Monday, June 25, 2012

Robert Frost

My favorite poet of all time is Robert Frost. Since I have a captive audience, I'm going to post a few of his poems with my 2nd-grade quality analyses of them. Plus, I'm going to whore myself out for comments. Keep reading...

The Pasture
I'm going out to clean the pasture spring;
I'll only stop to rake the leaves away
(and wait to watch the water clear I may):
I shant be gone long. --You come too.

I'm going out to fetch the little calf
That's standing by the mother. It's so young,
It totters when she licks it with her tongue.
I shant be gone long. --You come too.

The Pasture is possibly my favorite poem in the English language. It's touching and beautiful in its simplicity; a farmer inviting his wife or child or friend to accompany him on a short errand, one that could easily be accomplished alone, but one that's made richer with good company.  I look forward to the day when that spouse or child or good friend can drive with me to the gas station or drug store, just for the sake of company. 

Choose Something Like a Star
O Star (the fairest one in sight),
We grant your loftiness the right
To some obscurity of cloud --
It will  not do to say of night,
Since dark is what brings out your light.
Some mystery becomes the proud.
But to be wholly taciturn 
In your reserve is not allowed.

Say something to us we can learn
By heart and when alone repeat.
Say something! And it says "I burn."
But say with what degree of heat.
Talk Fahrenheit, talk Centigrade.
Use language we can comprehend.
Tell us what elements you blend.
It gives us strangely little aid,
But does tell something in the end.

And steadfast as Keats' Eremite,
Not stooping from its sphere,
It asks a little of us here.
It asks of us a certain height,
So when at times the mob is swayed 
To carry praise or blame to far,
We may choose something like a star
To stay our minds on and be staid.

I love this poem too. But I kinda wanna try something with it. It's a complicated poem; the first time I read it I was in a class, so I got to sit idly by while others analyzed it for me, which gave me an unfair advantage. I only got to hear one explanation of what it means, the "right" explanation, and I'd like to see what other messages people get out of it.  Drop me an e-mail or leave a comment and tell me what you think about this, my other favorite poem.

The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler long I stood
and looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though  as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less travelled by
And that has made all the difference.

Self-explanatory, but with one twist that I'd never thought of until I talked about this poem with a friend awhile ago. He said that the part in the last stanza, "I shall be telling this with a sigh..." shows that even when he reaches the end of the path, the speaker will still be unsure about whether or not his choice was the right one. I wonder if that's how it will be for all of us: Do we really know we made all the right choices in life because they led us to here? Or are we just seeking the equilibrium that comes with "knowing" that everything happened for a reason? I kind of think that I'll always have that what-if feeling giving me pause to contemplate if I really did make all the right choices.  

Good ol' poetry. I like you, I think I'll keep you around for awhile.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A few completely random thoughts before bed

This is unconventional for me. Here are a few random thoughts I have knocking about my head right now.

As of right now, I have had as many page views as my old apartment's gate code when I lived in Texas.

A reader e-mailed me with a salutation that read, "Dear Batman," because I'm anonymous and he didn't know how else to phrase it. So I closed my reply with, "Regards, Batman," and that felt so cool.

I'm damn terrified of tomorrow. I'm tearing into my car's rear axle to try and fix it and I'm really worried I'm gonna find more damage than I thought or muck it up worse. Prayers please.

Today, I deliberately slept through campus devotional and my last two classes. I felt guilty about it, but then again, I'm young. Why not be a little reckless occasionally? [Words I'll regret when I'm penniless and unemployed because no one will hire someone with that kind of attitude.]

My friend is selling all of his belongings and buying a van to travel from Vancouver to Panama in. That's 4800 miles, or more than 300,000 inches, if you'd rather view it like that. I'm equal parts jealous and terrified I'll never see him again.

I'm going to make it a goal to camp at least once monthly for the next year or until I serve a mission.  Camping, even if it's car camping, is a great experience.

I need a new cell phone. Mine keeps falling apart in my hands whenever I take it out of my pocket. It's kind of awkward holding a speaker to your ear with one hand and a microphone to your mouth with another, especially if you need to dial a number while on a call.

I might buy my cousin's 1966 Volvo Amazon hot rod.  How do you feel about that? I feel good.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Strange new sensation- I want kids?!?

I love kids. I have a bajillion nieces and nephews, each of which is unique and has something that I love about them. I've been a manny for my sister and for a few other people's kids and it's a job I both like and am good at.  I like kids of all ages, from my newborn baby niece to the teenage punk across the way who sometimes helps me with my car.

In spite of that, kids have never really been a part of my plan. I always figured I'd have kids someday, but honestly, I never really wanted them. It kind of seemed like an obligation more than a desire (marry, procreate, die).

But lately, I find myself dreaming of my kids and how awesome they'll be. It happens at random times. Yesterday, I was at McDonald's with my friends after FHE and there was a mom getting an ice cream sundae to share with her maybe-two-year-old son; looking at them made me want a kid.

Then, a few days ago, I was out camping and all I could think of was my own dad and how when I went home for my vacation, I wanted to spend a weekend camping with him, which then led to the thought that I want to take my kids camping as often as possible.

And my good friend announced to me awhile ago that she and her husband were taking the leap and were going to start trying to have kids and it made me so happy. I'm so excited to see that happen for them and it made me want that to happen in my life too.

I just find myself dreaming about kids a lot now. It's a weird development for me, but I'm definitely glad it's there. I've always been worried that I'd view kids as an obligation and be somewhat bitter about it, but now I have a bit more hope that I'm gonna be a good dad.

However, there's still that niggling issue of being uninterested in creating one using the biological process. I guess I'll have to give myself time to come around to the idea of doin' it to make a baby.

EDIT, two hours later: Just found out my sister's preggo! They were tryin' for a boy and I've got a good feeling!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Do you think Neil Patrick Harris gets tired of the attention?

It's no secret to those who know me that I have a "man"-crush on Neil Patrick Harris.  He's hilarious, he's well-dressed, he seems down-to-earth and he's pretty good looking. I feel like he befriends everyone he meets, which is saying something coming from me because I usually think speculating on what celebrities are like in real life is a waste of time since they get paid to act a certain way.

In any case, NPH was on The Colbert Report the other night and Stephen Colbert was saying, in his mock-Republican attitude, that NPH threatens him because he is a happy, likable gay man and his happiness doesn't threaten Colbert's happiness.  The obvious satirical commentary is that gay people aren't threatening and the stereotypical Republican point of view is silly.

It was a funny sketch, but I had something on my mind as I was watching. NPH has been publicly out for a few years now and his public demeanor changed very little from the time no one knew he was gay to the time everyone did.  And yet, every interview or video I've ever seen of him plays up his gayness.  For years, he was identified by his sense of humor, his showmanship and his comedic timing and now, it seems people only focus on his homosexuality.

To be sure, lots of that intrigue is tied to his happy domestic life with his partner and their twin babies, which I think is a happy thing to focus on, but still, I wonder if he ever gets tired of gawkers saying, "Neil, I like you and you are gay; therefore I am open-minded and tolerant."

It reminds me of something the black kid I knew in high school said (yes, that's right. Not "a" black kid or "one of many" black kids. "The" black kid). He said that he felt like a rockstar, because everyone wanted to be friends with him and everyone knew his name and voted for him whenever he did anything and then he transferred to another high school with more diversity.  He realized after transferring that we were being incredibly racist at my high school. It wasn't negative racism, but nonetheless, we apparently treated him differently due to his race. We wanted to prove we weren't racist, so we sought out the only black person we knew and fellowshipped the hell out of him.

In this wise, gay is the new black. Everyone says things like, "I've got a gay friend back home," just so they sound a little more open-minded, like they tolerate the presence of homosexuality.  And I'm like, why does it matter? Would you be friends with this guy if he wasn't gay?

I wonder if NPH gets annoyed with answering those questions about what it's like being in a committed relationship and having two (frankly gorgeous) kids with your partner. If it seemed like the interviewers were genuinely interested in his personal life, then maybe he'd be okay with it. But if it seems like they're just playing up the gay to get ratings, then I'd think it'd get pretty old pretty quick.

I guess my point is that being gay doesn't have to define a person. There are those for whom it does, but for me and lots of the other gays I know, we're normal people who happen to be gay.  It'd be a hard line to toe, because if I was out, I'd want people to know how normal I was, so I'd be pretty loudmouthed about it, which ironically would make me stand out more to those who saw me.

Just one more in a nearly endless list of things that make me scared to come out.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Seeking inspiration and guidance

These last few weeks, I've been practicing praying about almost every decision. I haven't taken it as far as praying about which breakfast flakes to buy or which tie would go better with my pink shirt (for all the "G" in my "MP," I cannot for the life of me coordinate colors), but I'm still seeking guidance a whole lot more than I used to.

This last week, I've had a couple pretty significant decisions looming over my head. Both had potential for semi-catastrophic financial loss and some emotional distress. I had already made one decision, which opened the possibility for another. I had prayed about the first and felt good about the choice I'd made, even though it made me kind of sad.  Anyway, I was praying about decision two and initially felt incredibly apprehensive. I figured that was my answer and just about moved on, but I ruminated for just another minute and that apprehension started to subside, replaced with some confidence.

That kinda worried me. The apprehension was sudden and fleeting and it was replaced with confidence, but I couldn't really tell which feeling was the one I should heed. They say that your first impressions are usually the most correct, but the second impressions were more powerful and long lasting.

Anyway, I went about my day with that question in the back of my mind. I asked close friends and family to pray that I'd be able to understand which was the right decision.  I went to campus devotional, which was about the need for righteous desire to be the foundation of any decision.  I began to ponder if this question I had was a righteous desire or not, and then it hit me: God doesn't care about this financial decision. I don't mean that he was apathetic about it or about me, but to him, it didn't matter which choice I made.    The devotional's message wasn't speaking to my financial concerns, it was speaking to my spiritual concerns.

God is more concerned with my righteous desires to aspire in his gospel and to serve him in his appointed way than he is with my righteous desire to make money and become more financially successful and independent.  While those goals I have to be richer and live more comfortably are righteous and worthy goals, I have enough work to do in more eternal senses; in that respect, my time would be better spent asking for advice in those areas.

I know that God cared about that financial decision I made yesterday and as the day went on, I felt more and more confident that I was making the right choice. But I also know that by blinding myself with things that don't really matter, I almost missed something that did. I'm going to continue praying for advice over more trivial matters, but I also am resolving to spend as much time praying for advice over eternal principles.

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