Dec 29, 2010

UVU Parking Services

So recently I was ticketed at UVU for parking in a handicapped spot. Some of you may know that I am in fact handicapped, and I do in fact have a handicapped placard. That was hanging on my rearview mirror.

So I sent an appeal to have it removed, as I didn't think I needed to pay a fee to be handicapped. UVU Parking Services responded that it would be dropped and marked as a warning. I thought "Ok, whatever. Don't admit your guilt or apologize, fine." But I wasn't paying the 20 bucks.

Later, I received an email stating that I had to pay the fine or they would drop my classes, punch me right in the testicles, and confiscate my first born son if I didn't transfer ownership of my favorite Andrew Jackson portrait.

Not wanting to escalate the issue further by sending a strongly worded email to them, nor writing the local newspaper a scathing editorial about how UVU is now charging me for being disabled, I decided to go to UVU parking services and clear up the matter once and for all.

So, taking up my luxurious lunch break, I went to UVU parking services. As it turns out, UVU parking services is a tiny shack far enough removed from campus that I wondered if it was in actuality just some random annoying weirdos playing a trick on me. Like on Punk'd. But, not being the celebrity I deserve to be, that wasn't the case. Sigh. Because of the genius of their design, I walked nearly 360° around the place to get to the front door, bringing my cane for both sympathy and guilt. And, if action movies have any real application in life, for backup. Trudging through slippery snow with a cane and evidence of my handicap improving my mood so much, I opened the screen door and saw two rather flustered looking individuals there, I hobbled in as much visible pain I could without moaning and asked "who wants to talk to an angry person?"

I realized then as I realize now that working at UVU parking services most likely all you ever talk to is angry people, but I also knew that I was being inconvenienced and penalized for being handicapped. I was not happy.

I explained that I am handicapped and am not paying a premium for that wonderful yet miraculous opportunity being disabled provides me. No, no, the constant pain is reward enough. They explained that I needed a UVU parking pass anyway, never mind that I've been assured by both UVU parking patrollers and Utah POLICE officers that such is not the case.

After arguing/whining the point a bit, I conceded to pay the fee for the privilege of parking in handicapped, faced with the lame excuse of "blame the people who use their grandparent's handicapped passes and abuse the system." Thanks, Chuck. But I'll blame you if that's all right. Not being privy to the screening process taken to determine whether I'm handicapped or not, but I'm so grateful I passed your test of what constitutes a handicapped person. Yay, me. So I went to parking services to not pay $20 and I ended up paying $80. Yeah, win for me. Moral victory or something.

Pretending I didn't hear them laughing as the door hit me on the way out (which I don't think was possible, it was an inward opening door) is counted as a victory in my book. I don't get to say "UVU hates disabled people," or "UVU is charging me for having cancer," or anything accusatory and fun like that. I don't even get to say "UVU parking services is filled with jerks and morons," which I'm sure would have been very satisfying to say. But I won't say any of those things. Instead I get to have another handicapped pass to keep track of, one that says "I'm disabled, and UVU apparently has the right to decide that."

Dec 27, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010

Merry Christmas everybody! I was unsure how to caption the picture above. I was thinking something along the lines of "What Austin would look like if he could grow hair and hadn't let himself go." or "Way #37 to make your kids afraid of Santa: tell them he used to be a Ginger." or "unable to make a career out of being a red-headed Abraham Lincoln impersonator, older Ron Weasley makes an even more unconvincing mall Santa." But then, that's not really in the spirit of Christmas, is it? I think Calamities of Nature may have gotten it more right than a lot of holiday specials, but alas, they won't allow me to post the picture on my blog, and I'm too lazy to take a screen shot. But check it out.

Seriously, Christmas is more about giving, receiving (well it is) and charity and family. (And charity from my family, as they give up some of their quality time to be with me. And remind me of that very fact, as often as possible.)

I personally think that Christmastime is a special time of year, not least because we celebrate the birth of the Savior of all mankind over 2000 years after the fact and about 8 months too late. But I'm not one (and hopefully never one) to complain about Christmas losing its magic, its focus on Christ, particularly to materialism and commercialism. (I will complain about the family that had a life sized stable with statues of the nativity on their front lawn, complete with life sized Santa and reindeer on the stable roof, but that's more about taste, less about sacrilege.) Christmas IS a time about receiving, (among other things) and that's okay. It's not bad to feel good about getting presents. What is bad is feeling entitled to presents, expecting/demanding more, or only being or appearing good so the gullible old Santa will reward you accordingly.

But I think it's perfectly fine to be happy and grateful to get so much good stuff. True, I was spoiled this year. Arguments can be made for or against whether I deserved what I got. But I had so much more fun buying things for both Tracie and Morgan as well as a few others in my life as well, I'm not sure what I enjoyed more.

In the spirit of receiving, I'd like to announce some of the presents I got from Tracie and Santa and others partially so I can remember what I got this year and partially so you all can be jealous or grateful that you don't have my life, or swag.

* This t-shirt.
* A nice new polo shirt.
*new pjs.
*new slippers (that I'm currently wearing at work trying to pass them off as shoes. Shhhhhh.)
* A book on editing and rewriting fiction, one of my weakest weaknesses as a writer: Revision and Self-Editing.
* Vein of Gold, a book about discovering your own creativity.
* Sex and Humor, a book on an exhibit at the Kinsey Institute, about two of my favorite subjects.
* A car charger for my iPod. (I tried writing ipod, but Apple wouldn't let me.)
* New cologne.
* New deodorant, body wash, face wash and cleaning products. (Someone trying to tell me something?)
* A small transportable tool kit.
* Santa sent the obligatory gummy cokes and orange and chocolate. He better, since that's the only thing keeping me believing in him, and only faith is keeping the old breaker-and-enterer alive. (there's a movie idea for you: Santa is cursed to deliver presents for good children as only their belief in him keeps him alive. Santa's personal Hell. Merry Christmas.)
* very nice checks in the mail from even nicer grandparents.
an iTunes gift card in my stocking,
* an expansion to my possibly new favorite game: Munchkin.
a very nice writing pen. As I'm of the opinion that the better the pen, the better the writing. (At least I'm less frustrated than by a sub-par pen which then can distract and frighten away the Muse of writing, or worse: Terpsichore.)
Special massage oil, I'll let you decide what I mean by that. Special.
* Fanboys
, A DVD I've wanted to see for awhile and now I can.
* Something Something Darkside, The Family Guy take on Empire Strikes Back.
* Unusual soda pop flavors: grapefruit, raspberry, cucumber, etc.
* A Guide on how to be an efficient zombie once you become one.
* Space Ghost Coast to Coast Volume 1. We'll see if it's as funny as I remember.

That's all I can think of for now, partially (completely) because my brain is partially (completely) fueled currently by junk food and candy. Sweet, wholesome, Christmasy candy.

I hope your Christmas was sufficiently Merry and amidst all the giving and receiving you didn't forget the savior, or that it's ok to be excited about all the loot you got.

Dec 23, 2010

A letter to Wal-Mart, Target, Macey's, Smith's, Harmons, Walgreen's, Honk's, Family Dollar, and Dollar Tree

Lots of people apparently like candy cane kisses and mint M&M's. Especially around Christmastime. You would think to stock more of them around this time of year. You would sell more, and therefore make more money.

And I wouldn't be so bitter about not buying them earlier.

Dec 22, 2010

If This Were A Virus You Would Be Dead Now

Fortunately it's not. It's me talking about "Snow Crash" by Neal Stephenson.

I was going to call it a review, but it's probably more of a gush and recommendation for you to read it.

It's a post-cyberpunk story published in 1992 that predicted a whole lot of the way things are now. The main character is named Hiro Protagonist, he's last of the freelance hackers and the greatest swordfighter in the world. It says so on his business card. He also delivers pizza. It's the only book I know of with a hacker who carries and uses a samurai sword. That alone would be awesome enough, but I haven't gotten to Raven.

All you need to know about Raven is he rides around on a motorcycle with a nuclear warhead in the sidecar and a tatoo on his forehead that says "Poor Impulse Control."

Anyway, it's a story of the internet and computer viruses and Sumerian legend and pizza delivery and the Mafia and the church of Scientology and it's just awesome.

I haven't read anything like it, it combines computer detail with humor with action with mythology with language with in case you didn't notice, these are all Austin's favorite subjects.

The book has flaws but its strengths far outweigh any flaws or weaknesses of the book. If you're looking for an exciting ride and want to laugh and feel your mind expand, read it. That is all.
five out of four stars.

Dec 21, 2010

End of Year Goal

I'm going to try to post at least once a day until the end of the year so I'll hit 100 posts for the year. I've already got nearly double last year, and if my calculations are correct (they're not) I will have double last year by the 31st.

Only problem is, I'm not sure what to blog about. But when has that stopped me before?

I find it strange that I'm working 40 hours a week and feel like I'm on vacation. It's been nice to come home at 4-5, instead of 8-9. Although I AM looking forward to next semester, I am not looking forward to what it is going to do to my sanity/schedule. Hopefully work will die down, meaning I won't have to work so hard or so frequently, but we shall just see.

Stay tuned for more upcoming GlassofRandom posts, as some of you may know I'll be in a creative writing class next semester, and hopefully will write a page or two of something I don't mind sharing.

I got my sketchbooks back but not the grade. However, the teacher left a note at the end of the sketchbook saying "I love looking at your drawings. -Don" which made me very happy.

Almost all my Christmas shopping is done, just a few more things to tell Santa to get for Tracie and Morgan's stockings. I told myself not to wait til the last minute, but that's what I'm apparently doing.

That's about all I can think about blogging for now, maybe tomorrow I'll talk about last weekend or finally do my review of "Snow Crash."

Dec 20, 2010

Tabernacle 0, Fire 1, Jesus wins

Something quite extraordinary came out of the tragic fire of the Provo Tabernacle. A giclee print of the Resurrected Lord was completely burned, except for the image of the Savior.

I am not one to believe that a piece of toast that looks like Mother Teresa or a twinkie that looks like John the Beloved's pinkie toe is anything more than a delicious coincidence, but you have to admit that this is cool, no matter what the significance or coincidence it is.

Dec 14, 2010


I've contended with Tracie over the past few months about putting Morgan in Nursery. He isn't 18 months old until the 18th of this month, and it didn't seem right to put him in Nursery when he's too young.

The real reason of course was I wasn't ready to let him go to Nursery. But, this past Sunday, I agreed that it was time. Taking him to Nursery, he practically leapt into the arms of one of the adults in Nursery and started playing with the toys, not even bothering to look back at mom and dad. He appeared quite content and all but proclaimed the Nursery workers 'new mom and dad.' I felt a bit hurt and abandoned, something I thought/secretly wanted Morgan to do. But then we went to Sunday school. And actually were able to listen and participate. And then I went to Priesthood. And actually was able to listen and participate.

During Sunday school the Nursery workers brought Morgan back to me to change his stinky ways, and Morgan seemed indignant and frustrated. As if I was the one responsible for the inconvenience of dragging him away from his grand old time in the Nursery.

Apart from the poopy interlude, Morgan seemed happy, I was able to stay in class longer than 3 minutes and actually pay attention, and it gave me time to miss him (not that I'm looking for more time to miss my family, but still). I am glad our son is now 18 months and for the WONDERFUL blessing that is Nursery.


I finished my 200 page 1/2 hour a page sketchbook for "Drawing for Illustration." This meant skipping most of work today and only getting about 2 hours of sleep last night (by last night, I mean 9 am-11 am) but I finished it! Now that I'm done with that infernal sketchbook (technically 2 sketchbooks) I don't know what to do with myself. I'm currently at work so sleep is out of the question, (my manager is lenient but sleeping at work is a bit too lenient.) I'm too tired to read much but apparently blogging takes less brain cells because here I am!

I haven't felt this tired in awhile, I was actually mildly hallucinating at one point, and all my dreams involved drawing. It was a great class, I thought it would be my easiest this semester, but it turned out to be the most work, probably more than any other class combined. However, it was also the most rewarding, funny how that works. The only exception is that I don't think I'm going to want to doodle or draw for awhile/a few more years.

My skill has visibly improved over the semester, at least in my opinion. The sketchbooks have been turned in and I can go get them after December 20. (This is me making a mental/bloggal note of when I can pick them up.)

I am sleepy. A part of me is worried (the very small conscious part) that I think I'm typing coherently but when I come back to reading this blog I'll see yhsy o etpyr s;; yjr eptfd eoyj ,u jsmfd pmr lru yp yjr tohjy/

Now I've got another hour and a half of work to do, and a lot of caffeine to drink so I can do it. But HALLELUJAH that notebook is done.

Dec 8, 2010

So Close. So very close.

My semester is almost over! Just finals tonight and next week. This picture has little to nothing to do with the post, but isn't it awesome? (Unlike this post, some of you may say.)

I am so very glad it's over. One of the best semesters I've ever had both gradewise and learningwise, but also one of the most strenuous. I'd like to give a big thank you to Tracie for her patience and understanding, and to my employers for their not firing me and understanding I need time off to do schoolwork or rest or whatever.

After this semester, I just have like 4 or 5 more! That's awesome and hugely depressing, but at least I'm finally going to take Graphic Design classes! Let's hope I like it!

What I'm really looking forward to is the bread and circuses of Christmas vacation. Instead of leaving and going to work and school and any errands several times throughout the day, It's in at 7 and out at 4.

And now that the semester is practically over, I can talk about what classes I'll be taking NEXT semester! Hooray!

I'll be taking Typography and Layout again, hopefully from a less evil and incompetent teacher than I had before, Mr. Wormwood was his name. Unfortunately, from several friends who have taken THIS teacher say he's more of a Mr. Screwtape. Just as evil and more malevolent, albeit less incompetent.

(500 Narnia bucks to whoever gets that reference, and/or its relation to this one.)

I needed an extra art class so I chose "Rendering The Human Head" even though it's by the same teacher (Staff) as the one I dropped this ending semester. But, I hope to improve my human head rendering capabilities, which will do me well when I finally get that job as a caricaturist at the carnival.

Interactive Design is next, I'm hoping has something to do with designing websites or at least something more interactive than "I've become the painting." Though that may be cool too.

Thursday evenings I'll be attending art lectures, which I'm looking forward to and dreading as it's supervised by the same Professor Wormwood we've discussed before. But, I'm nothing if not forgiving (I am nothing) and I need to take the lectures to graduate anyway, so here I come.

The last class and sadly the one I'm looking most forward to is the one completely unrelated to my major, even more than rendering the human head. My last class is English 3420: Intermediate Fiction Writing. That's right. I'm intermediate now. The teacher I wanted has her class all full, but they opened a new one and I am taking it from a teacher I've met before, but never taken a class from. But I love writing and no one can take that away from me, not even a hockey-mask-wearing-psycho wielding a hand-cutting-off-machete. That's right, I'm not even afraid of you, Guy Hebert.

That's my school life, stay tuned for the next time I post, probably when this semester is over!

Dec 1, 2010

Wake Me Up When November Ends

One of the downsides to not blogging in November is when you try to sum it up you think "What happened this month?"

Like any other month, I played too much video games and didn't get enough sleep. I worked and went to school most of the time, unlike other months we had 2 lovely Thanksgiving dinners and I nearly completed my sketchbook. It will still be a mad dash to the end, but it's doable. I may post some sketches I did, I may not.

For my Ethics class I was in a group where we taught a class period about Deaf Culture. I mostly led a discussion on Ethical issues such as Cochlear implants, raising deaf children to be hearing or to be Deaf, as well as applied different Ethicists' systems to the above issues. I think it was fairly successful, the teacher called it "Excellent," which from what I understand, is a good thing.

My Digital Imaging class I did about 14 pages of a children's picture/activity book and now I have another 14 pictures to do for my final. I can't catch a break.

For work I was worried about being fired as my performance has been very subpar in my opinion, only to have my manager today take me away from my desk to have a talk with me and tell me he thinks I'm doing great and am going to make my bonus this month. I need to work on my opinion of myself, or at least continue this masquerade of productivity I seem to be exuding.

All in all in all, November has been a busy but fun month. (Tracie may tell you differently.) Morgan has finally learned how to climb out of both his play pen and crib, is learning more words and does more "tricks" like pointing to his mouth for food, nodding, shaking his head, becoming a better dancer, and playing "Greensleeves" on the panpipes. Ok, I made up the last one. It's "What Child is This."

We went to the release party for "Touchstones" the school literary journal that published my story and saw Heather, the woman who taught our "Birthing From Within" classes. As Tracie said, it was a pleasant surprise that transformed a potentially tedious evening into a delightful one.

This month (November still) we bought a new tv, a 50 inch plasma, as well as a bunch of cheap stuff we didn't really need but it was so cheap we bought it black Friday deals.

Next month (December, technically this month) I hope to finish all my classes, pass all my classes, and blog more, as I've missed it. Work out more, as I need it. And play with Tracie and Moby more, as I love it.

I plan to blog much more this month as I'll have much more time in about 2 weeks with school being out for a few weeks.

Here's to hoping December is a month filled with adventures and love and stories and fun and happiness, and lots and lots of blog entries.