On Thanksgiving: The Crucial Act of Nappin'

I passed out everywhere. I passed out in the arm chair, sitting straight up. I passed out in the arm chair with my legs tucked around me. I passed out on the couch. I passed out on the floor, with my arms shoved straight under me. That's the position for nappin'. I passed out at the beginning, middle, and end of a game of Life. I passed out during a commercial break. I passed out in a quiet house.

In short, and again: I passed out everywhere. I ate a ton of food, thought about calling my parents, and fell asleep. I rode the food train to crazy dream town. And it was good.

A good post-turkey nap is essential to Thanksgiving. I didn't have to think about how far away I was from home. I didn't have to think about the ethics of the holiday. I didn't have to think about how the turkey got to the table, or about how bad turkeys are for mass confinement. A turkey is a very bad bird to factory farm. They are large, proud, and have very fragile immune systems. Aside from pigs, they are the worst animal to factory farm because they do not conform well to the system of crippling, force-feeding, and denaturalization. Every year, turkeys are held hostage in internment camps to be slaughtered and placed on our tables to be consumed, greedily and happily. Sometimes chickens and ducks are put in the stomachs of turkeys. It's sort of funny, like the turkey ate the chickens and ducks before it was killed, and you just cooked it and surprise! Poultricide! Poultranibal! Gobble!

When you pass out after a good, humongous, filling meal, you don't have to answer questions, you don't have to ask questions, you don't have to yell at the television, "Why are you on? You cannot be on! I cannot have you running your mouth all day, every day, for hours at a time! You are the reason Black Market Friday happens! You are the reason my head aches in the middle of the night!" You don't have to do anything but feel warm and sleepy and content.

A good post-giving nap is crucial to understanding the holiday. It's what makes you thankful. It's cathartic. Some people say sleep is akin to death. When you eat a turkey, pass out with flesh grease still shining on your lips, and wake up, you're reborn. You can preen your feathers the whole drive home. You're new. You're beautiful.
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On Thanksgiving: Jeepsgiving

Thanksgiving is over. By which I mean: it's passe. Franklin Delano Roosevelt moved the date back and forth so many times that it's meaningless anyway. And do you know why he did that? To extend the holiday shopping season. Probably because he wanted people to buy more cigars as stocking stuffers! (That was uncalled-for. Cigar jokes are too easy.)

But really, I'm done with Thanksgiving as an institution. Some people feel that it's "meaningful" to "take" the "time" to "be grateful" for all of the things that we "have." I, on the other hand, can see right through that. I've seen how it works. Here's how it works: People tell themselves, 'Maybe a third of the world doesn't have access to uncontaminated drinking water. But . . . we have a turkey! And hey look, a TV!' It's like overconsumption is a form of gratitude, especially when it only ends in wishing that there were more brie to be had.

To me, the end of November will always symbolize something much more important: the day when I got my Jeep. My family bought it from a rainy pile of leaves outside of our friend's house in Seattle, filled it with cassette tapes, packs of gum and a tire, and then drove it down two states to my florescent-lit apartment in Provo. They called at 1:30 AM when they were in Salt Lake; I knew exactly how long it would take to get where I was. So I stayed up. It felt surreal. I was barely awake, trying to grade a paper over and over and over in my burning florescent living room. My roommates had left, so the house was empty. While the light burned, I imagined the car coming toward me, as lurid and unbelievable as a parade float, streaming with glitter and overflowing with clowns. Really? A Jeep? I wondered if the pilgrims had arrived at the villages of the Native Americans they killed in a Jeep.

But then they were there, in the dark night, in a 1992 red Jeep Cherokee that looked like it was smirking at me in the rain. They hugged and hugged me. Who? I didn't know, I was asleep. The seats were tweed. My brother's hair was longer.

The next day, we left the house, with all of its food smells and unbreathable rooms and my worries and worries, and we got in the Jeep. The sun came in the window as I turned the key, the sun that was red and brown and smelled like tweed. We drove up the side of the mountain, toward brown trees and a blue sky, blasting Led Zeppelin mamaaa caught you smiling at me, that's the way it should be, and then purple rain, purple rain. I drove and drove, across long streets and short streets, and it got warmer in the car, three children yelling in the back. I couldn't see through my sunglasses. We drove and drove, up hills and through trees and past bright signs and around my old house and your old house. Then the sun got sweeter like a pie, darker, and I drove too fast because the day was over.

So think for a minute. Is there a Jeep in your life that you have taken for granted? Take a minute to give thanks this Jeepsgiving.
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On Thanksgiving: Dear Thanksgiving

Dear Thanksgiving,

You came and went. I ate and ate more. I didn't clock in and work, yet I'll still get paid.

If every Thursday was Thanksgiving, then, well, I'd get paid for every Thursday. So thanks, Thanksgiving, for one free Thursday's worth of paid hours.

Until next year,

The Guy From Behind the Counter
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Something Something Transportation

Ok! So, most of you saw my editorial in the Salt Lake City Tribune. Wasn't that fun! I've gotten word from a staff writer, actually, that the Trib wants to a more in-depth piece on the whole thing. Press is good because press equals press-ure. And not pressure to get our demands (this isn't a hostage situation by any means) but pressure on the University to understand that it needs to do something about this issue. It needs to recognize that transportation lies at the heart of a stable, economically vibrant community. So that's exciting!

Also, a lot of people have been asking about the symposium we put on. Well, below are the links to all of the talks given that night. Each link is to a video, and the whole thing ran less than two hours.

Alex Christman: Intro

Zac Whitmore of the Provo Bike Committee: Alt-Transpo in Provo

Wills Hickman of the Student Provo City Alliance: SCAMP and Parking in Provo

Justin Hyatt: The History of the BYU EdPass

Alexander Lovett of the BYUITE: BRT and Upcoming UTA Improvements

Dr Mitsuru Saito, Professor of Transportation Engineering: Transportation System Design

Dr George Handley, Professor of Humanities: Public Transportation and Environmental Stewardship

Brother Jared Doxey, Worldwide Director of Architecture, Engineering and Construction for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: Sustainability and the LDS Church (Part One; Part Two)

We're getting a lot done! This is exciting and fantastic and thank you all for being so supportive and interested. We'll be posting more soon, hopefully; this semester plus getting all of this stuff together has been time consuming. We appreciate your support and readership and will see you soon!
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I Am This

I am this October leaf
Not dead, but changing
Green still, some, on the outside
and red, a little, in my veins

But mostly yellow

Unsure of whither
or whether to go,
to hold to the branch
or to take the Fall

There is safety on this tree,
and danger below
But joy in the Fall
and hope.
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On the Art of Being Talked Down To

It takes a very peculiar disposition to tolerate constant patronizing. I honestly must say that I didn't expect to find so many with this particular trait in one of the nation's most revered private institutions. However, BYU administration seems to understand most of their students quite well; the majority of Brigham Young University's undergraduates are easily handled.

Let me back up. Some have asked how the Transportation Symposium went. It went wonderfully. We had no complaints from the attendees. In fact, most everybody I saw, presenters and audience alike, left the room in a buzz of excitement.

We did have one minor complaint though. This came namely in the form of the administration trying to shut us down. About halfway through the day of the event we were, in effect, barred from presenting on campus. We were saved by a professor with tenure who, after voicing his endorsement and reserving us a room, was asked to attend a "meeting to discuss some concerns" in the ASB. Whoops!

So I guess we pissed some people off. And yesterday Jan Scharman, our lovely patron saint of Student Life, issued this. What does this say? Here's the breakdown:

- The EdPass is over.
- The door is always open to UTA to restrike a deal!
- It takes two to negotiate (AKA it's UTA's fault everybody!)
- Bus passes and parking permits are not the same thing.
- Our tuition doesn't include extraneous fees beyond our education.
- It would be too hard to talk to the Board of Trustees about this issue.

Ok! So! What have we learned here: BYU knows that it can, basically, say anything it wants to and the student body will not care.

As I've said, it takes a very special attitude to tolerate patronizing. And BYU has that in spades.

Here's what's wrong with everything the administration is telling us:

1. Jan Scharman's assertion that bus passes and parking passes are not "apples to apples" is absurd. It's absurd because it's based upon the fact that parking is used for the "multifaceted needs" of the campus. For football and so on. Ok, cool. Why is that an argument that they should be free while bus passes aren't even touched? And how does that not signal, in the most overt way, that students are not the focus of Brigham Young University? Isn't it a travesty that some students aren't able to afford bus passes because every once in a while BYU actually wins a game and people want to park sort of on campus? Is that really the question we have to ask right now?

Not only that, but her statement is in reference to how money is spent to fund these two forms of transportation. She isn't saying that they are two different issues; at least I hope she isn't. Because if she is then I have reason to honestly fear how our money is being spent. Anyone in a position of power who doesn't understand that TRANSPORTATION IS TRANSPORTATION IS TRANSPORTATION doesn't deserve to make decisions about transportation. Mainly because they have no clue what they're doing.

2. UTA isn't being cooperative. Well, from all my talks with Mountainland and Provo City and UTA, it seems as though BYU has been kind of the worst business partner possible. In fact, they actively restricted the BRT line from coming up to the Wilk. No buses on campus, period, is the policy. How is it that UVU payed over $200,000 per year for their EdPass Program this last year but BYU payed around $500,000 (information from Stacy Adamson and Dawn Burgess, thanks ladies)? Sounds like somebody just doesn't do good business around here!

Really though, it's not even a matter of pointing fingers. It's the most childish thing in the ENTIRE WORLD to say that someone is really difficult to deal with. You are currently the administrator who services 30,000 undergraduates dude. Gird your loins and make a decision that will BENEFIT YOUR STUDENTS. Life is hard, but the Church ain't cheap. You're going to have to bite the bullet sometimes.

3. Which leads me to the BYU Board of Trustees thing. Really? You are seriously saying, to any one and everyone, that you aren't going to talk to your bosses, the heads of the Church, because it would be difficult? Is anyone else appalled that our Student Life VP is afraid to talk to her brother? Oh and I don't mean that in the Church sense. Cecil O. Samuelson. Brother to Janet Scharman. Whoops!

4. Our tuition doesn't pay for anything other than our education. Ok, I don't know if I believe that whatsoever, but let's just say I do. What about our tithing then? Doesn't that go towards subsidizing every aspect of University life? In a sense, then, we're already paying for everything else. It's not a big deal to tack on five extra bucks to our tuition if it will benefit the students. Are you really being that petty?

And it all leads back to this. The article up there mentions that the Student Advisory Council voted to negate the pass on Tuesday. Thanks BYUSA, you really helped us out didn't you? What happened to SERVE MORE? What happened to BELONG MORE? What ever happened to your Charter?

BYUSA is charged with the two-fold responsibility to serve and advise, and is granted administrative support and funding from the University's President's Council... The Student Advisory Council, or SAC, helps to perform the organizational mission in advising the administration and students across campus... Under the Peterson-May (2010-2011) Administration, the SAC Vice President role was reorganized. Responsibilities previously assigned to the SAC VP, are now performed by the Executive Vice President.

[sourced: Wikipedia]

The last time I talked to Sterling May (Student head of BYUSA) about all of this (he's, by the way, a paid employee of the University), I was told that he, and BYUSA, couldn't do anything about the situation. Well looks like they just did.

It's just absurd. It really is. And the message is sent over and over and over again that BYU students should shut up and be quiet about what they want and need on campus.

I raise this question: there are around 200 physically handicapped students on campus (this does not include those with short-term physical disabilities, like a broken leg). If this is a "walking campus" as the administration so often reminds us, what is someone supposed to do if they can't walk, let alone drive? Is there even an answer to that?

I don't really think the majority of BYU students enjoy doing kowtows to Janet Scharman and BYUSA. But it doesn't really matter what I think. It matters what happens, and I guess the message is pretty obvious: BYU students will eat anything and everything that's shoved down their throats.

To Janet Scharman, Sterling May, Cecil O. Samuelson, and the BYU Board of Trustees:

You are not currently serving your students. The disparity between the amazing aspects of the University and the nonexistent ones is impoverishing your image. Suck it up. Stop shortchanging us. Stop favoring the rich, white, and able. Just be the loving, equitable, educational institution you profess to be. Because, honestly, it's incredibly insulting to the students who would like to be on equal terms with their Sisters and Brothers in the Church.

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I will be giving the opening remarks to the Transportation Symposium. Followed by a bunch of other people who can speak better and know more. Fun right?

Just a reminder; we're talking all about sustainability and transportation tonight in room B190 of the JFSB. It starts at 6:30 PM and will go until 8 PM.

Please come and join in the discussion. These are big and important issues.
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Transportation Symposium and Social Media

Hey y'all. You know we're upset about the Ed Pass thing. We know you are too. It's never going to be water under the bridge, is it?

Nope, and that's why this Thursday at 6 PM a group of students, faculty members, and Church officials will be giving an informational event on public transpo in Provo!

It gets even better. In addition to free information, we're giving away free food. More specifically, free gift certificates to Communal.

In the next few days if you facebook about, twitter about, tumblr about, blog about, or even email about this event, tell us!

Send us an email here at barebonesmagazine [at] gmail [dot] com with your name and method and we'll put your name into the hat of gifts. We'll announce the winner of the gift certificates at the event.

Get out there and start getting interested in your local community. They're interested in you.
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