times, and further attempts to make the plots fresh and original (though in my opinion they worked well this time around) would undoubtedly lead to jumping the Megalodon. This film is a good note to end the series on. Make something else – like "Astronomical Park". Humans capture alien monsters to showcase in a theme park on the moon, alien monsters teach them a lesson in a morbidly entertaining manner. Now if someone actually does this without paying me royalties I will be royally peeved.
I tried to catch the bus back, but it was after 8:30 and apparently they only do a "half route" at that time, so the driver stopped but wouldn't let me on. I didn't press the issue because I wouldn't want him to lose his job for not making me walk twenty plus blocks home in the cold at night. By the end I thought I had developed a cold, but the symptoms were gone the next day because I have an amazing immune system (knock on wood). I went to Smith's before going home because I was supposed to meet a friend so he could tell me about his screenplay idea, and as I was walking to the entrance a truck drove up behind me and someone called, "Hey!"
My first thought was that it was my friend, but he's an Indian and when I turned I saw that this guy was not. I noticed two other guys in the truck as well, and my next thought was, “They're going to beat me up.” Don't ask me why. Maybe they disagreed with an opinion stated on my blog. Then the first guy held out a card, and I thought it must have somehow fallen from my wallet along the way. But then he said, “Do you want a five dollar gift card to Jamba Juice?” And I said sure, and he gave it to me, and I thanked him, and he drove away. I had been there at exactly the right time. So the whole walking twenty plus blocks in the cold at night thing was one of those hidden blessings.
I met my friend there, and we went to his house, and he asked if I wanted some milk, and I said sure, and he said "All right, I'll heat it up for you." That was jarring for a moment but then I figured, I've heard of warm milk but I've never tried it and now I'll get to try it. He asked if I wanted corn flakes in it and I said sure. When he gave me the milk, it wasn't warm, but hot, and he explained that the Indian proclivity for hot food goes beyond mere spices.
This was a while ago but I feel like mentioning it anyway. Seeing it in my peripheral vision one day was just a bit of a Twilight Zone moment.
I literally thought, "I'm engaged? Why didn't anyone tell me?" It could have happened. This was a few weeks before my birthday and my parents could have bought me a mail order bride from Lichtenslava or somewhere, and then hacked my account. Or I could have been on drugs at the time.
Again, here's something I already posted on Facebook and if you already saw it there you'll just have to suffer through it again. I'm given to understand that some of my readers, who shall remain anonymous, don't even have Facebook. At the New Year's Eve YSA dance which I already mentioned last week, this girl roped me into her circle of friends and we talked a little bit and we were just there dancing in a circle the way people do, and then I left for a while and eventually came back and then without saying a word she held out her phone to me. It was open to the "New Contact" screen. "Oh," I thought. "Although this has never happened to me before and I lack a basic understanding of social cues, it seems apparent that for whatever reason she wants me to put my number in her phone."
So I did. It took me half the song because I pushed the wrong buttons at least twenty-seven times, probably because I was too sleep-deprived to realize that maybe I should use a digit other than my thumb. I worried that maybe she would call me and I would ignore it the way I always ignore calls from numbers that I don't recognize (and some that I do). Then I realized with an instinct born of experience that she wasn't going to contact me at all. Why she wanted my number when she wasn't going to use it was beyond my comprehension, but whatever. Indeed, I was right and she never called or texted or anything. But after I recounted this to a friend yesterday, she said, "You were probably supposed to text yourself from her phone so that you would have her number, and then use it to text her. Now she probably thinks you're not interested."
And I was like, "Well, how was I supposed to know that when she didn't say anything??"
And she was like, "Because that's just what people do."
While I am not for a moment condemning this particular girl for doing "just what people do", if indeed that's what she was doing, I think the whole strategy is asinine. You know what would have accomplished the desired effect in a straightforward and simple manner? "Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy, but here's my number, so text me maybe." It would have been that simple. And it's not like she was too shy, is it? Non-verbally thrusting your phone at someone for them to put your number in strikes me as a very bold move. I wouldn't have dared. How did she know I wouldn't say, "Excuse me, what if I don't want to put my number in your phone?" Apparently the roundabout way of doing things is just meant to shift the burden of initiative to the male, which I'm sure works great if the male has a clue what's going on. Of course I initially thought this was because I'm an Aspie, but other males who chimed in said they wouldn't have gotten it either. Funny how women can't take hints yet they expect men to.
But that's not the only entry in the "Christopher is an Idiot" chronicles this week. In other news, I discovered a sizable draft around my front (and only) door that has probably cost me a small fortune. Seriously, every time the furnace comes on all I hear is money evaporating. I went to Lowe's to get something to patch it up, and ended up getting a can of something called "Great Stuff" from the Doors and Windows section. I wanted it because it was cheap. I took it to one of the employees and asked, "Do you happen to know how well this works?" I made sure to preface the question with "Do you happen to know" because it must be really annoying when customers assume that every employee is an expert on product in the store. He said it worked really well. "Are you taking out a window, putting in a window?" I said I just needed to insulate a door. He said "Yeah, that would work."
I was supposed to wear gloves and eye protection, so Landon's gloves – made famous in my first post ever after my site migrated to this platform – made a comeback. They were still in my room where Cece left them. A pair of cheap sunglasses handed out by the on-campus housing people last semester provided the eye protection, and then I added a face mask that I don't even remember the origin of just in case. I had to screw a really long straw thing to the top of the can and spray slowly, and they did mean slowly. The stuff went pssssssssssssshhhhhhhhhSSSHHHK! as it slowly made its way up the straw and suddenly all splurted out the end. I made a mess despite my best efforts and soon became grateful for the gloves, which nearly became stuck to the can and to each other and now have yellow fingers. I was aiming for the space between the vertical edge of the door and the wall, where the draft was.
I wondered how this would work. Wouldn't it seal the door shut? How would it stick just to one side and not the other so the door could still open? But, I reasoned, I was just using it for exactly what it was designed for, so it would turn out all right. I did the top of the door too for good measure. This was right before I went to bed, because it needed eight hours to cure. The next morning I awoke to find that the door was sealed shut. No amount of pulling would rectify that, and I had to get a knife and cut around every inch of the affected area before it would give way. But it did stop the draft, and is still reducing it substantially because most of it is still there.
If you only like positive, happy stuff, you may want to skip this part, and the place where you can stop skipping is marked by a picture of baby hedgehogs. If you hate me, then you'll probably really enjoy it, so grab your popcorn. To make a very long and gratuitously painful story short, a year ago yesterday, after weeks of talking for hours a day which involved plenty of flirting and teasing, I told a woman I loved her and she said “I love you too.” This was the first of at least five times. I was so surprised and so happy. I had thought it would take a lot longer to get to this point, but here I was already. This happy state of affairs continued until shortly after Valentine's Day, when I gave her a poem I had written about her and she suddenly realized that I wasn't just kidding like she was. Also it turned out she had a boyfriend that she had never once mentioned.
"Hahahahahahaha!" I imagined God saying. "You actually thought someone loved you? Hahahahahahaha! You imbecile!" I've repented since then, having realized that these words came not from God, but from Life, who isn't really even a person.
"You'll find someone better," Our Mutual Friend (OMF) tried to reassure me.
"Sure," I said, acknowledging that possibility. "But I won't be able to trust her..."
All she could say was a commiserating, "I know."
It is most assuredly not universally true that when you love someone you can never stop loving them. (Married couples do it all the time, for example.) Any attempt to assert otherwise would fall into the "No true Scotsman" logical fallacy (which also applies to the arrogant fools who assure newly minted atheists that "You were obviously never a true Christian to begin with.") She said she would make it up to me but never did, and we tried to be friends again but she was somehow under the delusion that I wanted to hear about her boyfriend every day, so I put an end to that and now just try to pretend that she doesn't exist. Now her hashtag is trending on Twitter. The end.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is organizing three new missions this year. Two of them, unsurprisingly, are in West and Central Africa – Nigeria Owerri and Democratic Republic of Congo Mbuji-Mayi, respectively. The third one is a bit more of a surprise and totally a big deal – Vietnam Hanoi. Cue the usual criticisms. When the Church organizes new missions in the Americas or Europe, it gets criticized for neglecting the majority of the world's population, and when it organizes new missions in Africa or Asia (as is the case here) it gets criticized for targeting areas with limited internet access. I have a sneaking suspicion that maybe it's just the "mission" part they don't like. Of course we all know that the internet is the only way for people to be educated and informed, and before the 1990s even the United States was in a dark age where no one knew anything. Never mind that prospective missionaries were denied visas in Nigeria in the mid-1960s because of a college student's newspaper editorial, or that they were all expelled from Ghana in 1989 because of a movie shown on TV.
Now with that tangent out of the way, I want to return to the topic of the Vietnam Hanoi Mission which is easily the most exciting one. The Church has had a small but consistent presence in that nation since the Vietnam War, when the gospel was introduced by LDS American soldiers. Elder Gordon B. Hinckley said in the April 1968 General Conference, "One cannot have been to Vietnam as I have on a number of occasions, and felt in some small measure the dreadful sorrow of the land, without making a plea for peace a part of his daily prayers. This war, like others, is fraught with terrible evil and unspeakable tragedy. I minimize none of these. But notwithstanding the evil and the tragedy, I see a silver thread shining through the dark and bloody tapestry of conflict. I see the finger of the Lord plucking some good from the evil designs of the adversary. I see coming out of this conflict, as I have witnessed in other conflicts in Asia, an enlargement of the Lord's program."
Indeed, there have been Mormons in Vietnam since that time even though most of them fled the country as soon as they got a chance. Thousands of Vietnamese have joined the Church abroad as well. My dad mentioned having a Vietnamese mission companion who drove home a sobering reality when a helicopter flew overhead and he ducked. Since the mid-2000s, members of Vietnamese descent have been allowed to serve in that country as part of the Cambodia Phnom Penh Mission. In May 2014 the Church obtained official government recognition and its status in Vietnam switched from sensitive to non-sensitive, meaning (probably among other things; I'm no expert) that the congregations are now publicly reported and more missionaries are allowed to serve in more locations. And now a mission is being organized there.
I've seen a bunch of people complaining that Rey wasn't included in a few items of "The Force Awakens" merchandise, which is obviously sexist against women. I even saw someone complaining that Rey is the only competent and level-headed character in the movie, and that Finn is subordinate to a woman (Captain Phasma), and that the father in "Inside Out" is a buffoon, and that Disney is therefore sexist against men. Without taking a side in the controversy, other than to say the latter guy has a screw loose, I think everyone is overlooking a much bigger issue; namely, that Lando Calrissian wasn't even in the movie. It's as if they said, "We already have one black protagonist. We don't want to overdo it." Wow. Just wow.
Again I snub Mike Oldfield. This song is dedicated to Davin Felth, Candace Flynn, Kyle Katarn, Finn, and all disillusioned stormtroopers everywhere.
S.P.O.C.K - The Stormtrooper
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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.