For most of us, our lives are unfortunately filled with people trying to tear down prominent institutions that influence our lives. Usually, we understand that these attempts tells us more about the perpetrators than of the institutions they are trying to bring down. In many ways, I see these attempts as very useful; I learn very quickly who I think like, and those people who I know I will never trust. However, every once in a while you find that one of the people you've decided you can't trust, might just be right. I consider these days dark days, and today is one of those days.

After two critical viewings of the movie Frozen, I came away with such mixed feelings. After the movie, Traci and I commented on how it feels as though Disney is entering into another golden era of movie making (with the exception of Planes, or as we call it Nauseaus). That didn't stop me from pointing out that I found real problems with the movie's theme song, "Let It Go." During the first viewing, I told Traci that the premise of the song was built upon faulty logic, and poorly formed ideals. However, when a blond haired, blue-eyed, four year old boy starts singing it, instead of my stomach turning (as it should have), my judgments of the song softened. Upon the second viewing, though I had very similar feelings to the first, I held them in better. It wasn't until three days later that the walls came down... As Buster and I drove, we listened to "Let It Go," and things started to click. This song is the female equivalent to Rage Against the Machine's 'Killing in the Name Of." Funny enough, upon relating these two songs to each other, I felt an instant understanding and became okay with the song and with the ideas it espouses. But that feeling soon left, and I returned to a feeling of doubt. Then came my conversation with Traci.
I told Traci I was far more accepting of "Let it Go," because it is the female anthem of liberty. Interestingly, Frozen's freedom fighter, Traci, put things into perspective. This is why you get married, even if it causes you to lose faith in Disney, and possibly humanity. The institution that gave us truth through such movies as G-Force, Bolt, or The Jonus Brothers 3D Concert Experience, would lose all credibility. Please pay attention to the lyrics from the chorus of "Let it Go."
Let it go, let it go Can’t hold it back anymore Let it go, let it go Turn away and slam the door I don’t care What they’re going to say Let the storm rage on, the cold never bothered me anyway
Now please look at the picture (above) of the character Elsa. When the song starts, she is wearing her local Princess dress. When she throws her tantrum, causing "Eternal Winter," she throws off these shackles of clothing. Elsa then changes into an evening dress and does her hair into a different, just as intricate, hairdo. These changes, as I understand it, show that she has taken back her life, and she'll run it how she desires. Girl power! Unfortunately, Traci points out that this idea is founded within Disney's greatest lie ever, she didn't say it like that. What Traci really said was, "If I were going to tell the world where to go, I'd do it in sweat pants." If Disney wants to be taken as a serious/honest corporation, they will remake this portion of the movie with Elsa in either sweats, or to a lesser extent a bootie shorts and a big shirt.

On Thursday evening at the New Silver Heights Bingo Hall in Louisville, dreamers sat down with all the hope life had not yet stripped away. Perhaps a little hope they kept secret such that they might be the one to yell a simple word among so many numbers. One word. Bingo. But once again, their dreams were put on hold by a Louisville man racing through hall with his pants down screaming "Bingo." Police arrested Deharra Waters pictured above in an unusual mug shot and charged him with disorderly conduct and alcohol intoxication. Police say his action caused alarm to both patrons and employees alike. 12/30/2013
I would like to be the first person to say that I am disgusted by what I read, as it relates to what happened in the New Silver Heights Bingo Parlor. For some reason, stories effect each of us differently, but this one has cut me to the bone. I monitor the news with regularity, and at times I am impressed by what people do, other times I find myself disappointed, and at times (like today), my patience with our world simply falls short. I guarantee that the simple patrons of the Parlor were hoping to use those fun shaped bingo markers, without being made sick.
I feel like throwing up, thinking about how the the early settlers of Louisville, William Johnson and James Peters, would be rolling over in their graves. Or how three truck drivers named Dale, Chip, and Clyde were forced to toss their bingo markers and wrestle Mr Deharra Waters out of the hall. All I could think was, what a jerk. When I was 21, I remember going (along with my brother Matt and Ben Colvin) on a group date to a Bingo Hall. Sure the average age was 74, you had to buy a turkey and mashed potatoes meal as cover to get into the hall, when you left you smelled like an ash tray, and afterward you knew more about Firebirds than your local high school Auto-body teacher, but it was the good clean fun that you just wanted to share with the world. At no point did any of us concern ourselves with anything but the balls rolling out of the tumbler. These people were the salt of the earth, and though most of them would probably post bail for one of their grandchildren within 48 hours, they wouldn't know what to do when a situation like this stared them right in the face. But Mr. Waters comes in singing, "Comfortably Numb," shocking the rest of the hall into what they must have thought was a scene from a Seth Rogan movie (which none of them had seen). Which brings me to what really bothers me: We've all done this, and many of us sober... why is Mr. Waters getting all of this publicity? Today's Civil War bias media sickens me. If something happens in states that were vital during the Civil War, it's international news. If some guys named Matt and Ben, in Utah, do it... nothing. And you wonder who will win the War on Terror.

I'm Back

Well, I'm trying to come back. Hopefully, this return isn't like Michael Jordan's return to the Washington Wizards. Which since we're on the subject, is it me or shouldn't the NBA disband? Don't get me wrong, there's nothing I like more than referees single-handedly determining the outcomes of a few games every night. However, the NBA is tired. Case in point, Lebron James.

* I’m just sitting down to write my English Paper. (about a minute ago)*
Ever since I graduated from college and began my career, life has been crazy. I find myself missing my friends, but when I get home from work I don’t have the strength to call them and see how they’re doing. Life seems so complex these days, and without anyone to reminisce with, sometimes I don’t know how I will remember my college days. Life was so vivid then, spending time with people every night, and learning new things that I never thought I would know. It was great being able to have conversations with friends whose interests were different than mine. But now, my life seems so bland and empty—except for my wife and kids.

*Just wondering how anyone could think Purple was more of a royal color than “Royal Blue.” The word “Royal” is in the description. (about 2 hours ago)*
Then my life changed last week—I found Twitter. We are so fortunate that we finally have a way of looking in on our friends. It’s so convenient that my friends don’t even need to be bothered by knowing how often I am looking in on what they’re doing. It’s great, some of my friends are so good at “tweeting” that I finally know their physical location at all times. For far too long, people believed that their private lives were meant to be private. When someone’s life is private you can’t access it, you have no idea how they’re doing. Before Twitter came around, there was no way of knowing how friends were doing, or what they were up to. Some people would say, “You could call them.” But really who has the time for that? Today, people don’t have time to call on a whim, there’s just not enough time to fool around.

*@Mark: I disagree, The Office is second, Fawlty Towers is the best BBC comedy ever, hands down. (about 4 hours ago)*
For those of you who may not be familiar with Twitter, I’ll show you how simple it is to use. Also, I will dispel some myths you’ve probably heard about Twitter. First, the only thing you need is an email address. Go to and follow the simple process for registering; basically, you just need to input your full name, a username, and a valid email address. The next step is probably my favorite. They ask for the password to your email address—don’t worry, it’s not to hack you (LOL)—they pull out of your email account the saved email addresses, and they tell you who is already on Twitter. Then, with the rest of the email addresses in your account, they ask you if you want to invite this person to Twitter. How awesome is that? There were so many old emails from people I hadn’t thought about in years. There were a bunch of people from group projects, I didn’t even know their names, but it was interesting to see what they were up to. I sent invitations to professors I never even really talked to, just submitted papers to, via email. I sent a ton of Twitter-vites out.

*Driving home from work, finally I’m now going 55 mph, there was a wreck on I-15, around Sandy. (about 5 hours ago)*
Another great thing about Twitter, you can find people you’ve never emailed. There are people from my past I think about a lot, but never emailed, and I’ve been able to find them on Twitter. I found my ex-girlfriend on there. We haven’t talked for ten years; it was interesting to read about what she’s been up to, and to look at her profile picture. I also found most of the members of the high school student body council from my senior year, everything seems really positive in their lives. It’s amazing that even in these financially tough times, they’re all doing really well.

*Yeah, I have the app on my B’berry, I can post updates anytime. (10:30 AM July 1)*
One of the awesome things about Twitter is I can read other people’s tweets, then post my own responses, on my Blackberry. The great thing about having Twitter on your phone is that whenever you have some down time you can stay in contact, instead of waiting until you get home to get to your computer. I work 35 miles away from my house, so sometimes during rush hour my commute can take quite a while, especially when there are accidents. Most days I’ll keep up with my friends while I’m driving home from work. It’s so nice, I used to be so bored driving home, but now I’ll interact with a bunch of friends.

*Feel bad for Jim, because his brother, Dan, got arrested during a police sting at a massage parlor. (12:51 AM July 1)*
According to some people, there are downsides to Twitter which they label as “scary.” These people either don’t truly understand twittering, or are simply paranoid. I kept trying to get a friend of mine at the office to join Twitter, but he kept saying he was afraid of putting his private life on the Internet. I laughed and said, “What are you hiding?” He said something about possible employers could look up your Twitter page, which could hurt your chances for getting hired. I told him there wasn’t anything to be concerned with, even if an employer looked on your Twitter page, it would be fine. Everyone understands that you may have a friend or two who will leave you crude or insensitive remarks from time to time. Because they understand that they won’t judge you for it, especially because you didn’t Twitter it.

*@Spike: I’ll burn you a copy, what’s your mailing address? (3:30 PM 30 June)*
Another friend of mine, who works for the police station, asked me if I knew the police had arrested people because of their Twitter pages. I told them I’m not doing anything illegal so what does that have to do with me. Don’t people understand that there are going to be a few bad people out there, trying to ruin it for everyone else? It bothers me that just because some people do things that get them in trouble on Twitter, that Twitter takes the blame. Horrible things happen everywhere, but we don’t blame the building, or park. You’re going to find people everywhere who try to rain on your parade. Sometimes I think people have a hard time leaving people alone, and letting them live their own lives.

*I’m eating dinner with my wife and kids. Traci made a great dinner. (6:15 PM June 29)*
Twitter is awesome! It has enriched my life. I have been able to catch up with so many of my friends that I hadn’t spoken with—some for years. I recommend Twitter to anyone who wants to keep up with friends and add a little excitement to their day. Also, don’t listen to those people who make it sound like Twitter will stop you from getting jobs, or loans. Do you think that Twitter would be as popular as it is if that were the case? Be smart, don’t write things that will get you in trouble. Visit, sign up, and start living!

*Vacuuming my living room. (7:30 PM June 28)*

I fear I may be turning into Karl Pilkington. Each Wednesday, I have a class from 5-7:40, in the basement of BYU's JFSB. I don't get reception on the cell in the basement and so when I had a break during class last night, I decided to go outside to get reception. As I walked outside I had the thought, "Wow, this is a perfect day. I wished I smoked so I'd get outside more."

How burned out is my mind that I decide smoking would be a good way to catch a little sun? I'm a bit worried about the connections my mind seems to be making these days. I wish I could say this was a joke, but I truly had that thought. This isn't the first thought I've had lately which left me questioning my own sanity. I think some of this thought process can be directly linked to my just finishing the entire catalog of the Ricky Gervais Show (Podcast), for about the tenth time. Please don't report this to Mensa; I don't want a long drawn out investigation, which ultimately sees me losing my membership.

If you have a question who Karl Pilkington is, this is a good intro:


So as many of you may know, my scholastic endeavors have been far more fruitful since I married Traci. So I thought about writing a blog about it to thank her. But then I realized I should put things in perspective by giving thanks where it is most deserved. While Traci has been around much of the time to see me writing papers, reading, or taking tests, another force has been there every step of the way. Each day, after work, I find myself trying to completely change my mindset. The type of thinking needed at work and at school are entirely different.

Much like as Pee Wee Herman wakes up and slides down the fire pole, as I walk through our front door my work clothes disappear and my "uniform" is already on me. My uniform consists of a Maple Leafs long sleeve shirt, and Maple Leaf pajama bottoms (both Christmas gifts from my mom). With the help of my uniform I have read some of the most incredible works of literature, including: Shakespeare's King Lear, Donne's Holy Sonnets, and Dostoevsky's Notes from the Underground. My uniform refuses to be a part of the reading of Danielle Steel novels or Twilight; fortunately for our working relationship, we are of one accord on this topic.

So in closing, thank you uniform, I owe you so much.


I have had a lot of requests for this paper, because I had to conduct a survey for it, and those people wanted to see how it turned out. Knowing I'm lazy and forgetful, I decided to just throw it onto a blog and so anyone could read it at any time. It is a little long, but it was a final paper. Going into this final paper, I had earned a B, but the teacher enjoyed the paper so much, it pulled me up to an A-.

I do have to apologize right now; I know some of you have read the subject matter and believe/hope this will be vulgar, unfortunately it is not vulgar. This was written for English 391 at BYU, so it was written with education in mind. Enjoy:

Rules of Urinal Usage

The greatest teaching opportunities come from the times of greatest awkwardness and vulnerability. One single place causes more vulnerability, and awkwardness, than any other. Talk of bathrooms receive gasps, or giggles, depending on the audience. For men and boys, especially, the bathroom can take on a new sense of vulnerability. From these circumstances of vulnerability, and awkwardness, came some of the strongest rules in male culture. Because the rules of urinal usage bring comfort into the lives of men, and help them avoid awkward situations, the rules continue to be adhered to today.

When bathroom stories are told, the situation seems to always show the vulnerability of the person in the story. In Gabrielle Hansen’s folklore project “Missionary Bathroom Stories,” Hansen says, “This being the case, the cramps seem to be accompanied by a feeling of helplessness." This feeling of helplessness typifies the struggle that people go through every day in public bathrooms. However, there are differences of vulnerability between missionaries unable to get to the bathroom, and men at a urinal. The physical difference is the difference between internal and external conflict. However, the folklore aspects are completely different.

As returned missionaries, mostly South American missionaries, begin telling mission bathroom stories, they are marked by an obvious one-upping quality. As Hansen says, “It appears that there is no purpose other than ‘one-upping.’” Quite to the contrary, the rules which have been created, and adhered to by men for decades, have a variety of purposes. These rules organize, reassure, and give comfort to men in a situation of great vulnerability; the necessary usage of public restrooms.

Interestingly, no manual exists to teach men the rules of urinal usage. Mothers usually don’t understand what happens in a men’s restroom, so they are not able to teach their sons. Where, and how, are these rules found in society? When I asked people where they learned these rules, I got some interesting answers. My friend, Tory Schoonmaker, told me, “They are never really told to you, you are born with these rules instilled into your mind.”

The magnitude of the urinal usage, within folklore, seems to be overflowing. In the United States, an entire set of rules exist; a set of rules without a rulebook, an authority, or a ruling body to enforce these rules. Also, there is no formal teaching of these rules; yet, a universal set of rules seems to exist. These rules have been passed by word of mouth, but people won’t even admit this. No one tells where they learned these lessons. The closest thing we find is parents teaching their kids how to use the bathroom; wash your hands, and put the seat down. But an entire culture exists out there, and they don’t even know it.

No single feeling exists to describe the mental state of men when using a public restroom. Because the bathroom is so “off-limits,” many men find the restrooms at work to be an asylum from the outside. At the Home Depot in Provo, Utah, the men’s bathroom has adopted a mascot. The Doo Doo Goblin (see Appendix 1) resides in the second stall of the men’s bathroom. One day he appeared, a couple days later he was gone. However, the day after he was removed he returned; evolved (new forms included knights, business man, or the Doo Doo Monster, all of which were doo doo dressed up). A single employee at the Home Depot seems to have created the mascot, and due to overwhelming positive feedback, the mascot continues to disappear and reappear. Days before the employee left the store, he passed the tradition down onto another employee (of his choice).

So what does a Doo Doo Goblin have to do with men’s urinal usage? The Doo Doo Goblin symbolizes men’s desire to be comfortable when in the bathroom. The childish drawing does not threaten those who use the restroom, rather it makes them laugh. Because of this comfort, brought about by the Doo Doo Goblin, the second stall has become the choice stall for those needing to sit and use the restroom. This kind of small, yet comforting, presence helps men feel comfortable when using the restroom.

Comfort seems to be a big issue with men’s bathroom usage. When asked why rules exist, the responses I received were all pretty similar: “for us to feel comfortable,” “I believe so people don’t get offended,” and “to help us with the awkwardness of peeing next to another man.” I think the statement that would sum the experience up best for men would be (answering, as to why we have these bathroom rules), “To preserve a sense of comfort. Everyone has to relax in order to pee, and you just can’t do that with other guys around.” So what are men so uncomfortable with?

Of the minority of responses to the question as to why we have bathroom urinal rules, a couple of people wrote, “homophobia,” and “because most men are somewhat homophobic.” This is the line most men will not utter, but lies somewhere in their subconscious, “and we can’t take any chances.” Where the missionary stories don’t seem to serve a purpose, bathroom rules seem to strike the heart of many men.

For women this may come as quite a shock. During my research, I have shared my findings with some women and have been surprised how little women know about men’s urinal rules. After informing one young woman (around 20 years of age) about the rules, she responded, “This was very educational for me, I always thought that it would suck to be a man, and have to use urinals, and confront other men there. I figured that men must just not care or be really used to it, but I learned that this isn’t so, they are self-conscious, and do care. I can understand why they have these rules, that make sense to me.” In order to make this accessible to all those (male and female) who read this, I will discuss things that may seem obvious to men.

There are two questions to ask men about bathroom usage, “Are there rules for using the men’s restroom?” and “What are three rules related to using urinals?” The questions bring back very different answers, as well as many insights into men’s bathroom usage. Between these questions I believe you have an insight into men’s psyche about the bathroom. Between the two questions you find out rules for entering, exiting, and everything in between, in a bathroom.

First, and most men would say the most important, which urinal to use. To an outsider this question may seem simple, and not worth really talking about. However, the choice for urinals predetermines your likelihood for having a successful trip to the restroom. The factors in the equation include; how many stalls, what type of stalls, stall location, other people using the stalls, and if others are using the stalls, where are the others sitting? The first thing a man will do is look to see how many urinals are in the bathroom; if there is only one urinal the decision is almost made for him. Once you find out there are multiple urinals, the real decisions begin to be made, at this time you begin taking into consideration the other factors.

When a man walks into a bathroom and sees multiple urinals, he begins going through a checklist. The first item on his checklist is, are there people around? If there are no people using urinals, men employ one of the main rules that kept showing up throughout the research; use the furthest stall from the door. Choosing the furthest stall from the door ensures a couple things: 1- your privacy is greater there than those urinals closer to the door, or sinks. 2- It gives you the maximum possible space for others to come in and use other stalls, without having to use a stall adjacent to yours. This space is very important for men. This space gives men the comfort needed to do their business.

If a man walks into the bathroom and sees multiple urinals, with others using them, another rule for comfort is implemented. As I asked Kristian Kolste, if there was anything about the topic of men’s urinals that he wanted to add. This is what he said, “it does bug me if there are three urinals, and someone picks the one next to me.” If a man walks into a restroom and sees three urinals, with someone using one, the man will start praying the other person followed the rule about using the urinal furthest from the door. If the first person has followed the rules, they will both be able to go in peace. However, if the first person is using the middle urinal, awkwardness may ensue.

My brother Dave called me and said, “Hey, I know you’ve been researching this, and I’ve got a story that happened to me on the way up on Thanksgiving. I went into the bathroom and there were like five urinals, and two guys were in urinals two and four. So instead of standing next to someone, I used a stall.” Dave followed a rule reported to me from someone he never met, Clark Larsen. Clark said, “If you have to use an adjacent urinal, to an occupied urinal, don’t. Use a stall.” It is a very commonly held belief, if your only choice is a urinal next to another man; your only real option is to use a stall. A variation on this rule is if the only urinal to use is a child’s urinal, a stall is what you should use.

Unfortunately, at one time or another, all men will have to use a urinal next to another man. At these times, the most sensitive rules are used, and if they are not used, problems could begin. It is not hard to understand why these rules would carry greater consequences. As the proximity between men decreases, so does their comfort level.

One of the ways men avoid the issue of proximity is by staying in their “own space.” When you stand at a urinal there is one thing all the men researched, would ask you to do, look forward. At the heart of men’s homophobia, in the bathroom, lies the wandering eye. An ambiguous rule men’s urinal usage is the “invisible line.” It seems that everyone knows an invisible line exists, however, where and why are topics that are not agreed upon. For many, the invisible line is the distance you stand behind someone using a urinal. Others believe, the imaginary line is the line your eyes don’t go below, or a line on either side you are not to look past. The latter seems like the more common interpretation of the rule.

No man feels comfortable in a bathroom when someone is looking around the bathroom. David Walstad states the rule this way, “Don’t look at the other person peeing next to you, like comparing sizes.” Men already feel very vulnerable, showing skin in the presence of other men, when someone takes a look, things quickly become uncomfortable. Clark Larsen said, “I’ve had someone ‘take a peek.’ There was no outward reaction (on Clark’s part), I just quickly finished and got out of there.

When these rules are broken, it seems the fight or flight response occurs every time. For some reason, the rule that seems to be broken more than any other is talking at the urinal. Old men especially, out of nowhere will just start talking to you. My brother Dave is still mad about one incident of someone talking to him at the urinal. Dave relays, “The most uncomfortable scenario I've been in was while waiting in line to use the urinal. The person ahead of me using the urinal was trying to turn his head and carry on a conversation with me while using the urinal. Total stranger. Very uncomfortable. He then stood close to me as I used it to finish the conversation. Needless to say my answers to his questions were extremely short just hoping for the whole thing to end. These experiences are not rare, and don’t always end with the person being talked to employing a flight response. My friend, Andrew, is a bouncer at the local bar. Andrew stands 6’4” and weighs in over 260 pounds. I asked Andrew if he had ever had someone next to him at a urinal break a rule, if so what did he do? Andrew related this story, “Yes, I felt weird and I said, ‘don’t you see me pissing right here?’” Needless to say, the person stopped talking, finished, and left. However, to further show the underlying cause of homophobia, most men feel like if they know the person it’s okay to continue a conversation at a urinal, it’s only if you don’t know someone well that silence is required.

These seem to be the main rules, but others exist. To try and think of rules for using a men’s bathroom, just think about would make you feel uncomfortable in a bathroom. Some rules that appeared once or twice were: Kristian Kolste said, “It bugs me when people pee from three feet back.” Calvin Kitchen said, “No foot shifting.” These lesser rules seem to reinforce the more well known rules for acting in a conservative manner.

Men have an established set of rules to allow them the comfort necessary to use the restroom publicly. No matter how the information about the rules has been disseminated, the rules seem to be universal. As Tory Schoonmaker has put it, “It’s good to see someone talk about this topic, but at the same time these rules should never be told, they are just understood.” The aspect of homophobia seems to be a root cause for the rules.

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