Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wedding Receptions

Just as a reference, there are big differences between what I call a Utah wedding reception and a regular American wedding reception. The regular American wedding consists of a large room, such as a chapel with a lot of pews, a long procession of people, and the song “Here Comes the Bride”, well, that is what we called it when I was a kid. After that there is a large dinner where the bride and groom along with their families sit at a large table in front of the room and people toast one another for hopes of a great marriage. Then after that there is usually a wickedly awesome dance party.

The Utah wedding reception is nothing like this. A good number of people in Utah are members of the LDS church and many of them get married in an LDS temple where it is a very solemn ceremony with few people in attendance. After that everyone goes over to a large building or outdoors, the bride and groom stand in a long line while everyone they know and do not know come over and shake your hand and tell you how great you look. The people in line basically sit there for eight minutes to wait for this five second opportunity, they then go over and grab some cake, talk with their friends for five minutes about maybe asking the bride’s maid or the best man out, and then leave. Let’s just say I find Utah receptions lame.

Why do we put ourselves through this torture? I can only talk on the side as a guest, but seriously. I am now at that age where many of my friends are getting married, so I am going to a lot of wedding receptions, especially Utah ones. I get boarder every time. I go sand stand in a line, give the bride and groom my corny congratulations with my strange humor, I go get some food, and then have an awkward ten minute conversation with the bride’s uncle who I have never met in my entire life, and then leave. I go to these receptions to show support for my friends and their new spouses but is that my only logical reason to put myself through so much?

On the bright side, wedding receptions are always happy, everyone is nice, and there is always some crazy funny guy doing something insanely humorous. But hey, in the end the receptions exists just to let all the old people you have known since you were a kid come over to say “my, look how much you’ve grown, I remember when you were this tall and you set fire to my lawn.” So let’s continue this tradition for the old people!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Holiday Movies

The end of the year is enjoyable not just because of all the fun holidays, but also because of all the movies that we get to see. They are not those lame movies either that usually come out in the middle of March or August or one of the other lame movie months, they are great movies that one can actually enjoy. Recently I saw two of these movies and they were great! I am not usually a person who goes out and sees a movie the first weekend it comes I also usually wait until it hits a dollar theater, and then on Tuesday nights I go to the 50 cent showing of those movies at the dollar theater, (yes I am a cheapskate) but a good movie, I am willing to go to the $5.50 matinee.

The first film I saw was Avatar. This movie is getting great reviews from all sorts of people, I have to fully agree with those reviews. If you are living under a rock and for some reason this is your only form a communication which means you have not heard from anyone about this great film, I will give a short background on the story. It is your typical bad guy turns good guy film, much like Dances for Wolves or the Last Samurai, only it takes place on a world call Pandora between humans and the natives of this world called the Na'vi. The film is called Avatar because the humans have the ability to create genetically altered bodies of these Na'vi and the humans control these bodies as if they were actually that being. The idea of an avatar is a being with the consciousness of another being, like ancient religious ideas of a god taking the form of a mortal, that is why the movie is called Avatar. Well the main character ends up getting in to a tribe of these Na'vi, falls in love with a girl, and then fights with them to save this world from the evil humans.

The movie has incredible action scenes, stunning camera shots with special effects, and a nice flow to the story. The story was fairly predictable and there was no actor that stood out as an Oscar potential and the dialog was actually quite bland, but it was a good movie and I recommend anyone to go see it. I would give this movie 4/5. They actually had to invent new movie making techniques and technologies to make this movie which are expected to revolutionize the movie industry.

The next film I saw this holiday break was The Blind Side. This was by far my favorite movie of 2009. The movie is actually based on a true story of NFL player Michael Oher and his struggles growing up before he entered the NFL. I really have no complaints about this movie. The actors were perfect for their parts, the story kept you in your seat, and the dramatic timing was perfect. This is saying a lot, considering I got to the theater exactly when the previews started, all of the good seats were taken, so my friend and I sat on the second row on the far left side. I had to crook my neck to watch the entire film, after about ten minutes in to the film I was so glued to the sliver screen that I forgot about my neck position. Sandra Bullock plays the female lead and I definitely think she will be getting an Oscar nomination for her role. This film gets 5/5.

The film deals a lot with good values to help others since the main family in the movie takes in Michael Oher who literally has nothing. The film deals a lot with racial issues and shows how those can be greatly overcome. It also gives hope to anyone in a hard situation.

I am trying to figure out what it is about real stories in movies that make these kind of movies so good. It could be the drama or anything like that, but I also think that we can actually connect with these films, because it is real life, the stories have actually happened and they inspire us in so many ways. I hope more movies like The Blind Side are created, I just love these kind of movies so much.

Get out there and go see some good movies, there are a lot of good ones out there for crazy college students to full blown families. You will love the time to just get away from life for a while.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas, and Santa Clause is Real!

Christmas is such a great holiday! For many, it is a time to come together with their family and to enjoy some quality time with them. For a lot, that also means a lot of fights over the leftovers in the fridge and what to watch on TV, but that comes in line with having a great family. Would we really want to spend our time with boring people who are perfect all the time? No sir, I love spending time with my siblings and getting in fights with them over which Nintendo game is the greatest of all time. But in all seriousness, I can attest to how great it is to be with our families during this great holiday season. I was in Brazil for two Christmases and I was not able to be with my family for that time and it changes the feeling of the season, I was not depressed by any means, but it certainly was different, I can better understand how some people feel when they just do not have the means to be with their families during this special time.

Christmas is interesting with its vast commercialism and ability to drive people crazy to get to the next big sale (aka Black Friday), but for me, Christmas has another special meaning as well. I have strong faith in my religion and in Jesus Christ, I believe that he is the savior of all mankind and I testify of that. So this holiday is special for me not only for the reason that I can spend time with my family, give gifts, and also get a lot of cool stuff, but also because of what it represents about Christ. It is a special time for me to remember the miracles of his birth and the great teachings he has left us.

The traditional idea of Christmas is very much tied up in Christ’s doctrines. During Christmas there is a stronger emphasis on charity and showing love for others. We always hear the phrase, "it is better to give than to receive." People in general are just happier and they are more prone to forgive. Many of these desires to love others were taught by Christ and are greatly emphasized in his teachings. I see Christmas as a seasonal time that the teachings of Christ are actually fulfilled more often than any other time of the year, and what is great about it is that these expressions of love occur not only amongst Christians, but people of other faiths or lack thereof as well and we can see many great redeeming qualities of mankind. Now if only we could only have the spirit of Christmas all year long?

By the way, Santa Clause is real! I do not care what anybody thinks. Everyone who tells me he does not exist has lied to me in the past about other topics, so why would they tell me the truth now? They are just jealous that I am always on Santa’s nice list. Plus when I was like five, Santa told me at the mall where I went to see him that he was real! Santa has never lied to me and I love him. Just to prove that he is real, I will have an expedition to the north pool to see his elf-sweat-shop factory. I will bring back large candy canes as proof that I visited good ol’ Saint Nick. I will need volunteers to aid me on my journey; people may send me their applications to go on a journey of a lifetime!

Merry Christmas everybody, I hope it was enjoyable for everyone.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Dating is . . . interesting

Oh dating, what an interesting concept established since the beginning of time, although I’m pretty sure concep

tually it has changed over time. Actually I think it was a lot easier back in the day of the cavemen. When you wanted a women, all you had to do was take a club to her head and drag her all across town by the hair to show you both were now a couple. Anyways, dating is a completely strange yet exciting experience that we all love to hate, and yet we still put ourselves through it.

To me, dating seems like it should be so easy, the process is so simple, sure I am talking from a guy’s perspective but it will have to do. You meet a cute girl, you talk to her for a little bit, you are suddenly interested in her. In the moment you get her number and ask her out. After several dates and you finally get to know the girl, you fall in love, date even more, eventually get engaged and get married. There is a lot to the process, but simple enough nonetheless. Sure it looks simple on paper, but it sure is a lot more complicated than that. You have to ask yourself “does she like me?”, “why does she not answer her phone when I call?”, “is she actually interested in me or just doesn’t know how to say no?”, “what am I doing wrong?”, “when should I take it to the next level?”, etc. Dating is some tricky stuff.

I’ll be honest, before my two-year mission to Brazil, I basically went on three dates and all of them were to high school dances. I wasn’t really interested in dating at all and to tell you the truth, girls had cuties back then! When I got home when I was 21 and my mission president pumped in to my head all sorts of concepts of marriage and my sacred duty to get married, I all of the sudden was interested in dating. Yeah, that was interesting asking a girl out for my first date home. I think I made every mistake in the book, I have progressed a lot since then. My point, dating is a game of practice. When I first got home I had no idea how to ask a girl out, what to do for a date, how a double date worked, etc. Now I feel like I somewhat get it, but that took a lot of dates between getting home and now to actually figure it out. I still don’t feel like I know a lot about dating, but I certainly know a lot more.

Man, I have some weird stories. I once randomly asked out my bank teller out because of the mere thought that she was cute and we flirted a little bit. That date was fun and she was a cool person. She was the first person I asked out on a second date, and turned out to be my first rejection for a second date as well. I learned how to take rejection and actually realize that she wasn’t denying me because something was wrong with me, rather she wasn’t interested. I think I’ve learned a lot since then that you are going to have a lot of first dates and a lot of those dates are not going to become second dates just because you or the other just aren’t interested and it is as simple as that.

Can I say something, don’t ask people out via text (unless it is something quick like ice cream I guess). Funny story, so there is this cute girl I met after I got home, I talked to her and few times and decided she was cool. We are in the same ward (for those of you who don’t know, that would be my church congregation). On a beautiful sunny day, I was outside studying and out of the blue I received a text message, it was from I number I didn’t recognized but the person stated her name in the text. So after a few quick messages I put the number in my phone with her name and left it at that. Several weeks later I decided “hey, it would be cool to go on a date with her.”, so I texted her asking her to go out with me that weekend with a large group of people in our ward, it was late at night and I imagine she was tired, but she responded yes. The day of the date I called to confirm to see if it would still work out. “Hello?” says a deep man’s voice “uh, hi, is *blank* there.” I said.

“Yes, this is him.”

“Oh, I must have the wrong number.”

After a quick search of the ward directory of phone numbers, I discovered the number I had was not from the girl I thought I had asked out, in reality it was from a guy who has the exact same name she had. Hilarious! After the shock and embarrassment I found out this guy thought I was inviting him to join the group date with his own date. Lesson learned: don’t text people to ask out on dates, you might be texting a man!

In the end I am still trying to figure out how the whole dating thing works and I am learning my lessons through messed up experiences. Dating is fun yet horrible at the same time. As I have heard from several married people “I am so glad I don’t have to date anymore.” As they should be, they already did their time going through all the drama to find their spouse. Another thing I heard from a friend “If my wife died today, I would stay single just so I could escape the horrible mess that is dating.” That’s encouraging! Oh well, right now I am enjoying dating and I am going to keep doing just for the sake of going on dates. Who knows, maybe my time will come that I can say with my beautiful wife in my arms “dating, thank goodness that’s over!”

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Choices, choices

Life comes at you fast! Recently I have been thinking a lot about my life. What classes should I take next semester? Should I do an internship in Brazil or stick to the United States? Do I really want to spend $1,000 just for an LDS singles cruise? Out of all the girls I am crushing on, who should I get to know at this time, who should I hang out with, who should I ask out on my next date? (Dating consumes about 90% of my thought time). What should I do for homework at this very instant? Should I move out and have a social life, or should I stick it out at home and save thousands of dollars in a year? Why does life have so many questions!?

It is incredible to me how much life has to offer and how many options we can choose from. There are a lot of great and horrible choices, as well as good options and bad options. It seems we are always being put in to positions to make choices rather than being able to do every single thing we want. Life is so cruel making us make sacrifices in order to live it. I am not in any extreme life or death situation, but I sure feel like there are a lot of huge decisions on my plate at the moment, and all of them have immense benefits.

With regard to school I can take the business core right now and graduate in 2011, but if I do that I wouldn’t be able to do a joint Bachelor/Master program. Decision, graduate that much sooner and be rid of the curse of homework or add on a whole new degree of homework and graduate with a Master’s.

I have a few offers to take internships in Brazil, of I take them, I could progress in my desire to do international business, but then I run the risk of jeopardizing a promising future at my current job.

Dating, well, that is just a completely different animal (plans to write a future article on that). Let us just say, I do not know the first thing about women, so therefore I am having an interesting time learning the old-fashioned way, ie, going on dates and messing up a ton.

Moving out of my home in to a student apartment would increase my non-existent social life by a ton. But then I would have to spend a lot more money, sleep in a room with an entire other person, be away from my mom’s home cooked meals, and a nice quiet place to study.

Choices, decisions, options, what is up with that? Maybe if I restore Soviet Russia they can choose my life pursuits for me.

Well everyone, choose your options well, because there are a lot of them!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Stewart Falls and Growing Notion

I have blogged in the past, let's just say that was an interesting experience. I didn't ever find the motivation nor the desire to actually do it. I was an immature teenager following the trend of peers and friends. Now I feel like I have a purpose for it, that's why I have come back to writing a blog, I feel that there is a need for me to do it. I hope I can inspire some people, help out someone in situations similar to mine, or merely entertain someone staying at home with nothing to do (yes, even those procrastinators holding off the studies for a mid-term).

Stewart Falls
I just had an interesting time at a place here in Provo called Stewart Falls.* I went there with a blind date hooked up by my good friends. I recommend the location to everyone. The hike is an easy two-mile in-out hike with some impressive views of the Provo Canyon and the back side of Mount Timpanogos. Unfortunately we missed the mesmerizing fall leaves by a week, but it was still a fun hike and the peaceful nature of the area was tranquilizing. I am definitely going back for future events with friends or future dates.

Parties with Old Friends
I watched the BYU vs TCU game live on TV. That disappointing game was a 38-7 loss. That being said I was not the most excited person when I went to a friend's party I was invited to.

By the way, it was cool how I was invited. The hostess of the event didn't have my cell phone number as her primary contact number for me in her phone. So the mass-text she sent out went straight to my land-line rather than my cell phone. The text actually went through and it was delivered by a computer voice like an answering machine, it was actually reading what she had sent me. Cool deal!

Back to the story. I got there to see several people I have been friends with since high school (graduated in 2006). Several of the friends there I would consider my good hang-out friends from high school. They are great interesting people. But I had a notion while I was sitting on the couch alone coloring a picture (the hostess's family places coloring books and papers, etc on the coffee table with a bunch of markers for people to color, doodle etc). I noticed that I just didn't feel like I fit in with them much anymore. Like I said, they are great people and are fun, but my personality has changed enough from theirs that I don't feel the same kind of connection I once had with many of them. It just showed me how much people can change in three years (especially with a two-year mission there in the mix to Brazil where I served).

I don't think I can completely explain it, but I felt like I had nothing to say to them and they didn't really have anything to say to me. Several times I would join a group of these people and just listen to the conversation, realizing I had nothing to add. That isn't normal for me, I'm a talkactive person with a lot to say, so I felt really out of place.

I guess this is what happens as we get older and discover new interests and more about ourselves. What was once normal can then become different and can feel out of place. I am definitely going to continue to be friends with all of these people and hang-out with them, but I can tell that time has changed my friends and me (for the better of course). That is life, we change, what we need to do is appreciate what we have learned from our past experiences and continue to grow from them.