Sunday, August 31, 2008

Back to NYC

It's time to get back to blogging about my NYC trip, since I still haven't even finished day one. So here goes.

After Radio City Music Hall, we wanted to get to Times Square. After some prodding and negotiation with the rickshaw driver (thanks for letting me know what those are called, Christy), we decided to actually take it. It was pretty dang funny to see all four of us on the back there! I was certain we were going to kill the guy, but he managed pretty well. Here's some pics.

This is Katey, Me, and part of Tiff. Sweet shot, huh?

This is another attempt to get us all in the pic, but it didn't really get all of us. It is a fun shot of me and Katey, though.

This is Elissa. The way were sitting was me in the middle, Tiff, to my left, Katey on my right, and Elissa on our laps.

The rickshaw driver was nice enough to take our photo a bunch of times on the way, too.

Here we all are! This is just after we got on near Radio City. You can see it just behind us on the left.

This is us in Times Square by the M&M building.

The last picture didn't show us all very well, so the driver took a picture from the back. It didn't work so well either, but it's still one of my favorites of us on the rickshaw.

Oh, also along the way, we got a taste of some authentic and colorful New York City exchanges between pedestrians/bikers and car drivers. While we were riding and laughing like idiots, a car behind us got a little sick of waiting for the driver to get out of the way of traffic, honked at us, and sped off angrily to the side. Because it is New York, there was a light ahead, and the guy had to stop anyway. A guy on his own bike (not a rickshaw, just a normal, New Yorker on a bike) saw what happened and got pissed at the driver on behalf of us. The exchange went something like this.

*Note: I've edited this exchange for my less surly readers. If you don't want to read about the F word being used, you may want to skip this part.

Man on bike: Watch where the eff you're going!!!
Man in car: Eff you!!!
Bike: Get out of the effing car you dumb eff!!!!! You're gonna effing kill someone!
Car: They were in the effing way! Get out of the effing road!
Bike: Get the eff out of the car!!!!
Car: Eff you! I've got kids in here (yeah, all this with his kids about 10 years old in the back seat...)
Bike: Then you should effing know better!!
Car: *drives off*
Bike: Stupid effer.... *bikes away*

Our rickshaw driver tried to calm the guy in the car down, but I think the dude on the bike was a tad more upset. It was sort of a kill-joy moment, but we still had fun.

We went on to time square, took pictures, tried to see if there was another Broadway musical we wanted to go to, and generally made our way through the sea of people there. It really felt like New York there! Here's a few more pics.

This is the typical shot of Times Square. It's probably what you'll see on post cards. Crazy all the advertising and people everywhere.

When we had finally had enough of Times Square, we started looking at Katey's book on where to go next. Tiff took this picture.

I think this is pretty typical of our entire trip. Katey's got her nose in the book, figuring out where to go for our next destination, Elissa was always updating her facebook status and adding pictures to her profile from her phone, Tiff was taking pictures, and I was looking on to make sure no one wanted to rob us, but still having a good time.

Ok, I've got just one more event to finish off day one. We met Luilly (pronounced like Luigi) on the subway, and he directed us to this Mexican restaurant. But I'll tell you all about that in the next NYC post.

Friday, August 29, 2008

20 years ago I was 7

Almost everyone in my family has done this post. I didn't think I would do it, but then I learned a lot about my family. They shared a few things that I didn't think they would and they were really honest. I was intrigued. I'm going to try to remember things from all those years ago and be honest as possible. I'm kind of excited to do it. So here goes...

20 years ago....
1. I was seven years old and getting excited about being baptized. If I recall correctly, it actually happened on October 29th, on week after my birthday. And also if I recall correctly, it was Robbie McCurdy's birthday that day. He was one of my best friends at the time. I don't even know where he is now. I'm pretty sure he got married and had a kid or two...
2. Mrs. Greenhal was my second grade teacher. I called her Mrs. Greenface behind her back like most the kids. She was also the first teacher I outsmarted and made me realize if I was more cleaver than the teacher I would have less work to do. She had this job wall full of activities each kid was supposed to do each week. The bad kids got "contracts" and if they finished like 5 of 30 of those jobs, they'd get candy and be done before the rest of the class. I started being a bad kid. Not bad enough to get a call to my parents, but bad enough to get my own contract. I never "improved" with my contract on the wall, so I never got more than like 10 of those stupid jobs. Take THAT, Mrs. Greenface.
3. The movie, "Big" came out that year. I wondered if something like that could actually happen, and was sort of scared of those fortune teller machines. I also wanted a giant piano to play "Heart and Soul" on.
4. I'm pretty sure I was taking piano and singing lessons from Barbara Bennett. MAN was she a loud singer!!!! (My church singing is a whisper in comparison...) Highlights of singing lessons that may or may not have occurred that year include the following: 1) singing for what could be called the half time show for West Jordan Jr. Miss pageant at the Jordon Ell during the time when the judges meet and tally scores, and 2) trying out for some singing contest, or to sing for radio commercials or something. I can't remember exactly what it was for, but I sang "Cocamo" by The Beach Boys for my audition.
5. Ok, I'm going to cheat a little here. I couldn't think of anything else that happened when I was 7-8, so I looked at Wikipedia. Apparently, Super Mario Brother's 3 was relased in Japan in 1988, but not in North America until 1990, following the movie, The Wizard. I LOVED that movie, and LOVED that game. I remember finding the magic flute solely because my friends and I kept looking for the spot in the game that looked like where the kid in the movie found it. We were so awesome. My favorite power up was that bear that could fly like the racoon leaf power up, but could also turn to stone to elude kupas. Mario 3 still remains the best of the series.

10 years ago....
1. I was getting ready to start my first year of college. I moved in with two guys I knew from marching band and one guy who was the drum major my freshman year of high school. That was a defining year to figure out if I believed the church was true, if I would stand up for my beliefs, and if I would go on a mission. I made some lasting friendships, including Mary and Katey. I also had nearly every stereotypical roomate you can think of in that year alone. THey included jock, band geek, sex adict, frat boy, pot head, suicidal, closet porn adict, and closet gay guy. Yes, I went to church by myself.
2. In that freshman year of college, I decided I didn't want to be a music major. I was pretty good, but didn't practice enough (or want to practice enough) to be a performance major and had ABSOLUTELY NO DESIRE to be a band teacher. Chelle Leyva was the most influential teacher I had in high school and I look up to her so much, but she may be the most underpaid, underappreciated teacher I have ever known. And while I know there are hundreds of kids she touched forever, I have no desire to do what she did and recieve as little aclaim.
3. With the help of my older brother, I bought the first car I ever owned myself. It cost me $500 and lasted until I came home from my mission and went to college again. It had one of those white oval stickers on the back with the initials BIH. I have no idea to this day what that stands for, but my good friend Mary K. (who, as I mentioned ealier, is one of the friends I met that year) said it meant "Born In Holland," and so that became the name of my car. It was a brown Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera and I bought it from my roommate's sister.
4. I stood up to the big jock I lived with, who had 3 times the muscle mass as I did and worked at Gold's Gym. He was smoking weed in our appartment, we asked him to stop, he didn't so we went to the managers to see if we could kick him out. (By the way, he was not the one I would classify as the pot head... that was Brad. That kid was so quiet and calm until he was high or drunk. Then you couldn't shut him up! But I digress...) The managers were cautious and wouldn't help unless he was actually smoking at the time, but they said they'd talk to him about it. He came home all mad after they talked to him and wanted to know who told the managers on him. My gutless roommate that went to the managers with me didn't say anything, so I told him it was me, that I had asked him to nock it off once before, and I wasn't going to ask again. We got into an argument about it, I thought he might punch me, but I was so ready to kick his ass. I don't think that was the start of my ability to voice my opinion and stand up to people, but it sorta made me realize that big dumb jocks weren't a real threat to me.
5. Jared and Liz lived in Cedar City and were going to school at SUU, too. Or at least Jared was... I think Liz was still going... Anyway, Liz got me this awesome job as a janitor at the Centrum cleaning bathrooms and classrooms at 5 am. Awesome. One of the classrooms I cleaned was the ceramics room. It took mopping up twice to get all the dirt and clay off the floor, and I did that EVERY DAY. Jared started making this bust of himself that year, so I got to see it come to life, and felt like jared was watching me mop up his messes and snicker. He included his glasses in the bust, and a couple of times it had his sunglasses clip-ons on. That was pretty weird. Like this ceramic bust was just chillin' like a villin' on the counter, watching me mop. Sweet.

5 years ago....
1. I was home from my mission and going to school at Utah State. I had decided on a major thanks to a neighbor girl who had recently graduated. She was a grant writer for this company that wrote grants for departments of education, and that sounded fun. (I know, I'm kind of a dork.) More importantly, it sounded like something I could actually make a living on and support a family doing, and still major in English. I met some of my best friends in that program as well, namely Melinda White (currently persuing her doctorate in creative writing and new media [or something like that] in Virginia) and Hollie Doyle (currently my boss).
2. I think it was that year that I met and started dating Tammy. We dated a year before breaking up. She was my first real girlfriend, but it was best that we broke up. It took me a year to realize that it really wasn't going anywhere. And now I've met someone I'm crazy about. So life works out.
3. I started working at Discovery Research Group. I called up people who didn't want to talk to me to ask them to do surveys. We even had a survey that was about frozen pizza that was 30 minutes long. Yeah. That one was a real treat to get stuck with... I later became an editor there and then a trainer, and used it as 6 credits for an internship. In retrospect, it probably would have been a better idea to actually get an intership somewhere else, but my life has worked out so far.
4. I think at this time I was driving my grandpa's old work van. It didn't do well in the cold and had a hard time staying started. Needless to say it didn't do well in Logan. It stalled because of the cold once outside this house, and I scared the woman living there to death when I came to her door to tell her it was my van and it'd be gone in the afternoon when I could get it started again. I later wrote a short story about that van in USU's creative writing club (which I also helped create) that I kinda liked. We affectionately referred to that van as "The Beast."
5. I took a class called "Modern Rhetorical Theory" and it was the best class I have ever taken. I was actually challenged more in this class to think than any other class before or since. And it was a 3000 level class. Dr. Grant-Davie was a superb teacher and wouldn't let the usual English student bull sh*t pass. My research paper was called "Benoit's Image Repair Tactics as Used by Bill Gates During the Microsoft Anti-Trust Trials" and it was the hardest research paper I had ever had to write. Also the one I'm the most proud of.

3 years ago....
1. I graduated from college, and searched for a job. I tried to stay in Logan because I LOVE that place, but it was to no avail. I moved home and got a job as an Employment Counselor for the Department of Workforce Services. Not in my major at all, but there were a few other jobs within the department that I thought I could use my degree in and would be a little more exciting.
2. I moved in with a guy in my singles ward and it was pretty bad. I don't mind the kid now, but living there was a bit horrible. He had all sorts of rules that came up AFTER I started living there, like no girls over after midnight. I didn't go to BYU and I don't like their honor code. It's a little silly, and if you're going to be bad or good, stupid rules like that aren't going to stop you either way. I understand wanting to be a good person and all, but if I was going to fool around with a girl, it would have happened WAY before I was 25. This guy was a bit fanatical in my opinion... and because I wasn't one to keep my mouth shut and take it, we sorta clashed.
3. I made friends with a few people I will probably keep in touch with forever. Matt Lively (who ironically has an older brother that dated my older sister in high school) was later my roommate and Roy Hoffman, who lived in Utah because he served a mission here and wanted an upgrade from his trailer life in Florida. They're both good men and I hope I'll stay friends with them.
4. Gas prices went over $3.00 per gallon. It made me sick. When I started driving it was less than $1 per gallon, and I was baffled at why cars didn't get better gas mileage. I bought into conspiracy theories that gasonline companies were buying out technology or eliminating people who came up with alternatives to combustion engines.
5. I figured out that since graduating from high school, I have lived a total of about 14 months with my parents. I love them to death, but I'm also pretty independent and like to live on my own.

1 year ago....
1. I completed a year at my current job. My boss also had a kid and I was the lone proposal writer for a few months. They were some of the busiest months we had experience. I almost quit twice, but toughed it out and I'm still there. They have a great bennefits package! And I think proposal writing is the most intersting technical writing out there.
2. I bought my condo! After looking for about 4 months, I finally found a place I liked. And I didn't get it. Then I found a place I could sort of live with. And I didn't get it, either. The 5th offer and I finally got my place. I didn't think I would feel such a loss when I didn't get the homes I put offers on. I still remember one of them and I still wish I had it sometimes. It doesn't help that I see it on my drive to work every day.
3. I think I had 1 hair cut in 2007... maybe 2.
4. I started this blog!!!
5. I came up with the award winning costume I had for Halloween last year. I was Wario from the Mario Kart series. I love Halloween, but this may have been my most favorite costume ever. I even dyed some white overalls a dashing shade of purple just for the costume. The Wario character also had a couple spinoff video games, but they didn't do so well. It worked out great because he's chubbier than Mario and so am I. :-)

So far this year.....
1. I lost one roommate to marriage. Congratulations Matt and Christy!
2. I made sushi for the first time. And it was delicious.
3. I helped shingle a roof for the first time. I was kind of a wimp about the heights part of it, but I was still sorta helpful... I think... Jared, Mike, and Tiff can tell you if I was actually any help.
4. I began my carreer as a triathlon pit crew member. I don't think I'll ever want to do a triathlon, but I fully support those who do. The road trip is fun anyway.
5. I actually asked this girl out who I thought was out of my league, and it turns out she actually likes me, too. We have been dating for a while and it is unlike anything I've ever experienced. Hayley, you're the best. Love you. (Ahhh! Did I just say the "L" word on the internet for all to see??! Guess so :-). )

1. I came to Hayley's house and we made ham and cheese sandwiches for dinner. Ok, Hayley made them and I cleaned the table.
2. I went with Hayley to meet the Lambournes. They are an elderly couple in her ward that she is really fond of and they love her to death. She thought it would be nice to bring some pudding over for desert. Then she spilled it on their floor. For no good reason. It was kinda funny and they were real good sports about it. They even had some Resolve carpet cleaner so we cleaned up the mess.
3. I went to lunch with some coworkers to say good bye to one of them who is quitting. His last day was today, actually.
4. I went to the Dodo restaurant to get my phone because I left it there the night before.
5. I went to Hayley's house to get my wallet because I left it there the night before. Yeah, I'm a freakin' scatterbrain, ok?

1. I got up and went to work. Hayley texted me at like 10 and I started to miss her.
2. At work, everyone had gone to this charity golf tournament. It was pretty boring in the office. Even the developer nerds went. I think I might need to take up golfing...
3. I got some groceries at Sams Club with Hayley. We have decided to eat out WAY less these days to lose weight. Oh, and I somehow accidentally got 80 bucks in cash back. The lady handed me my receipt and started counting, "Ok, here's 20, 40, 60..." to which I responded, "Oh, hell! Am I supposed to get that?" The lady told me I had selected 80 dollars cash back and I felt stupid. Hayley laughed at me.
4. Planned a little get-together with Katey and Mary. We're gonna have tin foil dinners and play some Wii tomorrow. Good times!
5. Took FOREVER writing all this crap for a blog entry. Seriously. Did everyone else take hours and hours to fill this out???

The year to come....
1. Maybe move back into my condo? Here's hopin'.
2. Have that sushi party I was supposed to have at Jared and Liz's place while they were in PA. It never happened because everything became routine while I started living there shortly after they left.
3. Lose 70 pounds.
4. Get at least 1 more haircut.
5. Try to be a little more creative with dating Hayley. I mean, I LOVE that I get to see her every day, but that creative side of me needs to come out more. She's not really reaping the benefits of how awesome I am at that sort of thing. But it's still fun to just watch a movie or go for a walk.

Holy crap, that took forever. I tag no one, because I don't want to be responsible for taking hours of your time. But if you wanna do it, let me know so I can read your post. :-)

House update

I've been waiting to give this one becuase I feel stupid. I made a poor decision and part of the reason I'm not getting any sort of reimbursement for being stuck out of my home is my own fault. Ok, not part, all of it.

When I bought my condo, I was given the option to purchase renter's insurance. I didn't understand the full coverage offered by renter's insurance. I figured that nothing I had was really a huge loss if it was taken. I don't buy lots of stuff. If my TV or DVDs were stolen, I don't really care. I didn't realize that if you have a fire and are kept out of your home, renter's insurance would cover the cost of a hotel or other rent while you're not in your home. So that's my own dang fault.

In other news, my place is getting close to inhabitable, but it will probably not be until mid to late September until I'm back in my house. But to hurry the process along, I need to get to Home Depot to pick paint color and carpet for the one room. They are going to test clean the rest of the carpet and let me know if they are going to need to replace it. My guess is they won't, though.

So that's it. If you've got other questions, let me know. I hate that I don't get to get in my house. And don't worry, I've called everyone, yelled at everyone, asked the HOA why they aren't pushing the contractor harder, yelled at the contractor, and now I feel like it's time to play nice. So ask me any questions, but I think there's not much else to do but wait now.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Work update

No new posts for like three weeks or whatever, then suddenly three in one day... I rule...

So here's the work update. It's been REALLY busy lately. I've had a proposal due every week for the last three weeks. I'm definitely feeling it. I have been taking work home and working 60 hours a week or so. It has caused a little burn out and made me miss little things in my writing, like the typing mistake of putting "abou tit" in a proposal instead of "about it." Yeah. THAT could have been a costly mistake...

So my boss has been working about the same hours--only she has a small child, so her extra hours are from about 9 p.m. to 4 a.m.--and it's been a little rough for both of us. She had a little heart to heart about it all with the V.P. of Sales, and they finally decided to let her hire a new proposal writer. We had been trying all sorts of "contingency plans" and they weren't really working. We had a writer from the marketing department, but she really wasn't working out. We'd have to take just as much time to go over her writing, correct it, and even re-format it as we would to just do it ourselves. Most other options were equally as ineffective, so now we're hiring a new person. It's pretty awesome.

The end is on the horizon, but in the mean time we're still really busy. I'll probably still be working some extra hours for a while, but knowing that we can start the hiring process now makes me feel so much better than trying new contingencies until January. Well, this week my boss told me to leave early on Friday, so I only did about 38 hours this week. It was a much needed little break, I tell you what. But back to the grind Monday! I've got a proposal due on Wednesday and we got like three new RFPs in on Friday...

Anyway, that's the work update. I'll get to the house update soon, I swear.

Hayley's a genius

I spent this evening eating Chinese food in the park and chasing Hayley's niece and nephews. They wanted to play tag and who was I not to oblige? Even after I said I was done, Porter told me I only got a two minute break. I wondered why I didn't get orange slices and Capri Sun, but true to his word, Porter dragged me back to the playground. Granted, round two wasn't quite as intense because Annie made a few crazy rules like I couldn't climb the slides and other playground equipment. I sorta broke the rules after they hid in the middle of the curvy slide.

But all of this is still just setting you up to explain why Hayley is a genius. And I have to keep you in suspense just a little longer. So I was quite sweaty and hot after playing tag. This is even worse for me than normal people, as I am a human heater anyway. I'll fog cars up in April, it's so bad. So we get back to Hayley's house, I drink a couple glasses of ice water and while it was very refreshing, I was still a little hot. Not sweating, but still hot. Then as I'm siting trying to cool off, she hands me one of those giant ice packs and told me to put it on my belly. Oh. My. Gosh. NOTHING has ever been so effective.

So that's it. That's the end of my 45 minute cool downs. Ice pack on the belly and done. It's pure genius.

Google texting

At Holly's request, I am sharing my knowledge of google texting with the world. So here it is:

If you send a text to 466453 (which spells google on a 10-key pad), you can get all sorts of information. You can ask how many people live in china (that's 1,321,851,888, by the way) find addresses and phone numbers to local businesses, what movies are playing, definitions of words, etc. Alls ya gotta do is send the name of the business and the zip code or city and state of the business you want. I use it all the time to find out movie times. It's pretty sweet. Today I used it to find the number to the Best Buy in Jordan Landing. When the text comes back, it's got the address and number, then all you have to do is push send, then the number for the business will come up. And it doesn't cost anything more than just a regular text message.

So that's that. Apparently this sort of information is what blogs are for, according to Holly. And just for good measure, if you don't pay for a text message plan, here's the 800 number for free information as well. 1-800-373-3411.

Guess I can call that my service for the week. Oh, and I fixed Hayley's toilet yesterday. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Weight loss update

Remember when I siad I was going keep everyone updated on my weight loss dealio? Yeah... Well, here's the first one.

I've been going for about a month and half (maybe 2 months now?) and I'm doing ok. As of last week I had lost 25 pounds and I was losing weight every week. As of this week, I've lost 23.5 pounds. I went up a pound and a half this week. This can never happen again. I need to do better.

So here's my re-commitment to tracking all my food and exercising more. I REALLY need to work on the exercising more. I think I have had my dramatic loss with just diet, and now I've got to take it up a notch. I need to show a little more restraint at restaurants and need to stop eating out at work. Check up on me, ok?

So all you folks that said you'd support me... any ideas? What can I do for exercise now that I'm kicked out of my house (update coming soon) and don't have a gym membership? I know my ward does sports night every Thursday night, but with work being as crazy as it has been (update coming soon), I don't like to stay up that late. Or I like to stay up late doing other things...

So that's my update. I'm not feeling uber motivated, so I'd appreciate some ideas and words of encouragement. Even from you lurkers that don't comment often.

Saturday, August 2, 2008


That's what Hayley just yelled at me just now when putting mayo on a sandwich. I swear it wasn't that much! It was so funny to me because she was really insistent. Talk to me in person and I will impersonate exactly how she yelled it. She was so concerned, it was friggin' hillarious. Wanna know how much I had put on my sandwich? This much.

So I started laughing at her, and immediately screamed, "WOOOOAAAAHHHH!!!!!" Right back at her. We were both laughing, and Hayley was seamingly a little embarassed... she came over to hug me, so I screamed, "WOOOOAAAAHHHH!!!" again, still laughing so hard my stomach hurt, so she leaned over and BIT MY NECK!!! Not only that, but there was a little snarl as she did it, it was like a wolf going for the jugular... Here's my neck immediately after the bite.

And here it is about 5 minutes later.
Man, I haven't laughed that hard for a while... ok, since like 2 this afternoon...

A few updates

Because I have been sans-internet at Jared's place, I have not had the ability nor the time to blog. I really need to get the rest of my New York trip all blogged... but that's going to take some time, and I don't have much of that these days. So instead, here are a few updates from the past two weeks, in no particular order.

Work is crazy. In fact, after I get done writing this post, I'll be working on a writing a proposal... yes, it is Saturday.

My house is still burned down. Ok, not really burned down, but still unlivable according to the great city of Taylorsville. They've been having trouble with the stuff for the roof, then it was going to be done last week but they had more trouble ordering trusses or some bull crap, then the roof was supposed to be done the middle of this week but there were crazy rainstorms in Taylorsville that even flooded some other condominiums. And I become increasingly annoyed when calling the guy in charge of getting me back into my house.

I'm spending nearly every day with Hayley. She's pretty great. All the crap that is going on is easier to deal with when there is someone that makes me so happy every day. I even find a little time to see her when she has back to school night and is staying at a work friend's house because she's being nice enough to let Brooke's family stay at her place for the weekend. Oh, and I may or may not have heard her fart. I may or may not have farted first... At least she was in the other room trying to hide it, but it was a loud one!

Matt and Christy got married. I was even going to post a little ditty congratulating them and sharing the song I wasn't able to sing to them at their wedding due to limitations with the sound system. But due to cruddy connections, attaching a song to my blog is nigh impossible. But congrats you crazy kids.

Brooke and Chris got married. And man was it HOT! Both the weather and the newly wed couple. Brooke and Chris started laughing at the end of the ceremony. You know, like that laughing you get in church when someone saying the prayer says "Our dear, kind, Heavenly Father" so fast that you think they said "Our dark and hairy father" and you know it's totally inappropriate to think that sort of thing is funny, which makes it even harder to stop laughing? Well, that's what they were doing. But it was an awesome ceremony and I know they're going to be happy.

And that's about it. I'm sure there were other things, and I vaguely remember having thought a few times this last week, "I should blog about that..." but nothing comes to mind right now. I'll try to update a little more often, but that first thing on the list might be taking a LOT of my time for the next few weeks... and the third thing.