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.