Sunday, April 25, 2010

Everything sounds better in latin

A while back I was trying to come up with a good latin proverb for a tattoo I've been wanting to get. Anyhoo tattoos cost money so I've yet to get it permanently affixed to my epidermis, but during my search I found some that were funny, clever, lame, or interesting. Here are some of them, also, please note that my latin knowledge, particularly in proper declension and conjugation, is not very good, so please check with somebody that knows what they're doing before you take one of these phrases and make it permanent, unless you're a Barffalo Sabres fan, in that case do what you please. Any comments of my own appear in Eyetallix

auribus teneo lupum "I hold a wolf by the ears" To which I say: let go, I dare you

cave laborem "beware of work" My parents would probably say this one fits me perfectly

circulus vitiosus "vicious circle" This would be a sweet tattoo if it looped around onto itself

concordia cum veritate "in harmony with truth"

disce quasi semper victurus vive quasi cras moriturus "Learn as if always going to live; live as if tomorrow going to die." Sounds kind of like that James Dean quote, either way it's bad advice. If I lived today like it was my last I'd probably end up being indicted tomorrow.

dulcius ex asperis "through difficulty, sweetness" Reminds me of that kickass Jimmy Eat World song, I'm not so sure about the translation though, sweetness? rly?

esse est percipi "to be is to be perceived"

esse quam videri "to be, rather than to seem"

festina lente "hurry slowly" thanks Ferris

historia vitae magistra "history, the teacher of life" Being a history major I naturally considered this little ditty, then I also considered the prospects of me ever being seen as cool or edgy ever again, and I changed mind.

In omnibus requiem quaesivi, et nusquam inveni nisi in angulo cum libro "Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book" for you reader-types :)

in vino veritas "in wine [there is] truth" Amen, brother

iter faciamus "Road trip!" I wrote this one down because of its utter randomness, I'm skeptical of the translation.

leges humanae nascuntur, vivunt, et moriuntur "laws of man are born, live and die" never stop stickin' it to the man

liberate me ex infernis "free me from hell" An ex of mine had this marked on her* I should have taken the hint... or learned latin sooner

luctor et emergo "I struggle and emerge" ...from the mosh pit

magna est vis consuetudinis "great is the power of habit" Word

memento mori "remember that [you will] die"

memento vivere "a reminder of life"

memores acti prudentes futuri "mindful of what has been done, aware of what will be" Yoda???

multum in parvo "much in little"

ne cede malis "do not give in to misfortune"

nemo nisi per amicitiam cognoscitur "No one learns except by friendship"

nemo saltat sobrius "Nobody dances sober" Correction: *I* never dance sober

Nemo enim fere saltat sobrius, nisi forte insanit "Nobody dances sober, unless he is completely insane."

non facias malum ut inde fiat bonum "you should not make evil in order that good may be made from it"

non impediti ratione congitatonis "unencumbered by the thought process" That's how I roll

nunc est bibendum "now is the time to drink" I like the way this guy thinks

ordo ab chao "Out of chaos, comes order"

chao ab ordo "Out of order, comes chaos" Didja see what I did thar?

Si hoc legere scis nimium eruditionis habes "If you can read this, you have too much education." Another one of my favorites

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tomato Sandwich (a sonnet)

I promised myself years ago that I'd avoid contributing to the world of bad poetry, but if my sonnet gets chosen as one of the ten best in my Insects and People class I get 10 extra credit points added on to my final grade, so in that case I have no problems selling out for a higher grade.

So without further interruption...

Tomato Sandwich

He clenched his fists, gritted his few remaining teeth
His lunch had been ruined by a greedy little bug
Disgusted, he tossed the plant to the compost heap
This wouldn’t be ignored nor accepted with a shrug

He had sheltered the fruit from frost and too much sun
and stayed away from chemicals, using only soap and water
If this plant were instead a daughter or son
The neighbors would have thought him a loving father

Face hardened, he rose to his feet and tightened his knee brace
then plodded to the garden, armed with only a steely glare
the boy followed, frantically trying to keep the pace
this was the longest he’d seen the old man out of his easy chair

He spotted the vandal, as he dove in he felt a rush
Reminded him of threshing through the forest as as a soldier
But the pest disappeared into the oleander bush
His frustration melted with a tap on the shoulder

“nice try grandpa, now let’s get inside and out of the sun
there’s a billion more where that came from”

-Jason Kubota


The requirement was that it be a sonnet, which was unfortunate because I hate rhyme, I'm not 100% satisfied with the poem, for various reasons, but I'll leave it at that.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Downfall of the Democratic Party (written in 2005)

Yet another blast from the past in the form of an old newspaper column I wrote for the Jan. 7, 2005 edition of the Snowdrift. In it I make a mention of Barack and Joe B as being a direction the Dems need to move toward, not avoid. I'm not saying I predicted the future, but I guess even a blind nut finds a squirrel every once in a while, also, it's interesting to see how much it still applies to the BS we're dealing with today.

The Downfall of the Democratic Party

The political climate was primed for change. A faltering economy along with an extended (Which nowadays means unsuccessful) war effort overseas had left President George W. Bush vulnerable to a lot of criticism. He also isn’t the most eloquent public speaker and couldn’t debate his way out of a paper bag. John Kerry had the election within his grasp, then he managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

What’s been going on with those Democrats lately anyway? Of course they’ve lost the last two presidential elections with two less than inspiring candidates in Al Gore and “Ketchupman” Kerry, but what about all of the Congressional seats they’ve been losing –With November’s election the Republican Party picked up sixteen Congressional seats to increase their majority to forty— The liberal wing of our political system has been hemorrhaging for years, and there’s plenty of blame to go around.

The biggest problem with the Democratic Party is shoddy organization. In other words they’re like your 16-month-old nephew, no control of when they make a mess of themselves. Would you ever see a member of the Republican Party get on stage at the Democratic National Convention and bash his party’s presidential candidate? Not unless he wanted to endure a few rounds of Chinese nipple torture he wouldn’t.

Okay, so he’d really only lose all of his reelection campaign contributions along with any powers he may have had in the backroom committee meetings (a.k.a. “smoke-filled room shady dealings”) until he would ultimately be replaced come election time, but you get my point. But what happens when Senator Zell Miller (D-GA) jumps on stage at the GOP Convention and bashes Kerry? Nothing, unless you call punishment scratching “Zell Eats Poo” on his office desk with a penknife.

Democrats also have a tendency to try to be too much like Republicans. When Republicans lose to Democrats, do they turn around and say, "Gee we need to be more like them in order to win"? Never. But that's what Democrats do when they lose to Republicans. What does that do? It softens support among the base, it seems phony to moderates, and conservatives are going to vote real-deal Republican, not Republican Lite.

Since when was “liberal” a dirty word? There are great aspects of liberalism, just like there are great aspects of conservatism, yet John Kerry spent his entire campaign hiding from his liberal label and the party as a whole did their best to hide from their more liberal members in Howard Dean and Sen. Joe Biden (D-CT) instead of standing up for themselves and describing what the whole vision of liberalism is about a la Barack Obama (D-IL) ““If there are people in this country that are going to bed hungry and sick and sleeping in the streets, my duty as an American citizen has not been fulfilled.”

If the liberals would wake up from their fantasyland they would see a great opportunity lying before them. There is currently no party that truly, completely and unapologetically represents the interests of working-class Americans who are finding their jobs vanishing, their benefits shrinking, their towns falling on hard times, and their economic interests being ignored. That’s the party of the Old Left, that party is now dead.

Democrats need to return to their roots if they want to win. They have to find their spine. They have to rediscover their purpose and their vision. Because if liberalism is such a bad thing, why should anyone vote Democrat?

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Losing as a character-building activity

Here's another classic from my newswriting career. The following is a column I wrote for the sports section published in April of 2005. Enjoy.

A long time ago somebody said “You can’t win until you first know how to lose.” Whoever came up with this saying was kidding himself and he ought to be kicked in the shin for his efforts.

While I don’t consider myself an expert on losing I did attend a high school that boasted a .317 winning percentage (in all sports combined) so I have a feeling that I know what I’m talking about. We certainly knew how to lose, but winning never seemed to come as easily. This years Snow College football team won as many games this season (7) as my high school team won in four years.

But you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way.

It’s easy to have a lot of school spirit when your team wins more games than it loses. It takes a much tougher fan to pull for the side that is losing seven out of every ten games. You need a thick skin and a big heart to endure an entire season in that sort of grueling atmosphere.

When you are rooting for an unsuccessful program you learn to enjoy humble pie by the slice. The losses come in droves and before long losing becomes easier to bear because you no longer fear it, you have done it plenty of times before, and when that one big win comes around you thrive off of it for months.

During my senior year our school’s football team finally managed to win our homecoming game for the first time in the history of the school against arguably our biggest rival that we had never beaten.

And although we lost a lot more games than we won throughout the rest of the school year all anybody ever talked about until the day of graduation was how we miraculously beat Bingham that Friday night in September.

Losing also brings the school community together. Everybody is fighting the good fight together. There is no “jock” clique because who wants to be in a clique that can’t win? Other, more successful school programs also get more attention, I still remember the first time I caught myself bragging to some kids from a rival school, “Your wrestlers may be good, but our Madrigals would rock your world any day of the week.”

Now all 3,000 or so of us have come together in this salad bowl of experiences that is Snow College, all of us bringing our own special ingredients to the table where we get to cheer for a winning athletic program.

Those of us that came from winning high schools will teach the rest of us how to win, and the rest of us from the less than successful programs will teach the winners how to live up the wins and live down the losses.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Mormon Missionary punches assailant... who knew!?!

This here is a feature article I wrote about a roommate I had in college back in March of 2005. Lots of missionaries have interesting stories about their time in the field, but this is one of the more... unique tales I've ever heard. Matt is a great guy and allowed me to interview him for this article, hopefully he doesn't mind me reproducing this piece now that he's all growed up and has the whole 'wife-and-kids' thing going on, people may not want them knowing how bad-ass he was back in the day.
Matthew H. considered himself lucky. He had only a few weeks to go on his LDS Church mission in Midwestern Brazil and except for a few close calls he had never been robbed even though almost every single one of his companions had at least one story about being assaulted. His luck ran out in September 2004.

He and his companion were leaving from an investigators* home at about 10 p.m. and were walking through a very dangerous neighborhood. “We were basically putting the importance of teaching somebody over our safety. We had actually been told that we shouldn’t walk around there at night but we really didn’t have a choice because we had an appointment to keep. And we figured that we were missionaries and the Lord would protect us”

As they walked they decided to take the long way home because it was the better lit of the two paths. To pass the time they discussed a scripture from the Doctrine & Covenants and were reciting it when Matt looked to the end of the road at the only dark spot on the entire path that was between two buildings.

“I could see two silhouettes of people in the darkness, but I couldn’t tell what they were doing because we were too far away for me to tell for sure. So I didn’t think anything of it and we kept walking.”

As they got closer to the men they could see that one was on a bike and the two men appeared to be having a conversation on the side of the road. “It made me kind of nervous because normal people don’t just hang out in a dark alleyway,” said Matt, “but we continued anyway.”

Then as the two missionaries got even closer one of the men approached him. “He asked for a little bit of money, I thought he was a beggar or something.” But the man wasn’t prepared to take no for an answer.

“He reached out for me but I hit his hand and backed away before he could grab my tie. So he reached over and grabbed my companion by his tie and started yelling to the other man ‘Pega o alto!’ which is Portuguese for ‘Get the tall one,’ (Matt stands 6’4”) my companion wasn’t really sure what was going on. He grew up in a ritzy California neighborhood and had only been in the mission field for three weeks and didn’t speak Portuguese very well so when I was yelling ‘Sai dai! Solta ele! (Get away from there! Let go of him!) He didn’t understand what was going on and had no idea he was being mugged.

“As a missionary we’re taught to not really react to people like that. You’re told you should just give them your money or whatever they want. So I tried to see if he had a knife and I couldn’t see anything in his hand.”

And then Matt did something the robber was not expecting. He went after him.
“Strangely the first thing that came to my mind was ‘punch him.’ He was still yelling for his partner but the other man just sat on his bike like maybe he didn’t want to rob us or something, so I knew it would be two against one so I walked after him and raised my fist, when the robber saw what I was doing he looked at me like I was crazy and said ‘O que esta fazendo?’ (what are you doing?). Apparently he didn’t think missionaries could hit anybody.”

As Matt went after the man, the robber, now scared and still holding on to his companion’s tie, started maneuvering around trying to get away and keep Matt’s companion in front of him so that the missionary couldn’t get a good shot at him, Matt swung anyway.

“My knuckle caught the side of his face and it was just enough to make him stumble backward and let go of the tie and my companion and I took the opportunity and sprinted away.”

The two muggers didn’t take chase and Matt and his companion made it home without further incident. “I didn’t tell anybody, especially my mom, until I got back.”
Despite the frightening ordeal Matt says he learned a valuable lesson from what he calls his own stupidity, “The experience taught me a lot, I learned that you don’t pray for protection and then go and put yourself in a dangerous situation.”

*an investigator is a prospective LDS convert for those of you not privy to the Mormon jargon :)

Friday, April 02, 2010

Shedding spots

So over a year ago somebody at my old man's work found a baby corn snake stuck in a wad of duct tape in the shop. Pa brought him home and my mom decided to put him in an old aquarium and keep him, in the first week he got himself stuck in another piece of duct tape that was used to close up a hole in the wire mesh at the top of the aquarium. At this point I favored naming him 'Dopey' or 'Tape Leg' but mom decided to go with 'Spots' so that's his name.

For the record, I have a terrible record at getting my pet-name choices accepted. Recently my parents decided to take in a big, fat fluffy cat that was lost and whos owner couldn't be found. Inspired by her rotundity, I decided her name should be Kirby, you know, the video game character, and also my favorite baseball player of all time, both of whom are known for being big boned. Instead they've decided to go with 'Holly'. I never win.

Anyhoo, Spots is real big now, he was a tiny little six-incher when we took him in, now when he's all stretched out he spans the length of his aquarium, it's pretty sweet. I strolled by his aquarium this morning and saw this.

Oooooh, spots has shed, and his skin is all over the place and wrapped all over his favorite haunts, including his log and under his water dish/rock thing. Wanting to retrieve the skin I lifted the log, only to wake the snake, who gave me a look I can only describe as "Dude! WTF!?!"

I quickly replaced the log, after first apologizing (I think I may be Canadian, I apologize for everything) Then I snapped a few pics of the snake under the log. (that sounds like it should be a metaphor or euphamism)

smile for the camera!

kk, no more pics plz

most of you comfortable with exotic pets may think this is no big deal, but as someone that's only ever experienced the standard cat/dog-pet-experience (and the occasional run-in with my sister's bat-shit crazy rabbit) I happen to think it's pretty damn cool.

Poem I wrote in high school, it doesn't suck too bad

I try and save everything I write, and I mean everything. Up until I moved to North Carolina I still had notes I'd exchanged with friends in middle school. Tonight I was looking for something and turned up this old gem I wrote when I was 16.

Egads (no idea why I used this for a title)

We heard a shriek,
and dashed through the field
giggling inanely.
The grassed masks our nakedness,
you shout over your shoulder,
"You are a sea turtle,
now I will show you real power!"

My grandma hearkens again
cat thrown over her shoulder
It's one of those weird-looking ones
with the nine tails in all.
You duck behind a tree stump
but I keep running.
Her cat wont bite me today
because I am the sea turtle,
and I know real power.

I stumble and fall to the rocks.
One of those little bastards
imbedded itself in my heel.
I pry it from my foot
but the old woman has me.
She drags me home
by the scruff of my neck
and gives me a bath
The last one I'll take, I promise myself
Tomorrow I will escape again.

jason Kubota

I wrote this for my creative writing class, I think we were given some random sentence fragments and the assignment was to work it into a poem, that's my guess at least.

Kicking up some dust

Yeah, so... I've kind of neglected this here blog like an unwanted red-headed stepchild.

My bad. I originally planned to update the blog all summer with all the fun stuff going on at camp, but things changed. The internet hardly worked, and overall I was just too damned busy. Plus at some point I wasn't too happy with the performance/actions of some of my employees at camp (anybody who's ever worked at a camp knows what drama can go on) and I didn't feel venting my frustrations online where it can be found by anyone was the best route to travel. Looking back, it was an experience that taught me lessons I never would have learned, and a lot of those lessons weren't enjoyable, but I'm much better off for it, and I reap the rewards of that experience every day. My self-critical nature makes my mistakes more memorable, but I try to remind myself that it's about the kids, and in that respect I think I did a damn good job, even though by the time the summer was over I wanted my exit interview to go something like this

I kid of course, I met a lot of amazing people last summer, and I wouldn't trade any of it for the world.

So like I was saying, it's been over a year since my last post, I don't feel like I have enough interesting things to say to keep this ship cruising every day, but I'm going to start off by sharing some of the stuff I wrote when I was much younger and idealistic, including news articles and even some (gasp) poetry I wrote when I actually liked to write the stuff (i.e. before I realized how bad I was at it) it'll be an interesting little experiment, we'll see how it goes.