Friday, December 16, 2005

Musical Favorites from 2005

First off, let me say that I wrapped up this semester with my committee meeting on Thursday and I feel as though a burden has been lifted. Nice to have some things squared away.

Anyway, I've always thought you could learn a lot about a person simply by knowing what kind of music they listen to and proclaim to like. So in the spirit of sharing more about myself, I thought I'd share with you my playlist of favorite songs from 2005. Now certainly I've forgotten some of them, but I looked through my iTunes at songs dated 2005 and maybe a couple cheats that actually were released late in 2004. And I'm not sure the list is complete, so feel free to make recommendations for songs that you've enjoyed from this year and if they happen to have been songs I liked I'll add them to the list. If not, there's nothing wrong with you, it just wouldn't be my list if it had songs I didn't like on it. Your opinion will be noted and shown in the comments section.

The other limitation to this list is that it excludes songs that I've discovered this year that weren't released this year, but sometimes in life you just have to draw a line. Maybe we can address that in another blog post.

Without further ado, I give to you
Jake's Favorite Songs of 2005
(ordered alphabetically by artist)

1) Disco Inferno - 50 Cent
This song actually made me go buy the album, edited of course.

2) Outta Control (Remix) - 50 Cent ft. Mobb Deep
This song almost made me buy the special edition version of the album. Love the piano.

3) Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy - Big & Rich
Good fun. Doesn't really sound like country to me, but I'd have to listen to country radio to hear it.

4) Don't Lie - Black Eyed Peas
Hard to believe this is the same group that gave us "Milky milky cocoa puff" on the same album. Somethings not right about that.

5) Listen to Your Heart (Techno Version) - DHT
I can't think of anything to say about this one.

6) Sugar, We're Going Down - Fall Out Boy
This song was able to withstand me listening to it about 1,000 times the first week that I downloaded it. Still holds up. Not as sold on the rest of their stuff, sadly. They do have great song titles (Champagne for My Real Friends, Real Pain for My Sham Friends, for example)

7) Hate It or Love It - The Game ft. 50 Cent
Chillin'. The remix is also good, but if I have to choose one, I choose the original.

8) How We Do - The Game ft. 50 Cent
I take issues with a few lines, but the part when The Game gives us the eagle scream is just too much fun. Great beat, too.

9) Feel Good Inc. - Gorillaz
Lots of fun to laugh along like a deranged maniac.

10) Holiday - Green Day
Great guitar. Don't take this as an endorsement of their anti-Bush bent.

11) Diamonds from Sierra Leone - Kanye West
Other than 50, Kanye was the only one really putting out hip-hop that I could really enjoy this year.

12) Gold Digger - Kanye West ft. Jamie Foxx
One of my most favorite songs of the year. Great idea having Jamie Foxx reprise his role as Ray Charles in a song. Haven't seen that before. Great lyrics, great everything.

13) Diamonds from Sierra Leone (Remix) - Kanye West ft. Jay-Z
The rare remix that is basically a brand new song just with the same beat. I doubt this one gets played on the air much, but it actually has more to say about conflict diamonds than the original version of the song, plus I have to love me some Jigga.

14) Since U Been Gone - Kelly Clarkson
15) Behind These Hazel Eyes - Kelly Clarkson
Two songs that grew on me this year. Still don't regret passing up seeing Kelly at the U for the 4th. But good songs nonetheless. Plus Kelly's a little hottie. Am I right fellas?

16) Smile Like You Mean It - Killers
People are still shocked when I tell them that some of the members of this band are Mormon (including the lead singer, I believe)

17) You and Me - Lifehouse
A song I could probably listen to on repeat for a long, long time. Makes me hurt inside if I'm feeling down about being single.

18) Shake It Off (Remix) - Mariah Carey ft. Jay-Z and Young Jeezy
I really can't understand Mariah's career transformation. But at least she has the sense to get Jay-Z to do a remix. Or someone does. That would be giving Mariah Ca-razy way too much credit.

19) Home - Michael Buble
Sat through the credits of "The Wedding Date" listening to this song. Strange evening where I ended up at a movie with about 15 girls. Debra Messing is hot. Except sometimes she looks too bony. I don't see how another 10 pounds wouldn't make her the next Jennifer Aniston.

20) Lose Control - Missy Elliot ft. Ciara and Fat Man Scoop
I like that Missy Elliot always seems to be doing something new. Not that it always works, but at least you can count on it being interesting.

21) Scars - Papa Roach
I'm happy to see Papa Roach have at least a 2nd great song. "Last Resort" may have my favorite all time guitar line.

22) Don't Cha - Pussycat Dolls ft. Busta Rhymes
Every girl who's offered her opinion on this song seems to love it. Something about the idea of a guy checking you out even though he's with his girlfriend must be the pinnacle of cattiness for women.

23) Swing Life Away - Rise Against
Another of my most favoritest. Heard it on the radio one day and had to hunt it down by googling the lyrics. I have to be honest, I'm super suprised I haven't heard this song get played more (although I don't always hear the radio a lot). Its my #1 recommendation for people to check out if they get the chance. Short but great.

24) Beverly Hills - Weezer
"Take my picture by the pool cuz I'm the next big thing". 'Nuff said.

25) Switch - Will Smith
Not my favorite Will Smith song, but I've made promoting ol' Will a lifetime pursuit. How many people do you know who own all of his albums? I kind of wish that he'd accept the fact that he's not a gangster and quit trying to convince the hip-hop community that he deserves their attention. He's so much better when he's just having a good time.

Hope you've enjoyed this music year in review post. If you made it this far and didn't enjoy it, you probably should have just stopped reading a while ago.

I'll be leaving for my parents on Monday night, and after Christmas heading to California for New Years, so I'll probably be taking a break from my full-time web presence. Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 10, 2005


I once heard a comedian remark that if it weren't for women that men would wear underwear until all that was left of it was a a rubber band around their waist with some cloth hanging off of it. While this statement is not 100% accurate, its probably better than 90% accurate. My mom always bought my underwear until I left home and nowadays it take some pretty drastic circumstances to inspire me to buy more underwear.

Unfortuantely, perhaps as a result of most men's underwear being purchased by women (or perhaps this was the original cause of women doing the undy-shopping), it has now become increasingly awkward for men (or at least me, in this case) to shop for underwear for themselves. Not because we aren't used to it, but because of the packaging in which said underwear comes. Allow me to elaborate.

Just this Halloween, I was invited to a costume party that was "costume-by-assignment", certainly an interesting idea, not that everyone is going to stick to their assignment, but at least it helped me choose a costume. I was assigned to come as Superman, and was able to at least find a Superman logo T-shirt at Target and make a makeshift cape from an old red T-shirt. But I felt like to really sell the outfit, I would need some red briefs to wear over the top of some blue pants. I mean Superman has to have the red briefs, right? Anyway, cue the men's underwear aisle at Wal-mart. A full aisle of men's underwear in all kinds of styles and cuts. I never knew we men could be so varied in our choice of underneath clothes. The real problem, though? Package after package of men's underwear adorned with photos of dudes wearing only undies. The last thing I want to look at is a picture of some dude's crotch. Some muscle-bound, pretty boy showing off his package, and for who? I hope its not there to convince me what I should buy. I've never been more uncomfortable in a store than I was hunting through there looking for some red briefs. The fact that it took me more than 5 minutes to finally settle on a variety pack that had 1 pair of tighty-reddies made it all the more uncomfortable. In fact, I may have even felt more comfortable being in the women's underwear section for that long. At least there, I could have felt like just a regular old hetero-perv, instead of having to feel like one of the same gender crowd.

I actually thought about looking for some of these photos to add to this blog, but to be honest, I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Look for them, or even post them. I mean, what kind of guy posts photos of other guys in their undies on his blog? So who in the world thinks that we want to see that while we are trying to buy some? Thank goodness for women who are willing to buy underwear for us men. Luckily I don't usually have to shop at Wal-mart for underwear these days. The good old distribution center has managed to stay image free since 1853 (or perhaps some other, less rhyming, year).

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

What Bonnie Said or The Most Profound Relationship Advice I've Ever Heard

This actually took place right around Halloween, and I'm not entirely certain why it came to me last night that I ought to post it here, but it did and I am.

3 of us (Bonnie, Lorri, and I) were doing what late-20s LDS singles are wont to do: talk about why they are single and try to figure out what they or members of the opposite gender are doing wrong. Anyway, at some point, Bonnie said this:

"Its not about finding the perfect person, its about finding the perfect relationship."

I'll let that sink in for a minute.




Ready to discuss? Ok.

First of all, for me it hearkens back to a scene in Good Will Hunting (one of my all-time favs, although you'll want to get it editted or have built up an immunity to the F-word before watching it) where Will (Matt Damon) is telling Sean (Robin Williams) about this girl that he met and went out with. Sean asks if he's going to ask her out again and Will says "I don't know. Right now she's perfect. What if I get to know her better and it turns out that she's not perfect. I don't want to mess up what I've got right now."

Sean says, "I'm going to ruin the surprise for you. She's not perfect. And you're not perfect either. But whats important is: Are you perfect for each other?"

Anyway, Bonnie's comment really made me think a lot. I really think that she is right. Because obviously nobody is perfect. And its easy to stand on the dating sidelines, figurative-speaking, and just pick out things about everyone that aren't perfect, and then justify to yourself that reason you aren't dating is because no one is "good enough" for you, that you'd be "settling" to stoop so low, etc. When really what we should be looking for is the perfect relationship, rather than the perfect person. And you really can't even get a glimpse of what your relationship with anyone would be from the sidelines. In order to even get a hint of what a relationship with someone would be like you have to put yourself in a situation where you can see that. Most commonly, known as a date.

Or at least I feel like by going on a date with someone, I am at least opening myself up to the idea that I could potentially have a relationship with that person, and also on a date (especially a good old fashioned one-on-one date) you get a chance to see how you interact with someone. And you practically have to go on multiple dates with someone to really get a good idea of what a relationship with that person would be like, whether it something that would be perfect for you, or not.

But by not dating someone who we don't immediately have the hots for, we limit ourselves in finding out what kind of relationship we might have with another person. Since then I've tried to date more, maybe not tons more due to numerous factors (busy load of coursework, situation-specific shyness that kicks in at high gear when it comes to asking someone on a date, etc.), but I've definitely opened myself up to the idea that maybe if I take someone out a couple times I might see something there that wasn't there before (little Beauty and the Beast homage).

Now this isn't to say that I've thrown all criteria for choosing who I date out the door. I still want to feel at least that I could be attracted to the person, and I still have an aversion to girls who really don't have much to say that isn't punctuated with giggles, but hopefully I can be a little less picky about smaller issues because in the end, its not the perfect person I'm looking for, but the perfect relationship.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Old Wonka or New Wonka? Need we even ask?

Apparently so. My little sister has taken it upon herself to be the standard bearer for the new Johnny Depp-starring, Tim Burton-directed version of the Roald Dahl classic "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." Meanwhile, my older brother and I am firmly in the pro-original Gene Wilder-starring film camp. The original film was actually titled "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" despite the name of the book being "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."

And this is the beginnings of the argument for the pro-Depp folks. They try to claim that its a better film because its "supposedly closer to the book". I include "supposedly" in quotation marks, because the vast majority of these people have never actually even read the book. I have. And I will concede that the original film contained several plot elements that were not from the book. For example, the whole Slugworth offering each of the children a small fortune in exchange for an Everlasting Gobstopper, the fizzy-lifting drinks scene, the geese that lay golden eggs rather than the squirrels, and of course the bizarre boat scene. BUT, while these elements were in the original film but not in the new "truer to the book" version, the new version does its own share of adding plot. The bizarre puppet Small World rip-off as the children arrive at the factory, the fact that Willy Wonka does seem to even like children, and most notably the entire plotline involving his father, Wilbur Wonka, that leads to his not originally allowing Charlie to bring his family with him to the factory, once he has been selected as the grand prize winner.

Depp Wonka

It would seem that the original book did not have enough of a conflict to get a good movie climax out of. The first film's climax comes as Charlie proves that he isn't it for the money by returning the Everlasting Gobstopper, even in the face of Wonka's tirade about Fizzy Lifting Drinks. The new film tries to make a climax out of Charlie helping Willy confront his father and finding out that actually he really does love him and that family are swell. Neither plot is from the book, and I have to give the edge here to the first film.

The next point the pro-Depp camp will make is that Johnny Depp makes a much better eccentric Willy Wonka. Who cares? Where does it say that Willy Wonka has to be a weird-o? The fact that Depp was so weird and uninterested in the children, Charlie included, made it hard for me to connect with him, and to be honest I could not hardly fathom why Charlie would even want to live with him. In fact, Depp's creepy-wierd portrayal of Wonka has led some to believe that he was modeling Wonka after accused child molester Michael Jackson. How can anyone possibly pick him over the wacky, but well-meaning Wonka portrayed by Wilder?

Lets compare the Oompa Loompas, while we are at it. The new film's Loompa's actually sing songs whose words were written by Dahl himself. The original book actually contained poems/songs when each of the children were carted off that spanned several pages. And I have to admit that the new Oompa Loompas (all played by Deep Roy) are certainly entertaining, especially the first time they dance for Augustus Gloop. But the original Loompas while not singing Dahl's original poems (the new ones only sing parts of the epic poems) are cultural icons. How many of us have seen people go to Halloween as these old school Oompa Loompas? I'm willing to bet that no one will ever go to a Halloween party dressed as one of the new Oompa Loompas.

Which leads me to my next point. If the new film were the first version of the book that had been made, there never would have been a remake. No one would even remember that the film existed. It is easily forgettable and seems as much a vehicle for Burton's and Depp's egos as an homage to the classic story. The original film is made timeless by the wonderful performance by Gene Wilder and the great Oscar-nominated soundtrack including such classics as "The Candy Man Can", "I've Got a Golden Ticket", and "Pure Imagination".

Wilder Wonka

The only point I can concede to the new film is that it gets us to the chocolate factory much quicker than the original film. As a child watching the original film, the whole waiting to get into the factory part was excruciatingly long. And certainly today's generation of attention-starved kids would have left the theater in search of the latest Sponge Bob offering far before Charlie had actually found his own Golden Ticket. That said, now that I am older there are actually a large number of humorous scenes thrown in for adults in this pre-factory portion of the film. My personal favorite is the man with the computer that he has programmed to tell him where the remaining Golden Tickets are located. The computer refuses because, "What would a computer do with a lifetime supply of chocolate?". The angry programmer then suggests that he will tell the computer EXACTLY what it could do with a lifetime supply of chocolate. Great stuff.

Anyway, my older brother has purchased the DVD of the original film and is bringing it with him from Omaha this Christmas break so that we can have a true showdown of the films. He says that the comments from the now grown, but still very German Augustus are not to be missed.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


Last night at Institute our after class treat (funny how once you make it into the 25-30 year old class they start treating you like kindergarteners, not that I'm complaining) were some Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies. And I mentioned to Julene that they reminded me of the old "Chocolatey Chip Cookies" that McDonalds used to sell along side their McDonaldland Cookies. Obviously they weren't as popular as the McDonaldland Cookies, I mean who could expect to compete with animal crackers in the shapes of our favorite McDonalds characters, but once I was older and started working there, it became clear right away that they clearly were the superior cookie. Basically they looked like Cookie Crisp cereal, which I've never eaten due to my mother's insistence that a bowl full of cookies couldn't possibly count as breakfast. She felt the same way about Chocolate Pop-Tarts, which of course led to me buying them my first summer away from home.

Back to McDonalds, though. The topic got us talking about how McDonalds used to have a whole cast of kid-friendly characters (more on this later) and how now you almost never even see Ronald. I mean who doesn't remember the Ronald McDonald Christmas time ice skating commerical where he picks up the girl who can't skate and they have a great time. Thats says Christmas to me almost as much as watching Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. Now the best McDonalds can muster is a campaign telling me how much they are "lovin' it". Apparently kids no longer get to choose the restaurant or else today's kids just aren't swayed by cartoony characters with ties to menu items.

Just for fun, I decided to see if I could find some pictures of the McDonalds cast of characters. Here's what I was able to dig up:


ronald mcdonald

Birdie the Early Bird:

mcdonalds birdie

mcdonalds grimace

*Note: As I was searching for images I found out that Grimace apparently was supposed to somehow represent McDonalds shakes. Like maybe he is made of shake mix? Not sure.


hamburglar mcdonalds

Mayor McCheese:

mcdonalds mayor mccheese

The Fry Guys aka The Fry Kids:

mcdonalds fry guys

The McNuggets Buddies:

mcdonalds mcnuggets

Big Mac:

mcdonalds big mac

*Note: Does anyone remember the playground equipment that included a gigantic Bic Mac head where you could climb up and look out. There were holes in the top of the hat, and also you could crawl around inside the Big Mac part. It had a bunch of bars where you could look out? I think we always called it Mayor McCheese but its clear to me now that it was actually Big Mac, judging from his hat.

Another obscure character that seems vaguely familiar to me was this pirate, Captain Crook:

mcdonalds captain crook

And if that wasn't enough, here's a nice group shot:

mcdonalds characters

Looking at this group shot I'm realizing that some playgrounds actually had that tree you could climb on. The tree was also featured prominently in the McDonaldland cookies. Must have been some kind of talking tree. Also on the far left there's a guy in white looking kind of like Moses. Some of the sites spoke of a character called "The Professor" who I know nothing about. I'm guessing thats him.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Random Thoughts on the English Language #5

Many times someone trying to make a point will say something like "let me reiterate...". How come you never hear some say "let me iterate"? I mean besides a computer programmer. But seriously, can you re-iterate without first having iterated?

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

A stroll down Halloween nostalgia lane

Last night I went over to a friend's house for some chili and cornbread and some Halloween movies. Little did I suspect that the Halloween movies would be a couple of videotaped programs from the early 80s. First we watched "Witches Night Out", which I have always remembered, but never had any idea what the name was. Basically a witch is feeling washed up until on Halloween she changes some kids into "real monsters" not just lame costumes. Basically they become a real werewolf, ghost, and Frankenstein's monster and scare some people in town until the witch teaches them that Halloween is a day when we can all be something different just for one day. Then everyone gets transformed and has a great time. This used to be on every year. The animation is pretty low budget, but I always thought it was great and is has a great theme song ("Halloween! -- A witch with magic, Halloween!")

Then we watched "Disney's Halloween Treat", which was some kind of Halloween special including clips from lots of Disney cartoons and movies. Why is it impossible to see any of these great Disney cartoons on TV any more? Not even the Disney channel shows Disney cartoons. What a travesty. Sadly I had to leave before we got to the end which included the "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" cartoon, a great Halloween classic.

But perhaps even the best thing about the whole tape was the commercials. The tape was made in 1984 and had some real gems, including a commerical for a potty-training baby doll ("Bye Bye Diapers"), a commerical for the Castle Greyskull He-Man set, and an Activision commercial for Atari games featuring a young Phil Hartman getting super excited to play some video hockey.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


Never let it be said that I'm afraid of being a little politically incorrect.

I was just thinking that while often we curse handicapped people for the fact that they get all the best parking spots, and often require the entire remodelling of old buildings to make them wheelchair accessible, we should always think first to thank them. In this case, thank them for handicapped stalls in the bathroom.

If not for those often luxurious bathroom stalls, some of us would have to get to used to being packed in there like cattle. Think about it. The average handicapped stall is what? two, three times the size of a regular stall. Sometimes it takes up the whole end wall of the bathroom. I love going in there to take care of business. You've got lots of room to take off any coats, jackets, backpacks you might be wearing, instead of having to awkwardly stradle the commode as you'd have to in a regulation stall. No being so close to the next person over that you have to hear every minor detail of their own travails, poor saps who for some reason got stuck in the tiny stall. They also have those hand rails which come in handy for draping your newspaper or any other reading material you've brought with you over. Some handicapped stalls even have their own sink included. Its as close as you can get to homestyle waste elimination on the road.

And in contrast with handicapped parking stalls, there's no restriction on us regular folk using them. If only there were a way to work out parking the same way. But until then, I'll continue to handle my public restroom business in the big stall on the end.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

My milk keeps going bad before its time

Is it me, or does milk go bad faster these days? As I always have a hard time finishing the half-gallon of milk that I buy in any kind of rapid fashion, I tend to base my milk purchases on which half-gallon has the latest "best by" date.

About a year or so ago, milk prices really took a jump. And then the only time you could get cheap milk was when it was nearly expired and it was on sale. For example, one day they had gallons of milk on sale for like a dollar or so, but then when you checked the date, it was like two days away. So basically if you could drink it that day, it was worth it, otherwise no. Lots of milk had a short time to expiration, and it was hard for me to even convince myself it was worth buying it.

Then over time, the expiration dates seemed to get further away. The funny thing is that the last couple half-gallons that I've purchased, have gone bad well before the expiration date. Is the date just for milk that hasn't been opened yet? I threw out just under a quarter gallon the other day because it clearly was going bad, even though it was still a week to go til the expiration date.

Anyway, I sure hope that its just been a fluke and that the integrity of the "best by" date has not been damaged.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Dell-icious? Pt. 2

So I've had my laptop for just over a year now. At some point during that time, one of the little rubber feet that go on the bottom of the laptop fell off. Then more recently, like in the last month or so, two more of them have fallen off. I would attribute this probably to the heat emitted from the bottom of the laptop drying the adhesive that is on them and causing them to detach.

Anyway, the lack of 3 of the 5 rubber feet has led to my laptop sitting very wobbly on a flat surface. So I decided I'd call Dell and see if I could find some replacement feet for it. Thus began my ordeal.

First I called the general purpose service line (1-800-WWW-DELL) and found out that because my computer had been purchased through an employee purchasing plan, I would need to speak to someone at a different number that handled corporate accounts.

I called this number only to find that it was only available during regular office hours. When I finally got around to finding a time during regular work hours, today, I talked to someone who told me that they would be covered by my warranty, which I thought had expired a few months earlier. She transferred me to someone else who would help process my needs. This guy however, told me that in fact my warranty was expired and that I would have to pay for replacements myself. This was what I had expected anyway, so I was okay with that.

Anyway, he says he has to transfer me to spare parts. At each step along the way, I am transferred to a new phone mail system which requires me to listen intently and make choices based on what, in my situation, seem like pretty silly options (press 3 if you are having trouble with a wireless connector, press 4 if you have installed windows XP), and then do some waiting on hold. Finally I get to someone at spare parts and she tells me that yes, the rubber feet that I need are in stock, and that each one costs $4.95. $4.95 a piece for little tiny rubber feet!

Anyway, at this point, I still need them, so that I don't go nuts as my computer wobbles back and forth on my desk. So I say ok. All the while, she is trying to upsell me to buy some extra replacement feet, just in case, or an extra battery, etc. Do you travel a lot? etc. etc.

No, I say, I just want the replacement feet.

Ok. They're $4.95 a piece and shipping is $8.00.

$8.00! I say. For four little rubber feet that altogether surely weigh less than a pound?! You've got to be kidding me.

Well we do send it by UPS or FedEx.

I don't care. I don't need them rushed to my door.

Oh, and the kicker, expect 3 to 5 days delivery.

I think I could overnight four tiny rubber feet for less than $8.00.

Well that's our minimum shipping charge, that's why I'm trying to get you to buy a battery or something else to maximize your shipping cost, some garbage like that.

No, I don't want anything else. I just want 4 rubber feet. Can't you just put them in an envelope and mail them to me? They can't be damaged in shipping. I don't need them today.

Then she tries to get me to apply for their Dell preferred Customer Credit program. For $28! Just in case of what? In case my credit card can't cover $28?


Anyway, I just paid $28 total for four tiny rubber feet for my laptop that will ship by October 12th (a week from today) and after shipping will take 3-5 days to arrive. Amazing what you can buy for $8.00 worth of shipping. They better come in a box made of gold or something.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Random Thoughts on the English Language #4: Imply vs. Exply vs. 1-ply

So if something is "implied" that makes it "implicit", right? But if some is explicit, is that because it was "explied". And if some can have "implications", why have I never heard of "explications"? Has there every been a warning about "implicit lyrics" on a CD?

And speaking of plys, shouldn't there be a law requiring 1-ply bathroom tissue to explain clearly, "exply" even, that it is in fact not 2-ply? Things like fishhooks have warning that they are not to be ingested, but we can't get a useful warning about 1-ply toilet paper? C'mon America. I expect better of you.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Some of my birthday gifts

For my recent birthday I received some gifts from my friends, which always comes as a huge bonus, as I don't really expect anything. Maybe this is because I don't usually give gifts, other than CDs, but thats a whole other story.

Anyway I just wanted to make a blog post here, to let them know that I appreciated their gifts and also since two of the big gifts that I got were gift cards, I wanted to post some pictures of what I got with my gift cards.

First of all, I got the Newsies DVD from Kelsey and Alicia, which they correctly assumed was a favorite of mine since we had just been watching it the week before and I had gotten myself in trouble by singing along with all the songs.

Newsies DVD

Then from a group of gals that I know (Lorri, Becky, Wendy, Robyn, and Emily) I got two gift cards, one from Best Buy, and one from American Eagle, which they got me because I said that I never buy things from stores with wood floors. Also I was told that I couldn't buy a hoodie at AE. Apparently I have too many of those already. But as my roommate Rob says,"can you really have too many hoodies?" I actually might (I have at least 7 that I can think of off the top of my head).

Anyway, at Best Buy I bought the first two seasons of News Radio on DVD:

News Radio DVD

And put the remainder of the money towards an adapter that converts a car cigarette lighter power source into something you can plug regular devices into. Mainly because I am heading out to Omaha this weekend with my family and we wanted to be able to watch DVDs on my laptop along the way. (If you've never driven from Utah to Omaha, there's not much to see along the way).

And at American Eagle, I looked around unsuccessfully for quite a while, trying to find something that a) didn't look like it had been on the floor of someone's dorm room for a couple weeks, and b) actually came in a size that would fit me. (Apparently AE's normal clientele don't usually wear XL or XXL). But as I was about to give up and return in a few months to see what they had of new stuff, I found this shirt that was to my liking:

AE Rugby Polo

(I don't know why they took the picture of a white shirt against a white background, but oh well).

In addition to the gifts pictured above, I also received an inflatable pool raft, perfect for such high-skill pool manuvers as the superman, reverse superman, and midpool rollover (both front-to-back, and back-to-front) from Anne Schmidt; a new suitcase from my parents, some pajama pants from my parents which I returned and exchanged for two shirts (also with collars and buttons) (I had to chip in a bit to get both shirts, but the value was more than one); and I also got a card and some money from my grandparents. Oh, I can't forget the pretzel treats that my sister-in-law made for me while she was out visiting.

I think that pretty much sums it up, although my mom did say that she was going to find me a Grantsville Cowboys shirt since I had asked for one and she couldn't find one yet.

Thanks to everyone who gave me a gift, even if it was just your presence or thoughts on my birthday.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Chris-miss in September

Can the puns get any worse? I submit that they cannot! But they just keep coming.

In memorandum of Chris moving to Chicago, I just thought I'd write down some stuff that remind me of him. First of all, there's all the technologies that I wouldn't even know about, much less make use of daily without Chris having shown it to me/convinced me it was worth my time:

Pushing the camera button in halfway to focus before taking the picture

And the things he says that make me laugh, like:

Francamente, no me importa
C'mon, C'mon (Not sure what the phonetic spelling on this one should be, so you'll have had to heard it to understand)
Easy, Big fella
You can derelict my malls, capitan
Around the Hoooorn
Jeremy Schaap(sp?), EeeSPN
Rachel Nichols, ESPeNNNN

Other ways he influenced my life include:

Not hating the Yankees completely
Being able to watch golf w/o falling asleep
Happy memories of Tony and Mike on PTI
Proving that church lessons can actually be very well prepared

Other random memories:

Jamba Juices after Institute last year
The neverending bleeding knee, and the time that he used dirt to stop the bleeding
Halo nights with the roomies (Perhaps our most successful roommate activity)
"My roommate wants to know if we've kissed"

And of course we can't forget how totally Troy and I dominated him at Settlers of Catan over probably a two month period this summer, culminating in Chris finally getting a couple wins near the end of the free trial period.

Thanks for the memories Chris. Good luck at law school.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Saying goodbye

Funny how pepole come and go in our lives. And how even when in your mind you know that they are leaving, perhaps for good, it doesn't really sink in at the time. At least for me, thats the way it is. I never miss people before they're gone. And even for a while after. Its kind of sad that you have to say goodbye right then, before you can truly appreciate all that you'll miss once they are gone. We should have some kind of delayed farewell system, where a month or two afterwards you can tell people what it is that you miss about them and do it with some real feeling.

Friday, September 02, 2005

PSA (Public Speed Announcement)

I think that 1300 East in Salt Lake City is one of the worst road to drive on, and yet somehow I have convinced myself that its the fastest way for me to get to school and church and back.

My biggest problem with it (now that they repaved the section between 2100 S and 500 S) is that on the section between my house (approx. 4500 S) and 3300 S, people don't even drive the speed limit. Its a 40 mph section, but everyone drives 30 or 35 at best. Unlinke other places I drive, I actually get excited when they put out those trailers that show the speed limit and then have a display that says "Your speed" with a radar gun, because I always hope that people will see it and go, "Oh, wow, its 40 here. I can speed up." Its laughable because everytime I drive past one anywhere, I have to slow down, but on 1300 E, I'm always stuck going 5 or 10 below. Today, there was one position right near to where I live, and as always I was doing 34 in a 40 as I drove by with no slowing down to please the radar gun. So, hopefully, we'll see some increased speeds as a result.


As football season begins tonight, I thought I'd share my own personal fame with anyone out there who happens to read this. About a week ago, a friend of mine emailed me to inform me that he had seen my picture on the side of a campus shuttle up at the U in my jester hat that I wear to the footgall games.

I have yet to confirm this personally, but I did find a flyer advertising the MUSS (the student football fan club) with my face easily recognizable on it.

Since then I have had at least two other independent sources confirm that, yes, my picture was on the side of the campus shuttles.

Here are some pictures I scanned in of the flyer. First of the whole thing:

Muss Flyer

and second an up close view:

Muss Flyer Detail

Thats me in the jester hat, above the second 's' in MUSS. It almost seems as though they made sure to fit the text around me. Or maybe thats just my ego kicking in, either way, its kind of fun. :)

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Its Racism...Hooray Racism!

One of my favorite shows on ESPN is PTI where Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon debate the lastest happening in sports. One of the sponsors of late is Red Stripe Beer (Motto: Its Beer...Hooray Beer!) and their commercials are quite humerous and entertaining. One of the talks about how white people can't dance and then the spokesperson turns on a radio and gives the white guy a Red Stripe and then they both dance. The commercial then says "Red Stripe and reggae, helping our white friends dance for over 70 years!"

I was just thinking, what if it was a PSA for Affirmative Action that ended by saying "Affirmative Action, helping our non-white friends get jobs they don't deserve for over 40 years!" We'd have people up in arms about racism.

I guess it must just be because white people are so much better (or is it just because we're better off) that we have to put up with people taking shots at us, while anything going the other way is totally offensive?

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Directional activities

So tonight at Institute the announced there's some Bar-B-Hootenany activity coming up. Aside from the fact that I could barely look myself in the face if I were to go to some with that name, it got me thinking. Its supposed to be some kind of western-style activity, right? Well, why have we all heard of a western-style activity, but we really would be clueless if there was an eastern-style activity, or northern-style. Or dare I say southern-style? Whats up with that?

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Random Thoughts on the English Language #3

I'm sure we all know someone who is 'inept'. But how many 'ept' people do you know?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Persistence Theory

As I was re-reading some of my recent posts, I realized that I had alluded to a Persistence Theory upon which I was going to expound, but which as of yet has gone un-expounded upon.

If I were to name this Theory after someone it would probably be Rhett Butler. No, not THE Rhett Butler. A guy in my high school's name happened to be Rhett Butler. Perhaps his famous name endowed him with some kind of overactive ego, but for the most part the guy was an overbearing jerk whose lack of self-esteem translated into treating everyone else like crap.

Anyway, there was a girl, Kelly, whom Rhett was interested in. And being the ultra-confident fellow that he was, he proceeded to date her, despite the fact that she was obvious too classy for him, and that he belonged with her the way mustard belongs with peanut butter. But here's the thing, they're married now. Not, to my knowledge, because he changed and became a great guy. No, just because he stuck it out.

I think most of us guys know a guy like this, who ends up with a girl out of his league because he is willing to be a jerk and not give up and just keep asking a girl out even when she's made it abundantly clear that she is not interested. Where most of us would not have the nerve to continue on after she's been clearly disinterested, some of us are willing to carry on as though things are fine. Eventually something changes in the girl and they end up together. And so the persistence theory is born.

The theory is that pretty much a guy can get any girl if given enough time to continue dating her or at least attempting to date her. If she isn't assertive enough to tell him to leave her alone in no uncertain terms, eventually she comes around to see things his way. If you, as a guy, are willing to persevere through the crappy time when she is obviously not interested and force her to be mean and up front with you, chances are that things will work out in the end.

Why is this? Is it because by sticking around for so long, you scare away any other potential suitors? Is it because, in a moment of depression and loneliness a girl can be convinced that you are the best she'll ever get? I don't know. Maybe the ladies can help me out with this one.

Sadly, I have not found that I am able to persevere enough to put this theory into practice on the grand scale, although with the one girl I seriously dated, there was a period at the beginning where I really had no idea what she was thinking about me and was just kind of winging it on my own without any kind of signals on her part. In general, though, the last place I want to be is some place where I'm not wanted. I hate to think that I'm the guy that every wishes would just go away and leave them alone. Because there are people like that and they never seem to know what everyone thinks about them. I hope I'm not that guy.

Addendum - 1/3/06: My older brother who happens to be married to Kelly's cousin and graduated with both of them informs me that I should point out that they are happily married and have 3 children and that Rhett does have some redeeming qualities. I assume this must be true and that really as a high school sophmore I didn't have a lot of interaction with so I'm limited by what things I did see.

He (my brother) also thinks that girls usually value the commitment shown by the persistor as that is something they tend to look for in men.

Whats the Deal with Aisle Sitters?

You know who they are. They're the first ones there, wherever there is. School, Church, some kind of sporting event. They get there before everyone else and then decide to sit right next to the aisle, requiring everyone else to have to squeeze to get through to the rest of the seats. Then they have the nerve to act put out that someone is rude enough to squeeze past them, even though we really have no other options.

In some situations this can be a huge hassle. In a whole bunch of my Computer Science courses we had aisle sitters, so finally I decided that any time I had to squeeze past one of these people, I was going to not-so-accidentally bump them a good one. Its not really in my nature and I don't recall how long I kept it up, but certainly I did it on several ocassions and always it felt good.

Another question that was raised in one of the "Letters from a Nut" books related to this topic is "What is the proper way to slide past these people?" Do you put your butt or your crotch in their face? There's really no nice way to put it.

So for future reference, if you are the first one there, do everyone a favor and slide in to the middle of the row, or if not, stand up and set out of the aisle when people are entering.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Fear of ... failed success?

As I contemplate the reasons that I don't date more than I do now, I think I've come to the conclusion that I'm not so much scared of rejection, although it does kind of suck when you are interested in someone and they give you the old shaft-eroo. No, I think its more that I am afraid of having to break up with someone. That they will like me but I won't like them back.

This fear probably stems from the series of painful breakups that I experienced with the one girl that I dated for month than a couple months.

So basically, I'm more afraid that people will will like me and I not like them back than the other way round.

Is that messed up or what?

Tuesday, August 09, 2005



Have you ever been told to do something or not to do something by someone that has your best interest in mind and yet all it makes you want to do is the opposite. I'm a pretty stubborn person in that sense, and when someone gives me some unsolicited advice my natural reaction is to go 180 degrees the opposite direction. I've learned though that if I wait a few days before doing anything that I can let the advice sink in and then I'm more willing to give it a shot. I think this is because after mulling it over for a few days I feel more like its my decision and that I'm not just doing what someone told me to do.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Some advice for the ladies

A day or two ago, I had a nice chat with a good friend of mine who has become active in the church recently (over the course of the last two or three years) and he said to me, "Ever since I started dating Mormon girls, things have just been way harder. Sometimes I think they are interested in me, so I ask them out and then make up excuses or dog me out or whatever."

So on to the advice for the ladies: We're grown up. We can take it if you aren't interested. Just let us know. Once we've made it obvious that we are interested, just let us know whether you are or not, so that we can both get on with our lives if the interest isn't mutual. Let's not waste 4 months on "Does she like me?" Don't suggest that maybe you'll change your mind, or maybe you were just busy that one time. Be clear. And by obvious and clear, we mean OB-VI-OUS and C-L-E-A-R. Like obvious enough that a guy could actually realize. Not in some obscure, "I didn't laugh at his jokes as loud as before" kind of way.

And don't give psycho guys ideas by finally giving into some guy who's been hounding you for years. The persistance theory has proven effective too many times because girls just think that no one else is interested. And if you don't know about the persistance theory, I'll spell it out tomorrow.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

How Long is 5 Years? Part III: The Roomies

Just when you think that 5 years has flown by, try to think back through all the different roommates you've had and how long its been since you've even heard anything about some of them much less seen them or heard from them.

When I first got home from the mission, I moved in with three total strangers who also happened to all be at least 6 years old than I was. In fact, I am still not the age that any of them were at the time, despite it now being 5 years later. Thats actually a relief to realize. First, there was Burke, who happened to have his dirtbike parked in the living room and had a computer desk that effectively filled another third of the room. He also wouldn't tell any of the rest of us where our reserved parking spot was, and was also like the dad of the place. He paid all the bills and then we just paid him back. Needless to say he moved out a month later and I haven't seen the guy more than once since then. Don't even remember his last name. I want to say Shields, but maybe that just because Burke Shields has a familiar ring to it.

Along with Burke there was Jason S., resident yellow personality who got me my first date by putting my arm around this weird girl at church who then proceeded to ask me out, dutch no less, to the UofU Homecoming dance. When I think I've been on a bad date I just remember that one. Jason was a lot of fun, though, and lived with us for the next year. He will forever be 18 years old at heart. He's living back in Salt Lake now after moving out to West Valley and then up to Logan to get his Masters.

The other of my inaugural set of post-mission roomies was Dustin, whose bizareness may never be topped in someone with such a good heart. We all have our talents and one of his was making members of the opposite sex uncomfortable. Another was buying random stuff for exorbitant prices (Rainbow Vacuum anyone?). Yet another was his penchant for small house pets (snakes, iguana, chameleon, sugar glider, parrot) that never quite seem to reach "part of the family status". And he will forever be remember for what me and Troy call "Dustin's thing" which was a small plastic aquarium with some European coins in the bottom, and some pillars coming up out of the coins. One pillar had a small pewter(?) wizard on it and the other had a dragon. On the outside of the aquarium there was a switch that you could flip that would make electric current jump from the wizard's wand to the dragon. Not one girl could make it into our apartment for the first time without getting a demonstration of "Dustin's thing". And yet, of the 4 of us living there, he is the only one now married.

When Burke moved out, Troy moved in, and we've been roommates ever since then, although that time will be coming to an end at the end of August. My relationship with Troy has always reminded me a lot of my relationship with my older brother. We don't talk about things like who were dating or what we are thinking about life and philosophical things. We just hang out and have some of the same interests. We get along really well with only a few minor not-so-happy times, one involving him throwing my pants on the floor.

After living with Jason, Dustin, and Troy for a year, Jason left and his spot became the revolving door spot in our apartment for the next 18 months or so of our time at Foothill Place. Our first replacement was Kent, a hilarious guy who always made the wrong first impression since he was about 6' 3", had shoulder length hair, and an ability to grow facial hair that would make Bigfoot feel girlish. One of his best qualities was that when he was avoiding homework, he would clean house. My favorite memory of Kent, though, would have to be his monologue on all of his failed relationships that he shared with my girlfriend and me. The monologue ended perfectly with his yelling "I need a wife" from the kitchen because he had just managed to set the plastic handle of a coffee mug on fire, by putting the mug in the microwave. Good old Moyle. Last I'd heard from him he'd cut his hair and got called as Elder's Quorum President. Maybe I need to grow my hair out.

After Moyle moved out, he was replaced by a guy named Lee who delivered pizzas for The Pie and whom I could tell if he was asleep in our room simply by opening the door enough for me to get a whiff of his pizza-y odor. Most memorable for just sitting silently watching TV for most of the first week we knew him, and because our neighbors used to crank call asking for him and I would pretend to do the Lee voice.

After Lee moved down to Utah County, because "there are more hot girls there", he was replaced by Zack, a man whose passion for boating was tempered only by the fact that the boat he built himself kept breaking down. He has since moved on to Prosthetics and Orthotics school and is now making bank, has bought his own boat (RIP 10 Cow Pull), and gotten hitched.

Zack was just in town for the summer and he was replaced by Jason G., a drummer who failed to mention that key fact when he came to see the place and afterwards set them up against our wishes and from time to time would have people over to jam in our living room. Not a great idea in an apartment building, unless you happen to have your own TV show and rehearsal space on the roof (Anyone remember "The Heights"?). The lowlight of Jason's time was when I told him I was interested in a girl and he proceeded to ask her out. The highlight was the whole "Lando? Lando? Lando!!!!!!!!!" moment inspired by the Kenny Rogers Roasters episode of Seinfeld.

Jason was the first of the replacements to stick around for a while, as Dustin proceeded to move out to his own place and get some bigger parrots. Once Dustin was gone, he was replaced by Christian, or C-Lo as he has come to be know since then. Cristian was kind of unmotivated and never had a job in the three months or so that he was our roommate. He played a lot of Playstation and hung with Jason mostly. His dad drove a truck for Wonder Hostess and so whenever he would visit we'd get hooked up with mad Twinkies, etc.

At this point, our lease was ending and Troy and I decided to move out to a house with some of our friends from the ward. It was sad leaving Foothill, but pretty much everyone else had already left as well, so it wasn't that sad, or rather things would have been sad even if we'd stayed.

We moved to the house with a total of 7 guys, one of whom (Marlon) was engaged already, so we knew we'd shortly be down to 6. There was Troy and I, Marlon, Ben, Ray, Jeremy, and Tyler. I have to say it was a lot of fun and I think that we'll all be pretty good friends.

I would have to say that I probably will remember my times with Ben and Ray most from living in the house. Ben, because we had a lot of time in the house together when everyone else was working while we were between jobs. Lots of breakfasts at the Coachmans. Especially because there was a time when I thought Ben was a major league punk. And he still has his moments :), but I now consider him a good friend, someone I could talk to, and someone who is sincerely interested in what is up with me. He's gone active duty in the Army now and will be shipping out to Iraq before too long, currently scheduled to go in November. I have nothing but the utmost of respect for him and the rest of our Armed Forces and their willingness to put their lives on the line for our country in a way that no other occupation requires. I don't care what you say about the reasons they are out there, the fact remains they are out there and most of us aren't and aren't willing to be.

As for Ray, we just had a lot of fun times. He was the youngest and certainly the most fun to hang out with. We made a snowman once. Good times all around.

After a year there, we had to move from the house. Ben had already left for the army and Ray was engaged to be married in a month or so. So it was Troy, Jeremy, Tyler, Ray and I moving to Turnberry where I've lived since then. Ray got married and Tyler subsequently got engaged and married at which point Chris moved in with us.

I've had a great year living with Chris and really enjoy talking with him about all kinds of topics. He's taught me how to get the most of the internet and has actually influenced me so much that I can actually watch golf w/o throwing up in my mouth. Thanks, Chris.

As for the current state of roommate affairs, we'll all be leaving this apartment at the end of August. Troy and Jeremy are moving in with Ryan in Sandy, Chris is leaving for University of Chicago Law School and I will be moving to a town house apartment here in Turnberry with Rob and his roommate, Mac (MacKay). For the first time, I'll be the shortest one. That should prove interesting methinks. And for the not-first time I'll be the youngest one.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

How Long is 5 Years? Part II: On the Road Again

Trips and Vacations

You might feel like you don't travel much, as I do from time to time, but I've found that as I look back I've actually had some great fun travelling over the last 5 years.

The first real trip I took after returning home was my Spring Break vacation in the Spring of 2001. Interestingly enough, its the only real Spring Break vacation I've ever taken, and certainly it stands out as being a really fun trip.

I spent a week with some of my new friends and a couple people I didn't even know before that. We drove to Hurricane late the first night, our arrival at Marlon's house delayed slightly by getting pulled over for speeding only a mile or two from our destination. A crazy ordeal which took place at approximately 2 am, and included such never-before-seen insanity as a cop pulling over two cars at once, the car I was in running out of gas while we were idling at the side of the road, the driver of our car finding out that her license was suspended or something like that, and finally us getting our pictures taken with the police, for fun of course. The best part was the policeman taking the picture giving suggestions for how to get the best lighting on the shot.

Early the next day we set out of Los Angeles and had only made it St. George before getting another speeding ticket. I was riding shotgun in the same car, but with a different driver. We got a nice long lecture from officer-poopy-pants about how dangerous it was for us to be going 80 or 90 or whatever it was on the freeway.

Finally we made it Val's parents house in Cali and we had a great time. We went to Santa Monica, and the walk of fame. To the Universal City Walk outside of Universal Studios. We drove down to Newport Beach for one night and I ate at the Cheesecake Factory for the first of what is now three momentous times. I rode the ferris wheel at Balboa Island with Matt Maher and we blew our kazoos like crazy as we did it. We drove up to Six Flags Magic Mountain and finally drove to Vegas for the last night and then home. All in all I spent around $100. Talk about a bargain.

That summer we had a family vacation to Lava Hot Springs which will go down in Tripp family infamy as the worst vacation ever, at least to date. Note to anyone thinking about it: Lava is great for one day, terrible for 3. The only places to eat are local greasy spoon type places. The only things to do involve you being in your swimming suit, which is fine, but not for three days. Just wanted to give a heads-up to anyone considering this idea.

In August of that year, I helped George and Kimi move out to Omaha which wasn't so much a vacation as a long drive with some remodeling at the end. But it was my first time that I could recall visiting the midwest, and I saw a lot of corn along the way.

Then on Labor Day weekend, I went down to Hurricane again to Marlon's parents' house. We went repelling, crawled around in caves, all of which was a bit tense for me. We hiked the Narrows in Zion, went to a ghost town. I think the trip was best summed up by my asking "when do we start vacationing?".

After that things settled down, as I started having jobs that required me to work during summer and spring vacations. The next trip I took was a family vacation to Aspen Grove, which was okay, but really made me feel too old to fit in. Fast forward to the summer of 2003 when we went to Oregon for the second time as a family which was lots of fun. We enjoyed beach golf and seeing lighthouses and tide pools.

I don't recall going anywhere after than until the next year when I started traveling heavily again. In June, I traveled to Nauvoo for family vacation and also to Indianapolis for my first NLM Training meeting. In September I went to San Francisco for the first time to attend MedInfo. Over Christmas Break, I went to Tempe, AZ to watch the undefeated Utah Utes finish up their season in dramatic fashion by spanking the Pitt Panthers in the Fiesta Bowl. Over President's Day weekend, I flew to Omaha to visit George and Kimi and we saw some church history sites, like Independence, Liberty Jail, and Winter Quarters. And just recently I returned from a trip to DC for the NLM Training meeting.

I have to be honest when I say that I've had more fun on trips with my friends than with my family, but I guess thats just the way it goes. Looking ahead, I'd like to visit California again sometime soon, and maybe save up and find someone who wants to go visit Argentina, but that might be too ambitious. Who knows?

How Long is 5 Years? Part I: The Ladies

I was just realizing the other day that this Friday (July 29th) will mark the 5th anniversary of my return from the mission field. Crazy, huh? When time starts to feel like its moving by pretty quickly sometimes its nice to look back at what all can happen in 5 years and then it does feel like its flying by quite so fast as you see all thats happened in 5 years.

With that in mind, I wanted to put together a few categorical thoughts and maybe some statistics to see what all I've been up to in the last 5 years.


Lets start here since it seems as though this is all that anyone really cares about anyway. Lets start at the very beginning with Tawni. Who is she?, you ask. Well even I know very little about her. She was in one of my two Institute classes that I took my first semester back -- Preparing for Celestial Marriage. At the time I thought it might be something I'd need in the short term, but hey it never hurts to be prepared way in advance, right?

Anyway, she's very good-looking and friendly, and as the gung-ho RM that I was, I went for it. I called to ask her out. I assume that I got her number off the UofU Student Directory, b/c I'm sure I didn't ask her for it. She happened to be busy, but invited me to come and eat dinner at the restaurant where she was working as a server -- Christopher's in Bountiful. It was pretty convenient for me since I had a class at the Bountiful extension at the time, but little did I know that Christopher's is a pretty pricey place to eat. I sat down and started looking at the menu and pretty much everything was $20 or so, if I remember correctly. In the end I got some kind of chicken salad that was fairly reasonably priced, but I was glad that I wasn't taking some girl there on a date. She was my server, but was pretty busy, so our interaction was limited.

As a follow-up, I think I called her not too long after that and asked her out on a date, which she agreed to. I called her the night before just to verify that we were still on and got this response, "Oh, was that tomorrow? I've already got plans." A luau of some sort, I believe. Anyway, that was the first time I got the insensitve shoot down, but sadly, not the last.

I followed up the Tawni experience with the Mimi experience. She was a girl who I'd met at the Institute building and made friends with. We actually went on a couple dates, I got up the courage to actually kiss a girl for only the second time in my life, and the first since I'd been home, and even exchanged Christmas gifts, although I think she got me something in response to my getting her something. We went out on New Year's which happened to be a Sunday that year, and was one of two New Year's in my life on which I've actually had someone to kiss. Shortly after New Year's things got weird and she was "busy" a lot on the weekend. So we drifted apart, almost for good, although I did get a weird Valentines day call from her that went as follows:

Me: Hello?
Her: Hi, this is Mimi, I just wanted to call and say "Happy Valentine's Day."
Me: Oh, thanks. Happy Valentine's Day to you.
Her: Hey, my sister needs to use the phone, so I guess I'll talk to you later.

How bizarre is that?

Anyway, needless to say, I ended up going out with her two more times, first in March when I needed a date to the G-ville Old Folks Sociable, and later in April or May to see Camelot at the U, after I'd called her to wish her happy birthday. Later she left on a mission without mentioning to me that she was even thinking about going. I've seen her since a few times and actually had one decent conversation with her.

That was the end of that experience, and made me think that perhaps DTR's aren't entirely bad, if it means that you at least have some clue of what is going on in someone else's head.

The Mimi era was followed shortly by the Sandy era, a girl from my ward who I asked out and had a good time with, who I invited to the Manti pageant, an experience which prompted my friends to say that they thought she was pretty interested in me, only to find out about a month later that she was engaged to some other guy.

After a brief hiatus from dating, I began dating Angie, an experience whose full details would take more space than perhaps exists on the internet, but sufficeth to say that we had a lot of good times and a lot of bad times, and a lot of time all around, at least from my perspective. After numerous break-ups instigated by myself, and numerous times of her taking me back, finally we had a mutual breakup which seemed to stick. All told, the time between our first and last dates spans approximately 18 months, and includes approximately 5 breakups, and one hiatus of probably 10 months or so.

Aside from these major landmarks, there have been a couple other girls that I have kissed, and maybe one or two that I have been on second dates with. Let it be known, however that no girl who has gone out with me more than twice has ever gotten married, at least not yet. So lets assume that means that once you've dated Jake, there's just no getting over him.

Currently, there are a few girls that I'm thinking about asking out, but have not.

I think this is a good place to take a break, but check back later today or tomorrow for more of my multi-part retrospective on the post-mission era of Jake.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Mini Miracle #1

A week ago today, I got up at the totally un-me-like hour of 4:45 am. This was so that my mom could come and get me to take me to the airport for my trip to Washington, D.C. She was coming at 5:15 so that I could get to the airport in plenty of time for my 7:00 flight out. Around 5:20 I started to wonder why she wasn't here yet, although her track records a bit suspect, so I wasn't too worrried. I tried calling her cellphone, but no answer. As 5:25 passed, and then 5:30, and then 5:35, I started to wonder a) if she was okay, b) if she was coming at all, and c) at what point I would need to drive myself to the airport.

Then, about 5:40 I thought I heard a car outside, so I walk out and down the steps, but there was no car there. I stood there for a few minutes and then my mom drove around the corner. I assumed she was just running late, but in fact, she had been parked at the building next to mine since 5:10 or so, since my car was parked there (parking in front of my building tends to be at a premium) and the light was on in the apartment that would have been mine if it were my building. She had knocked on the door, and even was bold enough to ring the doorbell. But no one came to the door. She had forgotten her cellphone at home and also forgotten to bring my address with her. She finally decided to try and find a pay phone to call me, and that where she was headed when she happened to drive by my apartment where I had been standing outside for less than 2 minutes.

She seemed a little distraught, and had obviously been worried that she had failed miserably as a mother. But I made it to airport at a reasonable hour and got to my flight with enough time to spare for me to enjoy some BK courtesy of my travel budget. Thanks mom.

Friday, July 08, 2005


As you may have noticed, its been a few days since my last post. My brand new Dell Dimension 4700 threw a rod and blew a hard drive about a week into its tenure as my desktop. Luckily I managed to not delete all my files off my old desktop in the interim, although a large portion of them are in a file entitled, "Ready to be Deleted". Only divine intervention prevented me from finishing the job.

I just got my PC back up and running yesterday evening, and I've decided to take a few precautions, like not let it keep running since it tends to get really hot when its been on for more than a few hours at a time; and perhaps attempt to back up my important files to disk (the new machine has a DVD burner). Also I'm waiting until at least tomorrow to think about transferring the docs over to this machine again. Just because I'm tired of having to do it more than once. We'll see. Hopefully I'll have good news to report.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Dating Thoughts #3: Little Help?

In today’s society we see that hanging out seems to have replaced “casual” dating. Whether this is true or not, or right or not is not the issue. The perception is the issue. Because of this perception, asking someone out on a date, excepting some circumstances to be discussed below, is perceived to mean that you have already decided that you “like” them. This means that after only one date, people are already asking you to decide if you are going to ask them out again, or not. It’s like you have to break up with them if you decide you don’t want to go on a second date. This puts a lot of pressure on you, and makes you not want to date “for fun” because if you just want to date for fun you have to be prepared to deal with relationship issues before there ever is even a real relationship.

So… the solution seems to be to find opportunities to ask someone out where it can be assumed that don’t already want to date them seriously just because you have asked them out, i.e. date-required activities, like a formal dance or a group date activity. Then you can ask someone out and explain what it is for, and then they can still feel like you are interested, but not that you are trying to start a relationship with them. This gives you the opportunity to go on a date, without the pressure of having to break up after the first date. You can date in the sense that our parents think of, and it also gives you a good lead-in to a second date, that is really the first “I am interested in you” date, but without the usual first-date-awkwardness.

Thus, if our church leaders would like us to date more, and I’m sure that they do, I feel like they ought to provide opportunities for us, as guys, to ask girls out. They certainly don't have any problem telling us that we need to date more. I know that there will always be people who make a stink because there will be some, or maybe lots, of girls that don’t get asked out who will feel bad. Well I’m guessing that more girls will get asked out that weekend than would normally, so overall it’s a step in the right direction. Currently my singles stake provides no date-required activities. They only have dances (stomps, mind you) three times a year. You aren’t going to meet people outside of your ward at an activity where you watch Testaments, or sit and watch a talent show in the dark. You are going to sit by people you know and talk to people you know and not meet anyone new. I feel like I’ve been to enough stake activities to know that there is very little mingling going on. In general, normal people don't just go up to random people at these activities.

Dating Thoughts #2: The Dreaded Hang-out

As mentioned previously, people are usually not themselves on a first date, especially a blind date; or at least you don't really get to know the real person usually. Thus hanging out provides a setting in the which you can get to know people without the pressure of “Do you want to marry this person?” looming over your head as it does in a dating relationship in today’s society. Some people feel like you can’t really get to know someone by just hanging out. I submit that that is up to each individual. If you just sit and watch TV, then sure you will never get to know someone, but I think you can learn as much talking with someone in a group setting, as in a one-on-one dating situation, if that is your goal. Who hasn't been on a date that was much pretty much a long sequence of awkward silences?

Obviously dating should be the ultimate goal of group activities. Use them as an opportunity to find out if you'd like to date someone and to meet new people i.e. friend of a friend. There are some things that you only get on a date. Especially with some girls who always seem to have tons of guys surrounding them, people calling on the phone, etc. You pretty much have to go out with them just to get to talk to them for more than a minute w/o being interrupted. And obviously, your odds of getting some action are MUCH higher after a date. ;) Maybe I should look into dating more.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Random Thoughts on the English Language #2

Who decided that a good word for the opposite of "constipated" would be "regular"?

Dating Thoughts #1: Blind Dates

A few years ago, for no specific reason, other than that they were rolling around in my head, I wrote down some thoughts I was having on the current state of affairs in the dating world here in Utah. A recent conversation with someone prompted me to go back and find them. I have decided to present them here for your enjoyment (as far as I know there are only 2 people who even know of this blog). Please take them with a grain of salt, and don't hate me for anything I might say that offends you. As I said these were all written down a few years ago, so aren't not related to, inspired by, or in reference to anything recent.

My plan is to post them one a day until they run out (I think there are about 3).

Anyway, here's #1:

Blind Dates: There's a reason its called "getting set up"

If one of your friends that is a girl wants to set you up with someone, its probably going to be one of their friends that doesn’t get asked out. Secondly, if she thinks you are such a great guy, and she is single, why does she want her friend to go with you, instead of asking you out herself?

If one of your guy friends wants to set up you up, it’s probably with someone good, although you ought to think, “Why is my friend not going out with her if she’s so great?”

This leaves married people as the only potentially safe sources of blind dates. However, married people seem to be of the philosophy that marriage is so great that we’re going to jump at the chance to go on a date with anyone they know who doesn’t happen to be seeing anyone currently. Pretty much the only criteria they go by is “they’re single and they’re LDS, it’s a match made in heaven.” Because married people love to play matchmaker. Despite the fact that its highly unlikely that they met each other on a blind date they just assume that their incredible ability to meet each other and fall in love qualifies them to be social coordinators for the rest of us.

A lot is said about how you could get lucky on a blind date and meet someone great. Problem is: you will probably know within a few minutes if you would consider asking this person out again. Unfortunately, you still have to spend a whole night if, and this is the most likely probability, they aren’t someone you are interested in.

So… here is some advice for those who like to set people up. Have the people meet beforehand in a no pressure social setting. In order for it to be no pressure, you need to make sure that neither one of them know that you want to set them up. Let them meet, and get to know each other without the pressure of either of them thinking, “Oh, I need to be not myself so that they will be interested in me” etc., etc.

Then, once they have already met each other in a non-dating situation, ask them if they are interested/would be willing to go out with each other. This way if they go, they already know the person, and what they are getting into. And if not, then you have avoided putting your friend(s) through a torturous night.

Technically speaking

I was just watching the Daily Show and Howard Dean was on as a guest. He was trying to say that Republicans are not really in touch with moral values. He said "I don't think it says anything about gay marriage in the Bible." And got a lot of applause. And technically he might be right. I think that the Bible comes down so strongly against homosexuality that the writers probably didn't think it was necessary to also add, "Oh, and don't marry people of the same sex, either." Thanks for pointing that out Mr. Dean. You are soooooo in touch with America's moral values.

He also added that he was a Christian. I thought that the Republican party was the party of "whites and Christians." I'd like to see both sides of an issue. But the democratic party is making it so hard for me to even consider voting that way. Of all the possible alternatives to the GOP, this is the best competition they can come up with?

Sunday, June 26, 2005

To the alarm clock makers of the world

How long does it take for your alarm clock to wake you up? And I'm not talking about when its set to radio mode and maybe you lie there listening to the music for a while. I'm talking about the jail-break, prisoner-escaping, air-raid siren, screech mode. 1 second? 5 seconds? 10 seconds? Maybe a minute if you are made of stone?

The reason I ask is that I happen to live in an apartment building, and this morning, which happens to be a Sunday morning (one of the days that most people happen to sleep in), I was awakened at 7:30 to the sound of an alarm clock. Obviously it was not mine. I thought, maybe it is my roommate's alarm clock, since he is out of town. I got up to go see. Unfortunately it wasn't his. Slowly I realized that it was the alarm clock of our neighbors through the ceiling.

And how long did it happen to keep ringing? For the next hour! Apparently alarm clock manufacturers have decided that if the alarm doesn't wake them up right away, keep trying for the next 60 minutes. Who needs that in an alarm? If that thing doesn't wake you up in the first 5 minutes, you're not getting up. You are a dead body, a deaf person, or someone confined to their bed who will be deaf soon after an hour of that screech.

So two suggestions:
1) If you live in apartments have a little consideration for those who you don't know, but with whom you share a wall. If I owned a shotgun, I would have considered firing it repeatedly at the ceiling in the hopes of somehow stopping the alarm from going, saving the last shell for myself, to put me out of my misery.

2) If you are someone who has a lot of clout in the alarm clock world, suggest that perhaps 10 minutes of screeching be the maximum amount of time before the auto-shutoff.

Thank you and good night.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Enjoy the Moment

My biggest problem when it comes to girls is that I want to wait for some kind of sign that she's totally into me before I can overcome my shyness to ask them out. In the meantime, while I wait for something that probably won't happen, things tend to happen that discourage me. So before I even give her a chance to know that I'm interested I've decided that she isn't interested.

With that in mind I got a txt tonight that made me feel really good. And I'm not going to try to think ahead to what it might or might not mean, but I'm just going to go to sleep and enjoy the fact that things feel like they're leaning my way if even slightly. And maybe next week I'll have a date. Who knows?

Papa's got a brand new hat (two actually)

I just ordered some new hats the other day, and for some reason I feel really excited about it. I guess thats a good thing. As always with my hats, I tend to choose them based on how they look rather than what they represent. Which isn't to say I would buy a BYU hat. Of course, I probably have some kind of internal bias that makes me not like the way a BYU hat looks. Maybe.

I Love...

What follows was originally an email that I sent to some friends, but I thought it would go great here as well.

In the spirit of a bunch of recent emails that I have received with
the intent of getting to know your friends better, combined with
digging through my mission journal looking for addresses to send a
good friend who is getting married and finding this, I have decided to
share a list of things that I love.

It was inspired by a companion of mine (thanks Jared) who had made his
own, and even though I made it about 6 years ago, while I was a
missionary mind you, it pretty much all still rings true. Which isn't
to say I could probably come up with a few more things to add to it,
but I was impressed upon finding it and seeing how well I did listing
things I really do love.

Feel free to make your own and send it out. It certainly made me
realize how many small things there are that can make me happy.

Without further ado, I give you.....things that Jake loves:

I Love…

Watching the previews before a movie starts, knowing all the lyrics
in a song that's hard to understand, the smell of air-conditioned air,
Sunday afternoon naps on the couch, big libraries, being alone in the
house with a cool new video game, eating breakfast in a restaurant
after midnight, the way your shirt smells after dancing with someone
pretty, organizing things, getting up early and eating my dad's
muffins, Grantsville High football games, reading a stack of
magazines at Barnes & Noble, Media Play, bike stunt
competitions, when your favorite song comes on the radio,
remote controls, the trippy feeling you get when they move
the stars around on the Planetarium ceiling, well-thought,
well-rhymed rap lyrics, when your favorite team plays
amazingly, sleeping in a freshly-made bed, car CD players, cookie
dough shakes, coming out of a test knowing you kicked its butt,
messing around on computers, music videos, getting invited to
birthday parties, shopping at the mall with my brother, holding
hands, lazy Saturday mornings, Bacon Egg & Cheese biscuits,
getting my hair shampooed by the beauty salon girls, the smell
inside a new sneaker, going to sleep Christmas Eve, hooded
sweatshirts, dancing, teaching families, reading the Book of
Mormon, Priesthood session with my dad, when she starts
the conversation, hot tubs, getting hooked on a book,
praying out loud alone, the slam dunk contest, Plays of the Week,
extended family Boggle games, bowling a strike, going to bed
exhausted, good music on a road trip, the temple, playing with dogs,
a clean, neat bedroom, receiving letters, Wendy's Monterrey Ranch
Chicken Sandwich, soccer chicks, ham and cheese empanadas,
listening to a new CD, laughing gas high at the dentist, recliners,
T-shirts with sleeves that come down past my elbows, the
Nickelcade, the "spiritual aftertaste" that you have after
listening to a good talk/conference/fireside/etc, the way your arms
get all big after a good workout, Phil Hartman, playing in the snow
on a sunny winter day, watching my football highlight films, Alma 5,
reading my patriarchal blessing, baggy jeans, new car smell,
Chuck-A-Rama's mashed potatoes and gravy

Monday, June 13, 2005

Blog Namesake

I thought it might be interesting to briefly discuss the name of this blog. I originally started this blog under the title "A Life More Ordinary", but then at lunch the next day, somehow the topic of conversation turned to watches and I commented on how much I liked mine with its big numbers. My roommate Chris suggested that my new nickname should be "The Big Digital". While that may or may not stick, I thought it would make a great name for this blog.

I happen to have purchased this exact model of watch three times now. Obviously it isn't the sturdiest of watch models, or else I wouldn't have purchased three of them over the past 5 years. The plastic face gets big white streaks on it when it gets banged against something (they come off if you just get your finger wet and rub it). But the fact remains that it is quite the watch. I love the big numbers. Easy to read with the green background.

I got the first one just after coming home from the mission. My best friend from the mission, Dan, also had the same watch. It was purchased from Fred Meyer for $15 (Regularly priced at $20).

The first one lasted for quite a long time. Pretty much the whole two and a half years I lived at Foothill Place. Which is not to say that it lasted in great shape. The biggest problem is with the little plastic doo-dad that holds the end of the band in place. It tends to wear out in the first year or so. I first tried to mend it with some black electrical tape that my roommate had. Then I tried just making my own out of tape. Finally I settled on using a rubber band. In the meantime I looked at replacement bands, but none of them really looked like what I wanted.

At some point I started looking for a new watch. Tried to find one I liked, but never could. Was I ever surprised to find out that the same model was still available and being sold at Fred Meyer's.

A year after buying the second one, I was starting to experience the same kind of band degradation that I had experienced before. I returned to the same Fred Meyer's (which had been renamed in the meantime to Smith's Marketplace) and way back in the Armitrons after a ton of searching I was able to find one, and only one, of the model that I have come to love. Who knows what will happen next time I need a new watch?

Its pretty much a part of me now. Can't live w/o the thing. We've been through a lot. I have a nearly complusive need to know what time it is, which tends to get me in trouble when people think that by looking at the time it means I want to leave. My ex could always somehow tell when I was sneaking a peek at the old reloj when we were making out. Maybe thats why things didn't work out between us. Or maybe not.

I know a lot of people who just use their cellphones when they need to know the time, but not me. I'm sticking with The Big Digital.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Random Thoughts on the English Language #1: Department of Redundancy Department

Do you ever get annoyed by people who use acronyms followed by words contained in the acronym itself? I used to, and was talking to someone today who does and it reminded me of some great examples. She brought up GPS System, and then I mentioned HIV Virus and ATM Machine. Other examples include such gems as PIN Number, and probably some that I can't think of right now.

On a semi-related note, one time on vacation in California we stopped by the La Brea Tar Pits (I know, probably not on every family's list of favorite vacations spots, but my dad is a huge natural history buff) which if you translate the Spanish portions ends up being The The Tar Tar Pits.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Family...isn't it about time?

Just got back from Aspen Grove. Spent most of two days with the fam. Enjoyed the scenery, hiked around a bit, got plenty of exercise, at least today once the rain went away. Here's a couple pix that I took that turned out pero espectacular:

Aspen Grove Scenery3

Aspen Grove River

Monday, June 06, 2005

The latest in 'Urban' entertainment

If there's one thing I really can't stand its political correctness. I say if something is true then it should be okay to say it. If my car insurance can charge me more or less based on my grades in school (via "good student discounts") because its been shown that better students have fewer accidents, why can't the same kind of evidence-based discrimation be used even if it is based on race?

I mean I realize that at one time in our country race was used as the sole reason behind enslaving an entire race and treating them like property, which is clearly a bad thing. But at what point do we as a country move beyond that?

So, now, instead of calling things the way we see them we have to call them the way we think no will be offended if we call them. A comedy with black leads in it is an "urban" comedy. Check your local UPN listings for all your favorite "urban" sitcoms. Last time I checked, Friends was in a pretty big city, but no one ever called it an "urban" comedy. Rap music is "urban" music. Do kids in the suburbs not listen to rap music? The fact that rap artists are at the top of the Billboard charts would seem to imply that its appeal is universal and not just "urban". It could be argued that it is called "urban" music because it originates in the city. But I would dare to say that Nashville is a pretty big city, but I haven't heard anyone call the Boot Scoot Boogie a classical "urban" anthem. The Mormon Tabernacle choir practices and performs regularly in downtown Salt Lake City. Why isn't that "urban" music?

Basically, urban = black. And no, I won't say urban = african-american because a) The vast majority of black people are not from Africa, at least not anytime recently; and b) Some African aren't black. I don't insist in being called "Euro-American". Partly because I don't have a lot of great feelings toward Europe in general lately. But primarily because I was born in America. But back to my topic sentence. If we are just replacing one word for another without changing the meaning, then what is the point? Does black have a negative connotation that urban doesn't? If we use 'urban' to mean 'black' then any negative connotation for the one will just be transfered to the other eventually. So maybe we should just start treating people as people.


This is my very first attempt at blogging. Kind of sad considering I've spent large portions of the last (how long has the internet been around?) online. Not to say that I waste my time harranguing teens in chat rooms or creating a shrine to my favorite whatever. No, sadly, I have added very little content to the vast web that connects us all now. But at least it keeps me from watching more TV than I already do.

Anyway, I live in Salt Lake City and participate in the LDS singles scene here. I am a graduate student at the University of Utah (Go Utes!) in the Medical Informatics deptartment. Working on my Ph.D. I don't usually say that since I've always felt kind of stigma attached to being smart (not that getting any kind of graduate degree implies that to me anymore having just completed one of the lowest stress years of my post-HS education). But last night someone told me that it might make me more attractive to the ladies. And anyone who knows me can appreciate why I'd want that. Does a man in the desert turn down water if its not Dasani?

I tend to use (overuse?) parentheses in my writing, but only because information rarely seems to be linear in nature. Somehow through a string of words we tend to convey information, but if there's anything I've learned from the internet its that data tend (note the correct plural use of data, my stats prof. said I'd never publish anything academic if I couldn't learn to do that and I guess I'm kind of okay with that now) to be highly interrelated.

My hunch is that this blog will consist primarily of my random thoughts on random topics as opposed to being a journal of sorts. But I'll guess we'll see.