My First Foray Into Mormon Twitter

It’s been a busy semester, but know summer is upon us and I have all the time in the world to be productive, unwind or whatever I feel like doing. In this case that means repeatedly going down the Mormon Twitter rabbit hole.

Folks, it’s a weird place down there. I’m not going to try and explain all of it because I think it wouldn’t be possible to cover the whole thing in a blog. That’s much more of a topic for a book… or several. Also I’m not equipped right now to write that book, maybe someone else is though and they really should, because I guarantee it’d be a fascinating read. It’s such a weird place, theres like an alt-right section of Mormon twitter, a far left section, influencers who are trying to parlay their faith into a career and endless memes, it’s so bizarre and fascinating.

Again, not going to try and deconstruct all that, rather I wanted to take a specific look at one take I saw whilst roaming the wilds of Mormon twitter.

I’m not trying to bash the guy, but I see this take not just from him but from people all over the church and it’s always bothered me a little bit. I’ve cleaned up his grammar a bit for the sake of readability, but haven’t changed any of the words written.

I want to break this up into two parts, first that bit towards the end where he mentions how uncontroversial it is to be evangelical, catholic, agnostic, or atheist, but it is controversial to be a member of The Church.

First off, no. That’s not true. Depending on where you live, and who you speak with and a whole bunch of other factors it’s totally possible that it is controversial to be Evangelical, Catholic, Agnostic, or Atheist. If someone was a devout evangelical and lived in an ultra secular and liberal neighborhood here in the states you don’t think they would get bashed at all? What about someone very open and vocal about their atheism at BYU? Do you think in some Evangelical or Baptist circles Catholics get bashed on?

That’s just taking into account the religions the tweet brought up, I’m sure some of you are like me and noticed that there was no mention of eastern religions like Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc. How about being Muslim? You don’t have to look far these days to figure out that being Muslim is pretty controversial in a lot of circles. How about those of the Jewish faith? Jehovah’s witnesses? Scientology?

The list goes on and on, whatever faith a person might have you can pretty much guarantee that somewhere there’s a group of people who will ridicule them for their belief, and thanks to the internet it’s super easy for those that hate you to let you know that they hate you and just how much they hate you. Isn’t it wonderful?

Seriously though, insinuating at any level that faith in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the only controversial one is either dangerously naive, downright stupid, or deliberately misleading thinking. Any of which is deeply concerning for someone with any amount of public influence. This was a thread of tweets so you can’t hide behind the limited number of characters thing. You had the space to put many different religions into your tweets and you opted to only mention a couple sects of Christianity, the denial of the existence of God, and those who just don’t know for sure.

Ok, now that I’ve got that out of my system allow me to move onto the bigger point of these tweets. The point Thekwakue is trying to get across (at least what I read) is that people shouldn’t give up hope and faith when they face discrimination as Latter-Day Saints, that because of the mocking, ridicule, bashing, and other various forms of discrimination they face they can know that their faith is real and their religion true. The world fears this truth and that is why they seek to tear it down.

This point makes way more sense if you honestly believe members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints are the only people facing religious discrimination. We’re not though, so this doesn’t make any sense. Should everyone who is ridiculed for their belief take it as a sign that they are on the right path? If you apply this logic to the extreme then members of groups like ISIS can take heart in the fact the rest of the world hates them, because they must really be on the right path. Same for a group like the Westboro Baptist Church. Opposition doesn’t prove true faith.

This narrative that because members of the Church are ridiculed that The Church must be true is one that is very common in the LDS faith. I’ve never been a big fan of it. I’ve always felt that it was horribly divorced from a greater context of world religion. Every faith is mocked, every belief is mocked, that doesn’t make any of them any more valid or true necessarily. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints are not special in this regard. It sounds like I’m just bashing really hard on my own religion, but I think it’s important to be able to be critical of those within your own “group” so to speak, otherwise the discourse will inevitably become an echo chamber and you’ll be left with a bunch of morons patting each other on the back. No one wants that.



Open Close Open Close

I’m sure every single one of us has had this experience where we close an app on our phone like Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, etc only to reopen it 5 minutes later. For a really long time, I attributed this, at least for myself, with the fact that I tend to zone out and really think about what I’m doing a lot of the time. Naturally if one spends half their time daydreaming then stupid things like closing Reddit and immediately reopening Reddit wouldn’t be that much of a suprise.

I want to try and get a real idea of how much I do it though, so for the next week, I’m going to keep a running tally of all the times I close an app and then reopen it within 5 minutes. Part of me is terrified to put a definitive number on it because I know it’s going to be way higher than I originally thought, but you gotta identify just how bad a problem is before you can work to solve it right? Speaking of the problems since I’m tracking one aspect of my social media habits I figured I would also track (roughly) my total social media use over the week. For the sake of clarity, that means I’ll be tracking time spent on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, YouTube and Reddit. This number is going to be depressing. I have to sate my curiosity though. I just gotta know!

I’ll let you all know a week from now how that turns out, or maybe I’ll be so disgusted with myself I’ll quit the internet all together, who knows? Later!

Keeping it Real


Over the past couple of months, I’ve written quite a bit about how much better I’ve been doing in my life, particularly in regards to feelings of depression and what not. On the whole, I’ve been noticeably happier, more energetic, and motivated to do things.

While that as a general trend is absolutely true, there are still days when I just can’t seem to find motivation or the will to be happy. Things just refuse to click. Rather than go out and do anything my body feels gleefully satisfied with lying in bed for all the hours the sun is up.

It’s a different feeling than laziness though and I bring that up because I know that can be a knee-jerk reaction to what I’m saying. The days where I feel depressed and the days I just feel lazy are very different. If I’m having a lazy day I definitely want to roll out of bed, mostly so I can get a burger, sit down at my desk and mindlessly grind at World of Warcraft all the live long day. I want to be doing things, just nothing useful.

When I’m feeling depressed I do not want to get out of bed at all, usually, if I do its because I have to use the bathroom so bad I think I might wet the bed. I don’t want to play games, I don’t want to watch movies, often times I’ll stare at a blank screen for several hours before getting back into bed to try and just get the day over with. I do not want to do anything. Does that paint a clear picture of how these two are different to me? I hope so.

I’m not trying to complain about the woes of my depression either, having only the occasional day be thwarted by my brain is in contrast to my own more serious bouts of depression fairly easy to deal with. I just have to hope it doesn’t land on any days where I’m making important decisions, but even then I’ve gotten a lot better at telling myself, “hey, mull that over for a week before acting on that impulse.” You know, how ordinary and well-adjusted people make big decisions?

The reality of it all is that considering everything, things are good, but because I’m determined to try and be more transparent about what I’m going through and how I’m feeling I feel its important to say that just because on average I’m doing really well, there are still dips and acknowledging those dips is important to me so that people know where I’m coming from. Honestly at this exact moment it feels really silly to be calling any of this depression because I know how serious that word can be and this is far from a serious problem, but I’ve allowed myself to spiral by not taking small things seriously before so I’m gonna opt to not make that mistake again and play it cautiously.

That’s really all I needed to say today, I think later this week I should be getting back to talking about movies a bit, and considering how many I’ve seen in the last bit it should be a good time, just so long as I can actually settle on a single movie to talk about… oh man that’s not going to be easy. Later!

Thanks

Just giving thanks for some of the good stuff in my life right now.

I had initially planned to take the week of thanksgiving totally off and not worry at all about writing blogs and stuff, but apparently I can’t stay away from this blog for that long now. Interesting.

I didn’t put together a proper Thanksgiving post back in October for Canadian thanksgiving, so I figured I’d take the time now to just mention some of the things I’m really grateful in my life. Some of these are going to be really silly, some more serious, and some will be in between. So basically it’ll be an ordinary list.

First and foremost I’m thankful to be alive, being dead sounds boring and as one Tyrion Lannister puts it, “Death is so terribly final, while life is full of possibilities.”

I’m grateful to Wendy’s and their 4 for 4 meals. You’re the best value in fast food and you keep my belly full and happy. Although if you weren’t around it would probably be a lot easier to eat healthy.

I’m also thankful for the gospel in my life. At times it’s tried me harder than I could ever care for, but it also brought such an immense amount of happiness and joy into I don’t know if I could ever truly put it all into words. Rest assured I’ll be trying to do so at some point though.

I’m grateful to all the movies, games, shows, books, songs, whatever media I’ve enjoyed in my life. The stories you held have become a life-long passion for me and you never get old.

I’m grateful to my family. Y’all are an exceptionally weird bunch, but you have shown me so much love and support over the years I just can’t help but be humbled by how much you all care.

I’m especially grateful in this respect to my parents, I’m also grateful to them for being people I can just have a conversation with, I definitely didn’t realize how nice it is to be able to just have a casual talk with your folks is.

I’m grateful to this dope hoody I’m wearing in the featured photo. Supporting content creators I like is real great when they make legitimately good merch for me to buy.

I’m grateful to Lindsay, the most wonderful person I know. You’re the most hilariously awkward person I’ve ever met, but you’re also strong, kind, compassionate, beautiful, fiercely intelligent, understanding, and fun. You’re exceptionally bad at taking compliments (her words not mine) so this is probably bit embarrassing for you, but I would be lying if I didn’t think embarrassing you just a little bit here and there wasn’t kind of fun. 

I’m grateful to Dr. Pepper for being a delicious beverage I can enjoy whenever I want. I guess that also goes along with being grateful to live in the US where Dr. Pepper is available 24/7, though I could without the perpetual chaos that is your politics. (What can you really go through Thanksgiving without some mention of politics?)

I’m grateful to BYU, the most bizarre campus I’ve ever set foot on, but the things that have happened to me whilst attending here have been pretty great and I’d like to at least think you had something to do with that, so kudos to you BYU.

I’m grateful to my roommates, some goofy dudes. Y’all are great to live with and keep things entertaining consistently. I look forward to at least one more great semester with you boys! I should also take the time to be grateful for my other friends. Vine has only been officially dead for a year and a half, but we still quote them every day to the dismay of so many people! Who cares though, they’re just not bougie enough to understand the brilliance of it all.

I’m grateful to be Canadian. I have an undying need to say sorry, an undying love for maple syrup on just about everything, an appreciation for the great games of Hockey and Curling, and a lovely habit of ending sentences with eh. These things and many other good traits wouldn’t be possible without being raised in the great white north. I miss that land. Can’t wait to see it again in about a month!

Ok I think thats enough for this year. This certainly doesn’t encompass everything I’m grateful for, but I can’t literally go through and name everything. Well I could, but I’d be sitting here for weeks trying to do that and that sounds even more boring than death, so hard pass on that. Later!

Pika Pika

Something I’ve come to realize over the past couple of weeks is that not only do I see significantly more movies than the average person, but I also follow movie news much more closely, especially when it comes to trailers. I’ll be totally honest with you, I thought most people watched most trailers that came out for movies. There only a couple minutes long and they’re these little snippets of films to come. I love em! A good trailer can really take a person from somewhat uninterested to genuinely hyped for a film. This is the case for me with Detective Pikachu.

Yeah no, you can still read. There is a Detective Pikachu movie coming out next year. When I first heard about it I immediately thought, “This is going to be amazing with how weird it is or an absolute train wreck right from the get-go.”  Just think about the premise of it.

1. A live-action pokémon movie, already pretty nuts.

2. Pikachu is a detective in it. What?

3. Pikachu is played by Ryan Reynolds. Actually, this one makes a lot of sense.

With all these things considered if really feels like the movie should be just a total mess. Then the trailer for it dropped today. Here it is.

I don’t know about you, but I’m leaning on it’s going to be amazing with how weird it is line of thought. First off, the pokémon largely look really good. There’s a little bit of questionable/uncanny feeling for some of them, but for the most part were in a good spot, especially with Pikachu him… her… do pokémon have genders? I don’t know, but the point is that Pikachu looks friggen adorable. Also, this movie looks genuinely entertaining, and I can say that with some level of authority because for whatever strange reason my parents didn’t let me or my siblings play pokémon growing up so I don’t really have those rose-tinted glasses who just wants to see pokémon in real life. This trailer has actually got me excited to see this movie, although I (and also everyone else) shouldn’t be putting this much stock into a trailer, we’ve all seen great trailers that turned into dumpster fires of movies. I’m looking right at you Suicide Squad, now go back to your dark corner and think about what you did. Later.

Station 22

So I have this roommate. B A N A N A S right? Anyways he recently invited me and another roommate out to eat at a restaurant here in Provo called Station 22. Because I’m me and can’t keep my mouth shut for longer than 4 or 5 minutes at a time I have thoughts.

Let’s begin with some of the good things about it. The atmosphere was really nice.  It’s a nice pretty little restaurant that feels fancy, but not in an overbearing way. Somewhere you could bring a date to impress her while not making her think you were gonna pull a crazy Provo move and propose on the first date.  It’s comfortable while still feeling upscaled. At least from the perspective of me, a student it feels that way. For those with more disposable income/ any disposable income, a place like Station 22 might not feel very upscale but more run of the mill, even so, I feel confident saying that Station 22 has a good atmosphere about it. It’s quaint, Station 22 feels like a much older restaurant than it actually is and that’s a good thing.

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Colour coordinated book placements? That’s an OCD owner for sure.

Moving beyond the looks of the restaurant though the much more interesting question has to be about the quality of food and service there. There’s little to say about the service, the staff were friendly and good at their jobs. With food, there is obviously going to be more to say. At my visit, I had their whiskey chicken with mashed potatoes and fries because I’m still a fatty Mcfatfat that will each french fries literally anytime they’re offered to me. I would describe the dish in more detail, but I think it’d be easier to just show you a picture.

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It’s still Utah so of course, there was fry sauce served with the fries. 

It looks just about as good as it tasted, the chickens breading was crunchy without being overwhelming and hiding the nice tender chicken underneath, the whiskey sauce was just delightfully tasty, although being totally honest I wasn’t quite feeling the mushrooms. It was almost like they had marinated in the sauce for too long so they gave such a potent flavor it made it difficult to taste much of anything else on the plate. Mashed potatoes and gravy were really good, but that’s a dish I personally always find enjoyable so take that with a grain of salt.  Carrots on their own were a little boring but I believe they were meant to also be paired with the whiskey sauce and with that it was quite a treat. Lastly, of course, are the fries which were frankly disappointing. As you may know, I consider myself a bit of a fry expert and well… these fries were simply too soft. A good french fry needs a nice crispy quality to it and these just didn’t have it. Overall this meal was satisfying and enjoyable but not without its flaws.

This leaves me at the end, to now say if I would recommend people visit this establishment. It’s a nice charming place along Provo’s center street, the food is pretty good and it has friendly staff so why not recommend it? Simple, Station 22 is too expensive for the quality of the meal you get. My whiskey chicken and fries ran me up some fourteen dollars and I’m more than confidant in saying that I didn’t get my money’s worth. Station 22 is a good restaurant that simply costs a touch too much to really be in the sweet spot of somewhere I’d like to frequent. 6.5/10. Later.

 

Belated Birthdays

It’s been a busy couple of days so I haven’t found the time to get a birthday blog post written out.

Ok, let’s talk about my year. When I turned 25 last year the reality was that I was not in a really good place. Turning 25 was a point where I made a realization that I really wasn’t doing what I wanted to be doing with my life. I felt creatively stunted, burnt out, and easily worst of all totally unmotivated to even bother trying to change things.

Luckily this didn’t persist. I got back into writing with a determined focus to find my voice in words. I still think there’s a lot of room for refinement, but I think this whole informal, conversational tone I’ve been doing lately has been a really good fit for me and it’s shown itself in the outstanding improvements to my writing over this past year.  I’m honest to goodness stunned with how much progress I made as a writer in the past year, and also with how much room I still have to grow. I’m really excited to keep improving this blog and the rest of my writing in general.

Life didn’t change just in terms of writing through this last year either. I’ve made it abundantly clear in my blog that my relationship with religion, for the most part, has been pretty casual, there was a brief moment where I took it real serious and it didn’t pan out well so for a very long time I kept it at arms distance. Maybe enough time had passed and my heart had softened, or maybe living in Utah for two years has just worn me down, but religion has taken a much more prominent role in my life again. I’ll never be one of those Peter Priesthood types that really push religion out of every orifice of my body but it definitely matters to me in a real way again. Weirdly enough it was all the little social things the church does that got me actually taking my religion seriously again. So even though I like to make fun of things like FHE, Ward activities, Break the Fast, etc. (sorry if you’re not up on your Morm… Member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saint’s lingo)  I have to admit that those things played a big role in actually getting me back to church on a regular basis.

Combining with a newfound sense of focus and pride in my writing and a renewed faith, I also found it in me this year to actually try and be a social human being again. I felt like I actually had the confidence to put myself out there, I mean I’m still pretty introverted so it really worked out more like I fell into a social circle but hey, take those W’s where you can find them. I did actually put myself out there in the world of dating and experienced legitimate success. What the F… That still strikes me as utterly and totally bizarre. Maybe I’ll get used to that at some point, but it’s probably more likely that I’ll continue to be in total bewilderment for the time being.

So long as I remember to take deep breaths and not act like a total weirdo I should be fine. Wait I do act like a total weirdo like all the time… oh boy…

Weird rambling about dating that I’m definitely going to get flak for aside, my 26th year on this planet turned out pretty great. I’m pretty happy with how it all turned out. I’m not satisfied though, I need to build on the successes I had last year and continue to refine myself and what I do. That should be a lot of fun. Later!

Catching Up

Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep.

It’s something we all gotta do pretty much every day. Some of us need more than it than others. For myself, I only really need 4-5 hours of sleep each night to keep my functioning at 100%. For the past couple of weeks, however, I’ve only been averaging maybe 2 1/2 hours a night. This has resulted in a slow decay of my ability to function like an ordinary human being that has only been staved off by pumping my body full of caffeine each and every day. Not exactly a healthy or sustainable way of life.

Let’s be clear about something though. I am the only person to blame for this predicament. No one ever forced me to stay awake into the wee hours of the morning, I opted into working a job that begins at 4:30 AM, I am the one at the register buying the Red Bull, and I’m the one that cracks the can open and puts that chemical concoction into my body. These were my decisions and I’ll own them. I’ve been 100% happy to sacrifice my sleep to maintain my current schedule.

It’s just that I’ve hit the brick wall so to say today.

Normally the way my Thursday schedule goes is that I get off work at 8 AM (I work 5 3 1/2 hour shifts each week.) go home and nap for a few hours waking up around 10:30 to 11. I don’t have classes until 3 PM so there’s plenty of time to take a nap, shower and get ready before heading to campus for the school day. I like to get to campus around noon and study in the library for a few hours before class, then once my class (there’s just the one on Thursday’s) is over I’ll grab some food on campus and decide to either go back to the library if there’s a pressing need or head on home for the evening to write a blog or maybe hang out with some people, I can be social you know!

This is not how today went. I have an alarm set to 4 am that either didn’t go off or I was so sleep deprived that my body just straight up ignored it. Cut then to me waking up at 4:28, exactly two minutes before my shift started. It’s physically impossible for me to get there in that time so I ended up being around 10 minutes late. That’s not a big deal, in all honesty, my boss is pretty cool about people being occasionally late, she manages some 15 of us student employees who come in at 4:30 she gets that time management isn’t any of our forte’s. Once I’m there work proceeds as normal, I stay 15 minutes late to make up for being late and to get a couple extra tasks done and then I’m heading home.

Once I get home I make a bee-line straight for my room to get my precious nap in. I’m so looking forward to this thing, so much so that I don’t even bother to switch to the shorts I normally sleep in, the joggers I wore to work will be just fine to sleep in.  My head hits the pillow and just like that the lights are out. When I regain consciousness I grab my phone and to my horror, it isn’t 11 AM like it normally is, it’s nearly 5pm. I’ve completely missed my class, (again this isn’t the biggest deal, lots of extra credit opportunity to make up for missing a lecture here and there) at this moment I come to the powerful realization I started this blog with.

I’ve hit a brick wall, whatever I’ve been doing these past couple of weeks can’t continue in the same manner. I’ve got to start getting to bed at a more reasonable hour, I’ve got to stop relying on caffeine to get me through the day, because if I continue down this path it’s gonna be more than the being a little tardy to work and missing a lecture every once and a while. If I allow myself to continue in this way this it the beginning of a great unravelling for my life. I’ve been down that road before and I refuse to walk it again.

So I’ve written this blog to mark this decision. I Jonathan James Tollestrup vow to get some damn sleep.  I also vow to stop ingesting the chemical concoctions known as energy drinks. I’ll hold on to my caffeinated pops for now, but they also ought to know that they’re in my crosshairs. If you see me awake at some ungodly hour during the weekdays or with a Red Bull in my hand. Reprimand me, harshly. That’s all, thanks for reading as always. Later.

Formulaic

As an adult, I’ve come to loathe math. Some share this opinion, others don’t. I don’t care for math for a few reasons, mostly revolving around my brain’s inability to comprehend the more advanced aspects of mathematics, and by advanced mathematics, I pretty much mean anything from introductory calculus and on. So like 99% of math really. That’s one reason I don’t like math, another reason is that I tend to not really like the concrete nature of it. Lots of people like that mathematics because it gives them concrete answers that are absolutely correct. I think that ish is just so lame. I like to explore different ways of thinking about subjects and you can really only do that if you are at least willing to consider the other way of thinking was some value. If the math says person x is wrong, then why even examine why person x thought they way they did in the first place? There isn’t any wiggle room. I like to wiggle.

Why am I bringing this up though?, Every once and a while I let up on my distaste for mathematics and I invent mathematical reasons for my own behaviour. Today I’ve got a new formula, one that seeks to understand when one should make their intentions known in the grand game of dating.

BUCKLE UP BOYS AND GIRLS WERE DOING A DATING POST I BAITED YOU WITH THAT MATH CRAP! HAHAHAHAHAHA

(L/D) x P = G

L is a rating between 1 and 10 that describes the level of emotional turmoil caused by existing in a state of Limbo between being friends and being an in a relationship. This is a subjective measurement so just be honest with yourself. Some might also say that the L could stand in for a rating of how “in love” you are with a person, but that word is utterly terrifying so I’m opting to not use it. Gives me the heebie-jeebies just thinking about it.

D is also a rating between one and ten that estimates the difficulty of replacing that friendship should things go way south on you. It is also subjective, even when you use math it’s really hard to nail anything down for certain in dating. Is this also kind of mean to think of friendships as replaceable and assign quantitative values to interpersonal relationships? Yes, but math is unfeeling and unconcerned with your feelings. It’s merely here to determine the rational course of action. Harsh, cruel, but fair is the mistress known as arithmetic.

The P is the probability of a positive outcome. (I started with it as P but shortened to P for simplicity’s sake.) The likelihood that when you turn to that person and say, “I have to tell you something…” and that conversation doesn’t end with “I hope we can still be friends.” This is measured in a percentage and then converted into a decimal number that between 0 and 1 that corresponds. For example, if you think you’ve got like a 64% shot (don’t ask me how you got to this specific percentage it’s just hypothetical) of “that talk” going well for you, you would then put your P as .64. Simple right?

This part of the formula is easily the most difficult to determine as it requires you to have some sense of how the other person feels about you and if you know that then you probably don’t need this formula. There are a few factors that you can know without reading someone’s mind that can help you determine the P though. For instance, if they’re in a relationship already, your P is going to be pretty low unless your the main character in a Rom-com in which case how are you even reading this? This formula also puts the entirety of a person’s emotional insecurity, issues with trust/intimacy/self-confidence, and any other mass of thoughts that get in a person’s way of believing in their own romantic story onto this probability, and we all know how rational we act with regards to these things. So it’s a noted weakness within the formula.

My final component of this formula is the G score, or Go For It. Based on almost 10 whole minutes of thought I’ve determined that if your G score is anywhere above 1.2 then you have no excuse for why you haven’t made your intentions clear. If it’s between 1.2 and 1.0 then you should probably be having “that” conversation but it’s ok if you’re still waiting for that right moment. Below 1.0? Sleep on it bud, don’t make hasty decisions.

Now, this sounds all well and nice (or ludicrous if you didn’t get on board with it)  but I’ve yet to demonstrate if this formula can actually be useful in any context. So examples time it is!

Problem 1) L = 7 (I like really like her dude) D = 2 ( I only met her a couple weeks ago and our only mutual friend is an old mission companion) P = 50% or .5.

(7/2) = 3.5 x .5 = 1.75, ya gotta go for it.

Problem 2) L = 10 ( I don’t think I could live without her!) D = 9 (We’ve been best friends forever) P = 20% or .2 (She may or may not be engaged)

(10/9) = 1.11 x .2 = .22, Dawg you gotta get over yourself and move the fetch on. Tinder maybe?

Problem 3) L = 4 (She’s cool, but like we just started hanging out) D = 1 (We’re both adults who can get over this so there really isn’t a risk of a lost friendship here. Also no history helps) P 50% or .5 (Can’t get a read on her man)

(4/1) = 4 x .5  = 2, Shoot your shot my guy.

Problem 4) L = 8 (Ahh Jeez, I like really care about her don’t I?) D = 5  I don’t think my social life would implode, but it’d be a challenge) P = 65% or .65 (I think she likes me, but I can’t fathom why she does)

(8/5) = 1.6 x .65 = 1.04, Hmmm you should probably be gearing yourself up for this talk, but you alright to wait a bit for either more information or just a night where you’re really feeling yourself.

Why Even Write?

A few weeks back (way longer than I wanted to take for this, sorry about that) I got a message from some family responding to another blog post: Fiji to Provo. (Gah I still hate that title)

I don’t think they’d have any problem with me using their name in here but I didn’t check with them so I’ll just play it safe. Their response started a lot like several other responses I got, they thanked me for sharing my story, let me know that they cared and supported me, all that stuff.

After that, they asked some questions. Big questions that are tough to answer. I like these questions though, I tend to be a pretty heady person so having big questions I can mull over in my mind for long periods of time is actually a lot of fun.  Today I’d like to start responding to some of those questions. The first of them is probably the easiest, “Do you know why you started blogging? Or reviewing movies?”

I do know why I started blogging when I first started doing it in late high school and just after graduating it was honestly out of arrogance. I really believed that for some absurd reason that what I had to say was just so important that I needed a platform to do so. I also had a compulsive need to write/create and blogging was the easiest outlet for that. As time went on and my life experiences humbled me (to say the least) the reasons for writing changed. It stopped being about thinking my opinions were better than others and therefore deserved a platform and an audience, but more about being an outlet for my struggles, and a way to achieve some sort of satisfaction in my life because good lord was I not finding that in any other area of life.

This naturally led to me talking more and more about movies because as life continued to pound me into the ground I retreated more and more into the stories of film. I couldn’t find love to save my life, but I could watch a romantic-comedy and feel some semblance of the happiness those characters were feeling. So I just watched more and more movies and just like anything in life as you do it more and more your perception starts to shift. I started building a tolerance like someone learning to hold their liquor. The same basic movies that had previously kept me perfectly entertained were no longer able to do so, little problems with a performance that most folks would totally overlook became glaring errors because I had seen lots of other people get it right. Then I would talk to people about these movies and become frustrated about how they just weren’t seeing what I had been seeing, so much so that I thought I needed to start using blogging as a way to fully explain my position on movies. What I quickly learned when I first started reviewing movies is that I had neither the expertise or vocabulary to even begin giving useful criticism of the film. I have some of it now, but I always feel a little vulnerable that someone with real knowledge might come along and explain in detail just how wrong I am though. Although I think I’d enjoy that just for the wealth of knowledge it would expose me to.

Beyond talking about movies though I really felt my writing kind of “stall out” so to say. It always felt like I was just going in circles talking about the same things over and over and never really having anything new to say.  That was until I discovered what is the current goal of blogging for me. To achieve transparency in my life. The goal now is not to arrogantly flaunt my opinion, but rather to simply explore the question of “what does it mean to be Jonny Tollestrup?” (GAH that sounds so cliche and pretentious doesn’t it? oh well like I care.) Fiji to Provo was the first in what I hope to be a series of steps that actually achieves that goal. I also hope that I can find a way to use movie reviews to answer that question as well. How a person reacts to the stories we’re told says an awful lot about who we are and so when I talk about movies I want to now try to totally avoid trying to be objective about the film. It’s a silly thing to pursue anyway, we can never fully divide ourselves from our subjective interpretation so why not lean into it?

Okay, that actually kind of went ok, I guess that means I can keep going through these questions and trying to answer them as best I can. Also, I just wanna throw this idea out there for the like 2 people that actually read to the end of my blogs, it’s been a while since I talked about dating and gave some of my more out there theories on the subject. Perhaps it’s time to go into that again? I actually think I have new stuff to say now beyond, “holy crap I suck at this.” so that might be neat. Later