Monday, June 30, 2008

Alphabet Games

Rather than leave the sad picture of my place all burned up, I thought I’d better post one more time. I wasn’t sure what to post, because all I’ve been thinking about is my smoky place, but then I remember I got tagged by Brandy. So here goes.

A-attached or single: single

B-Best Friend: I have lots of great friends, but Katey has probably been my friend the longest and knows me pretty dang well by now.

C-Cake or Pie: pie. I’m not really a fan of cake.

D-Day: very unoriginal, but Friday. I love me a good weekend.

E-Essential Item: hmmm… I don’t know if I have an essential Item… my glasses maybe? Or probably more recently, my points tracker from weight watchers (lost 8 pounds so far).

F-Favorite Color: Orange. And it has been for as long as I can remember.

G-Gummi Bears or Worms: Bears.

H-Home Town: West Jordan. I wonder how long I’d have to live in Taylorsville to say that I’m from Taylorsville… like my parents can say they’re from West Jordan now, but my dad grew up in Rexburg (right?? Oh, gosh, I’ll feel dumb if I’ve got that wrong) and my mom in Richfield… I might always say West Jordan.

I-Indulgences: Chili’s or any weird, hole in the wall restaurant I’ve never tried. Basically anything to do with food…

J-January or July: January. You can always put on more layers. You can only take so many layers off if it’s too hot.

K-Kids: Someday. And I plan on never having girls. That may be impossible in my family, however.

L-Life is incomplete without: ……. Who knows… God? Family? Friends? Sleeping in on Saturdays? This seems like a silly question to me.

M-Marriage Date: Not yet

N-Number of Siblings: 5. I’ve got 3 sisters and 2 brothers.

O-Oranges or Apples: Oranges.

P-Phobias or Fears: Heights and falling from them. But I love roller coasters (I may have done this tag before)

Q-Quote: Ok, now I definitely know I’ve done this before, because I don’t have a favorite quote…

R-Reason to Smile: Lost poundage, family outings, and seeing new movies in the theater.

S-Season: I LOVE the Fall. The weather is perfect, the trees are changing colors, Halloween is the best, and there is no shortage of pumpkin pie. And then hot cocoa and Christmas are around the corner.

T-Tag 3 Friends: The first three people to read this. And since that’d be impossible to prove, whoever wants to.

U-Unknown Fact About Me: Hmmmm… I like to watch tennis? Really, I’m having a very hard time thinking of something that people don’t already know about me…

V-Vegetarian or Oppressor of Animal: Definite oppressor of animal. Especially because this question implies that if you’re not a vegetarian, you must obviously hate and oppress animals.

W-Worst Habit: …… let’s just put it this way. There are two kinds of people in this world: people who pick their nose, and liars.

X-Rays or Ultrasounds: X-Rays, I remember also wondering what the crap this question was all about, too…

Y-Your Favorite Food: Anything Italian.

Z-Zodiac Sign: Libra.

Wanna compare to what I said back in March?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Oh, S*&%!!! the deja vu edition. Only slightly more melancholy

Remember the fire that happened at my complex last week? Well, today while I was sitting at Jared's place, I got a call from my mom, who said that she got a call from my uncle who lives in the same condo complex that my building was on fire. My first reaction was that maybe my uncle is a little slow, so he possibly didn't realize the fire was last week, and doesn't know where my building is exactly. But then his description to my mom painted quite a different scene than what happened last week, so I took it a little more seriously.

Sure enough, there was ANOTHER fire, and it was in the very top unit in the south east corner of my building. I'm in the bottom unit of the south west corner. This means my house smells like smoke--not the awesome barbecued turkey smell either. It also means there may be water damage as the water seeps down from above over the next day or so. It actually started to drip down through the light fixture in Matt's bedroom. Totally bites, doesn't it. Oh, they also declared all of that building as uninhabitable, and had to break my doorknob to get in and make sure no one was inside. Luckily, the dead bolt still works, and you need a key for both sides, so it would be hard for anyone to break in. Even so, we took out all our valuables and anything that might absorb the smoke smell really well, and got outta there.

So I guess I'm lucky to be house sitting, huh? I've got a place to stay now, and I might just stay here at Jared's place until they say it's ok to move back in and maybe even after they come fix anything that needs fixing. Matt will be staying here, too. I might be able to get carpet and paint out of this, so we'll see how it goes. And if the insurance company pays for all that, then I won't have to do it and I'll have somewhere to stay while the workers get everything done... but again, details are shady right now and I'm not EXACTLY sure what is going to be covered.

So for now, please bless that the damage isn't too bad and that no one tries to loot our place while we aren't living there... suck-a-la-sucky, I tell you what.

House Sitting: Week One

This weekend was my first weekend house sitting my brother’s place. If I were to rate my overall success, I’d give it a 5 out of 10. The list of successes and failures of why I’d give it a poor rating are as follows and in no particular order.


No Sushi Party – unfortunately, I didn’t get to have the sushi party this weekend like I wanted to. The reason why is that the YSA for the region had its yearly “Summit” which consisted of two whole days of spiritual upliftment, dancing, and a luau. Most the people I would invite and would show up went to the luau. Cruddy part is, next weekend is the 4th of July, so I’ll have to wait even longer.

Only two shoe options – my blister on my foot has evolved into a very annoying bruse and I hate it. I have some really great new running shoes that are the most comfortable thing I’ve ever put on my foot, and I would have had to drive all the way home for them. Instead, I suffered through the pain.

I couldn’t figure out the upstairs shower – I have no idea, even after messing with every movable part on the tub faucet and shower head, how to make the water come out of the shower and not the tub faucet. This meant I had to run downstairs in the nude to the shower down there. Sure glad mom and dad didn’t decide to visit at that exact moment.

Brought all my stuff separately – I have two pairs of shorts here, three pairs of socks, two t-shirts, a load of dress shirts (see successes for why I’ve got a load and not just one), two pairs of socks, and two laptops here. And I didn’t really bring a bag, except for the laptop bags. Definitely going to need to pack a weekend travel bag or something from now on.

Couldn’t figure out which remote worked for the VCR – I brought a DVD to watch at night if I got bored and didn’t want to go to bed. I had to watch all the previews.

Forgot my scriptures completely – I had to text Matt early Sunday morning to bring my scriptures to church. I didn’t have them the whole weekend, but I wasn’t about to be scripture-less at church.


Did a load of white shirts – I didn’t want to have to go home to get anything and all my white dress shirts were dirty. I was going to need one for church on Sunday , so I thought I’d just bring them all and wash them in Liz’s machine. Now I’ve got them all done and ready for Sunday and the work week.

Got my chores done – before she left, Liz asked me to water the plants, pick the deadheads off the flowers out front, and vacuum.

Found the best spot for my lappy to pick up a signal for the internet – my brother doesn’t have the internet, but has neighbors with unsecured connections. They found the best spot for their lappy, is sitting either in the lazyboy or the right side of the couch. Mine is sitting on the couch with the laptop on the back, right near the window.

Got some form of AC – my place still needs to the swamp cooler hooked up. I’m in the process of that and it should be completed soon, but it’s nice to be in a place with working AC, even if it is a swamp cooler.

Slept well – I was worried I wouldn’t do well on a foreign bed, since mine has 4 inches of pillow top on it… but I slept just fine and remembered that I really like a firm mattress, even if my new one has made me a little bit of a wus.

Figured out what I’m going to need each weekend – now I know I need a bag for clothes, toiletries, etc. If I need to take work home again, I can probably fit both laptops in one carrier, too.

This is not an exhaustive list of successes and failures, but you get the idea. I’ll let you know how next week goes!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Oh, S*&%!!!

Those two lovely words entered my head as I pulled down the street to the condo complex where I live.

Usually if I cuss as I turn down the street to my home, it's because I've forgotten something uber-important and only just then remembered what it was. Not this time. I had my Wii and all the accessories, my left over steak (I only ate about two thirds of it. I'm so proud of myself) and a baggy full of keno... keenhow? Kalua? Kanye West? (that's for you, Tiffanie ;-) )... no wait, it's quinoa (really pronounced KEEN-wah) that my sister made. And yes, it is very tasty.

But back to my story. When I got here, there was a fire truck out on the street and a police car with lights flashing, blocking the entrance to my complex. As I drove past him, I could see more cop cars and fire trucks, and that there would be no way for me to get in the parking lot. I said a little prayer that went something like, "Lord, please, please, PLEASE don't let it be my building..." I parked on the street, then went to talk to the officer in the vehicle blocking my way. He said that there was a fire and they were blocking the entrances because they still had water hoses running on the ground, so no cars could get in. I asked if he knew which building it was, and he wasn't sure. So I took my things, and started walking toward my building.

I ran into some other concerned owners and tenants, and asked them if they knew what had happened. They didn't know much, but thought that it was the building in the corner that faces east and west. Because that is my building, I said aloud those two words that had entered my thoughts earlier. I started walking a little more briskly toward my home, and found a fireman talking with a man who appeared to be inebriated, and another group of people standing in their pajamas with their dogs. Apparently, the top unit of the building facing the south side of the pool (it faces south... my building was safe!!!) had caught fire. The possible inebriate was, in fact, drunk and had left a pan on the stove, then "fell asleep" and stayed "asleep" through his fire alarm. I was so relieved it wasn't my building! I felt a little bad not asking if everyone was ok first. Guess I better work on loving my neighbors in addition to the swearing...

Anyway, I did eventually ask if everyone was ok, how bad the damage was, if anyone else was involved or hurt or if any other unit had damage. Everyone was fine, even the drunk guy, and only the top unit was damaged. (Oddly enough, it smelled like someone was barbecuing my mom's family recipe for marinated turkey...) I got to meet a few of the folks that lived in the complex, though. That was kind of nice, but really too bad that the circumstances were what the were.

And now that the adrenaline and worry has left me, the tiredness has kicked in. I hope everyone is really ok and that the neighbors can sleep, even if their houses smell a little like barbecue.

Friday, June 20, 2008

new blog rolls

As you may have noticed, I've changed the look of my blog links. Now you will all have to fight for supremacy by blogging the most often! Bwaaa haa haa ha! Errr... that is... I've decided to use the new "Blog List" feature. I used to click down every blog on my list, then rapidly click the back button if it was a post I'd already read. But now, thanks to blogger's crafty use of the black magic known as RSS feeds, I can know when you last updated your blogs without having to click on them.

So there ya go. It's almost like those Sprint commercials (IS it Sprint?) where you have to battle to be the better friend and make it into my fave five. But in this case, it's battling for the top of my blog roll. (Emma, this means you might want to post something new. I've given up on Jason and Vickie...)

let me know what you think of it. If it's annoying more than helpful, I might change it back to just regular old links. Good luck, and may the best blog win! (my guess is Robin, Christy, Caron, and maybe Jentry will be at the top most the time... but it's just a guess.)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

St. Patrick's, Rockefeller Plaza, and Radio City Music Hall

This is all still day one... Man, I'm long winded.

After Grand Central Station, we started walking along the streets. We took a few pictures of the streets and came to St. Patrick's Cathedral. It was pretty sweet. I've always wanted to go to Europe because everything there is so old, it has a lot of culture and meaning. It was weird to see this cathedral in the middle of the big city, in all its Gothic splendor. I took a couple pictures of the outside, hoping to be able to put the two together. Here are the first two pictures.

And here is what I did with photoshop. It doesn't look that great, but you get to see how big it is.

Inside was awesome. I really love cathedrals... even though this is the first one I have actually been inside one. I liked the intricacy of the architecture and the design.

It also made me think that more LDS buildings should have stained glass windows. They are so beautiful. I don't even know the stories that were conveyed in the glass, but it was just so awesome to look at.

I'm pretty sure the guy with the green and white robes is St. Patrick, but I don't know much about his miracles, so maybe a few of the windows were about that and his story. I know he was taken captive to Ireland, but then lived there and became a priest. Then he healed all sorts of people and I think is credited for getting rid of snakes in Ireland? Way to go, Pat.

After we had been inside the cathedral for a while, Mass was about to begin, so we decided to leave. Elisa took a photo of the schedule in case we wanted to come back for Mass, but we never went back. It really was too bad.

After that, we did find a great place to sit... I mean... shop. Across the street from the cathedral was an H&M store. The girls went nuts. This is the picture I took from the "man bench" where all the husbands seemed to be sitting.

Yes, I understand that I'm a little obsessed. But here's my only shot of the other side of the building! I really want to go back there...

After shopping was over, we started walking again and came to part of Rockefeller Plaza. We stopped there to sit for a bit and took some pictures.

Here are a few different views from the little alley we stopped at. Not a scary back alley, but a well-lit, open alley with benches etc. The building picture is the view strait up. And I don't even know what is at 75 Rockefeller Plaza, but there's a picture of it. Made me think of the TV show, 30 Rock.

After our little break, we casually walked upon Radio City Music Hall. And we took WAY too many pictures of the sign. And somehow managed to not get one of us all together. But it was still fun. Here are just a couple pictures.

After that, we took one of those bike cabs to Times Square. You know, where the guy rides his bike and you sit in a little seat in the back? Someone comment and tell me what that is actually called... And when I know what it's called, I'll write the next blog post. Just Times Square and the ride back to the hotel, and I'll finish day one!!! Holy crap, this is taking forever...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Finally gonna do it....

This brief interruption to New York is brought to you by the potential loss of $500 or potential gain of $2,000-4,000. Before I explain what I mean, let me set things up.

Here's the thing. I'm a big dude, and I'm pretty out of shape. I'm definitely ok with who I am and I'm a pretty confident guy. Most of you already know this. I've also had spurts of enthusiasm about getting into better shape. I even bought a treadmill a year or two ago. Using it actually using it lasted for... well, not that long.

Well, yesterday, a coworker came to me and told me that a few guys at work were doing a biggest loser contest, but this one was going to be a lot more motivating than the normal, contribute-ten-bucks-and-hope-for-the-best sort of competitions. Participating in this weight loss challenge would cost one hundred dollars a month for five months. And this was not a month by month thing. You're in from day one all the way to the end, or you're not in at all. So really, if you participate, you'd have to have five hundred bucks to hand over at the end if you don't win. But that also means that if you DO win, there's potential to win a TON of money. Eight guys weighed in yesterday and we have until Friday to decide if we're in all the way. Four guys have already signed the paper saying they'll fork over the five hundred if they lose. That makes the pot currently $2,000 bucks.

So here's my dilemma. I think I could totally win this competition. But if I don't, am I going to be ok with handing over five hundred bucks? I've done smaller little things like this before, and I don't care if I lose the ten or twenty dollars. It's not motivating enough to get me to try longer than a day or two. But I will DEFINITELY care if I lose five hundred. So the question is, under what circumstances would I be ok with losing that much money? After much thought and discussion with friends and family, here's the answer: if I actually tried and did everything to win that money over the whole 5 months, lost a bunch of weight, and still didn't win, THEN I'd be ok with it. It would have been the motivation to get me up off my ass and do something to lose weight. But if I sit on my ass the whole time, I'd be pissed at myself. (Sorry to my more sensitive readers... I'm working on the swearing, but I think "ass" rather than "bum" conveys the meaning a little better here.)

I'm going to do this. My biggest problem is the long term motivation. I'll be honest, most things that require self-motivation, a lot of physical work, and no charity organization are hard for me. So I am going to tell everyone I know that I am doing this, and I expect you all to check in on me and motivate me to keep at it. I won't mind an intermittent text here and there, bringing it up in conversation, or motivating me to NOT go out to eat, or to make good choices when I do. I'll probably blog about this once or twice a month, too. And I'm going to join Weight Watchers by the end of this week. I lost a bunch of weight when I did Weight Watchers at Work, so if I can do it again, it will also help motivate me.

And that's that. I commenced this little journey into weight loss with indulging in a chocolate fountain at my sister-in-law's place (I can NEVER do that again. So don't invite me.), and a 15 minute jog on my very neglected treadmill this morning. I'm blogging about this now, early in the morning, so my friends and family will all know what I'm up to. Thanks for your support guys! I think this is really going to get me motivated... I just need to stay motivated for five months. :-)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Grand Central Station

After our nap, we didn't have a set plan of what to do, so I suggested going to Grand Central Station, since we had to take the subway anyway. From there, we could wander the streets of Manhattan and see the sites.

Grand Central Station is pretty cool. It was talked up a lot to me by a coworker, so It wasn't as awesome as I had hoped. I wonder if we actually got to see everything there that there is to see. My coworker told me that there was an archway that if you stand at opposite ends of it, facing the wall, you can talk into the wall and hear each other as if you are standing right next to each other. Well, we didn't find that archway... oh well.

The ceiling of the main hall of grand Central has all sorts of constellations on it.

And the giant windows have some really cool chandeliers hanging next to them. In the middle of the day, it's really bright in there. I imagine it looks really cool at night, too.

We also took pictures with the big clock that is in the middle of the main hall. It's a cool looking clock, but again, my expectations were that it was unearthly huge and extravagant. It is big, but not quite as impressive as I hoped.

But don't get me wrong, I was really loving it there and totally excited to be in NYC! Here's a shot of us all together.

We didn't stay there long, but while we were there, we saw this monk, apparently waiting for someone to come pick him up. It kind of spoke to me (a little) of what NYC was going to be like. All sorts of things I've never seen before, seemingly out of place, but part of the melting pot of cultures that exist in New York. Maybe it was a little disrespectful to take his picture without him knowing, but he was such an anomaly--and I'd never seen an actual monk in robes and all--that we couldn't pass it up. Tiffany and Elissa pretended to pose while Katey and I took a picture of him. Katey's picture is better. And here it is.

The most impressive thing to me was when we stepped out of Grand Central. We stepped out, looking down Daved Ben-Gurion Place. This is what I think of when I think of NYC.

Skyscrapers as far as you can see down both sides of the road, traffic backed up, mostly consisting of taxi cabs, and loads of pedestrians. It was really neat. We hadn't been in the middle of so many buildings yet, so this was really cool to me.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The NYC subway

I wish that we had a subway here. In figuring out the money spent on car payment, insurance, and gas, you could spend up to about $5oo or more. A monthly pass for the subway--that's unlimited use of trains and buses--is only $88. And that will get you anywhere. Yeah. I hate gasoline.

So once we got off the plane, we found our way using the air train to the actual subway and bought weekly tickets. We went EVERYWHERE using the subway.

At first it was a little weird, but Katey got it down. I thought I might want to figure it out, but she was doing so well at it, I couldn't butt in! Plus, every time we all stopped and gathered together looking at a map, I decided to just step back and watch people to make sure no one was eyeballing backpacks or purses. No one tried to mug us, so I think it worked out.

We even took the subway to our hotel. We totally looked like tourists with our bags and backpacks, but who cares. It felt even more touristy when we were taking pictures of each other on the train!

One downside to taking the subway to the hotel was that we had to walk about a half a mile from the train stop to the hotel. (The hotel said it was about .8 miles, but there's no way it was almost a mile...) Anyway, so we again looked like raging tourists as we walked our luggage down the street.

In one of those pictures, you can see the McDonald's just up ahead. Because everyone was crazy hungry, we decided to stop there for some breakfast.

This is the only picture we got in McDonald's. This is Elissa getting napkins.

I consented, but with the stipulation that we NEVER stop at McDonald's or any other chain again for food. I didn't want to spend money eating at places that are just around the corner in Salt Lake! We didn't follow that stipulation to a T exactly, but we did a good job, I think. (The only other time we stopped in a McDonald's was in China Town, and that was basically to check our wares and rest for a bit.)

Once we got to the hotel, we found out that we had gotten there very early for check-in. I think we were there at like 9:00 a.m. and check-in was at 3:00 p.m. We asked if we could leave our luggage there, and they said they'd let us leave it stacked up in the lobby, but that they weren't responsible for it. We were ok with that, but everyone was so tired! Elissa and Tiff were already lounging on the couch, then I asked if they had wireless internet I could use, and pulled out the lappy. I think that sorta freaked the lady out, so she started checking and our room was empty, so we got to check in early! There was a little hiccup with the two reservations we made; one was thanks to Mary Knapper with a HUGE discount. I told her the wrong check-out date, so we had another reservation for the same room for one day and one night. The woman at the county was a little confused, but figured it out and we went to our room and took a nap! It was actually really nice.

Once we were rested, we decided to take on New York City and started by going to Grand Central Station. But I'll write about that in the next post. ;-)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

NYC - Round 1

I'm planning on doing a post per activity on my trip, in the order that they happened. This post will just be the airport and plane ride. I may not get to anything else tonight or tomorrow (since it's Friday... and we ALL know I live for the weekend, right?), but I thought I'd better start before I forgot things that happened. So here goes!

Each of us arrived separately at the airport (thanks for the ride, Matt). I got there first (surprise, surprise... I HATE being late for stuff. And so does Matt) so called Katey to see how close they were. It was then that I realized I forgot my temple recommend, and Matt had just left. I called him to find out if he could bring it back, but we decided that it would be easier for him to mail it to the hotel where we were staying. So I just waited for everyone else to show up so we could all check in together.

Katey and I just before we checked our bags. I found out on this trip that my left eye is a little squintier than my right. Great, one more thing to be self conscious about.

Once everyone arrived at the airport, it turned out I wasn't the only one who forgot stuff. Elissa needed to get some cash.

Here's Elissa, now with her loads of $$$ for the trip.

At check in, Katey was a little worried that her checked bag would be over 50 pounds, which then caused a little competition to see who had the lightest luggage. I think my baggage was the lightest at 42 pounds. And that was with hard luggage! But then, I'm a guy; so really, it's easy to pack light.

After checking in, we found our terminal had been changed. We walked to the new terminal and waited to board the plane.

Katey and Elissa waiting to board. Elissa had her Blackberry, which allowed her to update her Facebook status every hour or so. She also added a bunch of photos from her phone.

Here's me checking stuff in my carry-on. Get used to seeing me in this pose. This is my little black map book (thanks Mary!). Sadly, we didn't use it at all. Katey had done quite a bit of work on figuring out the subway and everywhere we went. And all with a library book. Who knew libraries were good for more than plagiarizing encyclopedias and other reference materials for 9th grade research papers?

For those that don't know, we took the red-eye flight. It left at 12:30 (or as I like to call it, midnight-thirty). And while it probably wasn't so funny to her, Tiffany actually had quite the red eyes on the red-eye. Check it out.

Tiff's red eyes on the red-eye.

After taking way too many pictures of Tiff's crazy eyeballs, we were lucky enough to be the last section allowed on the plane. Also lucky for us, we were all either on the exit row or the row in front of the exit row. On Delta, that means the seats don't recline.

Here I am, ready for a cruddy night's sleep on the exit row.

Elissa and Katey. Katey was exceptionally excited to be on a plane again. I think for the second time ever. (Right, Kate?)

So, because my seat couldn't recline, sleeping on the plane was a little odd... With no reclining to keep my head fixed to my head rest, my head sorta swung around and I almost head butted the lady next to me. Could have been worse... the plane could have crashed, right? But it didn't and we made it! It was interesting once we got to JFK. We got some help to figure out the subway system, and got to our hotel. But that's the next post. :-)