Sunday, June 29, 2014

How To Not Suck At Life

Stop. Seriously, just stop. For the love of Neil Patrick Harris, just stop it. I ask, nay, I plead, nay, I beg you from the depths of the soul I am pretty sure the good man upstairs blessed me with, for the sake of actual humanity existing, please stop posting links on your social media that you think will change my life. 

Spoiler alert, they won't. 

For full effect, download "Anthems For A 17-Year Old Girl" by Broken Social Scene and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post. 

Social media has become infested with motivational posts written by self-proclaimed independent geniuses who have unscrambled the concoction we all call life. It is a smothering of rubbish testimonials 800 words long that everyone is gorging themselves on like a cheap morning buffet in Las Vegas. Go ahead, take a glance at your Facebook feed this beautiful Sunday afternoon. How many of your so-called friends have plastered your walls with posts that they insist are “must-reads”?

You want to know the 8 key habits that highly successful people do every single morning? Or what about the 11 life hacks to use that will improve your social interactions with your friends outside of Twitter? Here friends, come click on this link I embedded that this really intelligent man wrote that is going to ensure you will be married before you turn 30. This, this my friend, will solve all of your problems. Forget about life experience or actual trial and error that molds your own true character. If you don't read this post I hyperlinked to Facebook, well you are going to fail at life, plain and simple. 

Why do we do this? Why do we live vicariously through other peoples’ surrogate profiles? Why are we obsessing over motivational placebos that we are convinced will change our lives? As two-faced as this sounds, why the curse word are you reading this blog in the first place? In all reality, this post itself is rather hypocritical. I appreciate your support and respect for actually clicking on this link and reading through my rants, but I myself, am a simple, uninspired man who has a track record of hilarious screw-ups. You think my perspectives are going to magically change your life? Sorry to disappoint you but in the long run, they probably won’t.

Everyone: "Brock, you really need to read this blogpost a guy wrote about discovering who he was before he found his wife. I think that will really help you in your situation. I think that will finally ‘fix you’.” 

Me: "Why thanks, how about you take a glance at this piece that talks about how not to be a condescending pecker who lives secondhand through social media to try and better themselves. It's a pretty accurate piece, I think you'll like it."

I won’t read the nonsense you send me. I really won’t. I don't want to hear Matt Walsh call me and the rest of my single brethren out accusing us of not being men. I don't want you to broadcast the 16 books I need to read before I turn 30 that will supposedly alter the path of my life. I have not reached the point of no return where my only salvation will be a come-to-Jesus blogpost written about the 9 habits highly successful people have to ensure a life-long romantic relationship with their spouse. No, I don’t care about the blind date that one guy did on his ten-year anniversary that helped him re-fall in love with his wife. It is his life, not mine.

Everyone: "Here Brock, you are a failure. Take this blogpost. It is a ‘must-read’. It will change who you are. It will make it so you just don’t suck at life."

No, you want to know how to not suck at life? Why don’t you simply turn off your computer, shut off your phone, abandon the digital concoction that everyone is addicted to and quit co-depending on someone else’s life thrown together on a blog. Because here’s a thought, you are someone completely different. You are not them. You are two completely different people and the “doctrine” that has become their salvation and translated into a fanatical blogpost is probably not going to be what ultimately saves you.  

Hey friend, you want to know how to not suck at your life?

Quit caring what other people think.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Give Me A Break

The Danny Glover inside me doesn’t think I can handle the amount of miles I’ve logged over the last week of my life.

For full effect, download “Hello” by Neil Diamond and play it begrudgingly at a very average volume for the remainder of this post. Gosh, I freaking hate Neil Diamond. That request was simply granted from peer pressure from my fellow bros in the car with me who have an extremely abnormal heterosexual obsession with that icon for women in their 50’s and Jack Black from Saving Silverman. 

One word: Overrated. That’s all I have to say.

I know it’s only been about 4,157 miles or something, who’s keeping track anyway? But I think I’m starting to wear myself out. Seriously, I’ve been to the polar extremes of ‘Murica both north and south. On airplanes, boats, rental cars, ferries, busses, monorails, and futons. I’ve eaten animals from all walks of life and gorged myself on bottomless refills of Mt. Dew. Kids, this is the first time in five years I’ve been on a vacation. I think I’m a bit overdue.

And please, don’t like or comment on this half-tossed couple of paragraphs. I know it’s not going to be as legen-wait for it-dary as some of my rants have been in the past, and so I apologize as a writer in advance. That’s the thing, when you get on the road and in the air and over water and start focusing on things other than your very meager, very low-budget, very poor quality blogging career, you're forced to change the priorities in your life.

Things like weddings on the beach, and baseball games with brothers, and doughnuts made by the devil, and cheese quesadillas at 1am.

So again, I’m sorry for not writing about love, or awkward dates, or Tinder matches chock full of How I Met Your Mother references, I think I’ve got something brewing upstairs like the Carne Asada nachos were in John Brooksby’s bowels last night that I’ll be able to unleash for your reading pleasure Sunday morning. For the record, that disgustingly awesome photo above is brought to you by #Brooksby's Bowels as well, take it in. He's a boss with a camera. In the meantime, I’m just enjoying my life at the moment.

I hope you’re doing the same.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

What Every Girl Dreams About

Mexico has always left a bad taste in my mouth. I know that sounds slightly racist, but just hear me out.

For full effect, download “From This Moment On” by Brian White and Shania Twain and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post.

When you hear the words “Cabo San Lucas, Mexico” I’m sure the first few things that come to your mind are spring break, bikinis, and shots of tequila. However when I think of Cabo, I’m reminded of drug-addicted stepfathers and a return to an abandoned house when I got home from my two-year religious experience, so you can imagine my confusion as I sat with family just after 1 am eating fresh pollo tacos and quesadillas off the grill.

Me: "What the Hell am I doing here?"

Rachel: "We’re all hungry and tired and this is when all the restaurants are the most busy. People still need to eat after working all day long.”

Me: "No I understand why we’re here eating and why the economy in this country pushes vendors to keep their doors open nonstop, what I’m really trying to figure out is what the Hell am I doing here on a Wednesday night in Mexico?”

Now you may be asking yourself the same question as to what caused me to hop into a car, drive 6½ hours to Los Angeles, fold myself into a cardboard box of an airplane for another 2½ hours, waddle through the labyrinth of customs agents ensuring that I wasn’t bringing any foreign hazardous materials such as gunpowder or artichokes across the border, and then drive another 45 minutes to a two bedroom shack on the beach. What in the name of everything logical was it that possessed me to take a 1,241-mile road trip down to the southwestern tip of North America?

It was for something much more important than tacos at 1 am. It was for a wedding. 

Weddings make you do crazy things. I think every one of us can attest to that. There are a slew of romantic comedies scripted with the premise that a lifetime commitment between two individuals turns you into a loony. Julia Roberts has based her entire acting career off of this premise, true story. Weddings make you nuts. They create irrational decisions for rational people. They make you empty your bank accounts and board planes for strange countries that don’t have basic cable. I’m telling you, weddings are ludicrous!

This wild wedding theory was evident two days following my just after midnight tacos, as I stood barefoot with my family watching a Bishop conduct a marriage ceremony half in broken English, and half in his native Spanish while the sun rose in the background on Lovers Beach. I stood next to my Mom, and my sisters, my one year-old niece Raleigh, and a few Mexican families and we watched the marital exchanges between two young kids who decided one day to fall in love with each other.  

I know this picture being painted is one of the most beautiful moments that even Nicholas Sparks can’t paint in a series of romantic novels. And I’m willing to bet nearly half the women reading this with misty eyes are envisioning their own marriage ceremonies on a beach with dolphins in the background and their closest friends surrounding them. Don’t lie ladies, everyone knows the truth. You can go start pinning things to your Cabo San Lucas Wedding board once this post is finished.   

As we all stood there on that beach and witnessed a display of the L-word, I found the answer to the question I had been stewing over for a few days after eating midnight tacos. It was not an emotional answer that I found, gratefully sobbing over the exchange of vows, rings, and kisses. It was not a spiritual conviction that shook my soul as the bonds of matrimony were forged that morning. I wish I could tell you as I’m typing these words on the flight home that I felt at peace and could sense the presence of my Dad with all of us there, but that beyond the veil experience did not happen, and it was not the reason why I stood on that beach.

The real reason why I went to Mexico was just to be there for my sister. Because after battling through so many years of depression and misery, every single one of us deserves some kind of romantic wedding on a beach somewhere. And I didn’t want to miss hers.  

Cabo is a unique place. It’s a second-hand world full of tequila bars, generic-brand pharmacies, and tourist attractions to blow your savings on. It still does have a rather bitter taste in my mouth, and I can’t promise that I will ever return to that part of the world in the years to come. But as I stood on that beach for a few minutes and watched my little sister live out her dreams, all of those disgusting details of the past went by the wayside. Because at that point, my sister and my family were happy.

And that is what matters the most.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Fault In Female Thinking

Right now I'm having the hardest time trying to understand why cancer is such a turn on for girls.

For full effect, download “Sorrow” by Boxcar Racer and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post.

Me: “So let me get this straight, this movie which is an adaptation from a best-selling novel, is about a guy and a girl who fall in love, who also conveniently have cancer together. Is that right?”

Megan: "Well, yeah…That's pretty much the gist of the story.”

Me: “And I'm assuming that by the premise of them having a terminal disease that either one or both of them die by the end.”

Megan: “Do you want me to ruin the ending for you?”

Me: “Last time I checked I'm a 29-year-old heterosexual male who doesn't own a single Taylor Swift album, so go right ahead.”

Megan: (spoiler alert) “Alright, so the protagonist male ultimately dies because of cancer but he's deeply in love with her, and over the course of the story she finally lets herself go, becomes vulnerable, and falls in love with him.”

Me: “That's it? That's how it ends?”

Megan: “Well yeah, basically.”

Me: “There's nothing else? No happy ending? No fade into the sunset? He just dies and it's over?”

Megan: “Well it’s not just about him dying. Like, the last chapter has the funeral, and then she comes home and reads a letter from him that he wrote to her before he died. And then it's pretty much over.”

Me: “And you fell in love with this story?”

Megan: “Yeah, it's pretty much the most beautiful thing I've ever seen or read.”

The above conversation is exactly why I will never understand the emotional lunacy that makes the female brain work.

Seriously people, there has to be something wrong with the female gender. Why must they always have some type of sadness/abuse/mental disorder in order to fall in love? Why do they thrive on infinite pain and disorder? Why do things like chemo and funerals captivate them? Think about it for a second, just look at the last few literary fetishes their gender has had in order to get all hot and bothered.

First there was the codependent argumentative couple with an old Grandfather telling stories from a notebook to a nutjob who didn't even knew he existed because of Alzheimer's. Then you had the bipolar/semi-depressed vampire who was on the verge of committing daylight suicide because he couldn’t stand to be away from some pasty girl who was being whisked away by a shirtless freak with a history of physical abuse. Oh hey, and what about those 50 shades of disturbia, a romance littered with sadomasochism that was one of the all-time best-selling trilogies for women aged 18 to 49. It was a disturbing sexual disorder clinic and you lapped it up like Hershey’s syrup off Bradley Cooper’s abs.

And here we sit at yet another installment of depression/sadness/disturbed family problems that is making you think there is true love out there somewhere for you. I must say, even though I was raised by 11 women I still have no idea how this ludicrous concoction of literary depression makes any sense whatsoever.

Why can't you just fall in love with happy stories? Why doesn't the Dread Pirate Roberts coming back from the dead to save his girl and ride off into the sunset on the backs of four white stallions, why doesn't that do it for you? Why can’t the scene at the top of the Empire State building where a sleepless Tom Hanks bumps into a stalking Meg Ryan holding a backpack in her arms that connects them for life be as poignant in your eyes? Why can’t you be content with that?

Megan: “It's because The Fault In Our Stars is about real life. It's about what happens to everyday normal people. And that's what makes it so good.”

Hey here's a side note, we don't read stories for what happens in real life. We read stories for the fantasies that we want to have happen but know they never will. If every time I posted a blog that had the most depressing, half-empty, negative spin on life in general would all of you keep coming back? Of course not. Because the stories we want to hear are not about real-life.  The best stories are embellished and inflated creations of what we want to have happen.

Part of my feelings for this feminine enigma go back to a previous post where I blatantly pointed out that girls want projects. They want problems. They don't want Grade-A guys who have their heads on straight and have good careers and smell nice in public settings, they want tools with popped collars and white sunglasses and messy pasts who have been in college for 17 years. They want these runts so they can groom and fix them into the picture-perfect man they hope one day they will evolve into. That's what girls want, that's why girls L-word these tales filled with misery.

Jane Dell: "See that's the thing Brock, that's why you are never going to get married. It's because you don't understand how a woman thinks and feels. That's why you'll be single for the rest of your life.”

No, I think my greatest flaw is that I am not a raging, abusive alcoholic who thrives on a sexual disorder while fighting a terminal illness that will put me six feet under by Christmas, I think that is my biggest problem.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

He's The Man

It's hard to thank the men in our lives for raising us by giving them a polyester tie from Sears, or a 116-piece screwdriver set from Wal-Mart, or bringing in a plate of burnt toast at the ungodly hour of 5:30 in the morning interrupting their sleep on a Sunday morning. A phone call, or an evening dinner, or a gift certificate to Bass Pro Shops will never repay the sacrifice and dedication that so many giants have given to us every single day of our lives. People, I'm telling you the men that have shaped us are worth more than anything we can ever comprehend. 

And all I can say is that for the 26 years I was able to have this man in my life, I was, and always will be, the luckiest little kid in the world. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Where's The Snooze Button?

Look, I know I'm a day late, a couple hundred bucks short, and two speeding tickets past my usual Wednesday evening post. But please, don't judge.

For full effect, download "The Minstrel's Prayer" by Cartel and play at maximum volume for the next two paragraphs.

I've got nothing left people, I really don't. I've been in a car with a pair of twins for just over 1,300 miles, behind a camera lens for nearly 35 hours, and have less than nine hours sleep in my system since Monday. What month are we in, June? I know I've complained about life on the road in the past, but this week? Holy freaking curse word, this week flat out did me in.

Now I know you're usually looking for some motivational post, some rant about marriage, or some ode to that girl with the yellow umbrella who's standing at a rainy train station somewhere in the near future, but people, the 16-hour coma on my front room couch draped in my sex blanket is calling my name instead. If I don't show up to my sister's wedding in Cabo next week, could someone please come break into my house and insert an IV of Mt. Dew into my frontal lobe, because I've got nothing left.  

Sunday, June 8, 2014

What Makes You Rich?

The world has created a theory that the more friend requests you have, the more people that retweet your 140 characters, or the more likes you have on that one selfie you took while bored at work, those are what make you rich.

Well the reality is, that’s just a bunch of crap.

For full effect, download “In Da Club” by 50 Cent, and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post.

Yesterday I woke up, had two bowls of Reeses Puffs, watched Sportscenter for twenty-eight minutes, and drove out to Coral Canyon Golf Course where I met up with an old buddy from that one two-year trip that Mormon guys often brag about for extended periods of time. This man has value to me. He is a good, nay, great fellow. He is someone who I admire and respect, and for three hours we drove around in triple-digit temperatures and double-bogeyed hole after hole not really caring about our handicaps, but more about how each other are doing in this crazy thing that philosophers call “life”.

You can’t play nine holes like that on Instagram.

As I drove home, I pulled out my phone and called an old college buddy who I have spent many hours watching Jazz basketball games with, and someone who shares the same passion for higher education academics as I do. We talked, and laughed, and mocked lunatic professors walking around naked on campus just because they are tenured. We discussed why having the chance to live in St. George just might be worth taking a $9,000 pay cut. He told me about his kids, how they are growing faster than a patch of bad weeds, and we shared our multi-dimensional perspectives on how we think our career paths are going to turn out.

You don’t have conversations like these over Twitter.

When the conversation ended, I got into a car with three outstanding people and drove two hours south to the desolate town of Primm, Nevada. We told stories of legendary figures from our college lives. We rode rollercoasters with rednecks and took selfies on the 225-foot opening drop. We walked around abandoned outlet malls and spent money on things we don’t really need. We drove out to Henderson and gorged ourselves on deep fried macaroni balls, avocado egg rolls, and chicken Madeira, complaining about how high-class restaurants don’t have the decency to serve us butter tablets they just pulled out of the freezer.

Me: “I mean seriously, why can’t they just warm them up for 10 seconds? It drives me nuts!”

Chris: “You’re right, there are kids in Nigeria who don’t even know what butter tastes like. #cheesecakeworldproblems”

You can’t have improvised laugh sessions over meals like this on Facebook.

Later, as the dining was coming to an end and our zippers were clenching their teeth trying to hold our pants together, we talked about how sitting in that restaurant debating in our minds whether or not we wanted to spend the $4 on a Vanilla Coke, that proved we were wealthy. The fact that we had the ability to spend money on Nike running shoes and American Eagle dress shirts and not worry about the financial repercussions put us in the top 1% of the world. Heck, because we had the opportunity to go on random road trips like this without worrying about selling off our kidneys to pay for it, that truly showed we were rich.

No, 9-rounds of golf with former mission brothers, cross-country phone calls with associate college professors, road trips to Nevada to ride roller coasters and complain about frozen butter tablets, those are things that make me one of the richest people alive, without question. 

Those are things that money can’t buy.    

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Time Is Running Out

“I’m too old for this stuff.” –Danny Glover

For full effect, download “You Learn” by Alanis Morissette and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post.

I reference a censored quote from one of my least favorite film franchises that has only been resurrected by one of my most favorite TV franchises basically due to the fact that I am now an old man. I am decrepit. I am outdated. I am someone whose priorities include getting new carpet and adjusting the interest rate on my car loan rather than catching up on the latest episodes of Vampire Diaries.

This is what I get for being born in the 80’s.

I know, that last phrase sounds way too old-fashioned.

With that being said, last night I resurrected teenage Brock and put him to work in the disgusting city of Mesquite, Nevada. A place that swallows beauty and vomits back human filth. Mesquite is not an appealing place to live, by any means. Well, neither is the entire state of Nevada, but Mesquite more specifically. It is the armpit of the Southwestern United States. It’s a place that makes my hometown of Roy look like heaven. It’s a place where G-Rated movies go out to die.

Now my reasoning for going down to this hellhole of a city was not a logical decision to make, not in the least bit. My motivation for an hour-long round trip to the middle of the desert and back was not for a romantic spa getaway, or to try my hand at the $3 Blackjack tables, or to test my luck on one of Nevada’s premier golf courses. No, my drive for that drive was something out of the ordinary, something completely outside of the box.

My reasoning for my trip 35 minutes south was to get beat up by a 6’8” black chick.

Yes, that statement is rather blunt and shocking, but what I mean was that my motivation to head down to the gulf of Mesquite was to play a few hours of pick-up basketball with a bunch of no-name faces I had never met before. And no, I’m not crazy. I’ve been tested.

It’s amusing how perspective changes over time. Things that mattered at one point in our lives don’t mean jack squat anymore once the clock has done its laps for about 12 years or so. If I were to go back roughly a decade and find Hawaiian-shirt wearing, lady-playing, Mt. Dew-addicted, basketball junkie 17-year old self, I might have to question the reason why he spent hours upon days upon weeks locked up in the Old Gym on campus working on his mid-range jump shot.

17-year old self: “It’s because I want to accomplish my goal of playing college basketball.”

Current self: “Ha! You’re white. That’s never gonna happen. Just let it go, my boy.”

But last night, 17-year old self was regurgitated on to the hardwood, playing balls to the wall, grabbing rebounds, throwing passes, and getting checked into the paint with a forearm to the head by a recently retired Amazonian starting center for Utah State University’s women’s basketball team. Two sprained joints later and a minor headache not relieved by the caffeine concoction I drooled over on the ride back to my house and I felt Danny Glover’s words of wisdom being put on repeat.

“I’m too old for this stuff.”

It’s funny how perspective changes isn’t it? Because at this point as the miles keep getting logged, I sure as Satan ain’t getting any younger.