Friday, December 3, 2010

Techno Jeep

Proof there is still imagination in the world. And Julian Smith is my new hero. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Will To Live

"So your adventures are over?" -Wendy
"Oh no. To live would be an awfully big adventure." -Peter 

The new movie, "127 Hours", is based on the book I just recently read, "Between a Rock and a Hard Place", by Aron Ralston.  While I haven't seen the movie yet,  the book was amazing.  For those that have a hard time remembering names, Ralston is the guy back in 2003 that was trapped by a half-ton boulder in Moab and had to cut off his own arm to escape.  I was 16 when I first heard about his story on Dateline NBC and, like any teenager that loved the outdoors, I immediately thought this guy was a superhero. 

The book recounts, detail after detail, what happened during his 127 hour long experience in Blue John Canyon.  Many people criticize the fact that he broke two fundamental rules for hiking and canyoneering: going alone and failing to tell anyone his actual destination.  "Why should a young guy who made such a stupid decision be treated like a hero?" For one, although completely against what I was taught in Boy Scouts, exploring the outdoors alone is the purest way to truly experience the awesome in nature.

Most importantly, I realized Ralston is hardly the superhero I thought him to be.  And that's what makes him so endearing and his experience so intriguing.  He's a normal guy that wants to explore the world and see what makes life so beautiful.  He doesn't like sitting in a desk all day crunching numbers.  He's ambitious yet slightly overly confident.  He yearns to "live the dream". He values and loves his friends and family.  He makes mistakes.  He's human.
Ryan and I at Zion's. Aug 09
 While reading about those six lonely days in the middle of nowhere, I saw myself in Aron.

From April 26 to May 1, 2003, Aron suffered complete dehydration, hypothermia, sleep deprivation (127 hours total), hallucinations, searing pain, and near fatal amounts of blood loss.  He resigned himself to death more than a dozen times before he finally figured out how to break his forearm bones and proceed with the self amputation. Then he had to hike out of the canyon, set up and rappel (with one hand) down a 65-foot cliff, hike 8 miles uphill in the blistering desert, and then drive 2 hours in his standard truck (he cut off his right arm, remember?) to the nearest hospital.  It was a miracle that a National Park helicopter spotted him before he actually had to drive and bleed to death in the canyonlands.

After his rescue, and several surgeries and shots of morphine later, he received thousands of letters from people all across the globe.  One woman from Salt Lake City sent a card telling him she had flushed a stockpile of her deceased husband's sleeping pills down the toilet. She said, "Your act of bravery has inspired me to hold on more dearly.  I had promised myself that I would end my life if things had not gotten better one year after my husband's death.  I know now that suicide is not the answer.  You inspire me to stay strong, remain brave, and fight for life."

We're all mortals, living and dying here together on the same earth.  We're all human, and we all make mistakes. Yet despite this inevitability called "death", there is an innate will inside each one of us to survive and fight for life.  While neither myself or those I know have ever experienced what Ralston did, that's not to say that we've never experienced those same feelings of hopelessness, fear, and believing our life purpose amounts to nothing.  I truly believe, in our most dire moments, that each and everyone of us would fight for our lives whenever our own personal boulder has us pinned.

But why?  Why fight for something that will ultimately, at least physically, be lost?  I think it comes down to simply wanting to feel and experience "being alive."  We want to see our own dreams become a reality.  We want to see majestic sunrises and sunsets.  We want to show our family how much we cherish and love them.  We want to become better.  We want to build new and strengthen old friendships. We want to right our wrongs.  We want to find joy in the little things, like a rodeo cheeseburger or hot fudge-caramel malt milkshake. We want to hear music that makes us cry. We want to explore. We want to change. We want to learn.  We want to live.  And in the most desperate and trying times of our lives, all of those wants and yearnings of our soul suddenly become our most pressing needs.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Most Interesting Man in the World on Rollerblading

   Couldn't agree more.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


1,316,175. One million, three-hundred sixteen-thousand, one-hundred and seventy-five.    That's the reported number of how many American soldiers have died for this country since the Revolutionary War.

I'd like to think that I could understand the magnitude of what those numbers mean.  Sometimes I convince myself that I do understand, because of the stories I've heard or the things I've witnessed.  My Papa, Bernie Boxx, was a cook on a submarine during World War II. While he never was involved in any real combat, several of his closest friends were...and many of them were killed.  As a missionary in France, I was able to speak with several French and American Veterans that lived through the Nazi regime. I served in a small coastal town called Saint-Nazaire, a city that was completely decimated by raid bombings in 1942.  I've seen several movies that realistically depict the horrors of war. I've read history books and watched documentaries that revisit Vietnam, Gettysburg, Bunker Hill, the Persian Gulf, Normandy, and Afghanistan.  But I will never fully be able to understand what each of those young men and women personally went through to preserve this nation's freedom.

I just turned 23, and sometimes life as a college student gets me down and out.  Yet I realize that had I been born 70, or even 30 years ago, I wouldn't have had an opportunity to go to school at all.  I wouldn't be worried about any of things that I worry about today.  I would probably be stuck on some beach being shot at.  Sometimes we don't realize how fortunate we are because of the sacrifices of generations that came before us.  They gave up their youth, and some their very lives, so we could enjoy ours.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Goodbye, Goodnight.

Mae. Also known as (M)ulti-sensory (A)esthetic (E)xperience.  I've listened to their music ever since I was in 8th grade.  Their farewell concert was last night,  but man, they sure went out big.  I believe their unique sound and originality puts them up there with the all-time greats like The Beatles, U2, and Coldplay.  But it's tragic how they'll never be recognized as such.

If you haven't experienced Mae, I suggest you do so now.  This is their only track that is pure piano.  
Enjoy the journey.


Thursday, November 4, 2010


What is inspiration?  Ask any two people and I doubt they'll define it in the same way. Maybe a better question is why do we do the things that we do?  What motivates us to get out of bed in the morning? Why do we, as human beings, so often relentlessly pursue the unattainable or impossible? I believe that first and foremost, we all want to simply be good people.  Yet at the same time, we want to transcend our human nature and accomplish something truly incredible. "Accomplish" maybe even isn't the right word.  Whatever it is, this does it justice.

FACT: Students who watch this video right before a big exam, on average, score 23.7% higher than those that only try to cram.

FACT: Those students are also known for forming rebellious, often violent, uprisings against the school administration. This is most commonly known as the "undergrad jihad."

Thank you for over-thinking it, Matthew Belinkie.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Darn Good Biscuits

Yes, that is the official name of my blog. Yes, it was the first thing that came to my mind. No, I don't really know what a "darn good biscuit" is.  And that's the point.

His name was Jeremiah Johnson, and they say he wanted to be a mountain man. The story goes that he was a man of proper wit and adventurous spirit, suited to the mountains. Nobody knows whereabouts he come from and don't seem to matter much. He was a young man and ghosty stories about the tall hills didn't scare him none. He was looking for a Hawken gun, .50 caliber or better. He settled for a .30, but dang, it was a genuine Hawken, and you couldn't go no better. Bought him a good horse, and traps, and other truck that went with being a mountain man, and said good-bye to whatever life was down there below.  And he made biscuits.  Darn good biscuits.

Most folks nowadays say he's dead. But some folks say, he never will be.  Both Robert Redford and Johnson's roasting possum above can vouch for the truthfulness of this story.

Whenever there's something I can't quite seem to figure out, I try to find the solution by making up a metaphor.  60% of the time, they work everytime.

A "darn good biscuit" is a fail-safe metaphor.  I think of it as anything really worth savoring, listening to, watching, spending time with, exploring, reading, getting to know, understanding, etc.  It can be anything you want it to be.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Destination: Blogosphere

What the blog?  That's right kids, blogging is now cooler than Spacebook and MyFace combined.  But, thankfully, this confirms the theory that my generation will at least be remembered for one thing: creating the world's largest stalker buffet.
In all seriousness, the art of "blogging" has attracted many powerful people world wide, sky-rocketing the level of positive influence social networking can have on mankind. For example:
  • Mark Cuban blogs. He's worth 2.3 billion dollars and nearly singlehandedly brought the Dallas Mavericks from NBA scum to NBA title contenders.
  • Jennifer Love Hewitt blogs. She was in the best Boy Meets World episode ever. Then Feeny killed her.
  • M.C. Hammer blogs. Do I really need to explain what he's done for the world? You can't touch him. Or his Hammer pants.
  • And finally, my mom blogs. She fights big industry/white collar corruption through crazy awesome rhetoric.  I'm sure she's proud, and maybe even a bit teary-eyed, that all of her years of nurturing and motherly love have finally led me to become a blogger. 
I'm not creating this blog to present to the world my personal intimate diary. Though I'll take comfort in the thought that complete strangers want an inside look at my brain.

I am creating this blog to emphasize the awesomeness of life. To find joy, humor, and inspiration in the little, everyday things.  To explore the unexplored.  To show that there is still good in this world worth fighting for.  To stress that the Earth is not a cold dead place. And finally, to echo Napoleon Dynamite, prove to the universe that all your wildest dreams can still come true.