Thursday, October 6, 2016

Things That Jim Carrey Taught Me

This morning I watched a delightful speech given, by Donovan Livingston, called "Lift Off." You might have seen or heard about it, as it has gone viral. It's wonderful. It talks about being who we are and helping others be who they are. It's addressed to how the education system is run in America and talks a little about the infamous Common Core. It brings up some good points of view and is really a fun speech to listen to. I have strong opinions about education in this country, which you can ask me about anytime, but that's not the aspect of Mr. Livingston's speech that I want to talk about. The parts I do want to talk about are actually many of the same points that were given in another delightful speech about two years ago by the one and only Jim Carrey.

In his speech Mr. Livingston says the following:

"We were born to be comets,
Darting across space and time —
Leaving our mark as we crash into everything.
A crater is a reminder that something amazing happened here —
An indelible impact that shook up the world."

BOOM! You, my casual reader, are a comet. We're all here with the potential to alter the course of life.

Here's some more from Mr. Livingston:

"I teach in hopes of turning content, into rocket ships —
Tribulations into telescopes,
So a child can see their potential from right where they stand.
An injustice is telling them they are stars
Without acknowledging night that surrounds them.
Injustice is telling them education is the key
While you continue to change the locks."

Another BOOM! I just got done with a long-term substitute teacher position and let me tell you, too many of my students were aimless. But, you know, that's exactly why I'm not just talking about the problems with the education system in this post, because too many people in this world are aimless.

How many of us wander the streets, going about our day-to-day, just to fulfill some standard or need that society has taught us to believe. I am a writer! I write books and movie scripts and, you know what, I'm always afraid to tell people what I'm working on. It's my dream to be a writer and to see my books published and up on a shelf, but I'm afraid to let others know my dreams. I'm afraid because I'm nervous to hear what they have to say. I've been told by too many people that my dreams are a waste of time. What right does any one have to tell them their dream is not worth living?

Let's let Jim Carrey shed some more light on this subject. In his 2014 Commencement speech at Maharishi University, Carrey talks about an identity crisis that he had when he was feeling aimless. In his own poetic words he says that he worried he was:

"Just a flickering light
A dancing shadow
The great nothing masquerading as something you can name
Dwelling in forts and castles made of witches – wishes! Sorry, a Freudian slip there
Seeking shelter in caves and foxholes, dug out hastily
An archer searching for his target in the mirror
Wounded only by my own arrows
Begging to be enslaved
Pleading for my chains
Blinded by longing and tripping over paradise."

Perhaps we can become so consumed with that aimlessness that we begin to just float on the course of a life that others have set for us. We want those chains, as Carrey brings up, to bind us and keep us down, because that's easier than dreaming dreams that we will never dare to live.

Jim Carrey then goes on and gives an amazing viewpoint about life. He says:

"Life doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you. How do I know this? I don’t, but I’m making sound, and that’s the important thing. That’s what I’m here to do. Sometimes, I think that’s one of the only things that are important. Just letting each other know we’re here, reminding each other that we are part of a larger self."

Society makes us believe that the true heroes are those that do everything alone. Only when we have accomplished something by ourselves, we are taught, is when we have truly accomplished anything. But, loneliness is the way of foolish not the accomplished. I am writing this post at the campus of my alma mater. I've been coming here for the past several weeks for a place that I can quietly search for a job. These last several weeks have been incredibly lonely. Most all of my friends from this school are graduated and have moved on. I rarely find someone I know to sit by or eat with at lunch. This isn't a "woe is me" complain session, but just a statement of how things are. But at one of these lunches I put down my phone and just looked around. I saw so many others, like me, sitting by themselves with no one to talk to. It is so easy to forget what Carrey just said that we are all "part of a larger self." We don't need to do this thing alone.

We all know this, sometimes we forget it, but for the most part we know that we need others in this world, but yet so many are still aimless. Jim Carrey calls those people the "unloved," and he says, "Beware the unloved, because they will eventually hurt themselves."

We have to care for other people before they give into the aimlessness, but how do we do that? We have to live our dreams. No matter what. This isn't to say that we neglect everyone and everything in our life to obtain our dreams, but it does mean we try for them and we stop telling others that their dream is a waste of time.

Don't worry Jim Carrey has stuff to say about that too.

He says:

"My father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that was possible for him, and so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant, and when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job and our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love."

That'll keep you up at night, man! Are we giving up on our dreams because we don't think they're safe? Are we afraid?

More Jim:

"Fear is going to be a player in your life, but you get to decide how much. You can spend your whole life imagining ghosts, worrying about your pathway to the future, but all there will ever be is what’s happening here, and the decisions we make in this moment, which are based in either love or fear. So many of us choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality. What we really want seems impossibly out of reach and ridiculous to expect, so we never dare to ask the universe for it."

We don't go for it because we don't believe we are comets. We don't think we can impact or are told that we're wasting our time. This life isn't suppose to be here for us to conform to it, but for us to change it. Who cares if no one will read that book? Who cares if no one will like your drawings? Lift off and go for it anyway.

Once we go for that dream (and when I say dream I'm not just talking about a job or a way to make money, but that's more for you to figure out and dream about than for me to write about) you can help others. You don't drag others down but lift them up. Picasso once said, "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up." Are we helping others remain that artist in whatever form it takes, or are we insisting that they "grow up?"

"How will you serve the world?" asks Carrey. "What do they need that your talent can provide? That’s all you have to figure out. As someone who has done what you are about to go do, I can tell you from experience, the effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is. Everything you gain in life will rot and fall apart, and all that will be left of you is what was in your heart."

I added the emphasis there.

The craters our comets create are meant to impact the earth and change it, not get us money. I want my son to be able to look back at his childhood and say, "Man, Dad and Mom always lifted me up and encouraged me." That's not to say I gave him everything he wanted, but I helped him push himself when that aimlessness tried to sneak in.

The aimlessness fights back. When you think you've done something great and accomplished something wonderful it always pipes in and says, "You're not good enough and that's not good enough." I can assure you that before I go to hit that publish button at the top of my screen I'm going to hear that from the aimless monster. Heck, in times past I've avoiding posting something or even writing it because I was afraid of what labels would be thrown my way, but no more.

Jim Carrey, too, knows that that aimlessness still pops around but he tells us this, "Sure it’s rough sometimes but that’s OK, ‘cause they’ve got soft serve ice cream with sprinkles!"

So, tonight, go get some soft serve ice cream and remain that artist that you were when you were a child. Like Carrey says at the end of his speech, "You are ready and able to do beautiful things in this world ... [in life] you will only ever have two choices: love or fear. Choose love, and don’t ever let fear turn you against your playful heart."

If you made it this far, congrats! Thank you for taking the time to read this preachy (with a dash of stream of consciousness mixed in) post. Both speeches and their transcripts are linked in the text and if you missed that they are below. Go listen to them or read them. Jim Carrey's is a bit longer than Donovan Livingston's, but totally worth it.

Until next time, my casual reader, make someone smile.

Donovan Livingston's "Lift Off"

Jim Carrey's Commencement Speech

Friday, December 25, 2015

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

It has been a long time since I've had any correspondence with you. We've had a few side glances to each other as I've run into you at various malls and parties, but nothing concrete since the nineties. To be honest this may be the first letter I have ever truly written to you. Surely there must have been those obligatory "write a letter to Santa" assignments when I was in second or third grade, but this is the first letter that I can recall ever writing to you. Anyways, as I lay in bed this Christmas Eve I figured I would drop you a quick line.

I guess it is customary to ask for something when you write to Santa, but, to be honest, I'm not really sure what to ask for. When I was seven I remember wishing for a Star Wars Snowspeeder. Not a toy version, mind you, but rather a fully operational and fully functional 1:1 scale spaceship. It didn't make much sense why I would ask for a Snowspeeder since I grew in a desert, but my seven year old mind just really wanted a way to get to and from school in style. You didn't give it to me even though I had been really really good. If you had any of those lying around this year I wouldn't mind that for Christmas. It would save me an incredible amount of time in my daily commute. I guess I would have to start paying for starship fuel instead of gas. Knowing how long the Costco gas line always is I can't even imagine what kind of lines I would have to wait in to fill up my Snowspeeder. On second thought you can keep it. Our starship fuel station is pretty out of the way, and I don't want to cause you trouble by making you haul one of those things all the way over from the North Pole. Does anyone ever ask you what you want for Christmas?

Thinking of gifts I'm reminded of the old snowman ornament that I had years ago. It rested on the banister until I knocked it over. I watched it fall down the flight of stairs until it hit the cold cement floor below. It had fallen many times before and survived by landing on a rug or a step, but that would not be its fate this time as it shattered into many unglue-able pieces that my dad couldn't piece back together. My little heart was shattered. I loved that snowman. For the life of me I can't remember the origins of that snowman decoration. Where did it come from? Was it even mine to begin with? But either the case I loved it. My parents could tell how sad I was about it so one day, I always remembered it being a snowy Christmas Eve, they went out to get gas and happened to find a small snowman ornament at the little gas station's store. They bought it for me and brought it home. That year I have no clue what I got for Christmas, but I do remember my mom handing me that little snowman. It's still around to this day and often adorned the same spot on the banister that the other snowman did. I know, we never learn. Years later I realized how valuable a gift that little snowman ornament was. I don't think my parents had much money in those days and it was probably a sacrifice for them to buy it, but it's a memory that I've always held onto. I bet my parents probably don't even remember that night, but I always will.

I guess for Christmas I want to be able to give my kid the same type of memories in the years to come that I had with my parents.

Merry Christmas, Santa!

Until next time,


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Non Sequiturs: In Which We Discuss Star Wars, Writing, and Star Wars

It's been too long since I've kept up with this blog. That ends today. I must apologize for this post it will be all over the place. Hence the name, Non Sequiturs. I'm just going to write down anything that's been on floating inside my head. Let us begin.

I'm a dad now! I have a SON! It really blows my mind that I'm allowed to raise another human being.

I feel like the TV show New Girl is basically life in single housing at BYU except without the drinking and the other non-BYU things. I'm pretty sure I played/invented True American when I was living in apartment 101.

One of my old roommates from apartment 101 went viral with his blog, The Gordy Gordy Blog. Gordy and I were in a writing group together. He's pretty funny you should check him out.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens comes out. To say that I am excited doesn't even begin to explain the way I feel about it. When I was in fourth grade I wrote a script called Star Wars Episode VII: The Return of the Empire. It was glorious, at least in my 11 year old mind. The Empire was seeking its revenge against the Rebel Alliance, Luke had trained new Jedi, and evil droid armies were everywhere (note that this was before the prequels that actually had evil droid armies). The final script called for me to build droids out of scrap around the house and for our old Chevy Lumina van to serve as a spaceship. I had so many ideas for the story, but knew that I had to trim it down due to "budget constraints." The budget constraints being that I was 11 and had no budget. The droids never made it into the final film, but it was made. I roped some friends into it for actors and I produced a ten minute Star Wars movie. I was never more proud to swing my plastic lightsaber. I'll have to post the script sometime. I still have a copy of it.

I want to dress up as George Lucas for Star Wars. Then every time someone claps or laughs during the movie I would grunt in despair until I eventually start sobbing uncontrollably in pain. Poor George.

Having a baby around the house is a lot like having your own little droid. They crawl around making cute little noises and getting into mischief.

It really is great being a stay at home dad. I love being known as Dad now. I absolutely love it! I want to get back to school and into a masters program soon, or get a job that I would really love, but I love where I'm at right now. It's frustrating, it's beautiful, and it's a lot of fun. My bishop gave me a little advice when he learned I'd be a stay at home dad this year. He said I probably shouldn't go to the ward's mother's group. I keep promising myself that I will go at least once. I'd be like, "Hey hey hey! The one guy in the group is here!"

I think that Laurel, aka Black Canary, is the Britta of the Arrowverse, and Malcolm is the Kramer. If you don't get this Non Sequitur (or would this just be called a Sequitur?) that's okay. I would have to explain three different TV shows to you so it's probably not worth your time.

It's really quite embarrassing to tell people that you are going into a masters program for creative writing. Most people respond in confusion and a few have even dared to tell me that I am throwing away my education and my future. Trust me, that is not the most enjoyable thing to hear from someone when you tell them your future goals, but more on that in a future post. When I was walking to class one day I was talking to my nephew on the phone and he asked me if I had finished my book so he could buy it. I love how children believe in you no matter what. Some would call it naïveté, I call it something else.

I always felt bad for the Jedi, in the films, because they couldn't choose red for their lightsaber without being considered as evil. What if Obi-Wan's favorite color was red but he caved to the current status quo? I want a red lightsaber and to be a good guy. Is that too much to ask?

I am currently writing a book. Writing is a big part of who I've always been. When I saw Toy Story when I was 8 years old I realized I wanted to tell stories when I grew up. I'm still working on the growing up part of it, but I am indeed telling stories.

I drew this for fun to control my excitement for Star Wars:

If you don't get it watch this trailer. If you do get it watch this trailer again anyway.

That's probably good for now. I need to grab my son before he crawls into something he shouldn't. Thank you for walking through the fever dream which is my mind. I promise future posts won't be this crazy town banana pants.

Until next time, Casual Reader.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmastime: Some Thoughts

On this Christmas Eve I decided to metaphorically dust off the old blog, address my casual reader, and write down some thoughts about this time of year.  As I am writing this I am sitting in beautiful San Diego with 70 degree weather outside and while Elf plays in the background.

This is my first year away from home other than the Christmases I spent on my mission.  It is a wonderful experience to be able to take a part of another families traditions on Christmas.  Sure I miss my family and the traditions that we celebrate each year, but it is so fun to be able to watch my wife and her family in their element doing their thing.  That's the thing about Christmas: it's not just mine, it's everyone's.  Everyone can celebrate Christmas whatever way they want to.

For example: the years during my mission we never had a Christmas tree.  My last Christmas in the mission I wanted to be a little festive so I decorated a pineapple, much to the dismay of the missionary in my apartment who bought the pineapple.

Honestly it was the best tree that I have ever had!  No watering, no needles, and barely any clean up to take it down.

Christmas is so fun and so exciting and it's done so fast.  The presents wear out and the trees die.  Some people take weeks (even months) to plan and decorate for Christmas and it takes just 24 hours to end all of those plans.  I don't want to babble on about the true meaning of Christmas (I'm not Linus and this isn't the Charlie Brown Christmas Special) but I do want to mention two things that makes Christmas meaningful to me.

I love my family (and my wife's family) but families in general gives Christmas meaning.  Family: can't live with them, can't properly be annoyed without them.  But where would we be without them on Christmas?  Families are especially important to me this year as my wife and I are expecting our first addition to our own family in June of next year!

Again I am not Linus, but the whole point of this holiday is Christ.  To remember Him and to try and be better, because he would want us to be.
As I've re-read the Christmas story in the Bible again this year I was struck by the fact that the birth of Christ is a chapter, maybe two, and the rest of the Bible is all about what Christ did.  Christmas isn't so much about the birth of a baby, but His life and then spreading His life to others.  He changed the world and He changed my life, maybe my words and my actions can make others feel important, feel good, feel loved.  And that's what gives Christmas even more meaning.

Well there you have it--Christmas.  Two simple things, but they give tomorrow so much more meaning for me.  Maybe they'll help you too.

Merry Christmas by the way.  I'm going to finish watching Elf and hug my wife.

I'll play myself out.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Organized Procrastination

For about the last 5 days I have been trying to write this post.  During that time I have gone through the stages of finals.  Yes all of them.  Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance of your imminent death and destruction.  I repeat what I recently posted on my Facebook wall, "I miss the days when test reviews encouraged me rather than make me not want to study even more."

When a semester of college ends and you have a so many projects, papers, and things to study for that you start to forget about "real life."  You think that after finals there is nothing left, and that you are doing all of this hard work so that you can die peacefully.

Now that's an exaggeration, but when finals hits you start to lose yourself, you focus so hard on one thing you forget about all of the other things.  Like shopping, or working out, or studying...  But thank goodness that there are other things that fill you with all of the information that you need:


 As a senior in college I have realized one thing, survive.  That's it really, you just go and take a test, and dang it you try your best.  Because after it's all done, life goes on, a new semester starts, The Office reruns are still on Netflix, and hot chocolate is still waiting for me in my pantry.

You know that feeling when you come out of a hard test and you totally nailed it?  Yeah if feels a little like this:

And of course there are those finals that just take you to town.  They chew you up, spit you out, then run a marathon by dragging you by a rope behind them.  And it feels like this:

 But then the next semester starts and it all starts again, and the past semester doesn't seem that bad regardless of what happened in the previous semester.

But hey, all you have to really do is pass, and then ain't no one can take that degree away from you!  Bwahahaha!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Today's Musings or: How Jimmy Stewart Learned How to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Well dang.

You know that moment when you went to bed at 3:30 am because you were writing a paper for your class that you had to wake up at 8 in the morning for, and then you had your internship/job where you had to finish a giant research project and write a report on it, and then you get home and are applying for jobs so instead of eating or relaxing you write a cover letter and update your resume all while listening to Coldplay?  Yeah today was one of those days for me.  I don't know how but I made it.

There has to be a special chemical that the body releases when you are absolutely running on empty, and I'm not referring to adrenaline.  Oh no.  I'm referring to the chemical that is released by your body long after the adrenal glands have dried up.  It's like this pure glowing energy that makes you feel like you want to take a nap and run a marathon all at the same time.

Any of you casual readers out there a human biologist science-man that could clear this up for us?

Last night I needed a pick me up.  I was on the fifth page of a ten page paper, it was about 2 am, and it was that time right as the adrenaline was wearing out and the special chemical was about to be released.  So I watched this video:

This makes me laugh almost every single time that I watch it.  Oh, and that Jim Carrey, he does an amazing Jimmy Stewart!  But there's a bit of truth to what my man Jim is saying.  Why shouldn't we always be as happy as Jimmy Stewart?  Life is tough, and oh Jimmy Stewart knows it, but we can learn to love it.  Can't we?

I am exhausted, actually I should really not be writing this right now and go to bed, but I want to write because that's what makes me happy.  So that's exactly what I'm doing.

Anyway I'm getting preachy, that means I need to put the blog down and slowly step away from the computer.

But on one last note, never ever stop laughing.

Well my casual reader I'm out of here.

My name is Carlin, and this has been one of my pieces.

Please note: this image has absolutely nothing to do with my post, I just wanted a funny picture to use as the icon.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Carlin vs. The Smartest Professor in the World!

My professor is the smartest man in the world.  In class he told us that he wanted our help to write our upcoming midterm test.  He said that we could suggest topics and he would write questions based on our topics.  Easy right.  Finally an opportunity to control the very system that controls us!  Bwahahahahaha!

Then the first student raised their hand.

The first student who raised his hand told the professor a topic and then the professor complimented him for remembering something that far back in the semester.  So then 90% of the class raised their hands in the air to show how smart they were and how much they remembered from the semester.

We had the power to control the level of difficulty of the test in our hands and we allowed our professor to take it away from us like a baby stealing track shoes from an old winded man just by playing to our vanity!

My mind screamed at me begging me to yell out in the classroom, "Please stop!  You don't understand what you are doing!  The professor has pitted us against each other!  Please holster your egos so that we can have an easier test!"

But alas, nothing came out.  My brain could not control my mouth

The damage was done, and my fate is waiting for me in the testing center as we speak --er-- read.

And will I go tonight to take this monstrosity of a test that has been partially created by my fellow students?  Of course not.

We have a power that all students have, and power that we must never surrender.  That's right, the power of procrastination.

You may try, powers that be, to take our power to procrastinate away by assigning fees and late days for tests.

Never give in, and never surrender your power to put off the inevitable!

We have power, we have strength, and the system will never ever be able to take that away!

We are Spartacus!!!!!!

Well, my casual reader. As a young boy, I had some big dreams; but tonight I say, we must move forward, not backward; upward, not forward; and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!

I'm back baby!