Saturday, February 22, 2014

Father Figures

I'm pretty sure everyone has a father. At least biologically. 

I've been fortunate enough to have had both a biological father and a father who raised me. They were even the same person. How lucky is that?

I've also had a couple people who were father-type figures. Men I looked up to and depended on for advice and for being an example of how I want to live my life. I want to talk about my father figures today. For some of this, it will be reopening some old wounds. However, I'm hoping that by opening these wounds, I will finally cleanse the last of the infection and really, truly heal. From the bad experiences anyway. I hope to continue to use the good experiences to be the man I want to be.

When I was nineteen I served a mission for my church. I went to Peru. I loved the country and the people there. It's still a huge part of who I am and I am still in contact with many people I met there. I met President Alpha (name changed, but if you know who he is, this is a pretty good play on his actual name) about halfway through my training period before flying to Peru. President Alpha was going to be a brand new mission president (most serve for three years). I didn't speak much Spanish at the time, but I felt a connection with my president and couldn't wait to work with him in the mission field.

In my almost two years in Peru, I grew close to President Alpha. He was a good man. He cared for his missionaries. He was good to his family. He was cheerful. A hard worker. Deeply spiritual. I felt he cared about me personally, not just as one of his missionaries. The day after I was robbed at knife-point, President Alpha stopped by to make sure I was recovering from the trauma. I felt that he truly read my weekly letters to him. He often gave me good advice. I would have enjoyed working more closely with him in the mission office, but I was glad that I was able to work exclusively in the field.

I was looking forward to my final interview with him, just before returning home. I hoped to receive some advice on how to make the transition back into the regular world. I hoped to hear that I had been a good missionary. All I remember from that interview was that President Alpha said that my shirt was too worn and, as such, inappropriate to wear. In fairness, I was wearing a shirt that was well-worn. However, I was saving my best shirt to wear on the trip home. That way I could be wearing my best to see my family for the first time in two years. I tried to explain this to President Alpha, but he insisted I go change immediately. I was crushed. Two years of service and all I was told was to change my shirt? Ouch.

Several years later President Alpha and his family moved to Utah. I renewed our relationship and visited his home several times. I loved to be there. I felt welcome and loved. In this time-frame I also started an internet relationship with a fellow missionary who was from Peru. I even visited her there for two weeks. After returning home I broke up with her. It wasn't a good breakup. Around this time I stopped hearing from President Alpha. I don't know if the two events are related. I invited him to my wedding, but didn't hear anything from him.

We're still "facebook friends," but I don't know if we'll ever be closer than that. I'd kind of like that, but I don't know if I dare.

My other "deep wound" came from my own father. Don't get me wrong. My father is a good man and a good father. As kids we have always felt his love, even if he didn't articulate that very often. My dad and I are very different people. We have some similar interests and characteristics, but our personalities are very different. I always found it difficult to talk to him. Our conversations were usually rather superficial. To be honest, I often felt that his church callings were a higher priority than I was. That's possibly just my perception, but it's how I felt. 

A couple years ago I was living in Provo, UT. I hadn't been active in the church for years. I would go every now and again, but I always found excuses to not go consistently. While in Provo I received a letter from my father. I thought it was odd, but was intrigued. I wish I could quote the letter to you, but I burned it. I do remember that it was six pages long.

The overall message I got was that I was not a good son because I didn't attend church on a regular basis. I cannot express how much that letter hurt me. Honestly, I'm to the point that I would like to sit down with my dad and tell him how much that letter hurt. How bad it made me feel.

Unfortunately, due to Alzheimer's my dad probably doesn't remember writing that letter. I'm sure he doesn't because every time I see him I'm not Adam. I'm Brad (my oldest brother). I try not to take that personally, but it hurts a little each time it happens. So my hurt is unresolved and unlikely to be resolved in this life.

I'm hoping that by bleeding the wound it will fester less. 

The experience has certainly taught me to be careful with my future children. I guess that can be my goal, to learn from my relationship with my father and father figures to know how to treat those around me.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Talk Show Hosts...

I just finished reading American on Purpose by Craig Ferguson. It's his autobiography. I wish I could afford to stay up later so I could watch his talk show. I think he's a very interesting person and I like his style as host of the Late, Late Show. He's funny and personable. 

He had an interesting life. He managed to overcome several addictions. It was a nice triumph to read.

What interests me more is that he seems to be a genuinely happy person. It's rare you see that. He claims that he likes Dave Letterman because Dave seems bitter and cynical, and that fits Craig. I don't buy it. Maybe Craig used to be bitter and cynical, but I don't think he is anymore. 

The other talk show host I like (yep, only one other) is Ellen Degeneres. I like Ellen because she's happy. Her show is always upbeat and positive. I mean, she starts each episode out by dancing with the audience. 

I like watching talk show hosts that make me feel good. That's why I like Ellen and Craig. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Once More...

I blame Transmetropolitan

I didn't think I would, but I'm writing political again. Nothing major or inflammatory, I think. I just have one thing I want to discuss: Political Ads on TV.

Here's the thing. I keep seeing ads dedicated to telling me why I should NOT vote for a specific candidate. This really bugs me. 

If you wish me to vote for a specific candidate, tell me what that candidate wishes to accomplish. And, if he is seeking to be re-elected, tell me what he did while in office that would indicate he deserves to have the job again.

If you run ads telling me why I should not vote for other candidates, you're trying to get me to vote for your candidate by process of elimination. That's not a good way to get votes. That's a good way to convince people not to vote at all. Which I guess could possibly accomplish your objective in a way.

The only ad I've seen so far that fits what I would like to see in a political ad was for Jim Matheson. It listed what he voted for in Congress and what he would like to do. I'll have to see the ad a couple more times to remember all the points exactly, but there was one that stood out to me.

Jim Matheson voted to NOT give the members of Congress a pay raise. I kind of think that getting a pay raise should not be decided by the people getting the raise. I would think that a lot of people would say, "A raise? Do I want more money? Yes." So that one point makes me want to vote for Matheson.

But to get back to my main point, when running an ad tell me why I should vote for a candidate. I want to hear what he wants to accomplish and what he has already done. 


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Slightly Political

Here's the thing. I don't wax political often. Mostly because I don't share the same political views as the majority of my family and I like to stay on speaking terms with them. I also don't share the same political views with the majority of my state and I don't like being picked on or bullied by the majority.

Am I thrilled with everything that has happened during the current presidential term? No. However, I don't think President Obama deserves the blame for every bad thing going on in the country. He's still trying to clean up the mess the previous president made, while being hampered by a Republican controlled House of Representatives that, to me, seems to have taken an almost childish pleasure in saying, "no," to anything and everything he's tried to do.

So, let's look at what Clinton left Bush: A budget surplus of 237 billion and record low poverty rates. What did Bush leave Obama? A deficit of 1.2 TRILLION, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

So now we have a new presidential election coming up. Mitt Romney is the Republican candidate. I'm supposed to like him, because he's a Mormon and so am I, but I don't think I'll vote for him. And not because he's Mormon. Because, according to my most trusted political news source, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, his budget plans include a big tax break for the wealthy. The wealthy would include Mr. Romney. Doesn't seem right to me. Also, I just don't see evidence of Trickle-down economics working. 

So I'll vote Democrat for president and my vote won't count. Why? Because of the electoral college system. The majority of Utah will vote Republican, which means that all of Utah's electoral college votes will be Republican. 

Okay, enough with the bad part of the election process. 

During a presidential election year, I think the absolute best piece of literature to read is Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson. Transmet was a comic book series that ran for 60 issues, currently collected in 10 trade paperbacks. It's set in the future and has many science fiction elements, but the core concept is a journalist's take on the presidential election.

The journalist is Spider Jerusalem. He was based on Hunter S. Thompson. The character claims to be searching for the truth and he doesn't really care who gets hurt by his quest.  It's a hilarious book that presents a critique of our society today. I guarantee you'll see a connection to whatever election is going on when you read the series. 

Why? Because the writer, Warren Ellis, is fascinated by U.S. politics. He's from England, by the way. It was he who pointed out a fact that I find quite amusing. A communist country is often referred to as a "Red State." Or was. I'm not sure if it still is. Most Republicans are vocally opposed to anything remotely resembling communism or socialism. As states submit their results in the presidential election those that have voted Republican are colored red. Thus, Republican states become "Red States." 

And on the subject of socialism and communism, having nationalized healthcare is not communist. Personally I think we should just copy and paste South Korea's system. Why? Because it WORKS. I paid about a small amount a month for my insurance.I can't remember exactly how much. It was just taken out of my check, so I never missed it. My employer paid the other half of my insurance. Anytime I felt sick I could go to the hospital and see a doctor. There was usually hardly any waiting. Why? Because the doctors get paid according to how many people they see, so they are interested in taking care of you as quickly as possible. And I never felt dismissed. The cost? One visit I saw the doctor, got chest x-rays, and paid for my prescription. Total amount out of my wallet? $20. Yeah. It's cheap.

Anyway, enough of my soapbox for now. I don't know that I'll get political again. I don't want to deal with the arguments.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Aladdin at Tuacahn

Saturday I went to see the production of Aladdin at Tuacahn.

Overall, I would give my experience a "B."

The show itself gets an A. It would be an A+, except that the "star" of the show, Mr. Aladdin himself, seemed like he was just going through the paces. He didn't seem to be putting a whole lot of effort into it. It was obvious he had done this a thousand times and was just doing it by rote that night. 

The three narrators were amazing. I couldn't wait for them to come back on stage each time. They were funny and had great harmony. They were aware that they were in a play and had many funny asides to the audience. Iago wasn't a parrot this time. He was a little person and was hilarious to watch.

There were great special effects! Explosions galore! When it came time for the cave of wonders, they projected the cave onto a fountain spray. It looked awesome! When Aladdin went into the cave, they projected the cave background onto a screen. In 3D! I was wondering why they handed out 3D glasses at a live stage production. During "A Whole New World," Aladdin and Jasmine went for a magic carpet ride. The carpet lifted off the stage and soared over the audience. 

The other members of the audience get an F. First of all, a good percentage of the patrons there brought their young kids. And by young I mean 5 years old and under. It was ridiculous. Just because your kids enjoy watching the Disney movie Aladdin does not mean they will enjoy a three hour Stage production of the same story! Many people showed up late and sat down after the initial number had started. One family even showed up a half hour into the performance! I couldn't believe they did that. Or that the ushers let them!

The worst part of the audience? There were probably 50 or 60 people who stood up and left BEFORE THE FINALE!  I was flabbergasted! I still am I guess.

I'd like to see the show again. However, I would like to see it with a better audience. Maybe a smaller, indoor venue. It probably wouldn't have the awesome special effects, but I think I might enjoy it even more.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

NOT BEDIA #20: A Failed Experiment

There are many reasons I could list for why this blogging every day was a failed experiment. I still like the idea. Quite a bit, actually, but I missed my third day and figured it was "three strikes I'm out." 

The worst part is that I have had plenty of time to make a post every day. I don't have a job yet. I guess some days I just got too wrapped up in myself and didn't make a post.

Kind of sad, but that's how it is.

The job hunt isn't going all that well. I had two interviews last week. I called today to follow up and found out the positions had been filled. It was a bummer to hear that.

It's been a rough week, that's for sure. Not just with the job hunt, but with other things happening as well.

So I just keep moving forward. 

Hmmm, maybe I should watch "Meet the Robinsons" again.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

BEDIA #19: Les Miserables

I haven't managed to read the book. Yet. It's been on my "To-Read" list for years. Though, to be honest, I prefer Victor Hugo's poetry to what I've read of his prose. 

I went and saw a production of the musical based on Hugo's most famous work. It was produced by the Utah Shakespeare Festival. 

While the Festival has a pretty high success rate for the productions I've seen, I have to admit that I was rather disappointed with their version of "Les Mis." 

It had a couple high moments, usually whenever the actress playing Eponine was singing. Unfortunately, she didn't sing nearly enough to save the entire production in my eyes.

On the plus side, my disappointment tonight has made me that much more excited for the movie coming out in December.