Sunday, December 30, 2007

I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ

...of Latter-Day Saints.

Sunday in church, we had a high councilman and his wife talk in sacrament meeting. The sister, maybe in her 60s or 70s, told us that she heard brother Ballard give a talk where he said there are a lot of people saying awful things about the church "on the blog." She admitted that she didn't know much about the blog, and said she wanted to learn more about blogging, because to her it sounded like snowshoeing. She also told all us out there that have a blog should blog something good about the church to make sure we've got proper representation. So here's mine.

First, I don't understand writing anything bad about any church, really. As long as the basic belief is that if you do good and live a moral life, loving God and your neighbors, how can that be bad?

We believe that God is our Father in Heaven. He knows each one of us, wants us to be happy, and wants us to return to him. The gospel of Jesus Christ is His plan for us to do that. To help us understand this plan, God has always called prophets to guide his children. Where we differ is that we believe that he still does this. He called Joseph Smith as a prophet to restore truths that had been lost during the apostasy. With inspiration and power from God, Joseph translated The Book of Mormon, which is another testament of Jesus Christ. It is a book of scripture telling about the lives of people on the ancient American continent that believed in a Messiah, and lived the gospel as it was taught to them by the prophets God called for them. Jesus Christ even visited these people after his resurrection. The Book of Mormon and the Bible are scripture that help us understand God's will for his children.

Those are just some basic beliefs. The church also teaches people to be honest, chaste, and basically good people. We believe that the family is a very important part of God's plan, and there is a lot of focus on building strong families in the church. The church has made me a better person. I have stronger morals, stronger convictions, and probably a more loving and forgiving attitude because I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I'm not always perfect (for example, I say a few swears now and then...), but I try to live my life in a way that reflects my beliefs.

I don't think you need to be a member of my church to be a good person. There's good and bad anywhere you look. I think if everyone could realize this with an attitude of wanting to understand rather than scrutinize--in ANY religion or belief system including mine--we'd all be a lot happier, more tolerant, and better as a society as a whole.

If anyone reading this has more questions I can try to answer them, or you can visit and check out the page that talks about our basic beliefs. I'd also like to see what you other Mormons out there think. :)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The great HD adventure of 2007

So my roommate has become obsessed with HD. That’s Hi-Def or High Definition to the layman. Last week, he bought a HD TV, and with it, all the expensive cords and plugs that make stuff work on HD TVs. (Including a cord for my Wii. Thanks, bud.) Well, he decided there was too much “noise” on the TV with the other electronic devices, and wanted to exchange it for a different one. He found a great TV on Best Buy’s website (only slightly more expensive than the one he just bought), so off we went to the store to look at it. When we got there, it was actually 200 bucks cheaper than the online price, so he was very excited. He also decided to buy a Playstation 3. Not the 40 gig kind, because they don’t play the old PS2 games, but the more expensive 80 gig kind that will play the old PS2 games. The reason behind the PS3 was so he could get Blue Ray movies for his HD TV. So we also looked at those, trying to make the decision on which would be the best blend of action and plot to test the HD on.

Turns out, though, that the store didn’t have any of the TV in stock besides the floor model. But they did have one in the American Fork store. They wouldn’t hold the TV for him, and we were already at 106th south, so we decided to go to American Fork since we were already pretty far south of Taylorsville. We were already carrying around the PS3, a movie, and some other things, but we left them at the home entertainment counter and off we went to American Fork. At an average of 85 MPH. We had to get there before the TV was sold out!

We got there, and they tell us the thing is actually 400 bucks more expensive than the online price ($600 more than the other store), so we tell them we were just at the other store and the price there was much more reasonable. Why should they change prices between stores? The sales guy says his manager will let him match the online price, but that they can’t go to the 106th South store price because that was a misprint. I asked to see the guy’s manager, because how can you call the actual printed label that is out in front of the TVs a misprint!! That’s not a misprint, that’s false advertising. (As you can see, I got into the great HD adventure as much as my roommate by this point.) So, he says he’ll get his manager. The manager didn’t even bother arguing with us. I think when the sales guy said we wanted to talk to him, the manager got right on the phone with the 106th South store. When he came out from the back, the manager said that if we buy the TV there for the internet price, we can go back to the store on 106th and get the $200 from that store, since it was their mistake. Good enough. We decided since we now have the TV, we might as well get the PS3, the movie, and the other things we had, and go strait back to 106th to get his $200. Well, the sales guy brought to our attention that there were certain Blue Ray disks that were buy 1 get 1 free, and the movie we planned on getting was one of those. So we went to check out the movies, and the ones we wanted weren’t there. But they WERE back at the 106th South store. So we left with our goods, sans Blue Ray movies, and headed back to 106th. Oh, I should also mention that this is a 42 inch TV, and it BARELY fit in the back of my car. With one window down for the corner of the box.

So we take a much more careful freeway drive with no rear view capabilities to 106th to get some movies and $200. I, of course, stayed in the car to make sure no one would bogart the TV because the window was nearly wide open. (Cold freeway drive, by the way.) Then back to the condo where we of course have to set everything up, including all the other electronics we already have in the living room, and we HAVE to watch a movie on the Blue Ray player inside the PS3. We watched Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and only got to the part where Angelina hits Brad with her car after he accidentally shoots at her windshield. By then it was 12:45 a.m. and we both had to work in the morning.

So there you have it. And all I went out that night for was to get cheap candy gifts for my coworkers.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Tagged - very original title, I know

Well, I've been tagged by Brookey-pants. Apparently, I have to share 6 honest things about myself. I was prepared to divulge way too much information about myself, but I might not... Because I did give a sneak preview to a friend, I will still include that very honest item, but this might not be as deep as I planned at first.

1. I am going grey. That's right, I've got grey hairs. They're mostly above my ears and I think they're cool. It's really weird to think that hair just suddenly doesn't have pigment in it and I'm so fascinated by it that sometimes spend literally minutes in front of the mirror looking for them. And sometimes plucking them out.

2. I'm a Tori Amos fan. Yeah, I think she's rad. I have most her albums. I'd even go to a concert if I didn't think the proximity to angry chicks might have a sterilizing effect on me. In the mean time, her albums will have to suffice.

3. I wonder if I fool people into thinking I'm smarter than I am. I like to use big words, learn new stuff, and I'm good at trivia. But I think I've also got a way to sound smarter than I really am. Here's an example. I'm in a book club called The Smarty Pants Book Club, or SPBC for short. They read books like Middlesex, Man's Search for Meaning, The Power of One, Education of a Wondering Man, and The Audacity of Hope, to name a few. I only read bits and pieces of those books. Don't get me wrong, I would read the whole thing, but I think I'm into fiction a little more than all these grown-up thinker books. I need a break from them every now and again.

4. I have no winter shoes. I have some boots for serious snow, but no winter shoes. As a semi-related note, I don't currently have brown dress shoes or a brown belt. Or a nice black or grey jacket.

5. If I like you, I will probably emulate some part of you. For example, I call inanimate objects and intangible ideas "guy" thanks to Brookey. Like talking about CDs, I might say, "I like that band. Put that guy in the CD player." I also cuss a little more around my older brother because he says a lot of swears. And I sometimes use this weird voice when being sarcastic, because this guy at work does and I think he's funny. I also do heel clicks at nearly every social gathering where Christy is present. (Don't feel bad if I didn't reference you. If you're reading this, most likely there's something about you that I blatantly copy.)

6. I text WAY too much. My worst phone bill had over 2000 texts in a month. Don't worry, I have a plan with unlimited text and picture messages. my most recent bill had only 936 total messages. See, I'm getting better.

Don't you feel so informed about me now?? I'm going to tag Jason, Wendy, and Jenni (with two Ns), because they don't post as often as they used to and come ON guys...

Saturday, December 1, 2007

TSO is more an experience than a concert

As mentioned in my last post, thanks to Jenni, I had the sweet experience of going to the TSO concert last Tuesday. And man, did we have awesome seats! We were down on the floor, right next to the sound guys, and right next to the hydraulic lift that periodically shot flames from its corners, lifted musicians about 3 stories up to play their solos, or shot fireworks. The arrow in the picture shows about where we were sitting. It may have been one of the most impressive concerts I've ever been to.

If you have any of their Christmas albums, you know that the music sort of follows a story. So the first half of the concert is the band playing along as the story is told by this guy.

They affectionately call him the voice of all voices and it fits him pretty well.

The story (obviously affected by the band's rock influences) is about a guy who goes into a bar on Christmas Eve, strikes up conversation with an unlikely old guy with his own bottle of whiskey who decides to share both his bottle and a story with the first guy. The story is about an angel that comes to earth looking for a prayer to bring back to the Lord. The story pauses now and then to let the band play some rockin' Christmas-themed music at each stop the angel makes along his journey across the world. One of the stories in the story (meta-story?) is also about a scene in a bar where the barkeep gives a stack of money to a girl who has run away from home, but has become somewhat of a prodigal daughter and wants to get home to her dad for Christmas day. There must be some significance of goodness happening in bars for the band. The story part of the show was accompanied by lasers, various singers from different genres, the occasional firework, and even snow. That's right, they made it snow in the Delta Cente... Energy Solutions Arena (sorry, still can't get used to that name change).

Anyway, the show was great, but I was surprised at how little pyrotechnics there were. I also thought the show was over after the Christmas story was done. Boy was I wrong! Once the Christmas story is over, then the party starts. One of the coolest things in the concert was how the lighting becomes part of the show. I'm not talking just about the lasers, Christmas colored lights, giant drapes full of lights to look like stars--although all that was present--but the lights hanging from the rafters moved around to give a new dimension to the show. I don't know how to explain it, so here's a picture of what they did to put focus on the drums.

Pretty sweet, huh? Well, amidst all the lighting, there were also giant flames bursting from behind the band, changing color from red to green to blue to yellow. A pretty sweet accent to hearing strings, guitars, and classical piano play Schools Out by Alice Cooper and even Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's Flight of the Bumblebee. Which is awesome on an electric guitar, by the way.

At one point, the lead guitarist and the electric violinist went out into the crowd to play, and then ended up strapped to a hydraulic platform that lifted them up into the air while they rocked out. I also think one very important requirement to be in the TSO is to have at LEAST shoulder-length hair, along with the ability to head bang for at least 20 seconds straight. Oh, and be awesome while you're doing it.

I bet you think I got some really great photos, huh? while our seats were great, they didn't really let you wonder up to the stage to take pictures (although a little girl and her mom got to go up to the stage at the end of the show and the little girl stood on stage, front and center, holding one of the guitars used in the show). I did try to take some pictures with my phone, but they're not so hot. Here they are below.

Thank goodness for the internet. But I had to share MY photographic proof that I was at the concert.