30 May 2011

All, Or Nothing At All

There was a religious debate at work the other day.  These always crack me up a little bit, because you can't argue religion and politics in my opinion.  There's too much emotion with either one, and it really comes down to how you feel about the facts instead of the actual facts themselves. 

In this particular debate, I didn't hear most of it, but I did hear a point that I thought was valid.

"I would rather not live a religion at all than live it half-heartedly.  What's the point of doing that?  Do you really think God would rather have me fake my way to whatever salvation might be waiting?"

Good point.

Granted, God knows all, and He would be more than aware that you were faking it.

I didn't stick around to see who "won" the debate, but it did give me a tidbit to think about, so I just thought I'd share.

UPDATE: School

I don't know if I ever blogged here about my school plans/dilemmas, so I thought I'd catch you up on how that's turning out.

I received my Associates Degree at the end of last semester.  This was awesome because I could cross "get a degree" off my 30 List.  Okay, it was awesome for other reasons too.  I'm glad to be moving in the right direction when it comes to my education.  I'm also really glad that I actually *have* a direction.

My plan has always been to major in Aviation Administration.  When I originally was looking at the degree, the only school I knew of that offered this degree was Utah Valley University.  So I applied there and got accepted.  But when I got my acceptance letter, it was signed by one Matthew Holland, who was/is very involved with the Prop 8 campaign and the National Organization for Marriage.  And then suddenly, I didn't really want to go to Utah Valley anymore.

So I got looking into other schools and I found two really amazing schools.  The first is Westminster College here in Salt Lake.  I was actually a student there once before and I really enjoyed it as much as I could, but I was not in a place where college was important to me.  The other is Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.  This school only offers degrees relating to aviation, whether it be as a pilot or air traffic controller, a management degree, an engineering degree, you get the idea.  They have main campuses in Florida and Arizona and other remote campuses worldwide.  I found out later that they have a remote campus at Hill AFB, but I applied to the Prescott Arizona campus.

To my great surprise and delight, I was accepted at both schools. 

As much as I would have loved to go to ERAU and be a part of an educational community where everyone loves aviation as much as I do, I found that it wouldn't be financially beneficial to move.  Maybe if they still had an Outback in Prescott that I could just transfer to, but they don't anymore.  Westminster is also going to give me more financial aid than ERAU would have.  So I sent my tuition deposit to Westminster and I will be starting in the fall.

Now, to clarify, when I say that I'm majoring in Aviation Administration, a lot of people mistakenly think that I am going to be an air traffic controller.  I've looked into that but I don't meet the strict qualifications.  An Aviation Administration degree is actually a business degree with an aviation emphasis.  This means that I'll be working either for an airport or a specific airline, dealing with the business aspect of the aviation industry, so financials and things of that nature.  I decided on this because it's kind of what I've been doing at the restaurant.  I like doing administrative things, I just don't want to continue to be in restaurants.  The restaurant is making me crazy!  So I thought if I could combine something I know I like with an industry that I would love to be a part of, I would end up with what everyone wants: a career that they enjoy.

So in the fall I will be a Griffen again, and I'm shooting for graduation in 2013.  I can't wait!

UPDATE: Summer Plans

I've been out of school for about a month now and I'm mostly enjoying my summer.  So far I haven't really done anything extraordinary, except for work more, and read the most awesome series of books I have ever had the pleasure of reading.  But that doesn't mean I don't have upcoming plans, and in the interest of proving that I am still human, I thought I'd share them.

First, I am super excited about Pride.  Last year was sweltering, so this year I'm guessing we'll have rain.  Since rain has been the weather of choice lately, I'm sure it's not such an extreme guess.  I had a lot more fun last year than I did the first year I went.  This year we'll be going with some of the same friends, some new ones, and I'm looking forward to it.  If nothing else, it's a Sunday that I don't have to work.  Hopefully I will see some of you there!

I'm planning a trip to visit my sisters.  That will be amazing because I really need a vacation.  I'm burned out at my job and I get sick of the nonsense that comes with working in a restaurant.  IT'S JUST FOOD PEOPLE, CHILL OUT.  But it will be good to catch up with them and their families and to have a dog around again.  I miss having a dog.

We're going to the Motley Crue concert on June 19th, and that will be quite the event, I'm sure.  Motley Crue is one of my girlfriend's favorite bands.  Poison, one of her other favorite bands, will also be there, so it should be an amazing show.  AND it's at Usana, which is one of my favorite venues in Utah.  There's not a bad seat in the house. 

If it ever stops raining, I'm sure we'll be going to baseball games and maybe we'll even go to one where they have fireworks.  I'd like to go to a soccer match this year as well, but we'll have to see if that works out. 

My girlfriend is also going to be taking three weeks off from her day job, so I'm excited that we'll have more time together before I go back to school and that takes up all my time.

I'm also looking forward to the release of Dance With Dragons, the fifth book in the Song of Fire and Ice series by George R.R. Martin.  You may have heard of Game of Thrones, which has now been turned into an HBO series.  These books are absolutely amazing.  You will never find an author who has the great character development that Martin does.  Granted, it's a fantasy series set in something like medieval times, so it can get graphic at times.  But I have really been enjoying these books.  There's supposed to be seven books, so it will be awhile yet before the series is finished.  That's okay, because as much as I hate waiting, I hate more that the good times will have to end.

Hope all your summer plans are treating you well!

25 May 2011

The Numbers Behind NBA slurs

I don't know if any of you are into basketball, but this sport has always been my first love.  I grew up watching John Stockton and Karl Malone play for the Jazz.  I played backyard ball with the neighbor kids and at recess.  I have always loved it.

Of course, this last season has given me reason to ground the Jazz and to be greatly disappointed in the league, both with players and with David Stern.

Late this season, Kobe Bryant from the LA Lakers and Joakim Noah from the Chicago Bulls have been fined for gay slurs.  Kobe directed his at a referee, while Noah directed his at a fan from the opposing team (which is much worse, in my opinion).  Both players were fined.

So let's break this down a little bit.  Granted, I'm not sure how money works when a team goes into the playoffs, but there are 82 games in a regular NBA season.

2010/2011 salary: $24,806,250
per game, he makes: $302,515.24
amount fined: $100,000
percent of income fined: 0.004%

2010/2011 salary: $3,128,536 (next year, he will be making 10,000,000)
per game, he makes: $38,152.88
amount fined: $50,000
percent of income fined: 0.016%

So Kobe makes more in one game than the amount he was fined.  $100,000 sounds like a lot of money to someone like you and me, but do you think this means anything to Kobe?  I highly doubt it.  With Noah, it would be like not playing one and a half games. 


So if the punishment means nothing to these players...do you really think it's a punishment?

David Stern, in my opinion, needs to take lessons from Roger Goodell.  Roger Goodell is the commissioner of the NFL.  Last season, he suspended Ben Roethlisberger for six games.  Roethlisberger was accused of rape during the off-season.  The charges were dropped and he maintained his innocence during the incident. 

So wait...the starting quarterback for the Steelers (aka their superstar) was involved in an incident AWAY from the football field IN THE OFF-SEASON, he was not convicted of ANYTHING, and he was still suspended for six games, which is half the season?

Good on you, Goodell!  Roger Goodell understands that even when you are not on the field, you are still a representative of the National Football League, and he won't stand for behavior that will defame his organization.  This is someone who will make sure that the League maintains integrity and class, and will be an organization that is upstanding.

Now, I can't speak for what Goodell would do if he had to deal with a Kobe or a Noah situation.  But I'm not impressed with David Stern and the way the league has handled these situations.  The message that they are sending is that it does not matter.  The players were fined because the league had to do something, so it imposed the bare minimum to appease the masses, and now everyone can go on their merry way.


This is a game that has always been part of my life.  These are players who are hanging on posters in bedrooms of young kids, whose jerseys we wear, who we pay to go see play.  These are supposed to be role models. 

Thanks Kobe, for teaching those kids looking up to you that it's okay to call someone a "faggot" when you're really angry and frustrated with them.

On the other side, there are NBA players who are stepping up and taking a stand on things like this.  You need to go here: http://youtu.be/PxZgVPf69zY and watch the commercial at the beginning of the clip.  I couldn't believe it when I saw it airing on national television.  The interview with Grant Hill was also really good.

This is the example I'm glad to see.  These are the kind of players I admire.

And in a beautiful twist of irony, the Dallas Mavericks swept the Lakers and knocked them out of the playoffs, while the Miami Heat came back from behind to beat the Bulls last night, going up 3-1.  The next time the Bulls lose, they're done for the season.  Let that be a lesson!

17 May 2011

Nobody's Perfect...

...so why do we try so hard to prove to everyone else that we are?

I've blogged about this before.  For whatever reason, there seems to be this pressure to make everyone else think that you don't have problems, or stressful things happening to you, or that there is nothing in your life that you are ashamed of.  Which I think is sad, because I know from experience that the really difficult things help you grow the most.  Why would you not be proud of that?

I took my mom to lunch a few days after Mother's Day, because (surprise, surprise) I had to work all day on the actual day.  It was nice to spend time with her.  We were talking about family, because I asked about how the family dinner went, and she said something that kind of surprised me.  This isn't an exact quote, but it was something to the effect of...

"The more life I live, the more I've come to realize that there are no perfect families.  It's just how you get through everything together that matters."

Wow.  I was not expecting that.  But that is a belief that my mom has held onto for a long time, because of that idea that you have to be perfect, because if you're perfect, there's no chance you can be unhappy.

But then it reminded me of something that my girlfriend often says...

"I don't think being gay is a trial for me.  I think it's a trial for other people, to accept me and to love me without judgment.  Maybe I am gay to help teach someone else tolerance."

True that. 

Now, I'm not saying that you need to air your dirty laundry for everyone to see.  That's not the point.  But if it's generally accepted that nobody is perfect, I think it's okay to admit that no, you're not perfect.

So here I am.  I'm not pretending to have the perfect life, free of stress and problems and sleepless nights.  I have them.  I for sure have them.  But as long as I'm doing the best I can to live my life and be a good person, contribute in some positive way to the people around me, I don't see why that's not something to be proud of.

Nobody's perfect.  It's not an excuse...it's a fact.  So let's cut ourselves some slack. We have enough to worry about.