29 January 2012

Thursday: The New Hump Day

Every once in a while, you need  a break. A break from work, a break from school, a break from life, a break from family (No, I'm not talking about mid-life crisis-like breaks. Just little breaks). Many people feel like the weekend is a great time to take a break. Others feel like the halfway point in the week, Wednesday (or Hump Day), is the best time to take a break. I say: Why not have both?
Heading up on Blackfoot. LtoR: Michael S, Meckenzie S, me
On Wednesday I took the day off and went skiing at Brian Head with my friends Michael S. and Meckenzie S. Meckenzie scored a sa-weet deal on lift passes ($10!) and I rented my equipment from Sports Authority (saved about $2 vs renting from Brian Head). We spent the day at Giant Steps and had a blast! Michael and Meckenzie are snowboarders and I am a skier, but we made it work. We did some sick jumps (ha- I didn't. Big air kind of terrifies me...), moguls, and races down runs.
Michael catching some air.
Me chillin' on the slopes.

There was one epic race that I need to tell you about.

The race was down Giant Steps: a run that is almost one mile long fraught with moguls, powder, ice, and steep slopes. The stakes: bragging rights for the win.
I wasn't going to play mister nice guy and not use my skier advantage (e.g. poles) and I had a good lead for 2/3 of the run. We were flying down the mountain! I was trying not to turn to slow down and it got scary at times because of the high velocity speeds. But these speeds didn't last forever. There are two large spots of moguls. These moguls were covered with crud (crud is powder that’s been skied over. It looks like cookie dough; it's chunky looking, but still soft. Crud is a preferred snow texture. Source). And I fell. About four times. One time I managed to fall with my skies crossed, looking up the mountain and I could see Michael above me, crashing down the mountain in clouds of snow. He passed me! There wasn't much of the moguls left, so I got untangled (fell once more), and then went straight down, no turning, over the remaining moguls and hit the groomed trail. I'm surprised at how fast snowboards are. My legs were shaking from exhaustion at this point. I couldn't catch Michael. He beat me by 1.09 seconds. We collapsed at the end.

Other items of note from the ski trip:
  • People smoking and the whole parking lot smelling like pot.
  • When we walked into the lodge for lunch, there was a man who was freaking out. Turns out he was recovering from a seizure. Scary.
  • Got slightly sunburned on the right side of my face. Explanation: riding up the lifts take longer than going down the mountain and the sun was to the right when you go up the mountain. 
  • Pillows isn't as fun as I remember it (that was my favorite trail when I was an avid skier back in the day).
  • You use a lot of different muscles than you usually do. I'm still a wee bit sore. 
  • Michael and I decided that the party wasn't going to end just after skiing, so we went to Pizza Hut, Sweet Mercy cupcakery,  and Crave FroYo (the latter two we visited while our pizza was cooking. We sampled froyo and actually purchased 2 cupcakes. Yummy!). Then we went to my house and watched Inception. 
Pizza, cupcakes, cheesy bread, movie. So good.

Because of this amazing ski trip, I got behind in my English class and am stressed because of it. I never want to miss another day of English again. That is why my hump day will be on Thursday from now on (English is on MWF).


Friday: Isie came home from her mission in Boston! It was late at night (her flight plans changed) but I am so happy that she's home! Elise B. (the other part of our trio from high school) came down from Provo area with Isie's sister, Venice, and Venice's friend Forest. We made posters (mine was pretty much the best poster I have ever made... I don't have a picture of it. I'll get one later), and got her some Boston Baked Beans, and tapioca pudding (her favorite). We went to the airport and were hysterical because of the great anticipation. There was another missionary family at the airport. They were very composed and calm. We were not.

The "Welcome Home Isie" committee with their noses pressed against the panes in search for her plane.
Forest is dancing the Safety Dance to stay calm, cool, and collected.
Isie's family (aka: my other family) LtoR: Grandma June, Venice, Isie, Colleen, Sage, and Pat.
Laughter! I think Isie was freaking out about how different Sage looks.
  On Saturday Isie taught us how to make pupusas (she served the Spanish speaking people of Boston) and we ate those and tacos. Nom nom nom.

{Side note: after delectible dinner at Isie's, I went to a dance party and met a young gentleman who served in Boston with Isie! He returned home about five weeks ago. Cool!}

Today, Sunday, Isie spoke in church and did a great job. Following sacrament meeting, I went to Grandma June's house with Isie's family and enjoyed lunch, music, company, and "my other family." I love them!

Random Photo from the Mission:

Tuesday Taco Party! Elder and Sister Bingham started this great tradition of Taco Party the night before transfers. Elder and Sister Bushman continued the great tradition. The food isn't usually tacos. I think this night we had falafels. LtoR Elders Matthew P, me, Taylor T, Bushman, Sister Bushman, Elders Tucker C, Eric M, Brian H, Travis G. Taking the picture is Elder Tyson W.

Riding a Bike....

... in the winter. On Sunday. This is what I look like:
Complete with trousers tucked in socks.

23 January 2012

Make a Difference in the World

Greetings, individuals of the homo sapien persuasion. I hope you're not squeamish from the above photo (it's just iodine. And ink. And tiny bit of blood). Today I donated blood and got that rad sticker that states that I make a difference. According to my blood donor card, one blood donation can help save up to 3 lives. Only 8% of the eligible US population donates blood. Every 2 seconds someone in America needs blood. Less than 30% of the people who give blood once will ever give blood again. Donated blood only lasts for 42 days. You can donate blood as many as 6 times a year. Interesting, eh? Here's some more interesting facts about donating blood.

When I have donated blood in the past, I get done in under ten minutes. Today, my vein collapsed and it took 19 minutes! Gah! It was forever! Luckily, they had Ratatouille on and it kept me entertained.

The moral of the story is: if you can donate blood, do it! You'll save a life. Or three. 

Random Photo from the Mission:

Roomies! These were the Anacostia North Elders when I was living in Anacostia. LtoR Elder Eric M, Elder Me, Elder Matthew P. I look a little heavy in this one.

15 January 2012

The Sunday Evening Post

Sometimes this is how I feel. Yet I still blog. Source: Despair.com
Education News: I am officially a music education major at Southern Utah University. I am not overwhelmed. Yet. I am not underwhelmed. I am just whelmed.

Sports News: I have been playing racquetball with my friend Michael S. I also really want to try Zumba (it has yet to be rescheduled for this semester). A visiting high councilor even mentioned how Zumba has helped his old body and he can now almost touch his toes.

Religion News: I received a new calling today. I am the assistant finance clerk in my ward [congregation]. I also have a new home teaching companion who is also in the music ed. program. And today I spoke in the Hamilton Fort ward about The Book of Mormon which is pretty much my favorite book. Ever.

Finance News: I don't have enough money. I need a job. However, I did get a $500+ check from SUU for having left over grant money. $150 of it went to purchase textbooks (hooray for the internet and cheap, used textbooks!).

Arts and Entertainment News: I went to listen to the American Piano Quartet as part of Cedar City Music Arts Virtuoso season. Holy cow. Those guys can play some piano.

Obituaries: I'm still alive.

Random Photo from the Mission:
Some of the best memories I have of the mission are the wonderful missionaries I served with. These are the missionaries that lived in Parkview Gardens in Riverdale Park, MD in September 2010. LtoR: Elder Austin L, Elder Me, Elder Andy P, Elder Tin Chi L, Elder Taylor T.

08 January 2012

Book Club

I just posted on Friday. And today is Sunday. And I'm blogging again. Yay!

Anywho, in the great book I just read, it talked about reading great literature. Some of the last pages of said book contain a list of one hundred books that a man should read. So I got the idea that I should start a book club for men only. It was only in recent decades that book clubs became associated* with feeling sharing time and weep fests.

I don't want that.

The program:
  • Just read one book a month (because of school/work schedules sometimes bog us down).
  • Discuss the principles and lessons learned from the book. 
  • Discuss how we can apply those principles and lessons to become better individuals.
  • Eat cookies.
I'm pretty sure that the vast audience of my blog readers are female, but don't you think that this is a really good idea? 

I do.

I love reading, but it has been a long time since I have sat down and read a good novel. Once this get's rolling I'll have an excuse to expand my appreciation of great literary works.

English majors aren't invited. Sorry.

And now the random photo from the mission!

Lunch at Moroni & Brother's Pizza (which is owned by a member in the Spanish branch) with my Mexican Elders.... They're not really Mexican, but they're in the Spanish program. Love these Elders! LtoR: Elder Jordan L, Elder Me, Elder Ty W, Elder Bret C. Yummy yummy pizza!
The exterior of the restaurant, courtesy of Google maps.

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*I know that there are many book clubs that aren't full of feeling sharing time or weep fests. Society, however, ofttimes views them as such.

06 January 2012


Without scruples, life would taste like foot. 
~E. M. Liebhardt

I went to freshman orientation today at Southern Utah University. It was here I decided that I'm not going to lay low. I'm going to be outspoken. I'm going to make new friends. I'm going to get good grades. In a nutshell: I'm going to rock the socks off SUU. 

I recently finished a book. I suppose it would go under the category of self-help books. Or reference. Or etiquette. Or self-improvement. The book is called The Art of Manliness: Classic Skills and Manners for the Modern Man by Brett and Kate McKay. It was a very good read and I learned about alot. One inspiring thing that I learned from this read is as follows:
Great achievements come to those who are willing to take risks. A leader who continually plays it safe will never put themselves or the people they lead in a position to experience success. A life without risks is surely alluring; its sweet lullaby of safety and comfort has lulled many a man into the trap of mediocrity and apathy. But a man who never dares greatly fails to see that he has taken the greatest risk of all: the risk that he will never progress, never refine his soul, never amount to anything worthwhile. (209)
That's just one tidbit of goodness that I enjoyed whilst reading this informative book. This section is obviously talking about leadership and though I'm not aspiring to lead the SUUSA or anything, I, and you do, too, have many instances where we lead. Whether in our families, schools, communities, or churches, we are all leaders in some small (or great) way. I'm choosing to lead my personal experience at SUU. To be the effective leader of this path I need to take risks.

And take risks I shall.

And I'll keep my foot out of my mouth.

Most of the time.

Goodness me! I almost forgot about the segment I like to call The Random Photo From My Mission.

This is me and my trainee, Elder Jacob C. of Taylorsville. We are at the Washington DC Temple Visitors' Center.

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02 January 2012

Game on!

New Year's Eve.

There is no other holiday like it.

To celebrate, some people like to get really drunk and party like it's 1999. Some people like to throw things that represent bad memories from the past year into bonfires while dancing around like a heathen.

You'll be happy to know that I don't drink and that I didn't have anything bad memories to burn from the past year. So what did I do? How did I celebrate?


 Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I'm a gamer. But not in the sense that society associates with people huddled in their basement in front of a computer screen or a gaming console trying to save Middle Earth. I play other games. These games:

Mille Bornes, Scattergories, Boggle, Taboo, Dominoes, Scrabble, Quiddler, Hearts, and Push the Dummy to name a few.
I like winning. So I try to win most of the time. Sometimes we play Dominoes when everyone wins (the stars were aligned to make that one happen. Or we didn't want to read the novel-like instructions to remember how to play). Sometimes we play Scrabble when my dad actually loses (a rare event that only happens once every 26 years!). Sometimes you don't have Taboo so you download it on a smartphone (there's an app for that!).

Our family has been dubbed Word Nerds because of the wordy nature of the games we love to play.

Another great thing about New Year's Eve is food. Lots of food. And sparkling cider. And playing games until 0330. Did I mention games?

Did you know that if you dance after drinking a glass of sparkling cider, you feel really crappy? You think it would be common sense to not dance when one has a full belly of bubbly goodness, but when there's a strobe light (there's an app for that!) you can't not dance.

So with the games, movies, dancing, games, social interaction, late nights, and games, I wish you all a happy 2012!

 Presenting the random photo from my mission!

Me at the National Arboretum at the azalea hill. The National Arboretum was my favorite place to visit.

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