Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Merger

http://angiony.blogspot.com/

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Out in the mountains, there isn't much that scares you. At least, not that you eventually survive. So today, on this festive day of frightening, nothing out there scared me. At all. At first I was feeling left out. I mean, all my friends are enjoying trick-or-treating, haunted houses, parties, or something else that provides potential of being frightening to some degree, and here I am, waiting for an elk to prance out into the meadow. But, fear not! Something scary did happen today! And it was the first time I had the pleasure of experience this scare.

I heard Dad singing in the shower.

Yep, we all took showers tonight, and Dad was obviously in a festive mood (must be Halloween), and kept singing different songs while showering. Why did we all have to shower tonight, you ask? Well I'll tell you.

Today we brought out the big guns.


Of course, this isn't the one we were on. I wish. But it gets the point across. So, at 7 this morning we all loaded up 3 of these (6 of us, 2 each) and set out through the mountains. Now, understand this - it hasn't rained here for a few weeks, and the roads through the mountains are not paved. Enter dust. Lots and lots of dust.

That is why Dad was taking a shower tonight. And singing. And scaring me. (Hahaha, I put scarring first. Hopefully that didn't happen...)

Back to hunting. Today we got to cross out a few more tiles on our Mountain Wildlife Bingo cards. In addition to a couple more deer we found, we can cross of moose (our guide and his girlfriend saw one), 4 elk (nearly ran Ben & Dad over in the dark, hence the hunt continues), and a dozen wild turkeys (nearly ran Grandpa and me over while we were hiding in a thicket). Why is it that we keep finding animals that we could hunt if only they were in season! I mean, come one, what are the chances that 12 fat, wild turkeys could run, literally, right into us sitting there?!? Food for thought...

So, we didn't get an elk yet, but we will continue tomorrow. Once again with the ATVs, which allow us to cover much more ground. In order to cut down on dust in our eyes, Ben and I (who were the designated drivers today, and will be till we leave) got driving goggles that look absolutely hideous. Tomorrow I'll post pictures. As for now, these will have to do.

Dad & Ben walking around a meadow; Dad gazing into the depths of a mountain stream...

It was colder today, so I dressed warmer :)

Yeah, yeah, sometimes you get bored.

Me, upset that we haven't found anything yet; Ben being patient; Smokey, who doesn't really give a hoot either way.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Hunting, hunting...

Well, today was a day full of seeing deer, chipmunks, mice, but no elk. But hey, that's hunting! But seeing 10 deer was definitely a confidence booster for us. Which isn't really necessary yet, because our confidence hasn't had enough time to plummet, but it still feels good. It was quite chilly this morning, but by midday the temperature soared into the mid 60s, nearly melting us in our hunting gear. After a Subway lunch (now 72 degrees!) we waited at the motel for our guide, who had car trouble and couldn't show up, so we left around 4:30 to scout out an area for tomorrow and do a little more hunting. We found a good place and saw more wildlife, which is a good sign, and then came back home. Not much done, but a lot done, depending on how you look at it.

I did get a lot of pictures in, too. Here's some - I'm tired and won't be typing much. :)

Some small nature pictures :)

Hunters in action - Dad & Ben laying down, Grandpa hopping logs.

General nature pics

One thing that I absolutely love about hunting is how much time I get to just sit and think and reflect on my life, decisions I've made (MARRIAGE!), and just enjoy the marvelous world around me. I can hear so many little creatures, birds, the wind, branches rustling, elk bugles (I think they were human...), that just testify of the majesty and divinity of the earth. Just wonderful.

On a totally different subject, Ben made the quote of the day. While we were watching buzzards and golden eagles today, some huge black birds got our attention. We decided that they were ravens, but HUGE ravens.

"You could eat those!" Ben exclaimed.
"Well, they're definitely bigger than chickens," I replied.
Ben continued, "They may be bigger, but the question is: How big are their breasts? Chicken breasts have increased 50% in size since 1940."

The last sentenced was lost in strange, awkward flood of thoughts that came from his "big question." In our apartment we put awkward, funny, and just plain wonderful quotes on our fridge. This one definitely merits display in the kitchen. :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Orion, the Great Hunter

I didn't know that in Greek mythology Orion was a great hunter that Zeus placed in the heavens as a constellation. Either way, right now I'm in a Super 8 Motel getting ready to be a mini-Orion tomorrow with fellow mini-Orion cohorts, namely Ben, Dad, and Grandpa. It's our male bonding time. And we've already started bonding, in a slightly macabre way - we're all injured or stricken in one way or another. Ben decided to up and throw out his back last night; Dad did something to his back that hurt it and makes his hip stick out to the left for the first dozen or so paces; Grandpa hurt his shoulder pretty bad a few weeks ago (I think), and at 76 that takes a toll; and I have mono. What a team we make. The good news is that I'm getting over the mono and actually am not that affected by it, except for sleeping a little more than normal. Which means I'm the pack mule, the hired muscle (those of you who know me well can start laughing), and the guy who has to bend over to pick up anything lower than waist-level.

Ben and Dad stretching in the truck bed.

video
I enjoyed taking this video ;)

But it's not all bad. Actually it should be somewhat entertaining, being the only one not physically disabled to some degree, helping the gimps hunt for perfectly healthy elk. Oh, those poor elk. How embarrassing would it be to be hunted down by smaller, weaker, disabled organisms in blaze orange. Poor things. ;)

Gettin' ready for the hunt tomorrow. Ben's doing what he does best...

Trying to get Ben's attention for a picture. Didn't happen.

Orion?? Nope, just me. Close, though ;)

Pumpkin!

(In advance, I'm apologizing for two rapid posts; this is the first of the two.)

Happy Halloween! It's not Halloween yet (it's just the 29th), but Angie and I carved our first pumpkin together on Friday night. We pondered and fretted over what we were to carve (come on, sometimes a jack-o-lantern face is just too boring), and we finally decided on Domo!

This is what Wikipedia says: "
Domo (どーもくん Dōmo-kun?) is the mascot of Japan's NHK television station, appearing in several 30 second stop-motion sketches shown as station identification during shows. The name "Domo" was acquired during the second episode of his show in which a TV announcer said, "dōmo, konnichiwa" (どうも、こんにちは?), which is a formal greeting meaning something along the lines of, "Well, hello there!", but which can also be interpreted as "Hello, Domo!", and thus is a convenient pun (dajare). The kun suffix on "Domo-kun," the name used to describe the character in the Japanese versions, is a Japanese honorific often used with young males."

So, this was our rendition of him. It's not the best, but, hey, it's not bad ;).


And it was fun! We found him online, traced him on the pumpkin, then I (yes, just me) got to cutting for about an hour. Angie helped. A little. ;)

(From Angie: "
I think you need to rephrase a few sentences...you DOMINATED the pumpkin carving. I tried to help but was rejected. Your description makes me sound lazy ;)")


Scary, huh? It's like a fire-breathing Domo! :)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Good and Bad Signs in a Relationship

Good signs and bad signs. The main reason for this post is that I didn't cut my nails for the longest time, and decided that it's a bad sign if your fingernails are longer and whiter than your fiancée's. Yeah, mine were. I got them taken care of, though ;).

We also registered at Target this last week, and it was a very good sign, to me at least, that we have the same opinions and likes/dislikes in most things with bedding, kitchenware, bathroom decor, etc. It was really refreshing, actually, after years of little arguments with roommates about kitchen stuff.

What other good and not-so-bad (more humorous, really) signs are there in a marriage (which I will soon be in)? What are your thoughts?

Friday, October 24, 2008

I'm getting old

I know this is gonna be a dumb statement to my parents, but I really feel like I'm beginning to see major things in my life change, or become obselete. Isn't that something that makes you feel old? I mean, when fashion styles you had when you were young begin to reappear and seem popular again, doesn't that make you old? Or when some major things or infrastructure changes contrary to what I was used to or raised with. Does that sound weird? Let me expound.

Fashion. I'm not a fashionable person by any means, but I do follow the trends and try to not look like a dweeb. But it's been strange to see fashions that I followed in the 80's begin to come back, watching my sister and her friends in high school. It's strange to see fashions roll back around and come back in style. Not all of them, mind you (sorry Madonna), but the skinny legged jeans, the color palette, the earrings, the longer hair, etc. Not that I think it's bad or anything (au contraire) but it's odd to see these coming back. And it makes me feel old.

Missionary work. Now, here's where I feel weird. Monday, in Family Home Evening, we were talking about nothing really for a few minutes, and I happened to mention the flip charts that I used when I was a missionary in Costa Rica (somehow it applied to a humurous line in our conversation). I was chuckling at my own joke (I do that a lot) when one of the girls said, in reference to missionaries having flip charts, "Yeah, if you were in like the 70's!". I was quiet for a moment, trying to figure out what she was trying to say under the seemingly nonsensical statement. I gave up eventually after a couple seconds and asked her what she meant. "Well, you know, the flip charts missionaries from the 70's used."

"From the 70's?" I inquired, still confused.

"Yeah, you know, those ones with the First Vision, the Plan of Salvation, that stuff, that they discontinued a while ago." She began reciprocating my confused look, throwing it back at me.

"They discontinued them?!?" I said in shock. "The purple flip charts?!?"

Others began to be drawn into the conversation, seeing my obvious level of distress and shock.

"Yeah," others chimed in. "The missionaries haven't used those in a while. Preach My Gospel doesn't use flip charts."

My heart sank. No flip charts? First no Discussions, then no Missionary Guide (aka, Purple Dragon), now no Flip charts? I felt like a small part of the meaning of life was stripped away, like when I learned that Santa and the tooth fairy were nothing more than a guise continued by my parents (though I loved it, don't get me wrong).

Upon returning home I quickly pulled out my missionary stuff and just began flipping through the pictures, reminiscing, getting misty eyed. It kind of felt like holding an old friend, now decrepid and near the end of his life, being nostalgic and chatting of old friends and funny stories. It was a sad moment.

Either way, I'm feeling older than before. Granted, I am older than before, and later I'll be older than I am now, but...you know. It's an old moment.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Cold spell

Here in the mountains the last few days we've been under a very early cold spell that's thrown my holiday spirit into a frenzy. Oh, and don't forget the weatherman I keep hidden deep inside - he's made a prominent showing the last week. Ask any of my coworkers. :)

On Thursday last week we had a dry coldfront pass through that dropped the temperatures to a tad below normal (highs in the 50s), but on Saturday morning we had an upper level low pass through that plunged the temperatures into the 30s for the rest of the weekend. Yesterday (Monday) the temperature only reached about 40 degrees, staying in the 30s all day. Right now (12:04pm) the temperature outside is 42, after a low of 28 around 8am. Brrr!!!

To make things even more holiday-mood-inducing, we had our first snow of the season. Nothing stuck (too bad), but we had flurries Saturday morning, Saturday night, and on Sunday morning. Other luckier locals received snow, such as Roy, Utah, that got 11"! It's just not fair. :( But it has given me the excuse to wear fall/winter clothes, which I have to say are my favorite clothes. I don't know, but something about bundling up and wearing scarves and coats makes me feel better. And drinking hot chocolate. And taking steamy hot showers after walking to the bathroom and almost freezing to death. And trying to blow smoke rings with only your breath in the cold night air. I'm gonna miss the mountains when I leave. :)

And yes, this is Utah. In case you were wondering. :)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A mere flesh wound!


"Epstein Barr virus - Anthony.
Anthony - Epstein Barr virus."
EBv: "How do you do?"
Ant: "Very well, thank you."

It was a cursed greeting, doomed from the start.

For those of you who don't know, the Epstein Barr virus is the virus that causes Pfeifer's Disease, Glandular Fever, or the most popular title: Mononucleosis, otherwise known as mono. Upon hearing the word mono many begin imagining varying scenes of kissing, which is not how it happened. First off, mono is spread through a person's saliva, so it can be spread by kissing but also by some snotty-nosed kid who never washes his hands. Which is how I believe I got it.

Here's why. Mono takes about 4-6 weeks to incubate in your body before symptoms occur. At the time of my diagnosis I had had the symptoms for almost a week, and 5-7 weeks before I was diagnosed was during my vacation in Arkansas, during which week stay we visited an amusement park. I think some sick kid must have wiped his nose on one of the railings and infected me. That's my guess, mostly because Angie is as fit as a fiddle with no symptoms of mono to speak of. It's just not fair.

Which I guess is selfish to say, really. I mean, she's the one basically orchestrating the entire reception and everything that goes along with that, and I'm the one going to school full time, working part time, and sleeping the rest of the time. Things I would be doing anyways were we not getting married. But Angie's working, taking one (1) class, and then getting the reception taken care of. It would probably be a lot worse if she had it. We probably would have an ugly reception...

Either way, I'm chugging along, getting my work done and receiving extensions from my benevolent professors who understand the circumstances I've managed to get myself into. I used to think spending most of my free time sleeping and/or resting would be fun, but...no. Not fun. I can't wait to run again and play outside games without the fear of my spleen exploding or something dreadful like that. Though, hopefully, by Thanksgiving I should be over it. And not a moment too soon, cause less than a month after that I'll be getting married. And who wants to be sick on their wedding day???


I'm back and engaged!

To all my dear fans (meaning you 4 people who read this),

I'm back! Yes, after a long hiatus I've finally returned to my castle within my blogdom to stay...hopefully. And after such a time away, there's a lot to write about! However, in the interest of your interest I'm only going to write about 1 or 2 topics per post over the next few days or week, just catching up little by little. So, with that disclaimer, here we go.

I'M GETTING MARRIED!!!

Yes, to my room mates' dismay and my parents absolute delight, I will be tying the knot with this wonderful lady 5 days before Christmas. I am absolutely ecstatic and excited and exuberant (??) over this new detail in my life. It's strange to think of how my life in April didn't include Angie, when now I can't imagine it without her. Well, I can imagine it, but it isn't pretty.

So, along with the marriage thing is the preparation for the marriage thing, which means that Angie slaves over the types of colors, fabric, who decorates, what we'll eat, who caters, what her shoes will look like, what her hair will look like (short or long???), what type of flowers and centerpieces the tables at the reception will have, if
there are chairs that look cute without those "hideous" chair covers...the list goes on and on. For Angie. I, however, think my part is over: I've got the honeymoon planned and paid for, where we're staying the 2 nights after we get hitched, and our mode of transportation to Texas for the Gardner reception. Aren't I lucky? I just know someone's gonna comment and tell me something I'm missing, which might be a very major component of the ceremony...it happens.

I've also been trying to grasp the concept of living with another person with whom I'll share basically everything. Like,
everything. I mean, you know, I've been a twin as long as I can remember (hahaha), sharing tons of stuff all the time. But this is something different. Completely different. I don't know exactly how to put it into words, or text...but it will be different. But fun. :) And I can't wait :)

Hehehe

Our temple :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Food for thought


This is from The Australian, Australia's national newspaper (my sister sent this to me, so I can't take credit for finding it). Global warming is definitely real, and happening, but what is the real evidence and what's just smoke? This article is interesting, and though I'm not saying I agree whole-heartedly, I like the point he's making. Also it doesn't help that I'm not a fan of Gore. But take it as you wish. Oh, and here's the link for the original article. :)


No smoking hot spot

David Evans | July 18, 2008

I DEVOTED six years to carbon accounting, building models for the Australian Greenhouse Office. I am the rocket scientist who wrote the carbon accounting model (FullCAM) that measures Australia's compliance with the Kyoto Protocol, in the land use change and forestry sector.

FullCAM models carbon flows in plants, mulch, debris, soils and agricultural products, using inputs such as climate data, plant physiology and satellite data. I've been following the global warming debate closely for years.

When I started that job in 1999 the evidence that carbon emissions caused global warming seemed pretty good: CO2 is a greenhouse gas, the old ice core data, no other suspects.

The evidence was not conclusive, but why wait until we were certain when it appeared we needed to act quickly? Soon government and the scientific community were working together and lots of science research jobs were created. We scientists had political support, the ear of government, big budgets, and we felt fairly important and useful (well, I did anyway). It was great. We were working to save the planet.

But since 1999 new evidence has seriously weakened the case that carbon emissions are the main cause of global warming, and by 2007 the evidence was pretty conclusive that carbon played only a minor role and was not the main cause of the recent global warming. As Lord Keynes famously said, "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?"

There has not been a public debate about the causes of global warming and most of the public and our decision makers are not aware of the most basic salient facts:

1. The greenhouse signature is missing. We have been looking and measuring for years, and cannot find it.

Each possible cause of global warming has a different pattern of where in the planet the warming occurs first and the most. The signature of an increased greenhouse effect is a hot spot about 10km up in the atmosphere over the tropics. We have been measuring the atmosphere for decades using radiosondes: weather balloons with thermometers that radio back the temperature as the balloon ascends through the atmosphere. They show no hot spot. Whatsoever.

If there is no hot spot then an increased greenhouse effect is not the cause of global warming. So we know for sure that carbon emissions are not a significant cause of the global warming. If we had found the greenhouse signature then I would be an alarmist again.

When the signature was found to be missing in 2007 (after the latest IPCC report), alarmists objected that maybe the readings of the radiosonde thermometers might not be accurate and maybe the hot spot was there but had gone undetected. Yet hundreds of radiosondes have given the same answer, so statistically it is not possible that they missed the hot spot.

Recently the alarmists have suggested we ignore the radiosonde thermometers, but instead take the radiosonde wind measurements, apply a theory about wind shear, and run the results through their computers to estimate the temperatures. They then say that the results show that we cannot rule out the presence of a hot spot. If you believe that you'd believe anything.

2. There is no evidence to support the idea that carbon emissions cause significant global warming. None. There is plenty of evidence that global warming has occurred, and theory suggests that carbon emissions should raise temperatures (though by how much is hotly disputed) but there are no observations by anyone that implicate carbon emissions as a significant cause of the recent global warming.

3. The satellites that measure the world's temperature all say that the warming trend ended in 2001, and that the temperature has dropped about 0.6C in the past year (to the temperature of 1980). Land-based temperature readings are corrupted by the "urban heat island" effect: urban areas encroaching on thermometer stations warm the micro-climate around the thermometer, due to vegetation changes, concrete, cars, houses. Satellite data is the only temperature data we can trust, but it only goes back to 1979. NASA reports only land-based data, and reports a modest warming trend and recent cooling. The other three global temperature records use a mix of satellite and land measurements, or satellite only, and they all show no warming since 2001 and a recent cooling.

4. The new ice cores show that in the past six global warmings over the past half a million years, the temperature rises occurred on average 800 years before the accompanying rise in atmospheric carbon. Which says something important about which was cause and which was effect.

None of these points are controversial. The alarmist scientists agree with them, though they would dispute their relevance.

The last point was known and past dispute by 2003, yet Al Gore made his movie in 2005 and presented the ice cores as the sole reason for believing that carbon emissions cause global warming. In any other political context our cynical and experienced press corps would surely have called this dishonest and widely questioned the politician's assertion.

Until now the global warming debate has merely been an academic matter of little interest. Now that it matters, we should debate the causes of global warming.

So far that debate has just consisted of a simple sleight of hand: show evidence of global warming, and while the audience is stunned at the implications, simply assert that it is due to carbon emissions.

In the minds of the audience, the evidence that global warming has occurred becomes conflated with the alleged cause, and the audience hasn't noticed that the cause was merely asserted, not proved.

If there really was any evidence that carbon emissions caused global warming, don't you think we would have heard all about it ad nauseam by now?

The world has spent $50 billion on global warming since 1990, and we have not found any actual evidence that carbon emissions cause global warming. Evidence consists of observations made by someone at some time that supports the idea that carbon emissions cause global warming. Computer models and theoretical calculations are not evidence, they are just theory.

What is going to happen over the next decade as global temperatures continue not to rise? The Labor Government is about to deliberately wreck the economy in order to reduce carbon emissions. If the reasons later turn out to be bogus, the electorate is not going to re-elect a Labor government for a long time. When it comes to light that the carbon scare was known to be bogus in 2008, the ALP is going to be regarded as criminally negligent or ideologically stupid for not having seen through it. And if the Liberals support the general thrust of their actions, they will be seen likewise.

The onus should be on those who want to change things to provide evidence for why the changes are necessary. The Australian public is eventually going to have to be told the evidence anyway, so it might as well be told before wrecking the economy.

Dr David Evans was a consultant to the Australian Greenhouse Office from 1999 to 2005.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Happy Birthday Dad

I almost forgot to write about my Dad today! It's his birthday! He's 25. Haha, not really. That would mean that I was born when he was 2 weeks old...which is just gross. NO, not 25. But not 50 either (between the two). That's all you need know ;)

One of the only old pictures of Dad on my computer. He looks happy ;)

So it's his birthday today. You know, I think that over the last 8 years I've only been with my dad 3 times on his birthday. Let's reflect on those three times:

2002: I was at home right before my mission. I don't remember much of the birthday or general festivities made, but I do remember that it was fun. I think at least. Come on, it was a long time ago!

2004: This one was interesting. I was a missionary. Yep, still had my badge of courage on. My missionary service was to end on the 14th of July, 2004, but my family came down to tour Costa Rica for a week and take me home (though I was probably more of a side item, hehe). So I was making all these plans and calling hotels and stuff to make my family's stay in Costa Rica the best and funnest it could be (and it was, lemme tell ya), and then it struck me: Dad's birthday is gonna be in the country! On a Monday no less! (FHE people, FHE) So I got everything ready that had to be gotten ready, and my family didn't have the shadiest. After playing throughout the country we ended up in my last area for Sunday and Monday, culminating with a ward FHE, which I was conducting. Monday night came around, we all went to the chapel, and there were probably 60-70 people from my ward there (including all my baptisms) and this really, really big cake there with something like 'Happy Birthday Greg' written on it. And we all sang Happy Birthday in English to him and then in Spanish. He was totally shocked and taken by surprise. And he cried (in a good way, of course). That was one of the best memories of my mission. :)

2005: A year later I was a waiter at The Italian Inn: Home of the Singing Waiters in Fort Worth, so we celebrated there. I can't really remember that one either, but I'm sure it was good. They always are. Come to think of it, I think he may have come to the restaurant. I might have sung for him. And we may have sung Happy Birthday as a restaurant, with free drinks all around...or maybe not. But I'm pretty sure it was there, cause I remember my boss giving him a free dessert. Yeah, I had connections.

Just so you know what could have been taking my time the other 5 years, here's a quick list: 2000: music camp; 2001: music camp; 2003: mission; 2006: pest control; 2007: school; 2008: work in Utah.

I do wish I could be there with him in Texas. I don't say it enough, especially to others, of how much I love and admire my dad. Now that I'm getting on in years myself I can see how the little things he did have influenced me greatly. He's a HUGE stickler on responsibility, which has helped me land more than one job and do well in classes. He taught my brother and I the importance of patience, respect, and tactfulness (word?). He puts his family above all other priorities, which has probably taught me the most of everything he's done - how much he loves us. I don't know if he knows that I brag to so many of my friends that when I was in high school and on my mission my dad didn't work a ton, which he could've done. He worked as much as was needed and spent the rest of the time with his family. When he was a bishop he cared for the ward and took care of it, but his family came first. Always.

What an inspiration and role model he was and still is for me. My biggest wish today (besides wishing him a happy birthday) is to have been able to be there with him and my family. Maybe one day we'll all end up together on July 19th to celebrate. Maybe at #50... ;)

Happy Birthday Dad :)

Pain & Bliss

Funny, normally people don't think of pain and bliss put together or being felt together. Unless you're a masochist. Which I'm not. So don't go thinking I felt these two together, because I didn't. Geez. What are you thinking?

Pain

This morning I woke up at 6:25 (the worst idea to do on a Saturday morning after a 40-hour workweek) and began getting ready for a run. The run. The longest run of my life (so far). At 7:10 Trevor, Angie, and I started our 6-mile run at Utah Lake. It was much more...umm...less-hard than I thought it would be (the word "easier" carries connotations way too flowery and happy to be had here and would mask the difficulty that is running for an hour straight.) We enjoyed ourselves during our exercise hour by talking more than we ever have during a run, wishing dozens of people good morning (who else exercises at 7am on a Sat?!? Oh, and I didn't greet anything non-human today - it's progress), and enjoying the sounds, smells, and sights of the Provo River basically right next to us the entire time. Also there are tons of Cottonwoods everywhere, so in some parts it looked like it had snowed given all the white fluff everywhere covering the grass, dirt, and sometimes leaves and branches. At least that's what it looked like blind. Yes, I was blind again. But during the daylight hours additional pain is kept at a minimum. Thank heavens. ;)

Bliss

After the run we took quick showers, got somewhat ready, and picked up Jess and headed over to the Utah College of Massage Therapy for...yep, you guessed it. Tuba lessons. Ha! Bet you thought I was gonna say "massages." Well, I didn't. But I will now. Massages. Or in Spanish: masajes. Which should never be confused with "mensajes," which unfortunately is confused among almost all Spanish-speaking missionaries at least once, often leading to awkward moments which bond investigators to missionaries and vice versa. i.e.: "Hi, we're missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and we've come to share a massage. May we come in?" Oh, the memories... :'-)

But where was I? Oh, yeah, UCMT. So, we head over there with Jess and took advantage of their 2-for-1 deal THIS WEEKEND ONLY (which actually happens a few times a year, so don't worry - you can go next time with us). And oh, were those lovely. A full hour of a full body massage, fully wonderful. I actually got daring this time (it was my second time) and let them do my glutes. My reasoning behind this (haha, behind) was because I've been running for the last month and a half, and I think my butt deserves some pampering. And my hamstrings, quads, and calves. Oh, it was good. :)

The rest of the day was fun too, but that massage was the culminating activity. Of the day. The week. Hey, maybe even the whole month! It was that good. You should try it :)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Blurry

Last night I ran 4 miles with Ang & Trev (hmm...I don't know what I think about those cropped names. I'll have to think about it) and was pretty cool with going, thinking it'd be the same as the other 4-mile runs we made. And in most aspects it was.

Except I was blind.

Well, not really blind. But close enough.


I ran out of contacts last week and have been wearing my glasses for almost 10 days straight, which is quite an accomplishment for me. I just can't seem to get used to only seeing what's in front of me in full clarity and half guessing what's in my peripheral vision. Who knows, so maniacal killer could be stalking me just on the edge of my peripheral vision on purpose and enjoying my rather unresponsive attitude to his deadly plans.


But my senseless fears were only heightened last night when our decision to run hadn't taken into account my terrible uncorrected vision and even more lamentable night vision (I can't run with glasses on). I remember on my mission once I had to throw out my contacts (Focus Dailies. oh yeah...) early before coming home, and the 30 minute walk through urban San José (~3 million people) was fraught with danger: shadows, puddles, and potholes. I couldn't tell the difference. (My companion had fun with me, but that's besides the point.) I came home wet and with an aching back and knees. And that was just walking. Try running 4 miles. Last night I came home with aching knees from misstepping for almost 40 minutes.

These pictures are really from Costa Rica.


Misstepping wasn't the only thing that was different last night. I could hear sprinklers but couldn't see them as they blessed me with sprays of refreshing water. I didn't see low hanging branches that mockingly rapped me in the head, multiple times. And I kept saying "Good evening" to inanimate objects like lawn chairs and For Sale signs. Angie got a kick out of that.


Moral of the story: athletic activities are less enjoyable if the [aspiring] athlete in question can't see.



But it's many times more enjoyable to those who can.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Too long

Wow, entropy does reign - look at the date above. It's been forever since I last wrote, and not because I don't want to. I started working 2 jobs on June 23rd, 40 hours/week, and suddenly I don't have time. Oh, and much more important is that I have a girlfriend, so my other time is occupied. Either way, my blogging time has been hampered.

But...

I think I'll go ahead and take time out every few days to at least update the world and the current 3 people who subscribe to my blog to my present activities. Well, to a degree. Here's what's going on right now:

This morning I ran 5 miles. That's the first time in my entire life that I ran more than 3. A couple weeks ago was my 4 mile victory, and next week will be my 6 mile triumph. It's on Saturday, so if I never write after next Saturday y'all will know perfectly well why not. SO this morning's run was long, but after about 35 minutes it just seemed to glide on. Not that it was easy to any degree, but my body was like "Fine, whatever!" and it seemed to not get any more tired than I already was. Was that a second wind or just numb from over exertion? I'm banking for the latter, but somebody who may have already experienced this can comment if wanted. :)

Also this morning I went to the funeral of a close friend, Craig Decker. (One of my best friends, Becca, wrote a beautiful post about him.) He passed away last Saturday in a drowning incident on Utah Lake, and since then I've been really affected by it. On Tuesday night I watched the ClearPlay version of "Into the Wild," in which (PLOT SPOILER!!) the protagonist dies at the very end. It was a pretty sad ending, but very instructive, but the fact that he dies on top of the real death of my friend Craig just hit me on Tuesday night, and for the first time since I was in middle school I cried myself to sleep. To add to that, the funeral was incredibly beautiful and brought the spirit in strong. I was like a sieve today, tears everywhere. Angie tells me it wasn't embarrassing, but I don't know...at least I wasn't the only one crying. There were probably over 600 people at the funeral, quite possibly more. The stake center parking lot was overfilled and we had to park in the street. It was incredible to see how many people this young man had influenced and affected during his lifetime (many of which weren't at the funeral).

That was just this morning.

It was a great day, though. I spent some time with friends who are getting married and heading to Iceland (yeah...) and time with other friends who've been married for 2.5 years and had their first son 2 months ago. It was a good day.

Tomorrow I'll see if I can post something. Maybe even some pictures if I'm lucky. We'll have to wait to see... ;)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Entropy reigns

I remember in high school chemistry our teacher relating to us what her daughter told her once. Her room was a mess, underwear everywhere, and our teacher was really upset over it (for obvious reasons). Her daughter simply replied with some witty comment about the law of entropy taking over. I'm here to add support to the law of entropy and the general state of things once entropy has tromped on through. For those of you who don't know what it is, here's the definition:

Entropy:

2 a: the degradation of the matter and energy in the universe to an ultimate state of inert uniformity b: a process of degradation or running down or a trend to disorder
3
: chaos, disorganization, randomness

I left out the first definition cause it was this 5-line explanation of thermodynamics in chemistry, which only a select few of you would actually understand and much less appreciate. Be grateful.

It's basically the tendency of a system to fall into disorder. A system like an apartment, or a bedroom. Now, I've been back in Provo for a little over a week, and I've kept the whole apartment in very good shape, and even cleaned my room twice (yeah, twice in a week). But my room...my room...I haven't been spending to much time in there, and it's incredible to see how it just descends into a mess in such a short time.

I think this is a byproduct of starting something and not finishing it (Olivia lays rejected and dejected on the floor...), rushing off quickly (unkempt bed), clearly not done unpacking, and general disregard for organization. And don't go looking hard at the picture mom - there isn't any underwear on the floor, or anywhere in sight. But it is messy. Blah. I think I'm gonna clean it. Maybe today ;)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Grill power

Haha, it's been a while.

SO, I got back to Provo last week on Wednesday, amid rain and cold weather, but haven't written anything on my blog yet pending pictures and video that would actually upload. Unfortunately, on the plane home I realized that my camera was sitting in my room back in Texas and was the only device that has the pictures and videos that I've been waiting to post. So I thought I'd wait to post something until the camera came in. Well, I've received strong suggestions from friends and family members that I write something at least, so here it goes.

I have recently acquired something that makes me feel more manly, or masculine, or whatever testosterone-building adjective you can think of. A grill!


Yes, a grill. And it's not one of those touch-button ignition put-atomic-bombs-to-shame grills, but a real charcoal burning grill that demands some degree of pyromaniac (ahem...pyrotechnic) skills to conquer its ferocious and infamous cooking attitude. And that I have. With pride.

Speaking of pride, I went to pick up the grill at the Lowe's in Orem after buying it online while in Texas. Of course, nothing's as easy as it says it will be online or anywhere. I waited for about 10 minutes at the Customer Services desk for customer service, and was redirected to the very back of the store, where I waited while the guy at the desk had an argument via telephone with somebody else in the store, then he gruffly asked what I needed, and when informed, vaguely pointed to the wall and muttered something about it being in a box. I found the grill on the shelf in a box and carried it to the Customer Service desk again, where I waited, again, and finally got a receipt. Then the lady asked me if I wanted them to assemble it for me. And this is where my pride entered.

There's something innately masculine to politely refuse assistance in assembling a metal apparatus. Or receiving assistance in general. I dont' know why. Normally I'm not that belligerent at all, but the thought of having another man put together my grill when I'm perfectly capable and intelligent enough to do it myself just really rubbed me the wrong way. So I politely refused assistance from the lady and took my prize home. Then spent an hour putting it together. And voila! My own, real-life, fire-powered, masculinity-inducing grill. And it's Hunter Green. Oh yeah. :)

Another thing is that it's been really cool here (temperature wise that is) since I got back. It was about 50 degrees and rainy when I flew in on Wednesday, and since then the temperature has only risen to 68 I think. Maybe 72. But that was one day. It's been in the low 40's at night to about 65 during the day, which is well well well below normal for June. Today it might hit 78, which is still about 5 degrees below normal, but tomorrow a cold front comes in. It's gonna be cold till the weekend. And I thought it was summer. Well, when life gives you lemons...

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Fireflies!

So, one of my good friends was telling me that Texas, in her eyes, still conjures up images of the old west, with the blowing dust and cowboys and cactus. And yes, there are parts of Texas that fulfill that description. Most of western Texas, actually. But there's a reason that all of the major cities of Texas are not in west Texas: Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin. Those 4 cities combine to over 15.3 million people of the total population of 23.9 for Texas. But I digress. ;)


In response to my friend's curiosity and lack of Texas experience (for which she is forgiven) I ventured forth with my family and camera to a park quite close to our house. I was taking pictures of the vegetation and general splendor (name the movie!) when we suddenly noticed an abnormal amount of fireflies emerging. It was around dusk and getting darker by the minute, and more and more fireflies were coming out of the grass. It got to the point that the ground for acres around looked like it was covered in Christmas lights, but lights that rose up from the ground to about 18" or so then went out. Over and over again. It was like some weird sci-fi video game or something. And I have to say, I was mature enough to even refrain from blushing while watching the mating rituals of thousands of hormone-driven male fireflies. Indeed, I daresay I found the sight rather beautiful. :)


So, what was I to do with a camera in my hand but take videos and ill-fated pictures of the crepuscular insects. The pictures turned out rather uninspiring, but a couple videos captured a small degree of what we were actually seeing. Here's one of them.

video

(In the video Mom says we have to leave because Dad's getting bit by mosquitos, to which I replied that it's because he's white. Now you can understand the following paragraph) I mention Dad being white because on my mission in Costa Rica I noticed that my white American companions would get at least 5x the mosquito bites that I got, if I got any. The locals supported my observations with further attestations of "sweeter white blood," though the actual difference in sugar content remains to be seen or observed. But, in line with my observations, Dad gets many more mosquito bites than I do, and in the short video he's making a retreat to the car and Mom's calling us to follow. Poor man ;)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

T minus 5...4...3...2...1...MCAT

AAAA! It's one day away! I've been doing practice tests and studying for hours on end to recall everything I've learned and put it at the tip of my brain, and now it's time to just take it easy before the test.

Take it easy?!?

By the way, yesterday I toured the TCOM campus (Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine) here in Fort Worth at the University of North Texas Health Science Center and really, really enjoyed the tour and one-on-one conversation with the Director of Admissions. Yeah, friends in high places, hehe. We're buds now. After touring and talking, my dad (who graduated from there and accompanied me) and I went to see one of his good friends who's also on the Admissions Board. He's agreed to let me shadow him for about a week or so (maybe a bit more), which will put my shadowing hours above 40 hours. Not bad for a premed student, I think. One thing he said, and my dad, and the Director of Admissions: I've been banned from studying or reviewing anything about the MCAT today, the day before the test. I had to basically swear a solemn oath that I wouldn't do it.

This is where trust comes into play.

All day I've been fighting the urge to look up formulas, review body systems, and do a few problems about light and optics. I even woke up reciting a physics equation in my mind. (maybe that's not such a good thing...) My whole scientific self is imploring me to study more, to get as much in as possible, to review everything I know and keep it in the topsoil of my brain, but those who have traversed the evil which faces me now suggest the opposite.

So, despite my logical arguments and feelings of shooting myself in the foot, I'm going to take their advice. Actually, I'm doing it now, taking time to write in my blog, listening to a mix of Daughtry, Regina Spektor, Imogen Heap, Sara Bareilles, and others. I'll be watching Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull this afternoon, probably start reading a good book, maybe cook something.

And I have to say - it's terribly relaxing. Maybe I'll make myself a smoothie, spray on some Off, sit in a beach chair by our green algae-infested pool, and just...listen. Listen to the wind in the trees, smell the green (plants and pool), hear the squirrels' near death encounters with octogenarian drivers, and let all my studying just sink in. Yeah, that sounds like a good idea. Well, that's where you may find me today.

Jealous? ;)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Triskadecathon

Ok, forgive me for writing two posts back to back, but I've been away from the blog for awhile and need to catch up.
Triskadecathon

Somehow in Greek that comes across as a 13 mile run. Yes, folks, a run. I'm going to run 13 miles. And not just any 13 miles. No. Nor just 13 miles. A true half-Marathon, 13.1 miles!! This awe-inspiring and jawdropping event will take place on the beautiful Saturday of September 13, 2008, near Price, Utah. It's supposedly this gorgeous area known as the Little Grand Canyon (if anybody wants to sign up with me, please do :)) Here's a link for the lowdown of this wonderful occurrence.
So you may ask, how did such a ludicrous idea pop into Anthony's head? Well, here's the scoop. There was this one time, long ago, when I actually enjoyed running. I would come home from a group dinner, do a little homework, then feel the prying eyes of my running shoes peering at me from within my closet. 3 times a week I would run about 3 miles. Now, as any sane individual who knows me knows, this didn't last long. Only about 4 months or so. BUT, it happened, and I want to bring that back.

Last Labor Day weekend you would have found me in sunny southern California rooting on 4 of my friends during the last leg of the Disney Land 1/2 Marathon. While there as a spectator I felt all the excitement and energy from the runners and their family/friends and decided that at least once in my life I wanted to run a 1/2 marathon. My hope was that it would be the disney one, but alas, this year it's on a Sunday. And the day before school starts. But heaven smiled upon me (and other friends who are accompanying me) and I found the Little Grand Canyon 1/2 Marathon.

So, if any brave souls wish to run with me this summer (or point and laugh - you won't be first though. Ben beat you to the punch) just let me know. :)