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Am I a bad person?

Am I a bad person?

I feel that I’m really good with faces, I almost never forget if I’ve met a person or not.  However, my ability to put names or relevant details with those faces lags sorely behind.

This is a persistent problem when I go get coffee.  I’m constantly running into the same older woman and for the life of me, I can’t remember if she’s one of the baristas just visiting on her day off (no, she isn’t wearing a uniform) or if she’s one of the nurses that has routinely drawn blood from me on the bloodmobile.  She always smiles and says “Hi,” but I cowardly respond with “Hi,” but take evasive conversational maneuvers beyond that.  If I had one detail, I’d at least venture a, “How’s it going.”  At least then, I may be able limp along a three minute exchange.

What do I do?  Thank her for the excellent skinny non-fat sugar-free latte or thank her for not taking too much of the life-sustaining red stuff?

I’m sure if Dante was still around, he’d assign yet another ring of damnation where you’re pretty sure you know everyone there but you can’t place a single name.

I guess the real answer here, at least if I’m an honorable person, is to find a different place to get coffee.  Or give up coffee all together.

Sixteen candles, times two, minus five

As of this evening (6:45?), I will be officially 27 years old. It’s funny how time progresses in a linear motion; honestly, I never sat around and thought, “When I’m 27…”, and yet here it is. I know that this next phrase will get a bunch of “well, at least you’re not X years old like me”, but I feel old. Time seems to speed up as each year is tacked on. It felt like I was a kid forever and then high school seemed to drag on, then college went pretty quickly, and here I am and my twenties are almost over.

Luckily, I’m happy where I am. Accidentally, on purpose, or by pure buffoonery, I’ve got a pretty sweet life. I’ve got someone to spend my life with who is not only beautiful, but also compassionate and understanding of my smudges and torn corners. I have a job that I actually enjoy, not to say that some days it doesn’t get under my skin, but nine days out of ten, I am happy to unlock my classroom and interact with the students. As well, I have a supportive family… on both sides, who cheer me on and correct me when I’m not myself. Even though a certain siblings of mine believes that I “fall” into everything, I think I’ve done good with what I’ve been given, worked, and fought for.

What does my next 27 years bring? Whose to say? All I know is that I have to live by my rule of, “if it hard to do, then it means that is the direction I should take.” I want to give more, I want to donate my time more, I want to continue to see the world outside of Cottage Grove and yet carefully examine every little oddity and beauty that surrounds me. I want to continue to better myself, mentally and physically. Shut off the TV more, read more books this summer than I did last summer; push myself to run the fastest mile yet, weigh another pound less. Be a little wiser and kinder.

Here’s to my 27 years and to the understanding that inside, I just turned 12 again.

Drop off the Key, Lee… Set Yourself Free

Not much to report, been kind of a slow news week. But I’ll give it a shot:

-Went to the Oregon vs. UCLA Basketball game, I forgot how much I love Mac Court. I still think it would be a shame to replace it. In the spirit of U of O athletics, they lost in the remaining minute of the game. Regardless, I had a good time with Dad and Meg.

-Near the End of next month, I will be on my way down to Reno for a Football Coaches Conference; I’ll be specializing on the defensive line. I’ll be down there for two nights, myself and about 8 other coaches are riding down for the 9+ hour drive (reminiscent of the 10+ hour drive to San Francisco).

-I am still getting up every morning and am at the high school weight room by 6:30.

-Heading to the ‘Burn this weekend, haven’t been home since the holiday season.

-Half way though the school year, counting down the days. I think teachers are giddier about the end of the school year than the kids. Or at least I am.

Not much else happening, I’ll keep your briefed on all the mundane details.

I’ll light the fire, you put the flowers in the vase

I’ve recently come to the conclusions that despite the new job, graduation, planning and wedding, getting married, and a honeymoon–my life isn’t hectic enough. With that in mind, Jess and I had a lot of conversations about where we were going to be living next year. For the past two months we have been scouring newspapers and the internet for rental property, with nothing to show. What we often found was that the properties that we liked were going for about a grand (or more) a month for substandard homes.As I figured it, we could easily be paying a mortgage for that amount of money and thus began our search for a home to buy. After talking to many mortgage companies, a bunch of real estate agents, and looking at many different houses…

Jess and I put an offer on a house. We did this yesterday afternoon. It is a very cute, brand new home in Cottage Grove. Three bedroom, two full bath. I promise to put up pictures as soon as I can. This will effectively shorten my commute from a thirty minute drive to a ten minute bike ride.

Jess and I couldn’t be more excited. It will not only be nice to live together, but to be in a house where we can paint the walls and have a dog without someone making us pay for those privileges.

Hypothetically, the closing will take place before the wedding. More news to come, I’m sure.



but the hills of Iowa make me wish that I could

I woke up with an interesting notion this morning. The wedding is exactly two months away. With everyday I get a little more excited, a little more “grown-up” feeling. Let alone the amazement that some would date me for almost four years, let alone trade vows and rings. But I’m very lucky, Jess is a great person–hopefully she can help me to become more mature (or as she puts it, keeping my laundry off of my bedroom floor). Personally, I think I’m getting the better deal, she’s calm, organized, clean, and anything by chaotic. I can at least cook.I can’t wait until the wedding, mostly to see the wedding dress, since Jess has initiated a media blackout on the details of her dress, all except that it’s white. It will be fun, there will be a lot of people that I haven’t seen in a long time, lots of friends and some distant family members… although, most people there will have the last name Hanson or will be directly related to a Hanson. I’ve been working on a web page to organize the detail of the wedding, it’s not near completion, but it’s up, take a gander: I promise to get more done on it. As well, let me know what you think.

As I figure it, this is kind of a culminating party for the first quarter of my life. Nothing says welcome to being an adult like a wife, a new job, and fistful of degrees to launch in to the next chapter.

Tomorrow, I’ll be even more excited.


the further I go, more letters from home never arrive

This is why I shouldn’t be shut off from humanity for days at a time, I tend to dwell in my own meta-cognition–see below:Maybe I am just absorbing of some of the “oh man, my life is going to be changing drastically” feelings from my sister and her move to college. I’ve spent a couple of nights with sleepless beginnings trying to figure out how every thing is supposed to work out. Moving, jobs, money, houses, and morgages… it’s all just too much adult stuff. It’s hard to believe that it is all coming closer and closer with every morning, I think that’s why I’ve been sleeping in until 11, my little rebellion against being a grown up, at least for 2 hours every day. I am still constantly surprised that no one is shocked about me becoming a teacher… I was always expecting, “dude, you’re a goof off” or “I thought you had to have a higher maturity level than the kids you teach”. As well, I could just be dwelling in the same feelings I do at every major diviation from my comfortable known universe. There is a certain safety in that, yet, there is a massive swelling of excitement about what’s to come. Mostly that I want my own house. Nothing awe-inspiring, just a nice three story farm house with very wide square posts that border the porch–that’s all I’m asking for. Personally, (and I’ve probably said this before) I don’t think that I look like an adult, to be accurate, I think that I look like some awkward form of man-boy. a moy. Sometimes I really wonder how successful I can be in the face of a world that seems already past capacity for people.

Then I think, screw it–I’ll give it a good try.


Oh well a touch of gray kind of suits you anyway

Well–all things are now said and done, I’m fine leaving them that way. This past weekend was one heck of a trial, but even with the bad snuck in some good. We’ll see where and to who this leads. Still decompressing. anyway.

…until this trash-can dream comes true

well, it is now obvious that that I’m no Jinky Wells II– I’ll just stop trying to be what I’m not: a teddy bear. Well, here’s to button eyes.I think everyone should slow down their lives for me. With everyone getting houses, spouses, and other things that rhymes with house or spouse. Mouses, I guess. Everyone’s adult lives makes me want to stop being in school. Stupid school. I’m tired. I want a house. and a dog. but mostly a dog.

Anyway, I am back at good ol’ Thurston High– yup, there all day, the workin’ man’s duration, minus the pay. or any pay at all. I find myself so extremely tired come the end of the school day, that lately I’ve come back home and sleep for three hours… before my bedtime.

Once again, I digress. The real intention of this post is to set this Derek vs. Derek thing to a rest. So please take a moment and vote on the poll on who is the real Derek. Can’t we all just be Derek?


We were never in Kansas, Dorothy.

Maybe it is just me getting cynical with the world, but I find myself becoming more and more leather skinned in regards to the people… I believe that humanity as a whole has an inherent problem with anyone being happy… if one must suffer, all must suffer. This is a sad notion, each day I find it more and more difficult to get up in the morning and smile. I remember as a kid waking up and being greeted with smiling faces and warm emotions, but now, heading into my adult life I wake up to a frown upon everyone’s down turned faces, the only emotion that I can derive from anyone is their utter disgust with my existence and how I take from the overall of what should be theirs. Maybe, for some unknown reason, I grew up idealistic and full of great thoughts of the world being this open place that welcomes all into its bountiful borders, but instead I find it to be a cold closed off small cube of contempt and dissatisfaction. What ever happened to one person can help change the world… now it seems more like one person can try through out their lives to change the world, but if their actions to be seen by someone else, they will be scorned, laughed at, and in the end, ignored. The world does not seek to be a loving place, the world strives to become a place that is constantly raped and pillaged by a few, where as the many have to kill each other for the fantasy scraps and crumbs that the rapists and pillages say exists.

I find it more and more difficult to laugh. There is nothing funny anymore. Nothing seems to be truly funny anymore, if something is truly funny it is fleeting… never to be remembered. What is there to laugh about? How you are different from me? How one stereotype about this one culture is so damn funny because it isn’t like me? Or how someone else believes in a god, or even a god similar to mine, but still it isn’t mine? Everything now that is considered funny, all has the stamp of hate.

I find it more and more difficult to be nice… I like being nice, it makes me feel good, but people suddenly at this age, start to scorn people who are nice. I feel like utter crap at times, even when I am trying to be a decent person… some say “Stop being nice, you are getting used.” Well… damn it, I’d rather be nice and get used than being mean and feared. So what if I am being used… you know what, maybe that doesn’t put forth a flaw in myself, but it shows a flaw in the person who is using me. No one cares for the nice anymore. It is no longer “in”… if it was ever. I can show you scores of nice people who fall victim to the label of being nice, and they are used and thrown away. Nothing more than that brief helpfulness… could they be a romantic partner… no… they are too nice, too giving… but they can help me do this… and this… and this… Maybe I am being a tad bit dramatic… but seriously… people find it so incredibly easy to use me for their purposes, but then never consider me for anything beyond a tool… it is quite devastating… in the last couple of years I have found myself examining the path upon which my life lies on, more often… the one of giving to the world and asking very little in return; but the world is too selfish just to give up that little bit that helps me give much more. At times I ponder why I don’t go into a field that will bring me a lot of money, I can own lots of stuff, and go a lot of places I’ve always wanted to go…. but no, here I am, in a school of study that I know will only lead me in one direction, and that is teaching… I could work on computers or be an architect… but no, I want to have an impact on youth, I want to make sure they are comfortable and happy with who they are, what they want to do, and what they learn… but does the world give me kudos for wanting to do this… no… and screw the world for not noticing… I don’t need it, because I will continue to strive for my future of financial uncertainty, but it is couple with a future of that I can be sure of how my karma exists.

The world is a sad place. I really regret having to say that, but it is true. How can I be expected to try and make a difference while I have everyone standing behind me shaking their heads? Denial. I will deny all the nays, and go forth, headlong into what I have chosen… so what if I live not so comfortably when I’m old… so what if I can’t by that $30,000 SUV? So what if women pass me by as boyfriend or husband because someone who is caring and nice, but not attractive isn’t enough of an attraction? So what if I don’t get the wife and family I always thought I would? What does it matter? It doesn’t, yes I will mourn the passing of my dreams, but this is no where near enough to quiet my future calling. Forget the world and its negative presence, I continue on stronger than before.

Time to transcend the BS, my friends…

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This is more of a rant than an update… sorry to disappoint… I want start this off by saying how sick my generation makes me at times… it astounds me how many problems and flaws that my peers have, and even brought upon themselves. It is absolutely disgusting how much my generation is centered upon themselves, there seems to exist a great void of love and caring for others; maybe this is a teenager stage, by it is absolutely appalling. I always believe that college is a time of promoting humanity and its boundless achievements… instead I am confronted with people who are here to get drunk all the time and see how many times they can have sex with as many people as they can, and its disgusting. My peers have seemed to replace their conscience with alcohol and drugs, no self respect lies within, just abounding self loathing, and its extremely sad… I see so many people that have a spirit and vigor to them that would make them great artist, doctors, people, anything, but they exchanged all of that for the brief pleasure that comes from a bottle, pipe, or a brief encounter with that nameless person. This reminds me of a story from a book I just finished from The Art of Happiness:

“Heather was a young single professional working as a counselor in the Phoenix area. Although she enjoyed her job working with troubled youth, for some time she had become increasingly dissatisfied with living in the area. She often complained about the growing population, the traffic, and the oppressive heat in the summer. She had been offered a job in a beautiful small town in the mountains. In fact, she had visited that town many times and had always dreamed of moving there. It was perfect. The only problem was the fact that the job she was offered involved an adult clientele. For weeks, she had been struggling with the decision whether to accept the new job. She just couldn’t make up her mind. She tried making a list of pros and cons, but the list was annoyingly even. She explained “I know I wouldn’t enjoy the work as much as my job here, but that would be more than compensated for by the pure pleasure of living in that town. I really love it there. Just being there makes me feel good. And I’m so sick of the heat here. I just don’t know what to do.” Her mention of the term pleasure reminded me of the Dalai Lama’s words, and probing a bit, I asked, “Do you think that moving there would bring you greater happiness or greater pleasure?” She paused for a moment, uncertain what to make of the question. Finally she answered, “I don’t know…You know, think it would bring me more pleasure than happiness…Ultimately, I don’t think that I’d really be happy working with that clientele. I really do get a lot of satisfaction working with the kids at my job…” Simply reframing her dilemma in terms of “Will it bring me happiness?” seemed to provide a certain clarity. Suddenly it became much easier to make her decision. She decided to remain in Phoenix. Of course, she still complained about the summer heat. But, having made the conscious decision to remain there on the basis of what she felt would ultimately make her happier, somehow made the heat more bearable.”

My generation seems to strive for the brief fleeting pleasure… this same pleasure, in no way betters their lives, improves their prospects and actually, in some cases, removes some prospects. I am overwhelmed with the pleasure-induced drooling that my peers possess… they will do anything for that millisecond of brief unsatisfying pleasure. This is not to say that pleasure is all around bad, because it isn’t, but I do not think that it comes anywhere near becoming a necessity. I believe that that constant pursuit of pleasure by people leads to a denial of altruism… everyone seems to now be too concerned with their own personal suffering, to realize that everyone… EVERYONE suffers… we all live, and with that comes suffering… be it a debilitating disease, that search for that special person, loneliness, not knowing what you believe, or just the fact that you exist… suffering is unknown to no one. The holiest of people to the atheists and faithless know this suffering, it is not unique to a race, sex, economical class, orientation of any kind, religion, or personality type, everyone feels their own brand of personal suffering… does this mean we deal with it solely by ourselves? No. Take upon others suffering and maybe it will help alleviate your own, or at least make you feel better as a person. What harm does it do to help others with their suffering? Your suffering will still be there, if you confront it or not, but reach out to others, show that bond that is human kind, show compassion… stray from the all-too-worn path of causing other people suffering… how does inducing more suffering upon others make someone suffer less? It doesn’t. You might think this is a simple enough theory, but really it is so incredibly foreign. You may look at someone and say “what do I have in common with this person, they are truly my opposite, I can find no shared aspects.” That being so, you can still help improve their life… I do not mean by money or donations, I mean by discovering that bond of we both exist, we both suffer, we should help each other out, because it can do nothing but improve our existence. People are too wrapped up in the petty insignificant difference between them and whom ever stands next to them, they forget that there are really no differences that can account for why we treat each other like we do… What reason do I have to hurt another person? Because they have a different god, a different skin color, they find a different kind of person attractive… WHAT DOES THAT MATTER TO ME? WHY DOES THAT MAKE ME HATE AND HURT THEM?

It shouldn’t.