Monday, January 28, 2008

State of the Union

One of my favorite television programs returned this week after a long hiatus. In fact, I havent watched it since returning from my mission. This program is The State of the Union address. It has everything you could desire from tv, especially when President Bush is involved. I like dubya, but I will never confuse him for the smartest man in the world. My question this evening has been this: Does the teleprompter tell him when to raise his voice and use his hands? It would not surprise me, except for one thing...wouldnt that just confuse him? Brian Williams said before it started that President Bush took all day yesterday to rehearse this speech. I can just imagine him sitting in the oval office, with stereo speakers in front of him. Condi is sitting in the next room watching on a video screen and piping in applause to either speaker, depending on what is said. When he pauses for applause and it doesnt happen, she runs in yelling at him, pointing out that he didnt have enough emotion in his voice, or didnt point at the people in the front row! Can you tell that I really miss Saturday Night Live? Why does the writers strike have to happen in the middle of an election year? Bad timing...

I figured out what is wrong with our economy this morning as I was reading for my business lecture. It was a very basic overview on economics, but the answer was right there. Here it goes...

Over the past few years, Global Warming has become a hot button issue. The media loves to tell us how important this issue is and likes to shove it down our throats. NBC even had a whole "green" week last november. I am not sure what to believe about global warming, but anything we can do to create a better living environment for our followers is a good thing. There is one problem, since we hear so much about it, there have been many knee jerk reactions. In fact, it seems as if daily I hear reports of some big company or government agency buying carbon offsets, whatever those are. Because there is so much pressure on companies to "go green", it immediately jumps to top priority to get more publicity. As companies create budgets, the only green planned for is the money they plan on making! Therefore, all these companies are having to cut in other departments to make up for the money being put into the green transformation. The result is lower wages, or layoffs, and lower profits for these companies.

Issues like this should be looked at very closely and each detail planned out instead of just waking up one morning and deciding to go green. The only people who profit from this are the consultants and companies who help in the transformation and Mr. An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore, but he invented the internet so he doesnt need the money. The best results are usually found by staying in the middle of an issue like this and taking small, but significant steps as they are available. It is sad to see smart people be completely manhandled by the media and a Vice President like has happened recently. I can only hope that this is a trend that slows down, but for some reason I dont think that will happen.

When can I go to Heaven?

On the drive home last night, we found out President Hinckley had passed away. Luckily, as we recieved the news, we were coming to an exit so Shay could get off to let her tears dry. I called my mom and talked to her for a few mintues. It was very hard news to receive. Ever since he got very sick about two years ago, I had started to wonder how I would feel when he finally did pass. I never wanted to find out the answer to that question. At first, I was extremely sad. He was "my" prophet. The one whose talks and sermons helped me form the man that I am today. While talking to my mom, I admitted this was a very selfish way of thinking. He finally gets to rejoin his wife and live in a better place. Since hearing the news, I have reflected on how he has effected my life.

When I was around 12, I went to visit Gram in Salt Lake when she lived at Eagle Gate. Both Presidents Hinckley and Faust were in her ward. I had attended her ward a few times, but never had the opportunity to see President Hinckley there, as he traveled very often. This time, he walked in about a minute before the meeting started. Immediately, the whole congregation rose to their feet out of respect for the Prophet of the Lord. An amazing spirit could be felt during that meeting. After, he hung around for a few minutes outside the chapel. Gram leaned down to me and told me I could go shake his hand. I was a bit nervous, but very excited. I waited for the few people in front of me to talk to him, then approached. I stretched my hand out and he took it. Then, he opened his arms and gave me a hug. It was very unexpected. The love and power of the Prophet was evident to me, even at such a young age.

I remember the "B's" talk like I heard it yesterday. My youth leaders had told us that a special meeting with the President of the Church for just for the youth had never happened before. That was a great tactic to get us excited for it! In the months following that talk, we must have watched it 3 or 4 times. President Hinckley taught such deep, important principles with great simplicity; the evidence of a great teacher. To this day, there is a beehive hanging on my wall reminding me of them.

I always loved watching President Hinckley's conference talks. The way he pointed at the audience/camera when making an important point. The little fluctuations in his voice that conveyed the importance and emotion he felt about the gospel. In his later years, watching him carry his cane up to the podium without using it, all to follow his doctors orders of carrying a cane with him! What a simple lesson in obedience! His talks were the first ones that made me excited about General Conference, for reasons other than being able to stay home from church for the weekend.

His council is constantly bouncing around in my head. One talk that stands out to me was given right before the passing of his wife. It was called, To the Women of the Church. Never before had I heard such a powerful talk about the sanctity of women. It was given during the General Relief Society meeting, and for the next few years, many people quoted or referred to it often. While working in the office on my mission, we listened to many talks and conference addresses. I remember the day that one came on. From the beginning, I stopped what I was doing and listened intently. It changed the way I treat and think of women. I had a greater appreciation for my mother and sisters. In 10 minutes, I changed the person that I was. I believe that is a definition of power. An agent in change.

I have looked up to President Gordon B. Hinckley for as long as I can remember. When I really found out the church was true for myself, I had those feelings while listening to I Know that My Redeemer Lives with a picture of President Hinckley on a projector. I will always call him "my" prophet, but not in a selfish way. Like my mom and President Kimball, President Hinckley showed me what it was like to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Even as I sit here in the library writing this on a cold, blustery day, my head is filled with memories and my eyes are filled with tears of joy. I know I am not the only one that has learned so much from this Man of God. His travels around the world have been greatly documented, he has even left physical examples of these travels through the many temples built during his time as Prophet. The beauty of the gospel is that my testimony is strengthened by his passing. I know President Monson and his counselors will continue the plan that God had for His church in our day. As long as I am alive, I will use the principles and teachings of President Hinckley to increase my testimony and faith in Jesus Christ. We have lost a great man from this Earth, but he served well and will be a huge asset to the Lords work in the Spirit World. I hope and pray that I can be half the man he was.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Tyler is home!!!

I saw Tyler today. For those that dont know, Tyler is one of my best friends from High School. He was the last of us to go on his mission, even though he should have been the first. As he was preparing his papers, a doctor found a growth in his shoulder. It wasnt cancerous, and had it removed. About a week before being cleared to send in his papers after the surgery, they found some more problems in his shoulder and he had to start the waiting game again. Finally, about a year and a half later, he left for the Brazil Belem Mission, which is right on the edge of the Amazon.

All of us have been anxiously awaiting his return, since Tyler is usually the life of the party. I had planned on seeing him Friday, but the plans didnt work out. He is doing very well, still a bit weird, and is going to be in vegas next weekend. He is very excited to go to Claim Jumper with my dad.

Shaylee and I drove up to SLC on Friday afternoon. Her parents went out of town, so she was babysitting her siblings. I stayed with Alec and Tiff. They went to Provo friday night for Kadee's concert. I went up to Shaylees house and hung out with her and her family. We had a fun night. Saturday, me, alec and tiff just sat around, enjoying our saturday morning. The rebs played at San Diego State, so we watched that in the afternoon. Curtis Terry continued his SDSU magic with a game winning three pointer with 26 seconds left. It was a big interconference road win for the young team. Now, they are tied with the housecats for first place.

This morning, Tyler spoke in Springville. We had a bit of an adventure trying to find the right chapel, but we eventually made it. He gave a great talk, even though he kept slipping into portuguese. David Strobehn and I had a good time translating for everyone around us. After, his family had people over for food and socializing. With a few friends there, we had fun exchanging mission stories and adventures.

Tiff made some great Broccoli Cheese soup for dinner. She all of a sudden learned to cook this week! She treated us to London Broil yesterday. Her practice is paying off.

Shay and I are gonna have a late drive tonight. He family had late church, so we wont be able to hit the road for a few hours. I have a stats test tomorrow, surprisingly im not too worried about it! We will see if I still feel the same way 24 hours from now.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


I have been sick for the last week. Every other day it is a different thing...sore throat, sinuses, cough, etc. I wish I could have all of them at the same time for two days and get it over with! Never before have I had so much medication in me, yet there has been no relief. So much for my new found fondness for pills...

The Patriots won again today. They bother me so much! I still dont think they will win the super bowl. It is so hard to win as many games in a row as they have in the NFL. With two weeks to prepare, either NYG or Green Bay should have a good chance to beat them.

Thats it for now. I just needed to get those things off my chest.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Big Win!

The Rebs pulled off a dominating win last night at the Thomas and Mack Center against those hated Happy Valley House least that should be their new mascot with the lack of intensity they played with! Me, Justin and Brett Parry drove down after my Geology lab, arrived about 10 minutes before tip, then headed back after the game. It was totally worth the trip.

Funny story from the game. About 10 minutes in, a BYU guard named Michael Loyd subbed in. He played his high school ball at Palo in Vegas. He is only a freshman and doesnt have much confidence yet. When I saw him checking in, I said 4 or 5 times, Wink is gonna eat this guy up on defense. The guy sitting in front of my dad turned and said, pointing to the kid in front of me, that is his brother. I started laughing! I leaned forward and told him it was nothing personal and he understood. Obviously he didnt care too much if he didnt turn around and say something to me first!

It was a great game and a great mini road trip. I love the Rebs.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Moving to Brazil

I made the decision today that i am moving to Brazil each September through the first week of February. Thats what it takes for my Colts to win the Super Bowl. They broke my heart again today against the Chargers. 3 turnovers inside the 20 yard line. It should have been a blowout. I am kinda jealous of Keith and the Eagles...but I am sure that will only last for a few days. At least the Colts are a playoff team!

Another thing that influenced my decision to move to Brazil was hearing the beautiful portuguese language in church today. There is a girl from Rio in my ward and she has only lived here for a month. She was asked to give the closing prayer, but was given the choice to do it in either languages. It was amazing! I was able to talk to her for a few minutes after church. My portuguese is still pretty good!

Friday, January 11, 2008

I made it!

The week is over! Once I get through the first week or so, the hopeless feelings subside. I was actually one of the few that understood our stats homework this week, although Im sure that will not be a normal thing!

A miracle happened last night! Shaylee came over and we watched the Jazz-Suns game. Let me say that again in different terms, a cute girl came over just to cuddle on the couch and watch an NBA game! Not only that, but she knew who each and every one of the players were. One of my dreams has now been fulfilled! At halftime, I told her I was living a dream...I wasnt joking. Dad and Alyssa were sitting front row on the baseline about 3 steps away from the jazz bench and even got some tv time on TNT.

The second biggest thing that happened this week was my huge Madden victory over Justin. We have had some epic battles since coming back up here. The other night I beat him 72-34! Yesterday he beat me to gain back some dignity, but the damage was done.

I would like to give a shout out to Uncle Keith for publicly announcing to the world my disdain for dogs. Now, maybe people will stop being so surprised about that fact when it inevitably reveals itself!

Thats all for now. I got Justin and Shaylee into Friday Night Lights so we will probably spend most of the weekend watching that!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Two down...too many to go

Im through the first two days of school. My classes have not been too bad, but it has been everything going on outside of them that has. In november, I made sure I registered for classes at midnight of the first day so I could get all the classes I wanted/needed. Easy peasy...I thought. Everything worked out perfectly until I got on sunday night to look up classrooms and stuff. Thats when I realized I had been put of the waitlist of my English class. Ok, I thought, that must be some weird mistake, I will work it out tomorrow. In the mean time, I found another english class I was interested in that had a few open spots.

After my first class monday morning, I went to the registrar to figure things out. There, I was informed that the only person who can move people from the waiting list to the real class is the professor. I called the professor who told me she had not even looked it over yet. Then she told me that I had no hope because not only was I on the waiting list...I was number 20 on the list!! There are only 25 people in each english class, so I had no chance of her being in a classroom with a few extra desks. My only hope is 20 people dropping the class by friday. I turned to my backup.

This was an internet course, which I figured would probably be better for me in english because then I dont have as much interaction with the professor. Being someone who is open with his opinions, I usually clash with english people. Being an internet course, I could only enroll through the professor. I wasnt worried because it showed 5 or 6 open spots online. I went to talk to him. He told me there was a very long waiting list for his course also, but my chances were a bit better than the other class.

Ok, I guess I am not supposed to take english this semester!! I looked today for one more class so I can take more than 12 credits. Since I am taking stats and trying to work a few more hours this semester, I didnt want to take anything too tough, but also wasnt going to take a class that I didnt need. That didnt work out either. Nothing goes with my schedule, even the tougher classes I didnt want to take at the same time as stats. Basically, unless a miracle happens, I am going to have 12 credits and will have to take english over the summer to stay on schedule. I got totally screwed in this situation. And I thought my lack of procrastination was supposed to be a blessing?!?!?

Anyways, outside of the school arena, life has been good. I dont have class until noon on tuesdays and thursdays, so I was able to wake up at 8 this morning and get a lot done. I got a Golds membership yesterday, which is a huge step up from the on campus gym. After my workout, I came home and watched the first new episode of the Colbert Report in 7 weeks! How I lived through those weeks is beyond me. Even without writers he was amazing, but some segments could get a little stale very soon. I went over my stats homework from the night before (I need to stay on top of it while I still understand) and got some work done. After class, I worked for a few more hours and now here I am.

This afternoon, Justin called saying his car was stuck. We got about a foot and half of snow from sunday night to monday morning and the worst part is right now. The roads are back to normal, but if you part on the side of the road, there is a good chance you will end up stuck. His car is also rear wheel drive...which doesnt help. I went over to try and help and we recruited another kid walking down the street. We were very unsucessful. The back right wheel just kept going further and further into the snow bank. We decided to find a few others and try again. We got two of our friends to come help and finally got it out. I was pushing the side that was very stuck, and kept getting sprayed with nasty snow. It was actually a very funny scene to those passing by.

Last night we watched the last BCS game at my house. The first half was good, but LSU ran away with it. Typical BCS game! We had a bunch of food and stuff, it was fun. Brett Parry came over and it was good to catch up with him.

Well, that is all for today. I like my classes and think they will be a bit easier than I expected. I have all but one class in the Dixon (Dixie) Leavitt Business building. I should get an honorary degree because of that building!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

A New Ward...A New Start

I finally figured out what ward I am in!! For those that didnt hear about my situation, here is an explanation.

When I came back from Thanksgiving break, I went to church and someone came up to me saying they didnt think I was in the ward anymore. I told them I had been at home for the last few weeks, but was still living in the ward. He went on to say that I thought my street was no longer part of the ward. I talked to a few more people and they confirmed his suspicions. The search was on!

I talked to the counselors in the bishopric, who were able to tell me I was no longer in the ward, but not where I had been moved to. During the week, I called my bishop, or former bishop, asking him if he knew where I was supposed to go. He also didnt know but told me he would know by sunday and just to go to his ward again that week. Upon arriving at church, I asked my bishop if he had found out where I was supposed to be. He said he had forgotten, but apologized and said he would find out. A member of the stake presidency was at sacrament meeting that day, so I asked him. He also was not able to help me. Finally, I gave up for the day, deciding to call my bishop later in the week and remind him. The semester ended, and I went back home. During the break, I attempted to get a hold of my former bishop, but was unsuccessful for 3 weeks straight. Yesterday, I decided I would try my luck on the church website. I remembered that if you logged in to you account, it would take you directly to the ward where your records are. I did this and found out I was in the 25th ward.

Now, I knew my ward, but they did not keep up their site, so I didnt know where or when to go. After thinking about it, I realized that ward sounded familiar and someone I know is in it. I saw a few people I knew last night at the game and asked around, but no one could help me out. Shaylee and I came back to my house to watch the last few minutes of the Steelers-Jags game and I remembered that the 25th ward was one of the dorm wards. I called Adam to find out what ward he was in and I had finally found my answer!! That is his ward and he was able to tell me when and where to go.

Anyways, today was my first day in that ward. I was rather happy to change wards as the last one wasnt my favorite, to say the least. During testimonies, I was thinking about John the Beloved and his choice to stay on Earth till the resurrection instead of being granted the wish of the rest of the original Disciples. I realized he understood something none of the others did. During the time we are in paradise waiting for the resurrection, we will want to be back here trying to help in the work with the wisdom we have gained. It was completely selfless of him. I need to understand this now and take advantage of my time here and make a better effort to help my fellow men, because I am pretty sure Christ will not be giving me the same choice he did the disciples!

I really enjoyed my new ward and am excited to get a calling and start home teaching. I never got a home teaching assignment in my last ward, but not because of a lack of effort! Also, I never recieved a home teaching visit from anyone. I hope it will be different this semester.

School starts tomorrow and I am not ready! I love being back up in Cedar, but have never liked school. Oh well, I guess I need to get over that.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Very Productive Days

I have a few funny stories to pass on to my beloved readers.

One night, two young men were figuring out what to do when they recieved a text from a hot girl. "Hot Tub, Katie's House, 8:00" Quickly, Gilbert responded asking for directions. During the 10 minutes it took to recieve a response, Gilbert and Jorge realized they had recieved a "courtesy text". Finally, Ashley responded telling Gilbert to call Katie for directions.

Gilbert called and got directions. Before hanging up, he asked permission to bring Jorge. It is important to understand something about Jorge, he is very fat. Gilbert asked Katie if there was a problem if a fat kid came with him. He made sure she understood he was very fat and asked if there would be room in the hot tub. Katie gave the hesitant ok, then plans were set in motion. After talking to Katie, Gilbert knew for sure they had recieved a "courtesy text" but they were excited for the awkwardness that could occur if they went. Their first idea was to go in speedos, but they were pressed for time and realized their presence would be awkward enough.

Upon arrival, Gilbert and Jorge made their first awkward move of the night by knocking on the door instead of going around to the back yard. Quickly, they realized there was already an even amount of guys and girls in the hot tub. This wasnt a big deal to Gilbert and Jorge as they enjoyed living their alternative lifestyle together. The two proceeded to the hot tub and everyone moved in closer to find a bit of room for them. About 8-10 minutes after entering the hot tub, conversation slowed down. A few minutes later, Gilbert and Jorge found themselves with one other couple in the hot tub. Ashley shot them a look of, "Yes, I like this guy and want to be alone." The two pretended they didnt understand and stayed in the hot tub for a few minutes creating awkward conversation for the new couple. Finally, they got out and joined everyone in the house. Everyone was kinda paired up and Jorge and Gilbert didnt really know anyone there. They through out some really wierd ideas, jumping off the roof, etc., but all the people just kinda looked at them wanting them to leave. A few different serious ideas were thrown around without the two boys in mind. This time they took the hint and decided to leave. Their plan of awkwardness was achieved and they headed home, less than an hour after arrival.

Really, this is a true story about Mike and Trevor. I wish it was a joke, but everything in this story happened!

The next story happened tonight.

We, Trevor, Mike and I, went to Jillian's for a concert of local bands. One of our friends, Sonya, brothers band was the headliner. Sonya's family is from Logandale and many friends and family were in town for the show. Also, lots of people from the local singles wards were there. When we got there, Sonya introduced us to a bunch of her friends from home. Mike and Trevor are trying to get over their attraction to each other and I decided I would be a good wingman and help them out. They pointed out a few interests and we went to work.

The first band we saw was very good. I knew they would be from the first time I saw they had an African-American keyboard player. This was a new thing to me, so I was excited. A few of these girls stayed close to us and I kept trying to push the conversation away from me and more towards my boys. It was going very well.

The next band was horrible. We had a great time joking around about them. I noticed Trevor had kinda made a decision and tried to come up with a plan to help him. At this point, the band we were there for, Air Raid Anthem, was getting ready to play. I was excited. I was full of energy. I used every bit of my energy during their set. It was great!! Anyways, the concert ended and we started to figure out where to go from there. We decided on In n Out and one girl told us to call her when we got there. This was when my wingman skills came in handy. She leaned over to me to give me her number, but I told her my phone was about to die and brought in Trevor. It was a good move.

We got to In n Out and sat down at a table with these two girls Mike and Trevor were interested in. About five minutes after sitting down, Trevor asked these girls where they were going to school. It was about this time I got up to get some water, but I still heard the answer and it was a good thing I was not at the table because I was laughing so hard. "We are still in high school..." was all I needed to hear! Later I found out what the next comment was and it explained the overwhelmingly awkward silence that greeted me as I returned to the table. Pointing to the guy at the table next to her, "And this is my dad." I dont know how Mike and Trevor were able to keep straight faces the whole time!

After I got back to the table, we tried to keep conversation going so it wouldnt be too awkward for everyone involved. It was about this time I got a text from Shay and pulled my phone out to respond. The girl sitting across from me, Kayla, had never seen an iPhone so she asked to look at it. I handed it over to her and kept talking to Trevor. After a few minutes, she was still messing with my phone. I looked over at her and she said, "I want to leave a note on your phone, ok? It will only take a minute or so. And, I wanted to see how it worked to put peoples numbers in, so I put mine in." Could anyone be more obvious? I just said ok and a few minutes later she gave me my phone back. I really wanted to look at the note, but decided it would probably be best to wait until she was had left. We sat there with them for another 15-20 minutes until them and everyone else that had met at In n Out left, but we were still waiting for people. The second they walked out the door, I pulled out my phone and read the note. Here is what it said. "D - You are so rad! Text me some time! Love Kayla <3" I exploded into laughter as I tried to show Mike and Trevor what it said. Mike and I had been making comments about the whole High School thing in Portuguese all night, adding to the amusement.

Finally, the two girls we were waiting for, Lindsay and her friend Kaisha, showed up. Almost immediately, we told them this story, which was probably a mistake on our part because they took every opportunity for the rest of the night to remind us that we are into High School girls!

A few random stories from Jessica.

First, Jessica and j-jar were at the gym yesterday morning when they started discussing the recent departure of Lamar Roberson from the rebels. They decided they needed to do something to show him a proper, respectful departure. After their workout, they went to the Jarmans and made a poster that said RIP Lamar with little sayings around it. Then, they ripped it into little pieces and threw them into the street!

Second, she went to a Chris Brown concert last night! Remember, my sister is white. She said he was actually the only good one, which doesnt surprise me when the rest of the line up is made up of Lil Mama, Bow Wow and Soulja Boy. I think she has jungle fever.

Well, I think that is it for this edition of cancel out the noise. I hope this provides some comic relief for those of you out there.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Happy New Year!

Sorry for the belated New Years Wishes. There was a lot going on around New Years, then I woke up early yesterday morning with my stomach disagreeing with the rest of my body. The rest of the day was spent on the couch. Literally, I got off the couch maybe two times before 9 last night!

Shaylee came down for the New Years weekend. Also, the Marquezes were staying with us. We had a full house, which was very fun for all. We didnt do too much. A lot of movies, eating and football...all the things a good new year should have. Like every year, there was a huge fireworks show on the strip. We found a great place to watch them and Shaylee and I sat and talked for a long time. She is a great girl!

Jake went into the MTC yesterday. It hasnt really hit me yet. I know I will finally feel it when I am watching the NFL playoffs this week and start to text him about something. I talked sports with him more than anyone else! We worked out a deal to end my NBA strike also. We decided that I would take over his NBA viewing duties once he left, which would end my 2007-2008 boycott. For those of you who dont know, this is a huge deal. I think the WGA should bring me in to handle their negotiations!

I have a few more Top 10 lists for you to finish that off. The first is actually a Top 5 list.

Top 5 TV shows of 2007
1. Scrubs
This is my favorite show of all time! I hope the writers strike doesnt keep me from seeing how it ends.
2. Heroes
I watched the first season on DVD in about 4 days. The second season started off slow, but the last few episodes totally made up for it.
3. The Office
The third episode of this season was my all time favorite. I am glad they are back to the half hour format.
4. Friday Night Lights
An amazing show with an amazing cast.
5. 30 Rock
I think I found a show to replace Scrubs once it ends this year.

Honorable Mention
Private Practice
Pushing Daisies

Weird...all 5 are from the same network. Go NBC!!!

The last two lists are special this year. Since I missed 2005 and 2006 due to a mission, I am going to do my favorite albums I have found since coming home.

Top 10 albums
1. Jack's Mannequin - Everything In Transit
2. Cavalier - Your Honest Answer
3. Dave Melillo - Talk is Cheap
4. The Format - Dog Problems
5. The Early November - The Mother, the Mechanic, and the Path
6. Acceptance - Phantoms
7. Anberlin - Never Take Friendship Personal
8. Cartel - Chroma
9. Tyrone Wells - Snapshot
10. Until June - Until June