Monday, November 20, 2006

"The Wretched of the Earth"

This weekend I finished reading the new Dave Eggers' novel, What is the What, a fictional autobiography of a Sudanese Lost Boy. After spending some time working with the Sudanese, I found the book incredibly well written and thoughtful. The experiences of the Lost Boys are so overwhelming each time I hear one of their stories, I feel this intense urge to do more, accompanied by the polite resignation that I know I can never completely understand. Without ruining the book, I can safely say that the closing line of the book is so powerful, that I haven't been able to get it out of my head all weekend.

On Friday night, I went to hear one of David's co-worker's band play. It was a CD release party. The opening act was this acoustic guitar combo. It was the kind of music that reminded me of walking through the Wilkenson Center at BYU on a Thursday afternoon - acoustic guitars accompanying guys who are cute and non-threatening in a pre-teen kind of way. It was the kind of music that your mom listens to when she thinks that she is being hip and cool. Not my mom, though. My mom likes acoustic music that sings about whores, or maybe the Southern Cross constellation. In college, I always rolled my eyes at the silliness of the acoustic co-eds; guitar music as a means to Friday night dates. I held out my sighs and giddiness for the more experimental sounds of my favorite BYU college band, The Plan B. After all of this time, it is such a shame that I spent my Friday night listening to this flashback college acoustic music when such a short distance away, at the Paramount Theater, I could have been enjoying the unique musical stylings of the Decemberists. I think I have more to learn from chimbly sweeps and barrow boys than people who are "crazy" or "in love." No offense, Beyonce.

Lately I have developed this unfortunate habit of thinking that I need to wear, or at least purchase, makeup. I think it is because I fear I am getting older and my skin is starting to show my age. Anyway, I recently purchased this lip gloss that burns my lips the same way that my lips used to feel after making out with someone really hard. Sometime after the age of 25, making out just starts to seem incredibly ridiculous. You can't do it like when you were eighteen, making out behind the Morris Center at Deseret Towers. Nonetheless, even though you think you grow up and move beyond that, for some reason your lips still crave the burn.

So tell me Mr. Fanon, which one of the persons described here is "the wretched of the earth?"

Monday, November 06, 2006

Baseball Caps Everywhere

I love that line from the Simpsons, used by a Thai Restauranteur in describing state universities. When I went to see Borat on Friday night in Bellevue, I felt the exact same sentiment. Even worse, many of the guys at the movie were wearing their baseball caps backwards, which is one of the worst looks ever created. It renders the whole purpose of the baseball cap completely useless. I shouldn't have been so surprised to see so many backwards baseball caps in a venue where I actually heard someone use the expressions, "That's hella high" and "They are sitting up there in the butthole of the world." I was humiliated collectively by the youth of America. Of course, on a broader scale it was somewhat depressing, after seeing Borat, to find that people's primary source of entertainment can come from humiliating others.

This was the same movie theater that in the week prior, I had come to admire the quiet dignity of Queen Elizabeth II. Among that movie going crowd, David and I were by far the youngest. Fortunately, there were no backward baseball caps. Unfortunately, those wearing backwards baseball caps probably have the most to learn from someone like Queen Elizabeth.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I must confess the following guilty pleasure, which potentially could render my whole regarding baseball caps incredibly hypocritical. The fall rain has set in for Seattle, seriously curtailing my Saturday activities. Thus, for the past few weekends, I have found tremendous solace in watching the SEC football games, broadcast on CBS. Perhaps I have been missing home and the South too much that I could do this one thing weekly that allows me to feel less far away from the Gulf Coast. It has gotten to be a problem - I even watch the NFL from time to time, to watch my favorite Southern stars in their pro years. The Southern accents of the Manning brothers provides me considerable respite after a week of dealing with obnoxious attorneys and impossible to please clients. Like the Manning brothers, I am a Southerner living in the North, in large part, for the sake of my career. They seem so much more connected to a place that hasn't been my literal home for quite some time.