29 September 2009

Great Music

The other day I created a prodigious playlist titled "Soft Rock Hits." Now, before you are quick to judge, allow me to dissect the risible meaning of that name. For one, I have no idea what a "Soft Rock" is. I have never seen one, felt one, and by every sense of the word it is a blistering contradiction. Are they used to stone adulterers? Will your house still stand when the winds blow if it is built upon a (soft) rock? Can they be cultured for pillows? As the questions filled my head, and just when my confusion was at a maximum, I read on and finished the sentence with "Hits." Soft rock hits? That definitely sounds like a watered down punishment. Does it even hurt to be hit with a soft rock? If you say it really fast and outloud it sounds like "Soft Rockets," which may or may not be what Iran is building at this very moment. Lexicography aside, my playlist is a real gem. Its make-up includes the wonders of The Fray, Rod Stewart, Bruce Springsteen, John Mayer, Paolo Nutini, The Killers, Matchbox Twenty, Jack Johnson, Coldplay, Eva Cassidy, Journey, Boston, Gwen Stefani, The Flaming Lips, Celine Dion, Elvis Presley, Beyonce, Moby, Snow Patrol, Alicia Keys, Sarah McLachlan, A.R. Rahman, and U2. If you aren't feeling relaxed by now, let me mention one more artist: Phil Collins. Yes, it is a stellar playlist. Now if only I could figure out how to make it produce music and not just sit unguided in Windows Media Player, like a poor, parentless child giving high fives to college students on a sunny afternoon.
Basically the point of this post was to get me some real estate in order to once more bring to your attention: OCTOBER 1st 2009. It is around the corner. Check back on Holla Atchya to find out why it is significant. (I will give you a hint: It has to do with a pregnant man who also happens to be a bio-chemist. I should be stoned with a soft rock for writing that).

27 September 2009

The Sabbath

Time does not allow for a full discourse on the nature of The Days of Rest known to the Western World as "Sundays," but perhaps a discussion of Sundaes will suffice? Or perhaps not wrote the skeptic; A testimonial of these sacred days will be enough.
I love Sundays because they are relaxing. I do homework, physical work, and other tasks every other day, but Sundays I rest. I do not worry about going to the gym; I do not worry about going to the Math Lab. As Mark states, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath" (Mark 2:27). The Sabbath was designed with us in mind, intending to bring us closer to God and to be a day of rest. It is extremely gratifying to spend 14% of my life on Sundays when I can rest and worship the Lord. Granted I sleep and worship on other days, but an entire day dedicated to the Lord is a prediliction I'd like to keep. Approximately 1,233 days of my life have happened on Sundays, equaling 3.46 years.
I love Sundays because of the music. My musical tastes, though grandiose, occassionally make my ears hurt. Why then, do I listen to such music? I figure it's similar to acupuncture or nose rings- meaning there really is no reason. But on Sundays I listen to soothing, calm music that does not hurt my ears (unless I listen while crunching me ear in my hand, which I am prone to do in my sleep).
I love Sundays for the family. I always call home and often other friends and relatives as well. (Sometimes I even call my pet turtle. He never has much to say but then again would you have much to say if you lived in a shell?) I have family gatherings, family get-togethers, and family meals.
In short, I believe Sundays are days set apart to be richly rewarding and beneficial for us. They bring us closer to Heavenly Father and should always be respected. I love Commandment IV to Keep the Sabbath Day Holy.

22 September 2009

Paul Mitchell Lives On!

It's Tuesday, which means haircut day! Much, much to my dismay the Bon Lose It Academy of Comedians has gone out of business, leaving me with only twelve billion other hair schools in Provo to choose from. Today it was Paul Mitchell Hair School, which thankfully did not disappoint in the comedy department. I knew it was a good choice when I sat down with Alisa (not concurrently, in fact only I sat down) and she asked me if I wanted a five minute head massage. There are not enough languages in the world to accurately describe how much I agreed with that question. I tried to say yes so quickly (about one hexa-second) that the first thing to come out of my mouth was binary, and I responded with "1." She gave me a weird look, but nothing more odd than I have been receiving ever since I got a picture of Patrick Swayze tattood to my face (R.I.P.). Alisa was cordial and friendly to me, asking me such questions as "Are you picky about your hair?"
Me: "Um, no, not really."
Alisa: "Like, not at all? Good."
That was a little scary. I asked her to buzz my sides with a #2, as I usually do, but for some strange Paul Mitchell reason they are no longer allowed to use buzzers. (At least not on hair- I think they're still allowed for doorbells.) Therefore, my hair did not get cut very short and after an hour I didn't have the time to ask her to go shorter, knowing that she would be doing it all by hand and scissors. I think she cut off about four days worth of hair. When the haircut was done, Alisa brought over her supervisor who did not strike me as much of a cognoscente in the hair cutting world. Evidence: She asked me if an older sibling had whacked me on the head as a child, which she supposed caused the blond spot on the crown of my head. I told her it was a birthmark, but she was less than convinced. Evidence #2: She was short, and couldn't reach my hair, so she asked the student (Alisa) if the chair went down. I would hope that as a supervisor in a salon, she would know that the chairs can in fact higher and lower. The haircut was great, but by far the highlight of my Paul Mitchell episode was the "Movie Day" sign prominently displayed. It was advertising a fundraiser with a movie and time, both to be determined. That made me a little less than willing to buy a ticket. But then I read what the ticket included- "For a $10 ticket you get: *Fun! *A Ticket! *Casual Day! *Hours!" Can you imagine? A ticket includes a ticket, hours, and casual day! What kind of hours does $10 buy? What all does Casual Day include? It sounds intriguing. Then I read the bottom of the marquee, which read, I kid you not, "Tickets go on sell soon!" Oh dear. C'mon Paul Mitchell! I was not as impressed with my haircut as I was with the one Olga gave me last time, but it was still a great excursion. The hair schools live on!
Get pumped for October 1st 2009... It should be better than my haircut.

21 September 2009

Logan

I went to Logan, Utah for the first time ever this weekend. I like Logan for the following reasons:

  1. It was named after my favorite member of the X-Men, Wolverine- also known as Logan.
  2. Logan is located in a beautiful valley that was on the brink of Autumn beauty. I think if I'd waited two more hours it would have been in full bloom.
  3. Logan boasts a "Pumpkin Launcher" that looked big enough to catapult Halley's Comet back into orbit.
However, I don't think I will ever live in Logan, for the following reasons:

  1. Logan of X-Men fame does not live there.
  2. I would be scared I would stub my toe on the Pumpkin Launcher.
  3. There are two Wal-Marts there, but only about 23 residents, all who work at Wal-Mart.
------10-1-09-----10-1-09-----10-1-09-----10-1-09-----

    20 September 2009

    An Ode to a Brother


    Grant and I in London, sitting on a park bench like told men playing Chess, only without the Chess board or the senectitude.
    My only brother, Thomas Grant Bennett, is headed to the Missionary Training Center on 23 September to serve in the Argentina Buenos Aires West Mission. In addition to singing "Don't Cry For Me Argentina!" ceaselessly, he has impressed me- as he tends to do- with his preparation and halcyon attitude regarding his missionary service. As a brief memoir to our brotherhood, which isn't dying by his admission to the Empty Sea but rather is continuing strong and faithful, I am writing a few words about why he is the Man.
    .
    Grant and I riding a bike in Hawaii. The bike didn't actually move but it still reminds me of The Chaos.
    I love his intelligence and his willingness to help, his hard and efficient work ethic, and his ability to be down for anything, anytime.  He's willing to serve and pursue whatever will make him happy. He is (by my terms) independently wealthy and quite generous with his resources, never looking for a reward. He doesn't allow himself to get in bad moods, and when he's motivated he will work his tail off.  I have lived with him in Hawaii, London, and Massachusetts and been cordially impressed with his ease; he is pleasant to get along with always and a fine roommate. He is a ladies man and receives cat calls when we are around. (Usually they are more than just "Meow," too.) He's an ideal brother and will make a spectacular missionary. Grant, I'll miss you but I couldn't be more pleased with your decision to serve, and those Argentines are blessed to have you around.

    19 September 2009

    Transformers II and Star Trek

    Two recent trips to the Dollar Theatre come to mind:
    Transformers II: Revenge of the Fallen- Perhaps a more appropriate title would have been Transform Errors: Revenge of the Polluted Sequel. I was sorely disappointed and wished I could have transformed myself into a shorter movie. The characters were over done, like you'd expect roasting a marshmallow over a California wildfire. Holla
    Star Trek- Now this movie was just downright well done, like you'd expect a 24 ounce Texas steak to be served to your denture-clad grandma. It had some amazing one-liners such as "Are you out of your Vulcan mind?" and a new pick-up line I'm dying to use: "I'll be watching your frequencies." The hard to understand astro physicist concepts were really broken down for us peons, such as what the Trekkies called "Red Matter" and "Black Holes." I appreciated this "Color followed by a Noun" version of science, and am currently trying to implement it; Chemistry would be make a heck of a lot more sense if I could just describe my results as "Blue Stuff," or "Green Gunk" instead of Bdellium, or whatever farrago I am trying to get off my hands. Holla Holla Holla Holla
    How many Hollas will October 1st 2009 receive? You decide...

    15 September 2009

    My Lucky Day, and Health Care

    My thoughts on today. I am feeling lucky. Not Las Vegas luck- because said luck is pseudo luck- but more the type of luck that can be best described as sitting down on a computer and loading up Pandora, only to find that the last person on your machine to use Pandora didn't sign out, so you get to listen to 'Flembag's Playlist.' It really is intriguing to know that there are people at Brigham Young University who call themselves "Flembag" and listen to "Country Pop." Who is this Flembag character, and is that his real name? I'll assume yes. But that's not the only reason I am feeling particularly lucky today. The other reason is my Irish heritage! It doesn't actually exist, but I do love corned beef & cabbage, green things, rain, Lucky Charms, potatoes and Catholics. I therefore feel blessed by the Irish, and worthy of their luck. (It turns out this day wasn't really any more lucky then yesterday.)
    Onto other topics. By lucubrations I have conceived a plan to fix the Health Care imbroglio. It's a concise plan that goes something like this: Stop Being Unhealthy. Don't eat Twinkies unless Apocalyptic circumstances necessitate, give the French fries back to France, don't drive drunk, and don't get shot. If everyone followed those simple guidelines the health costs of running a major nation- like Mozambique, for example- would fall faster than a man's cholesterol on Lipitor. What little money it would cost to send the fries back to France would be raised by The National Speed Walking Association eager to introduce our nation to the newest fad: Speed Walking.
    ...October 1st 2009...

    11 September 2009

    08 September 2009

    Hiking Mount Timpanogos in the Dark

    In an effort to be more spontaneous, without compromising my integrity or waistline, I accepted an invitation from a new friend on Sunday to climb Mount Timpanogos at two in the morning. (The invitation came a few hours earlier, but the actual act transpired just after 2:00am.) Having never done the hike, or heard much about it, I did not know what was to happen in the proceeding nine hours. Nor did I understand the savage temperment required to make the summit, or the loss of limb required by the Timpanogos gods and their terrible gusts and freezing temperatures. In the event that you were asleep at 2:00 on Monday morning and were unaware, I will attest the sun had set and the moon had risen. My party of 13 began with resplendent merriment but quickly dwindled in number as the velociraptors and vengeful Oklahoma fans came out around 3:30am seeking meat, and (at least in the case of the OU fans), corn-on-the-cob. After two hours of dark hiking we were down to a solid nine persons, three ears of corn, and sixteen pieces of raw velicoraptor jerky. Two hours later, at the onslaught of the final ascent, there was only a single unit left- me and my new friend. I'm not sure what became of the other seven individuals, but my guess would be destruction by locusts or assasination by burrs. At that point the delerium was getting nauseating, and I constantly had to ask strangers if I was hiking alone in order to determine if my friend was imaginary or by my side. Turns out, he was imaginary. The final thirty minutes of the hike can be described this way: Teetering unsteadily on the edge of a tallous slope with a 25 degree temperature on my exposed square centimeter of skin and winds strong enough to destroy a North Korean nuke. My friend described it as 'Hellacious.' Other words that come to mind are 'exhausting, miserable, DMV, death by mountain goat, and blustery.' We got to the apex by 6:30am, and waited around for half of an hour before the sun's rays brightly beamed the Father's mercy. My acquaintance and I, our friendship now 10 hours deep, huddled like Hawai'ians in an igloo, and solicited as much body warmth as we could. The only one who would accept our offer was Billy, the mountain goat we befriended with Velociraptor jerky. He was a bit more pokey and heavy than we were hoping for, but we couldn't feel our legs anyway so we hardly noticed. On our descent we found revitilazation through a small tablet some hikers gave us called "Vicadin." Four and a half hours up and four hours down. 16 miles. It was one Heck of a hike. Next time, I'm bringing my Sherpa, Pad-Til.

    04 September 2009

    The Whole Jackson

    Jackson Hole was the latter portion of our final, family vacation. [Note the important comma immediately following final, signifying that this is not meant to be my final family, but rather a vacation that could be described as both final, and family-orientated.] After Yellowstone we drove another few hours South (I was very careful to put the right address in so that we didn’t end up in Mexico or Haiti or something) to Wyoming, the only state in America where you can name a city after an orifice, and people will flock to it like bees to honey. There’s not much else to do in Wyoming but look for new, exciting, minatory holes. So that's just what they do. If you want people to come to your town, just name it something exciting like Jackson Hole or Herbert's Wall. However, rather than dig, we chose to raft, hike, eat a Chuckwagon dinner, and attend a rodeo. One person drowned on the Snake river rafting trip. I offered to jump in and save him, but the guide restrained me. Afterwards he explained that the rafting company had a goal this Summer of only three drownings, and the thus far there had been just two. Since it was August and the season was nearly over, he saw this as an opportunity to meet his goal. It didn’t seem ethical to me, but then again neither does living in Wyoming. The rodeo was Western, and we saw a cowboy get knocked out cold on a bucking bronco. When he came to he was talking about beaches in Hawai’i. It kind of makes me want to get knocked out. The chuckwagon dinner was delicious and entertaining, and the hiking was appropriately strenuous. If this blog didn’t make you laugh, you should definitely check out this link to America’s Funniest Home videos. It may be the funniest 30 seconds of my life: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfdlSdoVmpc&feature=PlayList&p=14317CF0E571B719&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=16

    02 September 2009

    Yellowstone

    Well, my Summer of vacations has ended. I went to nine different states and five different countries between the ides of April and the depths of August. Most recently, I traversed across the United States on a classic, Chevy Chase style vacation with my family. We drove from Salt Lake (the city, not the lake. We actually didn't spend any time in the lake- too salty) to West Yellowstone, Montana. I accidently put MO into our GPS to get us to Montana, but as you geographers know, MO is the abbreviation for Missouri. We didn't figure it out until somewhere near Austin, Texas. You'd think that when we saw the sign saying "Welcome to Texas" after three days of driving we would have gotten a clue, but alas, it took us all the way to Austin before we turned around. That was pretty much our entire vacation.
    'No, seriously, David. Tell me about Yellowstone! I want to know what a hot pot is and if Old Faithful still looks like a whale spout! Did you make al dente pasta in Old Faithful? It's very economical; the water is already boiling and there is no need to add a pinch of salt!'
    Well, alright, since you asked. Old Faithful is still spouting religiously, and hot pots are pools of naturally boiling water that often take on pastel colors, such as ashen gray or a dark robin's egg blue. In Yellowstone we saw Bison/Buffalo (not sure what the difference is- I believe we saw bison), elk, deer, geese, Siberian snow leapards (both of them in existence), bald eagles, osprey, gorillas, and chipmonks, which we named McChipnuggets when we got really hungry.
    I loved the vacation for many reasons, namely the Asian tourists who seem to have taken over our National Parks in an effort to manufacture their own Grand Canyons and geisures. China can provide the manpower, but I just don't think they have the 1,000,000 years required to carefully -cautiously- craft caverns capably. My other favorite thing about Yellowstone was the uninhabited aspect of its beauty. As far as the eye can see, and as long as the finger can point, there is natural, organic beauty. Not the type of beauty that comes with curling irons, earrings, nailpolish and other particularly pungent products, but real, raw, respectful beauty. Beauty that Americans can call our own. This is the Land of Liberty, and the spanning forests and soaring Eagles confirm it.
    I had a punctuating observation about Yellowstone, which has slipped my mind at present.

    Wait, there it is: The Earth is alive. Yellowstone is a hotbed of geological activity that never cools and never sleeps. She never gets sore throats because she's constantly gurgling salt water, and her heaving motions are astoundingly heavy. The Earth moves like a tortoise- slow but with meaning. Although She has no abecedarian concepts, Mother Earth can talk, and I heard her. She told me to turn off the lights when I leave a room, recycle my plastic bags, walk don't drive, conserve paper, and- this one is still baffling me- "Man who cook carrots and peas in same pot is unsanitary." I don't know where that one came from, but that's what She said! Mother Earth, you're the greatest! Being with my family in America's fantastic National Park was an American adventure that everyone should enjoy. Perhaps not with my family (only because there isn't enough time), but with their own families. The Chinese are sure fulfilling that charge.
    Note: I hope you got the pun in the proverb, from Mother Earth.