Sunday, May 10, 2009

Where I Come From

I’ve always had a tough time telling people where I am from. I feel like it is a very important question that usually deserves a straight answer. You can make a good irrational judgment of someone based on where they are from. Just remember how you feel about someone when they tell you they are from Texas or Canada. Stigmas, right? My point exactly. So where am I from? Let me tell you.

Where I come from, the humidity is so thick that you can cut it with a knife. I remember going back to visit and I when I got out of the car I felt like I could swim. I don’t remember this town much because I was a wee little boy when I lived here but every time I drive through I can’t help but get all sentimental. After all it was my first home. I am from Colombia, Missouri.

Where I come from, Abe Lincoln is a hometown hero. After all they built a library there in his honor. I guess they do it for every president. But does every president have a National Historic State Park named after them in their hometown? Or how about an historic depot? Or law office? They might as well call the whole state the Land of Lincoln. Oh wait, they already do. I am from Springfield, Illinois.

Where I come from, things like back porches, baked ravioli at McDonalds and fireflies are common place. I’ll never forget those nights I spent running around trying to catch those magical bugs in mason jars. It never got old. This place was perfect for summers as a little kid. There were millions of trees to climb, nearby fields to plan in and even a pond to skip rocks in. To many this place is known as the Gateway to the West, but for me it was the gateway to my childhood. I am from St. Louis, Missouri.

Where I come from, cookie cutter houses dominate the landscape. It’s almost eerie how similar everything is in this town. They try to mask to exact same house with different color paint it hopes of creating variety. Even three of the four high schools in the area have the exact same floor plan. Don’t worry, it’s not some sort of a communist community, just a planned one. I am from Highlands Ranch, Colorado.

Where I come from, the mafia is alive and kicking. It might not be old school like the Godfather but you better believe they’re out there, running the pizza joints and dealing graft with the government. I used to work for a family who I still think to this day was a part of organized crime. They were a typical Italian family that was oozing with clout. Heck, I was even scared of the 87 year old grandmother. Thank goodness I never crossed them, or at least they have yet to find out about it. The thing is this is just one of many powerhouse families across the state. I guess that’s why they say here, only the weak survive. I am from Montgomery, New Jersey.

So now you know where I am from. Soon enough I will be passing onto another place like a tumbleweed blowing in the wind, looking for another new adventure. But no matter where I go, I will never forget my roots.

Friday, May 1, 2009


Have you ever felt like life was playing a trick on you? I do all the time. Let me speak metaphorically because it’s more fun that way.

For a while I have felt like a man walking through an endless desert. I’ve been walking for a long while now and my search for water is very desperate. I’ve hiked endless dunes and chased after fading mirages and have always come up empty.

I was about to give up on this search for water until recently. After days of searching I found in the middle of nowhere a large water tank. For a while I sat there in disbelief, not wanting to get my hopes up only to see it be empty. But as I get closer and I give it a good look, the tank in completely full of water.

With pure joy pulsing through my veins, I prepare for a long drink of much needed water. My once weak and fragile body is now fully of energy and excitement. I take a breath, release the plug and water comes rushing out.

I take a deep drink of much needed water but before I know it the water is gone. Not only that but the tank itself has disappeared. For a while I thought I had found the water I was looking only to see it disappear right before me.

I analyze this situation the best I can and I ask myself a few questions. I wonder why I got to taste the water at all. Was someone trying to tease me? Is this just a mean trick? Would it have been better if I never saw the tank at all? Or should I be grateful that I had the opportunity to drink of some water? Oh life.

Regardless of the meaning to this madness, I press on. I laugh a little, shake my fist and continue my search for water.

Sometimes I wish I live do without these cruel tricks but let’s get serious; life would be painfully boring the easy way. Here’s to the interesting life.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Call Me Crazy

Ask any college student nowadays how their life is and I bet you a large frosty that their response will be this. “My life is just so crazy.” Don’t get me wrong, I was guilty of claiming a life of insanity and ridiculousness. It wasn’t until I really took a good look at my life and the definition of crazy in the dictionary, that I changed my perspective on my so-called “crazy life.” So friends, let’s take journey to and see if your life really is crazy.

Definition #1- someone or something that is mentally deranged, demented or insane. The last time that I checked I am in perfect mental health, even though some of you would call that into question. The thing is most of these people who claim to be living the crazy life would be offended if you said that they were demented. So you make the argument that, well crazy has many different meanings. Oh don’t you worry my deranged friend, we are going to go through every one of them.

Definition #2- crazy is something senseless, impractical or totally unsound. Staying up until 4 a.m. to finish writing an essay does not make your life crazy. It just means you have mastered the art of procrastination. The fact that right this minute I am nine hours into a 24 hour shift does not make my life impractical. I just like things in bulk. The last time I checked Costco was doing pretty good with this philosophy. Are they crazy? You decide.

Definition #3- intensely enthusiastic or passionately crazed. The only time I saw BYU students really get excited about anything is when it is free. Just go any BYU basketball game. While the real action is going down on the hardwood, the student section is lethargic at best. However, they erupt in excitement when the cheerleaders hit the floor. That’s because they are handing out free t-shirts. And let’s not forget that a self-respecting BYU student would never sign up for a club without expecting a candy bar or free movie ticket in return. That’s just for signing up though. Good luck trying to get them to organize a rally calling for the liberation of Palestinian refugees.

Definition #4- being very enamored or infatuated. OK, you got me. If there is any aspect of crazy that we do posses it is this one. Everyone is enamored with someone; usually the one they see in the mirror.

Definition #5- unusual or bizarre. Finding out that your roommate is dating your ex is not bizarre. Finding out your roommate is running a coke train through your apartment and has $37 billion stashed in your mattress is bizarre. Use that as your scale or craziness. If the latter of the two is true for you then your life is crazy. Anything else, I’ve heard it all before.

Definition#6- likely to break or fall to pieces. The last time I checked all of us have bodies that are somewhat functional in the “sticking together” department. I guess we could all fall to pieces fugitively, but for some of us that happens on a regular basis which would go against definition number five.

Now that you have looked at a few of the definitions of crazy I hope that you will be a lot less liberal in your usage of such word in relation to your life. Other words such as hectic, intense and swell are all appropriate. If that doesn’t work just come to the realization that life is good. If you think otherwise come fight me, because I’m just that crazy.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

When to fold em and when to hold em

Let me pose a question. When do you take a risk and when do you back down?
Everyone has a different philosophy when it comes to risk. There are those that play the game of life in a very conservative fashion. Always take the sure route, they say. While they do know that there is no such thing as a sure thing, they are more than willing to go with the odds. If there is doubt, then they don’t take any chances. It’s just better to play it safe.

Then there are those that throw caution to the wind. They are all about taking action and putting matters into their own hands. They look at many opportunities as high-risk, high reward.

The tricky thing about risky situations is if the wrong decision is made then there is this lousy thing called regret that comes into play.

I have one problem. I have this fear of regret. I am afraid that one day in my life I will think back to a certain circumstance and wish that I had done something different. It is never good to be motivated by fear but I do not see it as one of those kinds of fears. I classify it as a desire to eliminate the opportunity for regret.

So when I said that I have one problem, I meant to say I have many and this is just one of them. Another one of my stumbling blocks is the fact that I feel the need to act in every situation. I think when I was a kid I feel in love with Nike’s slogan “Just Do It.” For some reason I think that clearing the air with a quick ramble of my thoughts will make things aok. Many might say that this comes back to bite me in the butt. I would like to think that I’m proactive. I tell it how it is.

Looking back on a these situations that have occurred during my life, I am constantly reminded of the adage, some things are better left unsaid. The more that I hear it, the more I wish that I could follow it.

There is another saying I head once and I hope that I can recite it properly. It goes, it is better to keep your mouth shut and have people think you are an idiot than to open it and expel all doubt.

I guess if I am an idiot then people have no doubts. Make no mistake about it, there have been times when I have opened my trap and the situation was worse off after the fact.

There is one consolation that I get from being open and that is I will always know. I will always know that I did something and that I didn’t wait for something else to control my destiny. I stepped into the batter’s box and took my cuts. So what if I struck out. At least I went down swinging.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Winter Semester 2009- A Learning Experience

Seeing how today is the last day of classes here at good ole BYU, I decided that I would write down a few of the things that I have learned in the past semester. I find it interesting that the things I learn usually have nothing to do with the subject matter in my classes. This is probably due to the fact that I am a bulimic and anorexic learner. Anorexic because I don't study or attend class nearly enough and bulimic because the only times I do study are right before the test and I end up vomiting it up right after. It's unhealthy but just like the real eating disorders, I will need special therapy in order to break the habit. Anyhow, here are a few of the thing that I learned from my classes.

From my broadcast journalism class- Don't buy books for a class unless it is absolutely necessary. There is nothing more frustrating that buying two hundred dollars worth of books and then never using the darn things once. In this particular class, which is downright silly,I think I used one of the two books once. Now both of the books are collecting dust in my room. I'm glad they are serving their purpose.

From my New Testament class- When I am older, don't digress about my medical history. I took this class from a great man by the name of Stephen Robinson. He is an amazing gospel scholar and I have a lot of respect for him. There only thing that I could have done without in his class was his continuous references his his medical history. I can understand that he has a lot of health problems and that it is a significant part of his life but I really don't want to hear about his kidney stones or bladder infections on a regular basis. So when I get old and I have my fare share of health issues, I will just keep them to myself.

From my hockey class- it is better to give than to receive.

From my management communications class- I am not good enough for the accounting program. Don't get me wrong there are a lot of people in the accounting program that are good friends of mine. However, a group of future accountants in this class made me realize that I want nothing to do with them and their profession. Maybe its because I didn't dress up everyday for class or because I didn't treat every assignment like a life or death competition. It could be the fact that I'm not a super elitist. Either way, I'm sure in their eyes I'm just not good enough for their crowd.

From my humanities class- never take a class that starts a 8:00 a.m. I made this mistake my freshman year and for some reason I didn't learn my lesson. I think I made it to this class a grand total of 7 times the whole semester. It didn't help that the teacher had the amazing talent of taking a potentially intriguing topic and making it as interesting as quadratic equations. Here's to you Brother Anderson.

From my marriage prep class- I am not ready to get married. That one is pretty much self explanatory. Most of you who know me well have known this for a long time. I'm glad that I had to take this class in order to make this discovery.

There it is folks, my top-quality college education in a nutshell.

Whatever you are doing right now, just drop it and run.

I had a very inspiring conversation with my roommate the other day. He was venting his frustrations about school and how it can be counter productive at times. We then went on to talk about what we would do with out lives if we could just drop out of school. If that does not get you excited, I don't know what does. The thought of having a real, or heck even a fake job, where I can come home from work and not have a care in the world makes me giddy. This is a very bad sign seeing that I still have two years of college left. It a good thing I care about that piece of paper with my name on it. Of course I value and love my education but good golly, I can only write so many papers and take so many tests. So just is case there is a day in my life where I go AWOL, you will know where to find me.

Your first bet would be to go back East to NYC. There is a good chance I will be sitting against the east tower on the Brooklyn Bridge, playing my guitar for the masses. These people won't be there to listen to me specifically but one way or anything they will hear me play. Ever since I witnessed one of the worlds finest street performances in the French Quarter of New Orleans, I had a desire to try my hand at it. And lets get serious, if you can make it in the Big Apple, you can make it anywhere. It wouldn't be a very fancy set up. Just me, my guitar and a little bucket adorning a sign that says, "Please donate to the Human Fund."

If by chance I am not in city the never sleeps, I'll be in the one that sits a mile high above sea level. That's right, Denver, Colorado. This is also the home of my favorite but not famed baseball team, the Colorado Rockies. It has been my boyhood dream to work for their organization. My most recent idea would be to work as a translator for the Latin players on the team but let's get serious. If I to scrub the toilets in Coors Field or drive the team bus, I would do it in a heartbeat.

For this next one we head north to Alaska. I know what you are thinking and no I do now want to race dogsleds. Originally I wanted to be captain of one of those big ships that carries lots of oil in it, but some drunk nincompoop had to ruin it for me. Since that is not an option, ice fishing is the next best thing. That is a lie, but I would like to try it before I die.

Here is a list of my other random desired professions.
-High school football coach in a random town in Montana
-Owner of a restaurant that specializes in mozzarella sticks
-Toll Collector on the Jersey Turnpike
-Something to do with bananas in Ecuador- preferably picking the bundles
-School bus driver...heck I could do that anywhere
-Fireman...but only if I can be the guy who controls the hose. I don't walk into burning buildings
-Minor League Umpire- Once again, baseball.
-Duct tape industrialist- don't ask

Well there you have it. Give me reason enough to leave and I will go to one of these many places and live the simple life. In all reality I will be here in Provo, working for a piece of paper with some fancy writing on it. Just reading that last sentence makes me depressed. I'm outta here...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Jake’s Ambiguous Night Enduring Tunes

It came to my attention the other day that I have returned to slob face levels of blogging. A dear friend of mine had mentioned that she checked my blog every so often and was disappointed to see that I was slacking. So after a good talk with this friend, I decided that I needed to get back in the saddle and write my little heart out.

Staying true to the name of my webpage, I am writing this post at approximately 3:04 a.m. Many people wonder what I do during the grave shift. While it is a perfect opportunity for me to work on my homework, I usually write and listen to music. Hooray music.

There are certain songs that the later at night you listen to them, the better they are. I don’t know if it’s my lack of consciousness, but I find certain songs to be very profound at such obscure hours. Let me share a few of these songs.

Jumper by Third Eye Blind- This song is one of my all time favorite songs from one of my all time favorite bands, and I think that it is great any time of night.

At the Bottom of Everything by Bright Eyes- I love this one mostly because of the story that Conner Oberst tells of the plane crash. It makes me think a little about the way we see things.

Northern Downpour by Panic! At the Disco- If you are looking for an easy-going tune this is it. It makes me want to walk around looking at the stars.

Everything’s Not Lost by Coldplay- I remember discovering this song while delivering pizza back in 2006. I was listening to the Parachutes CD and I came upon this track. It’s defiantly a marijuana song; one that leaves you dangerously relaxed.

Tea for the Tillerman by Cat Stevens- This one minute gem always puts a smile on my face. It starts out all nice and bluesy but then goes full circle brings in a choir to sing two words. Genius.

Well friends those are just a few of my favorite night time tunes. I am off to go play some late night basketball.