Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Let's keep dancing folks...

Colbert Bush Roast

If you have not seen this yet, stop what you are doing and push play. Feel free to thank me in the comments :)

from here.
Everybody else is posting this, so how could i not?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Life Fragment - Babysitter

Fact: David Reynolds, who played White Power Bill on the first season of Arrested Development, was one of my baby sitters growing up. He was a close theater friend of my parents. He was a fantastic babysitter.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Bush Bans State Department Officials From Obama Rally

From The Huffington Post:

In a flagrant political act, the State Department has barred its employees from attending Sen. Barack Obama's speech in Berlin tonight. Under the pretense that he is maintaining political neutrality, the Washington Post reported today, State Department Undersecretary for Management Patrick F. Kennedy has interpreted the Foreign Affairs Manual in the most restrictive way, claiming that he is ensuring that foreign service officials will remain untainted by a "partisan political act." (Spouse and family members, however, have generously been excluded from this ruling.) The U.S. embassy, which is headed by ambassador Robert Timken, a businessman and crony of George W. Bush's from Ohio, who is widely reviled in Germany for his ignorance of foreign affairs, has instructed officials not to attend the rally. The American Foreign Service Association has complained about the edict but there's not enough time to dispute it. Funny that.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Life Fragment - January, 2008.

My review of 2007's 'The Vagina Monologues'

Last night I attended “The Vagina Monologues” at Utah Valley State College. It was a very impactful show, filled with some very good performances and some amazing monologues. I’ve heard about the vagina monologues for some time now (the yearly performance has sparked quite a controversy in the small conservative town that I live in). After last night, I think all of the controversy the program has received is unwarranted. The performance is definitely not for the prudish, but the pay off is extremely rewarding. It seems that many people don’t have the capacity to maneuver through performances they initially find offensive. What’s so offensive about vagina’s anyway? Abuse is so pervasive because it something that we are afraid to discuss. The puritan in us likes to pretend that abuse doesn’t exist, meanwhile society decays as the rate of rapes and abuse each year remain static or increase. Many women are made to feel slutty instead of sexy, ashamed instead of proud, while they remain subjugated by men who objectify them. The monologues highlighted women from around the globe. Stories of Afghani, Bosnian, Iraqi, Japanese, and American women left the room silent, haunted by the harsh realities of global abuse. The monologues were also very hilarious, many of them discussing the ins and outs of having a vagina. The crowd roared in laughter through intimate details of being a woman. The second to last monologue was an illustration of the many unique orgasmic moans. The performance was a success. I left, slowly absorbing the monologues and what they meant to me as a man. What can I do to more fully appreciate and protect my wife, my mother, my sister, and the many women relatives and friends I have? It was a wonderful experience.

Geography Lesson

From and Huffington Post:

As Barack Obama began his trip to the Middle East and Europe, the media was already speculating about the possibility of a gaffe. Obama's travel "carries political risk," the New York Times reported, "particularly if Mr. Obama makes a mistake."

But the only foreign policy error made in the last few days came this morning on ABC's Good Morning America, when John McCain made ANOTHER geography gaffe while trying to criticize Obama's visit to Iraq. (Just last week, McCain repeatedly referred to Czechoslovakia, a country that hasn't existed since 1993.)

Asked by Diane Sawyer whether the "the situation in Afghanistan in precarious and urgent," McCain responded: "I think it's serious. . . . It's a serious situation, but there's a lot of things we need to do. We have a lot of work to do and I'm afraid it's a very hard struggle, particularly given the situation on the Iraq/Pakistan border."

But as ABC's Rick Klein noted: "Iraq and Pakistan do not share a border. Afghanistan and Pakistan do."

This one's for the ladies...

Life Fragment - Jan. 5, 2008.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Life Fragment - 2001

06.11.01 --- eighteen years old --- Orem, UT

Last night was a very interesting night. i came to a realization that has taken me almost six years to come to. It all started when when my thoughts took over my mind in the dark dreariness of my great-grandmother Ganny's old living quarters. i kept picturing her coming to me, surrounded by wedding dresses. Not that this would necessarily be bad, but there's something about the dead that spooks the shit out of me. i think that's pretty reasonable. The intensity was so strong, i still don't know now if i was sleeping or not. i felt like i was going to go in a nervous breakdown mind state. i seriously did, especially with my fragileness lately. At this time, i realized that i truly have no control of my thoughts. Just like a crazy person. i was so scared because it felt like i was being forced to think these things. Like, an outside force was involved. Sick, malicious things popped in and out of my head like sharp pins. i started crying --- something i haven't done for years; or at least admit to it. i guess my natural instincts took over. i got on my knees crying and prayed to God. i asked him to please help me, to rid myself of the devil that has been torturing me for years. i told him i was coming to him with a broken heart and contrite spirit. i repented for the first time in my whole life. And even greater... completely meant it. Every bit of it. i repented of smoking weed since i was twelve, for drinking in excess, and muting my thoughts with substances. i was sobbing. i told him i would never smoke or drink again in my life and begged for his help to give me control of my thoughts --- to rid the blasphemy. i told him i wanted to be a good man and that i'm ready for change. i followed this with "in the name of Jesus Christ, amen." i stopped crying. The most peaceful feeling set in my heart. i'm saying a feeling i could never articulate. A feeling i've never had in my entire eighteen years of living. i know now that God truly exists. i feel like crying just from the joy i found. i know that he comforted me, just like i know satan thrived on my mind for years. Depression to insanity and vanity. i know a new love and the best thing of it all is that this is in no way bullshit. i will never smoke or drink again. i know this. Because of the comfort he showed me, i owe him. And i love drinking, i truly do. But i now have found something i cherish. Intelect and science aside. i know what i felt last night. So, tonight, i once again kneeled while Erik was in the shower. i simply said thank you and re-affirmed my longing for purity. i want this in writing, so i can call myself a hypocrite if i ever go back with stupidity.

{i then signed my name under three statements: "i will never smoke again", "i will never drink again," and "if temptation comes, i will read this and remember the comfort."}

Back of page:

i've always heard "the Lord works in mysterious ways." i always smirked and said "yeah....sure." Well, i hate to say i'm wrong, but it tis so. This will open a whole new chapter in my life.

Monday, July 21, 2008


'Lucky Three: an Elliot Smith Portrait'. Beautiful...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Improv Everywhere

You may have seen them featured on both the radio version and showtime version of This American Life. Check out some of their videos below. Check out their website here.

StumbleTube July 20th

Life Fragment - 1999

In 1999 i was in a creative writing class at my high school in Kalamazoo, MI. The same year, my dad got a new job in Louisiana and planned to move the whole family. Before i moved, my creative writing teacher had everyone in the class write a poem about me, which she compiled, and gave to me in a folder. Before i left, people read their poems to me. These are a few of them:

To The Visionary

The self-proclaimed visionary
Well, I say to you Bernhard, let me see
See? I saw, have seen and now know.
Some the shallow end, extending limb by limb to find
The wet permeates untouched.
You, Kurt, arouse the silt on the floor.
Head first into the mysterious muck below
Transcending as you go while shaping as you grow
Like the thoughts that shape the ridges on your brow
Flow, ramble and unscramble your ambled mind
And like a true vision, ascencion you will find.

- Mike McHugh (my teacher's assistant)


Kurt inhales the world and
breathes it out through his eyes.
Man-child with seeking on his mind
So full of dreams that trip his tongue
and dance, fantastic, across his page

Where will this journey take him,
he who has traveled so far...
I watch him go a world away,
poised on the edge of new
and leaving this life behind.

Striding to waiting doors he stops
and then moves quickly through.

- Sally Padley (my teacher)

I spot him down the hall
his individuality standing out amongst a
sea of conformity.
His words are heard.
His impressions made.
The complexities of his personality surface
and reveal a visionary.
One who embraces life

- Mary Townsend (a friend)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Life Fragment

Personal Journal From Last Summer --- 24 years old --- Varanasi, India

i guess it has been about a week since i've written. So much has happened. It's always been difficult for me to keep a journal. i suppose i get wrapped up in daily life, forgetting to pause and record it once in a while. My first day in Varanasi was pretty relaxing. i felt compelled to think about death, with the recent death of my friend and Gutter's baby and all, but i rarely did.

i woke up in the morning to a blazing hot sun and went to an internet cafe to figure out train schedules with my father-in-law. After looking online for a while, he left and i stayed behind. After using the internet for a while longer, i called Marissa and walked back to meet them. On the way back i got stopped by a guy around my age. i was confused by what he was saying to me, but gathered that it had something to do with respecting the burning corpses. Our travel guide had warned us against guys who offer to show "a better view of the corpses," but i didn't understand clearly what he was saying to me. i followed him down a path then up to an overlook that peered down on the ritual cremations. i watched the corpses burn as he explained to me, in detail, the different cloths and woods associated with different genders and castes. As he explained, the smoke from the corpses filled my eyes, temporarily blinding me. i walked away from the burnings, eyes filled with tears from the smoke. While i was rubbing my eyes, he cornered me and asked for 500 rupees. He said that he was a hospice worker and needed the money to buy wood (of course, this was ridiculous since he had just told me that the higher castes have better wood). i knew he was lying. There is a great deal of manipulation that the tourist must deal with in India. i told him i'd give him ten rupees; he complained saying it wasn't enough to "buy wood." During all of this, my eyes were still burning and tearing from the smoke. i gave him 100 rupees and basically told him to get out of my face. i felt pretty salty about that 100 rupees the whole day, most because his manipulation stripped value from a potentially poignant experience. i suppose i still took some things away from the experience.

i quickly met back with Ris and family, my eyes still tearing. We grabbed a bite to eat, and then i went shopping with them for a bit. After an hour or so, i parted them and walked down the busy streets and alleyways, back towards our hotel. i decided not to go up to my room and, instead, sat and talked with a very nice guy named Madan. He explained more about the burnings and pointed to a corpse floating down the river. He explained to me that certain types of people are not burned, but let loose to float down the ganges river. Some of those types are:

- small pocks
- leperse
- holy men
- pregnant women
- the incredibly poor
- people bitten by snakes
- children

He explained all of this in detail as a corpse slowly floated passed us. Our conversation was interrupted by the screams of a cow. The cow's new owner was trying to bring his reluctant cow down the steps to bathe in the ganges. It was extremely amusing. They tried dragging it, blindfolding it, breaking a bamboo stick over it, pulling it down by ropes, but nothing they did could convince the cow to go down the steps. The cow won in the end. As a side note, there are cows everywhere in India. You have to step and drive around them daily. i felt Madan's good spirit. He was a nice guy and our conversation felt honest and real. He told me about his arranged marriage and why he loves Varanasi. The people who live in Varanasi feel blessed. After our conversation, i sat on our balcolny for a while and watched people bathe in the ganges. Our neighbor's red thong underwear had fallen from the bannister onto the floor in a puddle of water made by the air conditioneer. i wanted to help but decided not to at the fear of her looking out and seeing some strange man holding her thong. i played out the whole scene in my head and decided against it.

After relaxing on the balcolny, i took a great nap. i awoke to two reese's monkeys walking on the balcolny. i didn't dare go out. i can't stand, nor do i trust, reese's monkeys.

When Ris got back we all went to eat at a Korean joint. The food was good. We sat and talked with a kid named Himal for a while. He talked about his love for Varanasi. He was of the Brahman caste. He taught us the phrase: "Raam naam sathe he." Or "God is truth" (something like that). We'd heard men chanting this as they carried the corpses to the pyres. They chant this with every corpse. He said that he loved this chant --- that he wasn't afraid of death. He said "so many people want to get to heaven, but they don't want to die." i thought about what it would be like to live around death like those who live in Varanasi. After eating, we went home and slept after staying up and talking for quite some time.

All in your head

i had my suspicions that all of our problems are in our heads. It's good to be supported :)

A quote from Marshall...

"The agony of our age is the labor pain of rebirth."

from: War and Peace in the Global Village

Life Fragment

i went to midwinter with my girlfriend Karma. i hate dancing. i left early on to drink prescription cough syrup with my friend little Tony and look for weed. i disappeared without telling her anything. i came back an hour or so later. i missed the "big" dance. i left her to dance with her girlfriends. She was infuriated. She was yelling at me in front my friends. Being prideful and having a "respect" complex, i yelled back. i probably called her a bitch. Angrily, we left the dance. We tried to go to a party. Outside a drunk girl named Chastity crouched down right in front our car, with our headlights on, and peed. i thought it was really gross. We were bored at the party. We both hated it. We drove back to her house. We took some prescription pills. We sat in the backseat of my dad's car and talked. It was probably the best conversation we ever had. i felt incredibly peaceful. We talked for five hours. We kissed. We embraced. We did other stuff. We connected. i felt like i might love her.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Life Fragments - First Fragment

"Even our identity is impermanent. There is no continual "I." What we regard as our self is simply an ever-changing bundle of fleeting feelings, sense impressions, ideas, and evanescent physical matter. One moment's identity leads to the next like one candle being lit from another"
(Living Religions --- Buddhism 110).

Life is fragmented. In most traditional eastern religions, one finds enlightenment by transcending the false linear narrative and, through that, discovering the true subject/object relationship. When you understand that all is impermanent and temporary, you can conquer the constant desire to form attachments and stop feeding the ego. The pain that comes from desire is largely due to falling victim to an erroneous paradigm, embedded in illusions of permanence and continuity. Of course, i'm not Buddhist. Well, not exactly. i'm Mormon. Mostly.

i feel like i've lived countless lives --- moments that refer to a perceived whole. i don't understand most of the moments. i'm not sure i really understand this current moment.

i had the idea yesterday to begin a series of blog posts called "life fragments." i'm going to share, as often as possible, random fragments and moments throughout my life. Some will be embarassing. Some will make me ashamed. Some will make me proud. Some will make me incredibly vulnerable. All of them will refer to the ambiguous whole. Each fragment will be a candle, staying lit long enough to spark the next fleeting moment. As appealing as this idea is, it terrifies me. i don't like being vulnerable. Posting your good, bad, and ugly moments online for anyone to see is risky. But, i've decided that i need to do it sometime. And i figure that this moment is as good as the next. And, honestly, i don't feel like i have anything to hide. i've done really bad things in my life. i've done some good things in my life. i've hurt people. i've helped people. All of these moments and memories combine to present a mosaic of how i currently identify myself. Perhaps as i venture through these fragments i'll be able to share the complexities intrinsically tied into the human condition --- or, at least, my condition. In the process, i intend to divulge my loves, losses, pain, happiness, etc. Hopefully these won't be completely boring. If they are, this might end up being a side project for myself.

For my first fragment, a song. This is a song from my high school hip-hop group M.E.D., which comprised of my brother Erik, my brother through blood brother ritual, Colin, and myself. In this song is my brother (he raps first), me (i rap second), and our friend Ernie (whose real name was Brian, but looked more like an Ernie). The song is entitled "Night Creatures." i was seventeen when this song was released.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Times are hard for LDS stars

Case point #1:

Case point #2 (yes, i had a little fun with photoshop):

Actor in several LDS comedies arrested
July 14th, 2008 @ 4:54pm
By Sam Penrod

He's had a leading role in several LDS comedies, but he spent this weekend in jail on theft charges.

Michael Birkeland was arrested on Friday after police say he stole a computer from Utah Valley University. The man, who is used to being in front of the camera, was actually caught because of a camera built in the computer.

The computer was stolen in April, and police have been trying to catch up with the suspect since then. They did on Friday and arrested him on charges of felony theft.

From "The Singles Ward," to "The Home Teachers" and "Church Ball", Michael Birkeland has become a familiar face to moviegoers in Utah in these LDS comedies.

But his face was also familiar to an art instructor at Utah Valley University. The instructor's computer disappeared after class on April 3, a class that Birkeland was visiting.

Two days later, the victim logged onto Skype and, thanks to the built in camera in his MacBook Pro computer, he could see exactly who was using his stolen computer over the Internet.

The instructor contacted Birkeland online and also by phone, asking for the computer back, which is valued at $2,128.

Court documents state that Birkeland then covered up the camera on the computer to conceal his identity.

Instead of directly returning the computer, police say he dropped it off at the gift shop at Thanksgiving Point.

Investigators have been looking for Birkeland ever since and found him on Friday. He was arrested and booked into jail on charges of felony theft and was there until he had a bail hearing this morning.

Birkeland's bail was set at $3,000, and he posted bond this afternoon. He will be back in court next Monday.


Mr.Vonnegut, we miss you...

Cold Turkey

By Kurt Vonnegut

Many years ago, I was so innocent I still considered it possible that we could become the humane and reasonable America so many members of my generation used to dream of. We dreamed of such an America during the Great Depression, when there were no jobs. And then we fought and often died for that dream during the Second World War, when there was no peace.

But I know now that there is not a chance in hell of America’s becoming humane and reasonable. Because power corrupts us, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Human beings are chimpanzees who get crazy drunk on power. By saying that our leaders are power-drunk chimpanzees, am I in danger of wrecking the morale of our soldiers fighting and dying in the Middle East? Their morale, like so many bodies, is already shot to pieces. They are being treated, as I never was, like toys a rich kid got for Christmas.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Book tagging, pg 123, sentence 5

Eleanor AND Jack tagged me and this is the result:

"There may have been a formalisation of Sabbaths but it was never stable enough to persist."

- Source: Erotism by Georges Bataille

The rules ::
1 :: Pick up the nearest book (at least 123 pages).
2 :: Turn to page 123.
3 :: Find the 5th sentence.
4 :: Post the 5th sentence on your blog.
5 :: Tag 5 people.

i tag: Grabs (after a no show to El's tag), Dave, Will of Hopolis fame, Andrew, and Jolyn.

StumbleTube July 12th

Marshall's World

For those of you unfamiliar with Marshall Mcluhan, these videos may give you a little insight. i was introduced to Mcluhan in a class called "Language, most dangerous of possessions," taught in the fall of 2007 at UVSC (now UVU). Ever since, i've been obsessed with his theories. A few books i would recommend checking out are: The Gutenberg Galaxy, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, The Medium is the Massage, and War and Peace in the Global Village. i'm sure there are other books that are incredible also, but these are the texts i am personally familiar with (although i haven't read all of them).

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

a tribute to The Roots (who are coming to SLC tomorrow)

i have probably been a fan of The Roots for thirteen years, since they dropped their first album Do You Want More?!!!??! That would make me twelve at the time. i started listening to hip-hop in third grade, was a pretty serious listener by twelve, and then started getting more serious about making music at thirteen (though i also started at twelve). For some time now, The Roots have been one of my favorite groups. They have universal appeal while still maintaining "realness" for us avid hip-hop heads. Also, they've played a pivotal role in the neo-soul movement, collaborating and promoting artists like Erykah Badu, Jill Scott (also from Philly), Jay Dee (of Slum Village), Common, Cody Chestnutt, Bilal, etc. This will be my third time seeing them. Needless to say, i'm excited. In light of their appearance tomorrow, i thought i'd post a tribute of some of my favorite videos of theirs throughout the years. This is obviously far from definitive, but it should give you a nice taste. Thanks to Errin for sparking this post. Enjoy...

StumbleTube July 9th

Colbert on the O'Reilly Factor. i could watch this all day. i have a general disdain for all that is hannity, beck, o'reilly, or anyone else like them.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

R.I.P. Bruce Conner

Bruce Conner passed away today at age 74 of natural causes. My friend Travis already posted a great article about Conner's death here and a post full of great links and information here, so i'll just add a few of my thoughts to his. i was introduced to Bruce Conner roughly two years ago while taking a class on beat art at UVU. As an aspiring filmmaker, it's easy to say that i've been most captivated by his incredibly spliced and innovative independent films. i have a few of his rare films, treasures that i present to house guests as a sort of initiation --- a sign of my confidence (and, i supposed, hope) in them. i show these films with eagerness, reminiscent of my desire to share scripture passages with friends when i first turned away from drugs and my old lifestyle. Of course, as i learned with my sometimes overbearing approach to sharing knowledge i'd gained, what changes your life doesn't universally transform the hearts of everyone. The process of exchange can be laborious and frustrating, often lacking reciprocity. Some of my friends have watched his films and walked away as if they'd just seen a reality tv show. Others, such as my wife, become instant enthusiasts and understand, almost intuitively, what makes his films so great. i am thankful for his vision and creativity that has profoundly impacted the way i view film and art. i encourage you all to delve into his work. i've only spoken briefly about his films. He has a large body of work that stretches over many mediums and many years. If you live close to me, stop by and we'll relax, turn the TV on, pop my DVDs in, and dig on some Bruce Conner together. That's how artists stay alive. Art derives and is ultimately retained and preserved in the memory.

One more link.

a question...

[Photo credit:]

To my few readers: what would you like to see more of on this blog? Help.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Saturday, July 05, 2008

StumbleTube July 5th

Some inspirational videos...

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Zombie Dance

[Photo credit: Daniel Hollister --]

i've been kinda feeling like a zombie lately. Not really like this one above, but more of a complacent, mindless, depressed, lazy one. i'm ready for it to pass. What do you do to shake off the zombie blues?

StumbleTube July 3rd

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

StumbleTube July 2nd

i know i'm posting too many of these to keep up. i assure you it will slow down after my initial addiction subsides. But, when you stumble for four hours, how can you narrow it down to one video? :)

Note on this video: i like the juxtapositions presented throughout, but i very much dislike the propaganda ending. i think it's worth posting here for the contradictions exposed in the middle content, not the contrived ending (what do you expect though, it's Robert Greenwald).

i can't tell you how happy this video makes me...

and dig on some soul while you're here...

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

StumbleTube July 1st

i recommend checking out parts two and three of the interview also...