Sunday, May 26, 2019

Vol 2 Issue 10

Pic of the week 

There was a dinosaur in my protein shake!

What's going on?

I made the unintentional mistake of going to Disneyland on a grad night.  Those happen a bunch this time of year and I try to avoid them because Disneyland is CRAWLING with teenagers and it's all a bit much.  Though I did honestly have a wonderful few minutes sitting on a bench just watching them all while waiting for a friend.  It's kind of fun to imagine who they're all going to turn into.  It's also just interesting to see, in action, the idea that we're all wired for connection and we all find our people.  In general, though, I prefer Disneyland with a smaller percentage of teenagers.  I was tracking my steps that day though and got nearly 30,000, which is 15 miles!

I saw a couple of plays this week.  One was mediocre, but fun.  The other was really good (and starred John C Reilly!).  It was interesting to have those two experiences back to back.  It also just highlighted the fact that it's hard for me to watch plays like a normal person.  I'm ruined as a patron of the theater.  It was also fun to discuss the plays with the friends I went with and see how we all came away with such different experiences.  Really showed the importance of getting different perspectives, ya know?  I'm just full of lessons this week.

What I'm reading

Into a few books this week, actually:

This was recommended by my good friend Tara.  It's a graphic novel and is positively delightful.  All about learning to be brave and do the right thing.  Also awesome that the book is FULL of diverse characters.

This author is known for his sports-themed books.  He's got TONS about kids who play all the sportz.  Great for boys who may have limited interest in reading, but not necessarily my jam.  This novel, however, is a little different.  It's about a kid who gets super powers and has to learn how to deal with all of that.  It's not earth-shattering literature, but it's a fun, easy read.

A book that's a bit more grown-up.   The story of a young man who gets in car accident and the lives that intertwine around his death.  The prose is interesting and a LOT different from the YA novels I usually read.  That's probably also due to the fact that it's translated from French.

What I'm watching

This show is based on true events and it is BONKERS. It's basically about Munchausen Syndrome by proxy and just leaves you wondering about the crazy people that exist in the world.

What I'm listening to

Birds and the Bees podcast.  A new discovery!  I'm starting to get a little choosey with which podcasts I listen to, and which episodes of those podcasts because there are just so many good ones and so little time.  This one is hosted by a therapist in Salt Lake and he interviews experts in the mental health field about things dealing with sexuality - pornography, shame, masturbation, how to talk to kids, sexual health etc.  The episodes I've listened to so far are awesome.  The perfect storm of factors I grew up in/with has left me with some scars in this arena, and though I think I have a pretty healthy approach to sex in a general sense, it's really good to listen in to things like this.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Vol 2 Issue 9

Pic of the week 

Just surveying my domain.  Everything the light touches.  Also, my butt's lookin' good.

What's going on?

Just settling into the new job a bit. I'm really enjoying it so far, but it's also challenging in certain ways and has understandably shifted my relationship a little bit with my fellow Story Pirates.  It'll be interesting to see how that develops as time goes on.

Honestly, not much else happening at the moment.  Just living life.  Still working a few jobs, finding time to spend with friends, seeing plays, getting in some beach time.

Been running every day this week, but some days it has been a STRUGGLE.  Guys. 

Also.  Ate a LOT of cookies this week.  So.

And I got a tiny sunburn.

What I'm reading

All the news that is news coming out of Alabama this week about the abortion ban they just passed. Trying to get some balanced viewpoints etc.  And here's where I've landed: Do I think women should get abortions?  Only in extreme circumstances.  Does my opinion on abortion matter?  Not in the least.  It's not my decision to make.  Never will be.  I trust that women will approach the matter with the gravity it deserves and make the decision that's best for them - even if that decision is abortion.  And I think abortions should be legal, safe, and accessible. Banning abortion won't stop it, it'll just mean that women get unsafe abortions. Mostly I just think it's time for old white men to stop being in charge of abortions.  Because the reality is, if it was up to women, it would basically be a non-issue.

What I'm puzzling

Honestly, this is more challenging than it looks.  Probably gonna take me a while.

What I'm listening to
Science Vs. is one of my favorite podcasts.  It's funny and informative and fact-based and beautiful.  Re-listened to their episode on vaccines this week.  Vaccinate your kids everyone.  Please.
Also, apropos of the abortion news this week, here's the episode on abortion.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Vol 2 Issue 8

Pic of the week 

The spray from this geyser was covering the entire street.  Needless to say, I found an alternate route so as to avoid getting drenched on my scooter.

Quote of the week
"As you likely already know, Greg is a living Starburst..." 
-The Artistic Director of Story Pirates in an email to the company about my new job! 

What's going on?

It's officially official!  I am now the Associate Artistic Director for Story Pirates in LA!!  What a title!!! Basically that just means that I'm in charge of the day-to-day operations of the artistic department here.  I will cast shows, train actors and directors, maintain scheduling calendars, provide support, encouragement, love, make important financial decisions like "Is $45 too much to spend on a giant inflatable dragon?" etc.  So far I'm having a blast, and the support from the Story Pirates community has been overwhelming and wonderful.  Story Pirates has felt like home to me - artistically, socially, emotionally, spiritually - basically from day one, and to have the opportunity to continue making it that kind of place for other people is a dream.

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms! I spoke in my ward today.  Basically that's just my calling now.  Mother's Day speaker. It went really well and I got lots of positive feedback.  And luckily the bishop had the primary kids sing after my talk.  I think if they'd sung before it, I'd have been destroyed.  Anyway. Moms are pretty cool, I guess, or whatever.

Everybody.  Listen.  Life is really good right now.  I have a killer job, unbelievably amazing friends, opportunities to go places and see things, I live in a city that has amazing desserts and mac & cheese, I am not rich, but I'm not worried about where rent is coming from.  It really doesn't get much better. (Though I could definitely get down with some health insurance.  I should look into that...)

What I'm reading

This is a cute little story about a boy who finds a girl who finds and collects wishes.  Breezy reading, and I love it.
What I'm listening to

Hidden Brain.  It's a podcast about how our brains work and I generally find it fascinating.  This week's episode was no exception.  It looks at religion as something that came about to help enforce cultural norms as communities grew beyond 150 people or so.  It's definitely an intellectual look at religion, but I thought it was a really interesting take.

What I'm making

Pocket parents! In the last year or two I have had several friends (as evidenced by the picture above) lose parents.  And for some reason it just now occurred to me to make them pocket parents.  It just feels right. Ya know?  I gave the blonde mom up there to my friend this week and she screamed.  Our pregnant friend was there and completely lost it.  I think they're a hit.  I know people's relationships with their parents can be complicated, but this still feels like a meaningful thing I can do for them.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Vol 2 Issue 7

Pic of the week 

Went camping with some friends this weekend.  We were imitating the trees just down the hill.  What you can't see here?  The incredible view: 

The older I get, the more I appreciate getting away into nature for a while.  I need to make an effort to do that more.

What's going on?

Here's what's going on.  If you ever find yourself in the market for a new job, try to get one on the campus of Dreamworks Animation.  They feed you free lunch.  Every.  Day.  I was there for a Story Pirates event this week.  We do a thing called "Story Love" where we give personalized, handwritten feedback to every story we receive.  We expect to get tens of thousands of stories this year, so we recruit volunteers to help us with that, and NBC/Universal and Dreamworks brought us in as part of a big volunteer thing they've been doing over the past couple of weeks.  It's a lot of fun and people really enjoy seeing what these kids write.  Anyway, we were on the Dreamworks campus for a few hours and they fed us lunch in their giant employee cafeteria where you just go in and get whatever food you want and however much food you want and it's all free.  It's crazy.  Our contact there told us there's a thing called the "Dreamworks 15" which is completely understandable to me.

I also helped with similar events at the NBC studios.  We got free lunch there too, though that's not typical.  Lots of free lunch this week.

And - fun fact - I found out this week that I've done over 120 Story Pirate shows since I started 6 years ago.  Crazy!

I also made an effort to be extra social this week.  It's pretty easy for me to stay in my apartment at the end of the day and curl up to a movie or a book or a donut, and I wanted to not do that this week, so I went to 2 different birthday parties, dinner with a friend, a play, and a movie night at another friend's.  One of the birthday parties was full of strangers - which is a bit of a waking nightmare for me.  I hate going into a room full of people I don't know - especially when they all already know each other.  Luckily it wasn't too bad, but I think I've done my quota of stranger parties for the year.

What I'm listening to

There's a podcast called "Leading Saints" that is targeted toward local church leaders and how to be a more effective leader.  I listened to an episode this week called "Maintaining Relationships When Loved Ones Leave the Church" that I thought was pretty insightful.

Science Vs. podcast. Very entertaining, fact-based, and super interesting!  I particularly liked the episodes on vaccines, dieting, and abortions.

What I'm puzzling

As far as puzzles go, this one is actually pretty low-quality - the pieces are very thin, and they don't really snap together so much as slide together, but it's a fun picture and I'm enjoying it nonetheless.