Monday, December 20, 2010

A Christmas Story

This movie is a classic! I love it! I just watched it today and it reminded me so much of all the great times I have had for Christmas with my family.
Now this movie was inspirational for me, because it encouraged me to want a very special gift when I was 8!

An official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle! I loved the gun I got! I used it to pretend I was the greatest sheriff ever, shoot annoying cats out in the street, shoot my eye out . . . all that good jazz!
This boy sure is dashing in all his 50's glory.

So in honor of this great moment, me seeing this movie hundreds of times all during Christmas, I remember the good times after I got that air rifle that now seems to have disappeared somewhere in my parents' house.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thanksgiving, totally a great time to be thankful.

Thanksgiving is here. Besides my monstrous desire for all things that involve food, which Thanksgiving happily provides, I too have so many other things that I love that involve the Thanksgiving holiday. American football is playing on pretty much every sport station imaginable, everyone in my family is able to get together and enjoy each other’s company, People tend to be happier and ready to get involved to help others on this holiday, maybe it is because we are more thoughtful as we think what we are thankful for, or maybe because Christmas is just around the corner.
Mmmm, Turkey!

Thanksgiving gives the signal that I can start to openly expressing that Christmas is just a few weeks away, that holiday music is now socially acceptable to listen to, rather than sitting in my closet at 2am listening to Frank Sinatra’s Jingle Bells hoping no one catches me and declares me weird, and Christmas decorations go up. . . I don’t know if I like Thanksgiving more because of the holiday itself or that it is the gateway to Christmas.

But let’s fully admit it, I really like Thanksgiving because of all the food, food is so good!
This time of the year really helps me to focus on what I am grateful for as well, there is so much in my life that I could express my absolute gratitude for, there is so much in my life that I am blessed with, so in honor of Thanksgiving! I want to say what I am thankful for, I am going to spew the very first thing that comes to my head, so basically you get to somewhat see how I think . . . don’t try to figure it out, you’ll just hurt yourself.

Things to be Thanksgivingful for:

Great food.
Happy, loving, caring, special and totally awesome family.
Computer screens that open the gateway to the world!
My education at Brigham Young University.
Hard things to challenge me and make me better.
Nice, outgoing people who will fulfill my desire to just meet new people.
Women . . . period!
Youtube to help me understand obscure principles from classes.
Work, I love to work and keep me busy.
Nostalgic 80’s/90’s cartoon shows and their corresponding theme songs.
Smart people who help me get through my classes.
Disney films.
Classic rock, especially 80’s.
Social dancing, like country dancing.
Jason for being a great example serving his mission.
My mission.
Everything Brazilian in existence of the world.
Food . . . I really like food.
Outstanding friends, and new friends that I make constantly.
My country.
Portuguese and other languages that prove too difficult to really learn but make one feel smart anyways.
My parents for raising this little monster here.
Physical activity.
Fantastic movies that allow one to leave their real way existence for a time.
Books that really suck one out of their world, ignoring all other concerns.
Temple worship, it is just so peaceful and fantastic there.
Friends and family who have a real world perspective.
The study of history … historology?
Merciful TAs whom grade your papers and projects.
Cows, they provide me with milk.
Outstanding senior citizens who have a wealth of knowledge to pass on to others, then quickly fall asleep while telling you the true meaning of existence.
Doug from “Up!”
Intelligent conversation.
People with the ability to be serious, but also the ability to goof-off at the right times.

There is my short list of things to be thankful for. People, there is so much. Every day is a new day
with so many great things happening in our lives to be thankful for, there is little reason to let the negative things in our lives surpass the positive when in reality the positive outweigh the negative almost without measurement.

This Thanksgiving, look deep to see what you are thankful for, there is something there, and some of those things you are thankful for might surprise you. Take my challenge, look for them, write them down, and realize how so many great things exist in the world and in your life.

But of course, the best thing in the world is food.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Core Values

I have been thinking, a lot about this subject recently, core values that is. Friends have been blogging about it, I just had a fantastic lecture from the Marriott School of Management Executive of the Year Donald Soderquist, former CEO of Wal-mart talking about values, and reminders of my mission president bringing up these topics as well.

Values are essential to everything. They make you who you are, they define you! Mr. Soderquist told us how values may decay over time if they are not discussed, and implemented many times a year, but it is extremely important that we renew them always.

My mission president first introduced me to core values on a special night when several of us missionaries were invited to his house for dinner. He told us a story of how he was younger, he had made a list of several core values that he determined were going to guide his life. His whole life to that point he was telling the story had been prepared around those values and they helped him, like a light house, to keep him on the proper path. Like any good missionary does after such an inspirational story, I looked deep to find what I wanted my core values to be. I want to share them with all of you as well. Partially to give people an idea how it is done, and also to evaluate how I am doing in comparison to the type of man I want to be. I encourage everyone to make their own core values, and live by them. These values can be anything! But they have to come from inside you and truly be yours, because they are going to be different from person to person. They don't have to define who you are now, but they should define the kind of person you want to be. If there is something you value that you don't match up to, but deep in your heart, you know you must become better at practicing that value, then by all means, do what it takes to live that value, you will be better for it. Ladies and gentlemen, my core values!

Integrity - I want to be that person who always tells the truth and does what is right. I am a man of my word. I will always do more then what is expected of me. My integrity is above groups of people, pride, desires, or people - I will not lower my integrity just to appease others. I will always defend what is right in a respectful manner, showing love in times of reprehension - in other words, I will be a "defender of the truth." I will be a man of humility: I will accept when I am wrong, I will consider suggestions, and I will use these in order to better myself. When people see me, I want them to say "He is a man of integrity!"

Family - Before any situation of any nature, my family comes first! I will be a best friend to my wife, children, parents, siblings, etc. My home will be built on the foundation of the sacred temple and the sealing covenant. My home will be a place of refuge from the world and a clean and organized place where the Spirit may reside. At all times I will honor my Priesthood as the Patriarch of the family - I will lead the family with selflessness, sensitivity, kindness, love, charity, and respect. The mother of my children - my wife - and I will teach gospel standards in family home evening, family prayer, daily family scripture study, occasional family testimony meetings, and daily family meals which occur at least once a day. I will sacrifice in order to provide for my family. I will always work to better the relationships with my wife, children, parents, siblings, etc to have a connection of love and harmony.

Work - People will look at me and say "He is a worker!" I will follow all the attributes of integrity as listed above. I will be loyal to my superiors and those whom I will direct. I will focus at the task at hand. I will do what is asked, expected, and I will go beyond the mark to accomplish my tasks. I will do my part to be an admired leader who inspires others to do their very best. I will be extremely professional and I will always have an appearance that looks the part (a good first impression goes along way)! I will "network" to develop new work relationships based on trust, service, and respect. I will always have a business card on hand to trade with others in order to network.

Kingdom of God - I will always remember that one who seeks the kingdom of God before other things; will have all thing put in to their proper place. I will go to church every Sunday. I will obey all the commandments with exactness. I will be an example to others of gospel living. I will magnify my calling in every way possible. I will have a 100% home teaching rate. I will pay my tithing first thing after receiving money and I will always remember the blessings associated with it. I will go to the Holy Temple at least once a month with my wife. I will be an example of member missionary work; I will work with the missionaries, I will comfort new and inactive members. I will always bare my testimony. I will have a "how can I help?" attitude with all people. I will follow the words of the prophets and the apostles. Scripture study will be an essential everyday activity.

Health - I will live the Word of Wisdom to the T. I will make and follow my own exercise and nutrition plans. The entire family will be involved in healthy activities. I will do routine checkups at the doctors/dentist/etc. I will follow the rule "early to bed, early to rise." I will avoid questionable, alternative health options.

Education - I will always take new classes in academic subjects to learn new things. I will go as far as is permitted in my education at a university with the goal of a graduate degree. I will read many books on a variety of subjects in order to learn new ideas, new methods, etc. I will always emphasize the importance of education to my children, family, friends, associates, etc, in order to help the better themselves.

Financial Freedom - I will always pay my tithing first thing after receiving my money. I will never go into debt. I will work to earn enough money to be free of distractions but not to show the world "I'm rich!" The purpose of money is to help me and my family enjoy life; money is not life's purpose! I will donate heavily in to charity once my family's needs have first been met.

Those are my seven core values. I am doing all I can to live by them. It does not matter how you form your core values, just do it and live by them! To develop mine, I did a lot of pray, scripture study, soul searching, asking other people questions, etc. Hence why mine is a bit more focused on religious aspects than some other people might do in their core values. But it does not have to be so spiritual or religious focused like mine is. just look deep in side yourself and write down those things that make you who you are and what you want to become. These values can change over time too. I noticed while copying my written document on values, that there are things I now need to change in it. This is a living, evolving document, remember that and it will be easy to change when you have one of those life changing moments.

Values are important guys, they define who we are! We need to sit down and figure them out so they are defined. Just a hint, write them down and put them somewhere safe and accessible for constant renewing of them by looking over them and deciding if you are actually living up to your own standards!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Prepare for your Future, Now!

My major requires a lot of stuff. Two projects once a week, mid-term after mid-term, hundreds of pages for reading, programming project after programming project, group projects, etc - pretty much everything is a project! They call is the ISYS junior core, they take all of the students who had just entered the ISYS major and they put is in to one block of four classes. We have to take these classes at the exact same semester and they must be taken together since almost everything we learn is intermixed with the other classes. This allows for group projects and assignments that cross class borders. I actually like it quite a bit because there is so much to learn and you can see how all your different subjects intermix to form that entity that is your profession.

On top of all the homework, the professors tell us more things we must focus on, preparing for internships AND the masters program all ISYS people can do; we can get our bachelor's and master's degrees at the exact same time. This all adds even more to our workload because applying for an internship is essentially looking for a summer job that is really prestigious and getting prepared for the master's program requires studying for the GMAT and getting really good grades in our classes. It is fun, but takes so much time! We have to cram so much in to our schedules in such a short amount of time, it is almost impossible to find all the time needed to accomplish it.

What really gets us, is how much we have to prepare for internships. They are important, they will help us get really good jobs in the future, and allow us to grow in our work skills, but man, what it takes just to get anywhere with these things are ridiculous!

I want to bring up the example of the career fair I went to last week. Many great and powerful companies were there, trying to draw in the best talent they can attract to their companies. One walks between all of these different companies, asks questions, and selects which ones they would like to learn more about, maybe they will leave a resume for future reference; me, I go for all the free food and stuff they give everyone. You find the companies you like, you apply for their positions, and then you wait for an interview, weeks pass, and nothing comes of it. But you were told to find an internship, so you just keep on going, looking for the next available internship opportunity.

To be honest, I don't like career fairs, all these companies are talking to hundreds of people to fill in one to about five positions. People say you go to network, but in reality these recruiters do not really remember who you are to often, and after you get their cards to keep in contact, you do not know what to say or ask that the possibility of an email slowly dwindles. That and most of the companies at the career fairs tend to not be the best in all circumstances. But at the same time, I love the process of trying to find an internship! One must find creative ways to present themselves, they must research, develop themselves, and continue to learn from failure, that is something I like from these fairs.

In the end, there is so much to work towards to finding a career, and it is great my program is striving so much to get us focused on starting now, because that is what you have to do to find the bets fit for you, it is a competitive world out there and the sooner we start planning on it, the better our chances are in the future.

Do I know what I want to do exactly? Not really, there are too many possibilities, but one thing is certain, my major is not going to make it easy for me to just toss it aside and not know what I want to do.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Shortness and Cockiness

The other day I was with a good friend and I was doing my regular thing, talking about my awesomeness. She laughed and stated "I was talking with my roommates the other day about how short guys seem to be so cocky." What? Cocky? Me . . . no, I am just awesome, and I know it . . . ok, that is cocky. It is true, many short guys are cocky. We cannot help it, it is just who we are! Short guys tend to be more cocky than some other guys who happen to be taller. As a short man myself, I can explain a few thoughts on it.

A lot of short guys tend to be cocky. Not all short guys mind you, but more than the average guy. I am not talking about the boastful, arrogant type of guys. They are mean spirited, without reason, think highly of themselves for selfish pride, and gain. Arrogant people have no reason to be the way they are and humility would do them good. When I speak of cockiness, I speak of a man who is confident in himself and his abilities and he is not afraid to let people know that is a fact. Now he does not boast about it, but he will comment about it, another difference between an arrogant man who will declare to all about his greatness, without even really waiting for it to come up in conversation. Cocky people tend to be humorous about their confidence as well, bringing it up in a joking fashion rather than stating it whenever possible. I just wanted to make sure that was clear before continuing.

So why do short guys tend to be cocky? Simple, it is one of the best ways to show that we mean business and we are not easy people to kick around. Most of us short guys have always been short compared to other people. In elementary school, all the way through high school, we were short, and people made fun of us for it. Some early on learn to just accept that and become good at confidently standing up to their bullies and ignoring the criticism. They embrace their height and do not let it challenge them. Others, much like me, grew up conscious about our shortness and we hated how people would make fun of us (forgetting that everyone, no matter what, in grade schools are made fun of for something, that is just the nature of the beast). But over time, even the most timid short guys who eventually turn confident or cocky, what have you, learn to accept their height, and start to realize their other talents, that comes out, they gain confidence, and they realize there is nothing to fear about their height. Maybe we become cocky because now we feel we are strong and have strength in other areas, and we want people to know that. The criticisms of the past have made us strong, and we want to confidently show that.

Another reason short guys tend to be cocky? Well, we kind of have to be cocky to get anywhere with confident women (I am using cocky and confident interchangeably, I tend to see them as the same thing in some cases, although their natures may be a bit different). I do not know if you have noticed, but really tall men tend to go after really short women, like 5'0" women being courted by 6'5" men. Tall men are attractive to women, and short men tend to have a limited dating option where it is not 100% acceptable in society for a short person to date a woman taller than himself. Short guys have to compete with these 6"5" men for the girls. Let's say a girl is being courted by a 5'6" man and a also a 6'5" man, if the short guy and the tall guy are equal in skills, attractiveness, flirting ability, basically having a stellar personality, the tall guy in most cases is going to win. So short guys, in order to specialize, learn to be confident and cocky about themselves, confidence attracts women, and that can make a difference with height issues. The short guy with a stellar personality will beat out a tall guy with a mediocre personality any day. The reason short people are cocky is so they can be more interesting than tall people and thus attract more women to them.

I have read reports where taller men get more pay raises, get hired more often, and tend to have more success in life, all because of their height. In our society, we like tall men because they represent strength. To counter that and compete with them for good jobs, short people must be cocky and confident. Competition against the evilness of tall people seems to be the answer to all of fairness issues.

We short people are cocky because it shows we are strong, it gives us confidence, attracts more people to what we have to offer, and helps us to move on. I tend to be cocky to be funny and also to show I can do a lot of things with certain people. I have been rejected by really attractive, fun, and great girls all because of my height, I can deal with it, because I am confident in myself, but man, it sure sucks to lose to a tall guy only because they are tall. Our cockiness shows our confidence and also adds a little humor dynamic that many girls tend to love! If done right, being cocky with humor and confident just shows we are fun guys who are not intimidated by height and we realize that those kind of things do not make the man.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Lonesome Man

I went to BYU's devotional today. Of course it was incredible. We had Elder Robert D. Hales testify to us today. I learned a lot, of course you learn a lot if you really pay attention to the apostles of the Lord. I went with a really fun friend I met in Florida and it was fun to catch up.

As I listened to Elder Hales, of course I wandered, my eyes that is. I am very much a people watcher, call it a hobby of mine if you will, I just love watching random people and try and read what they are doing, thinking, or what have you, body language has a lot to do with it. As my eyes wandered, I noticed up in the high corner of the Marriott Center (the large indoor basketball stadium at BYU used for sports and large group gatherings) a man, a plain man, at the very last row, just sitting there in the dark, all alone. He was behind the speaker so it was a location very venture to unless space demands it, but there was plenty of good seating still in the Marriott Center. I wondered why he was there? What he was thinking? What brought him to such a location?

Was he perhaps planning his plans to take over the world? Was he positioning himself in that position, hoping for attention from a certain girl who would notice him there and later ask "Why were you up there?" Who knows about the last question, everyone knows how we guys just go crazy when we go gaga for a girl. I know I have gone out of my way to get a girl I like's attention. Continuing on with the questions, was he lonely and had a lot to think about? Was school just bugging him and he thought getting up there to the top of the stadium would give him peace, like did he come in when no one was in there, fall asleep, and forgot it would be a devotional with thousands of people entering the stadium? Was he sad and getting up there would give him the privacy he was seeking to hear an apostle of the Lord and feel the inspirations of the Spirit he was so desperately thinking?

Honestly, I have no idea, I am just trying to figure out why the man was there all alone. I guess we will never know. It definitely boosted my confidence in my people watching skills though!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Leave Zion!

Utah is such an amazing place. I was not born here, but I moved to Utah when I was six months old from Colorado and I have lived here ever since; especially in Utah County, “Happy Valley”, the bubble of all Mormondom. For those of you who don’t get that, Utah County holds about 300,000 people and about 90% of that is Latter-Day Saint (Mormon), so it is even more Mormon than even other places of Utah. Utah County holds Brigham Young University, the church owned University, where I attend, and also my city of Provo. I love this place, it is so fun, I have grown up here, and greatly appreciate it. There is very little I would change about it and I think I will always hold Provo and Utah in a special place in my heart. I will always love the view of the mountains we have here too.

"Just look at them!"

All of this information might make it kind of interesting to note why I am about to say this, I am ready to move out of Utah!

Like I said, I love Utah, I do not have issues with it, but there is something out there that is calling me that I cannot seem to satisfy here in the beehive state. Let me explain myself (just an explanation in advanced for any non-LDS people out there, - aka non-Mormons – a lot of my thought process comes from LDS culture and so it might be hard to follow, I will explain it as best I can).

This all started with my trip to Florida this summer on my Disney World internship. When I was there, I experienced many new situations and occurrences that I just could not get in Utah. I think it will be best to compare the cultural experiences I had in Florida compared to what I have in Utah.

1) In Utah, the environment is one of high status, not so much in wealth, but quality of character. LDS people are taught since they are kids to be good, kind, hard working, industrious, integral, to do one’s best, to keep one’s word, etc, etc, basically to have a fantastic character. Not to mention to be good citizens of our countries, not to cheat, or to steal, basically just be the best person you can be. We Mormons are good at these things, especially the ones born in to the church like I was. We believe that no one is stuck in their state, but we can change it, all we have to do is make the conscience decision to change and then change it, no matter that it is hard and will take a lot of time. I am a lot like this and this is why I have a strong character. Well, Utah has a lot of people like this; all you have to do is go to BYU to see it. Everyone has ambition, goals, drive, and motivation. People look to do their best and are always honest. Not to mention some of the nicest people around. Seriously, if a girl, even not a gorgeous girl, were to take a rock, throw it at a BYU student’s head (remember, full of Mormons who were born in to the church), 8 out of 10 students would apologize for getting in the way of the girl’s rock.

This is what I grew up in, something I participate in, and I feel like I am apart of and that I do not deviate from. I also feel like another pea in a pod in this situation, not very unique.

Florida changed a lot of that for me. Florida was the first time I lived outside of Utah in a non-religious function (my mission in Brazil counts as living outside of Utah, but let’s be honest, I was wearing a very Mormon visor the whole time since I was a missionary trying to convert people to the gospel, my life for those two years was completely engulfed in LDS missionary culture). In Florida, I met a lot of great people, but these were different kinds of people, very much more unique from what we have in Utah. Many did not know who they were, did not stand for anything, and thought in completely different ways. Many of them were in a not so productive situation, were happy with it, and planned to be like that forever, others were more motivated. But let’s put it this way, I was in a place where there were bigger differences and the productive, efficient, awesome Mormon persona was less common. I felt unique because I was at a different place in my understanding of life then a lot of these people and my goal-orientedness, my drive, and my kindness set me apart. People noticed that a lot more about me and complimented me on it. I felt special and unique and that felt good. I will admit, in a lot of ways, I felt superior because I felt like a lot of people started to look to me as an example, something I have felt less of in Utah.

2) Me being an example to people allowed me to fulfill a commandment we LDS people tend to call “Be a member missionary”, basically it means to be an example to people about how the gospel can bless people’s lives and make them happy. I am a very happy person who does not tend to worry a lot, even though I may come across that way in my self-analysis (you people out there know what I am talking about!). People in Florida noticed my happiness, my openness, honesty, lack of worrying, etc and wanted to know more about why that was so. I remember talking to a British girl about the law of chastity (no pre-marital, extra-marital sex rule Mormons strictly follow). I told her about how I wanted to live it to show complete loyalty to my future wife (whomever that might be) and how it brings less stress and joy to my life because I don’t have to worry about STDs, children out of wedlock, the complicated feelings that develop from having sex with a partner that you don’t truly love, etc. She thought about it from my eyes and liked the potential of the happiness that comes from obeying the law. Other people said the same thing from other commandments I live as a Mormon, and some were interested to know more about it. In Florida, I was a member missionary, and I changed several people’s lives because of it (so many people loved to refer to me as, the awesome Mormon, - best title, ever!).

I cannot be a member missionary in Utah like I can outside of the state. There are too many Mormon in Utah. If you aren’t a member in Utah, it is because you either have been taught by the missionaries ten times and just don’t feel it is right for you, or you just moved in to the state a week ago and you still have not had the entire congregation come to your door to show you how great it is to be a Mormon. I liked that feeling of being a missionary, it was so much like being in Brazil, but now I was more of a “normal” person. As a missionary, people saw the name tag and thought “great, preacher” and I had to mindset of “Baptism!! Elect! Wooo!” As a member missionary, I am not necessary thinking about a new member in the fold, but rather that they are a good person who I can become friends with and that happen to be influenced by my example of how the gospel blesses my life.

3) I want to explore the world! Staying in Utah will not allow me to do that as easily. When I leave Provo, I tend to be even more outgoing than I am now. I want to meet new people, do new things, and experience all that I can. That has a lot to do with the fact that I am in a new place, but moving out of Utah gives me that chance to actually move more often to explore new things. Something that does not come in Utah where I am complacent and have already seen a lot of the state.

4) There is something I am going to rag a little bit on the Utah Mormon culture. This culture is not present in other parts of the world where the church has a presence that I am aware of, when I was in Brazil, the members there did not have the same issues. Utah is a great place to live because a lot of people live the standards of the Church, it is peaceful, there are so many great people (like I mentioned earlier), and there are certain expectations that help keep the state like this even though it is becoming in more non-Mormon day by day. Well, these great things also lead to a masking that does not happen anywhere else in the world that I know of. With so many people doing good, there are a lot of people who decide to mask them-real-selves and pretend to do what everyone else is doing and do other things that aren’t considered decent in Utah Mormon culture in hiding. Basically they are sinning in a hiding matter while putting up a front about makes everyone think they are a great person. I guess that exists in other places too, but it happens A LOT in Utah because of the peer-pressure. In Florida, even in Brazil, people were honest about their problems, they put them in the open, and they lived by that, or opening told people they wanted to change and that allowed people to help them if they wanted it. And if not, you could develop an honest opinion on the person at least. Much harder to do in Utah. I like the openness of people outside of this culture that we tend to have in Utah.

Those are just some of the things about it. Outside of Utah, I feel in a high place based on others around me (that may seem shallow, but I think it is good. It makes me realize how blessed I am). I can be a real member missionary and an example. I can explore the world outside of Utah. And I can be around more openness with everyone rather than wondering in the back of my head . . . “how is this person really?”

There are other things I like too. I can feel even more tight knitted with the Church communities in these areas, because there are fewer of us. I can interact even more with non-Mormons, which I love; they are so special to me. Plus it gives me a little more independence from my youth, which was great, but is now in the past and sometimes, seems can hold me back when I am so close to it in Utah.

Who knows what might happen in the future. I actually expect, because I love Utah so much, I will live outside for years, but then decide to return and stay forever. I can see that happening. But right now, I have some big plans, even though they may not be solid.

First, next summer I want an internship outside of Utah. I can do a Professional Internship at Disney somewhere, most likely Florida, where I can experience all sorst of new adventures. Or I could go to Brazil and do a business internship there, just to get as far away from anything as possible and grow even more as a person. Or I can grab an internship at some random company and move my way in to out-of-Utah experiences that way. I will return to Utah after the internship, because let’s face it, I love BYU and I am going to finish my studies there.

Second, I want to take a job in some other place in the states and live there for a few years. I will travel, I will learn, I will participate, and I will show off the blessings of my life and help others have the happiness I have.

Third, probably move to even another state with a new job, visit friends and family in Utah often, but continue doing what I am doing.

It comes down to how I feel outside of Utah. I feel different, and I like it. It brings a new dynamic in to my life that I have never noticed before.

I have said it often, I love Utah, and it will always be special to me. But I feel that my place is outside of the state, at least initially, so I can do so much more good out there in the world, outside the “bubble”.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Just Keep Driving, Just Keep Driving

I did it! I have driven across the country . . . twice! It happened within four months of each other, and yet it was so fun! I never thought I could have so much fun doing it either.

There I was, it was late April, I had just finished my last final for the school year, and I was then loading up my car, ready to head to Florida to participate in my Disney World internship. I was thinking the long journey was going to be a painful, excruciating, and boring – after all – I was traveling all by myself. But by George, I was going to have my car down in Florida! But after traveling the distance, I found it to be really fun!

The same for when I returned home. I was finished with my program, although it was really fun; I was excited to get back to Utah. My family had visited me and they had the luxury of flying back to Utah, while I had to get my car 2,500 miles back to Provo, UT. This time I did not feel so up to traveling the distance. But I did it anyways. Although it was long, I enjoyed it again!

Why did I get a kick out of traveling the same route, twice, within such a short amount of time? Several reasons my good people! Since I was traveling by myself, I got to think so much about several things I just have not been able to focus on since I was a pretty social butterfly in Florida, while I was at Disney I was always with somebody, in the car, I was by myself and I was able to focus on several new goals, and just have the tranquility that exists when I do not have to entertain anyone.

This country of the United States of America is beautiful! The Appalachian Mountains with its green peaks and random water traps everywhere was beautiful. The forests all along the way were luscious. The farmlands of Missouri, Kansas, and Colorado are so tranquil and promote a different kind of life I have never even considered, not to mention it was so fun to look out on the horizon, and see nothing but corn and wheat, not to mention cows. And then once one hits the Rocky Mountains, the winding road of I-70 all the way to the deserts of Utah make one feel like a Nascar driver.

The idea of being in a place I have never been in before really got to me as well. I had gone across the entire country, to states I had never been to before, I accomplished something big. Plus ever since I got home, it is just neat to have the bragging right of saying I have driven almost the entire country. Not to many people have gone from the West to the East or vice versa via car.

My route is about 37 hours and I traveled through nine states, and travel 2,320 miles going one way. It was just exciting and I wonder if I will have a road trip like that again someday.

View Larger Map

Just one last highlight, the scene between the prairie of Colorado and the Rockies going in to Denver is incredible. It is totally flat, and then once you see the outskirts of Denver, bam, there are these huge mountains skyrocketing up to the sky directly in front of you. It is such a drastic contrast.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Children Down the Slide

Have I told you all how much I love my job here at Disney World?

I don’t think I have even explained what I do here. Well, I am working in attractions in Dinoland, USA in the Animal Kingdom. I have two huge responsibilities there. 1) I work as an usher on the “Finding Nemo the Musical” and 2) I work in the Boneyard helping kids dig up fossils. Both jobs are really fun and I like what is going on at each location.

Finding Nemo has been a nice stroll through the park for me, not so much for its easiness, or pleasantry of it, actually it is like a stroll up a steep hill in the middle of a haunted wood at 2:00am in the morning. Don’t ask me about that analogy, I just wanted to type something cool. When I first started in the theater, I was freaked out! There is so much going on in a show that fits 1700 people in five different shows per day. All the cast members were yelling at all the guests, telling them to go to the exact same location, “Go up or down, go up or down”. It is a busy place and there is a lot going on. Then once the lights go down, we have to run around and catch people using flash because apparently flash photography can cause a portal to open and send people to some sort of netherworld. There is always something going on. As time passed, I got sick of the show. I memorized the show, verbatim; the repeated tasks of seating people in a strange order became boring; and trying to figure out what all my fellow cast members who speak Spanish were saying really killed me! But it all got better once I finally decided “hey, this show has a lot of cool stuff in it!” The world of the show opened up for me as I started to look for all the little details of each scene and memorize the musicality of the music. Now, I love Kung-Fu Dory versus Crazy Dory, I appreciate the different Crushes and their style of personifying the greatness that is Crush, the nearly always flawed cue of the school of fishing singing opera at the mention of Sydney. It is now awesome to work at the Nemo show and enjoy the Air Conditioning as I sit to find the next little detail that probably only cast members can seem to learn in the first place.

The Boneyard has experience after experience of excitement! Most people in my work location hate the Boneyard because it has a lot of kids who play in it. I myself love kids and the experience there has just shown me how much I want kids and to raise a stellar family. Maybe some background on the Boneyard is in order. The Boneyard is a large dig site, a playground is you will, with slides, ropes, roaring dinosaur tracks, waterfalls, xylobones, and other similar things found in your regular dig site outside of Disney World. It is a place where kids just get to play and have fun as kids should. My favorite part has been the slide in the position of tower. As I sit up at the top of the tower, I get to see and talk to all sorts of kids while they wait for me to give them permission to go down the slide. The greatest are the kids who have no idea what I’m talking about. There are all sorts of foreign kids who come along and just look at me like I am a retard. Then there are the kids who come along and when I ask them “Where are you from?” they respond “ummm Earth!” “Really, you are from Earth? That is cool, me too!” . . . “No you’re not!” And then there was the kid who told me “I’m from my mom and dad.” Oh, that is totally new information. Seriously, these kids are hilarious. On the ground level I get to hide behind the cave and scream at them like a dinosaur as they come around the corner and laugh at them as they run away in sheer terror. The best were the three girls who did it to me first. They roared at me, I roared at them. The process repeated, until it arrived at the point that I got freaked out and I ran for the hills as the three little girls chased me down and attacked me like the ferocious raptors they are.

Guys, working for Disney is a blast, there are so many fun memories that I am creating and I know this is going to continue to be a great experience until it is all over in August. Bring it on crazy kids, I’m loving every minute of it!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Evil of the Iron Man!

I have decided that the Iron Man competition is of the Devil; it is that simple. You have thousands of men and women who dress up in form fitting outfits (some form up in to leotards), showing off their toned muscles, and they run around a lot with a bit of swimming and leisurely bike riding through the city. That has evil written all over it. That is not all, no sir, in reality the Iron Man kept one specific person from having a spiritual manifestation of grand proportions!

It all began a few days before the Iron Man competition. I went to the Magic Kingdom at Disney World to enjoy the fireworks, parades, and rides with some interesting (and cute, cannot forget cute) friends. While I was there enjoying a rather large float with Jafar and the Evil Queen from Snow Whit, I received a text asking me to speak in church on Sunday about patience. But not just any patience, the talk “Continue in Patience” by President Dieter Uchtdorf of the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Of course I accepted, the heathens in my congregation needed to know the truth, and what better man to give them the truth about patience but I, Eric!

I prepared my talk over the course of the next few days, and my, what a talk it was. The big day to present it arrived, I loaded up in my car with my adopted sister and friend Joyce in to my car, and off we were to church. We left a good amount of time ahead of schedule as well in order to arrive to church on time, because really, in order to give such a great talk, I had to be there on time. Well wouldn’t you know it, as we traveled on a rather large road here in Orlando, Florida called County Road 535, I found the Iron Man competition bike route, and there were a lot of people riding along it. At this time I did not think to much of the evil these athletes were about to provoke upon us all. We got to the road that we needed to turn left on in order to get to the chapel, the bike route was blocking the very road I had to turn left on. That was alright, soon enough they would let us pass. But as I waited there in the left turn lane, the cars began to pile up behind me. Minute after minute passed, and still no cars in front of us turned left, and the cars continued to pile up behind us. Time was running out for me to get to church on time! Oh how disappointed everyone would had been without the knowledge f patience 5 had to pass along to them. I decided quickly to find an alternate route. I left the left turn lane and continued on CR 535, hoping to find a new location to turn left. I searched and searched and searched, but there was nothing. No matter where I went to get to the chapel, there the bike route was, laughing at me for the feudal attempt to get to that sacred location known as church. I decided I had to call in to Bryce to let him know I would not make it on time to speak.

“Hey Bryce, this is Eric.” I greeted Bryce.

“Oh hey Eric, how are you?” replied Bryce.

“Good, hey listen, I cannot get around the Iron Man competition to get to church to give my talk, sorry man, but someone else there is going to have to speak.”

“Ummm, Eric, you do realize you are speaking tonight at the 8:00pm sacrament meeting right?”


So there you have it, the Iron Man actually did not stop me at all from giving my talk, nor from getting to church for that matter, I still got to church for the 8:00pm meeting and gave a pretty good talk. But still, it is evil in its entire scheme and I now have a personal vendetta against it that must be satisfied.

Curse you Iron Man!!!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Glory of Mowing a Lawn

Nature is by far, awesome! Just take a look for yourself!

Which is why I love enjoying it, especially when a sax is playing like mad in the background (watch the video).

For the first time in a long time, I got to mow the lawn, not my parent’s lawn, but actually my neighbor’s lawn, and it was not even my duty, usually my brothers take care of it (I have four younger brothers, one is on a mission in Paraguay, but the other three tend to do it). One had prom today, another has a film to make for class, and the other one is sick. So I got to quickly mow a lawn and make an easy $20 in about an hour. If only my job could be that easy right?

The smell of the gas as it fills the gas tank is so overpowering, tempting anyone to take a bigger whiff, but don’t because that could really just mess you up man. The strength that is required to jerk back that cord to start the engine definitely makes you feel like a man, and the smell of the fresh grass as it is cut just proves that there is something special between a man and his lawn . . . or his neighbor’s lawn. Look, it is just fun to mow the lawn, especially since I did it all the time when I was a kid and it has been a long time since the last time I have done it, it is nostalgia man. There is nothing better than trying to make a perfect straight line from pass to pass on the lawn so to make it a perfectly symmetrical lawn. It is like synchronized swimming, only manly!

It is just so great to mow a lawn and make it perfect, to feel the breeze on your face as the warm spring sun beats down on you. And once you’re done with all the green grass stains getting collecting on your shoes, the man gives you a nice green bill of mola. Oh yeah, mowing the lawn is great!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Apartment Search, Walt Disney World, and Finals

Apartment Search
My apartment search was one sweet ordeal. I actually enjoyed myself! Women tend to have shopping addictions, well I think I have one for real estate. I noticed when I was in Brazil and responsible for all the missionary housing, I did like to see other missionaries’ apartments and compare what one had compared to another apartment. I looked at around seven different apartments on my search and I had an even larger list of other places to look at. I found really social places, the locations of partydom at BYU like King Henry, Liberty Square, etc and in all honesty, I really did not want to pay $350 or around there for a shared room and so little space, even though the social life has got to be great at those places. I noticed many apartments directly south of campus are tiny, overpriced, and really have no parking at all. But hey, if you want to practice your parallel parking skills, south of campus is a great place to be! I look at amenities, quality of locations, the apartments’ grounds, etc. It was just fun going from place to place and deciding what I like and what I did not, discovering what I wanted and the layouts that were perfect for me.

In the end I have decided on renting at Stadium Terrace. It is located just north of the stadium (who would had thunk it?). It has everything I need! Great parking locations, it is really close to the Tanner building - let’s face it, now that I have completed all of my GEs and most of my classes for my minors, it is time I actually spend time on my major, and all of my classes are going to be in the Tanner building – each apartment has two fridges, six people per apartment with three shared rooms and two bathrooms in the place, and the rooms are actually big enough to not have the bunk bed situation and still have room for all your stuff. It was strange when I found it, I had looked at a lot of places and in the end, Stadium Terrace was the only place that felt right for me. Maybe it was the really attractive girls I saw after taking a quick tour of one of the apartments . . . who knows. So get ready next Fall semester for some fun parties at my place!

Walt Disney World Internship

This summer I am in for a blast at my Walt Disney World Internship. It is a college program they offer for students to get out to the park, work in the park to learn the why behind Disney’s magic, and also enter an internship situation with a large corporation. Did I mention I get free access to the park with a lot of great discounts? I leave April 21 and I am driving there. Road trip baby! It gives me a good excuse to see the country.

I have a feeling I will be posting quite a bit about that situation experience because 1) I won’t have hours of homework to keep me from actually posting a blog, 2) I will be more excited to share what is going on, and 3) it will just be a blast!
So look out for those posts starting once I hit the road April 21. The internship goes until August 13 so I will have all summer in Florida, working at fun park and playing on the Floridian beaches.

The Relief of Finals
I am so excited that finals are here! Honestly, I like school, but sometimes I just get so overwhelmed with everything that I have to do in a semester that I just need a break (hence going to Disney World for the summer).

Today I have already completed two of my finals. What a relief it is to just leave the BYU testing center after having pumped out everything in your brain on paper! It is even better when you get some pretty decent scores!

I have come to the conclusion that finals are just a way to make all us students feel stressed out! They give us only two study days before the finals to sit down and review everything has been taught during the semester and then you are given a 100 question test where you have to regurgitate everything that you just barley pumped back in to your brain. And then they make you do that four more times on all your other tests that must be done within a five-day period. Why do you think they put us through that torture? Really, testing is no real effective way to see how much you have learned, it is just a great indicator at how well you can cram and memorize. It’s not like they actually expect us to learn and put in to practice what we learned in class right? . . . You know, come to think of it, if I would actually internalize the principles I learn in class, rather than try and memorize everything I need to for the final that I learned over 12 weeks within a two-day period, maybe the tests would be easy? Nah, that is too hard to do, I’ll just keep goofing off and partying, then cramming my head full for the finals. It makes it easier to forget all that boring, school stuff anyways.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Apartment Search

Seriously, BYU should have something similar to the reality TV show Survivor when it comes to finding an apartment. For those of you outside of the realm that is zoobieville, aka Brigham Young University, BYU has a policy that all apartments rented by students must be approved apartments by the school that promise they will obey certain guidelines and rules such as provide an environment where the honor code will be enforced, certain amenities in the apartments, etc. It is a great idea and I think it has its place, but in all reality, the desired outcome for BYU approved housing is not what a student truly gets. BYU has set up a two-mile radius around campus and has said only housing in that region would be approved, which actually sort of limits the number of apartments a student can rent and I have seen several great apartments outside of the region which are really good. Well, by the laws of supply and demand, limited housing means less supply, so rent goes up, and since students have less options to choose from, the quality in the apartments tend to be, well, really bad! This is what the typical BYU student is dealing with and it truly is a journey of survival to find a good apartment that is at a good price is not falling apart. Hence my journey on looking for an apartment! Oh the joy.

I am in a unique situation. I live in Provo, I have grown up here, I went to Provo High School (it is right across the street from BYU), and I still live at my parent’s house. I have some sweet digs, my own private room which is bigger than any of the rental rooms I have seen (that includes the Avenue private apartments), my food is made by good ol’ mom and dad, and I have a lot of space and privacy. Oh, and parking is never an issue. With that said, some would say I am crazy for wanting to move out, I mean come on, moving in to an apartment would really lower my quality of living and I would be paying for the decrease rather than live for free in a house!

But for some reason I have really been interested in just getting out and experiencing life a little bit more. While I was in Brazil, I lived in apartments, I cooked my own food (alright, we actually ate a lot of prepared meals by the church members there almost every day, I love Brazilian hospitality!), and I felt more free to make my own decisions. I was independent and I want to feel that again for at least a little while. And although I am quite the specimen and I am totally awesome, my social life tends to be non-existent since I live so far away from everybody and it is really convenient to stay at home. Getting out of the house for a little while and finding a rented apartment will let me feel more independent and just increase my social life. Plus let’s be honest, I will probably end up moving back in to my parent’s home when I kill these “needs”. I will finally realize why it is so good to live at home!

The search has been interesting. I went to Liberty Square and King Henry Apartments, hearing they have an amazing social life. I can see why with their large complexes and their hordes of immature girls which lead to the coveted sophomore fling by the crazy guys, but really the cost kind of scared me with the quality of living you get out of the apartment. I checked out the apartments around the South Side of campus and realized, I would have to park at the Provo Tabernacle just to have my car close by. Parking in that area is horrible, not to mention all the apartments I looked at were . . . run down to put it nicely. Why is that area so desired to rent from; besides the fact it is as close to campus as you can get and you get to chase awesome ducks every morning by the pond on your way up the stairs of death to campus?

My price range makes me a cheapskate at the range of $250 - $300, so most of the apartments I would find were tiny apartments with a really tiny kitchen and shared rooms with a tall bunk bed in an area with five other men and one bathroom . . . oh the insanity. Oh they all seemed to have a weird smell to them.

But hey, the apartment search is fun! It is great to get to the office and find a married lady who always seems to be pregnant who runs the place. These ladies always have the funniest stories about how the tenants are insane and all the messed up things they do. I think I’ll just go apartment searching just to hear their crazy stories so I might stay entertained. But the search continues for an adequate apartment to my liking which won’t kill my budget. Maybe I am downgrading from luxury to a small damp room called an apartment, but it will be a fun experience as I go along with it.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Dance Parties!

Dance parties are something strange. There is a primal instinct in all of us to move our bodies to obnoxious rhythms. It helps us relieve stress, have fun, and show off to the opposite sex. Well at this time of the year being Valentine’s Day, there seems to be a lot of those, especially for the singles out there in the United States. I figure dances always occur during this time to help singles out there find their valentine so we do not feel so lonely on this day of days.

This Valentine’s Day weekend I attended two of them myself, either because I just like to dance, socialize and glamorize in all of the attention I can get at them or because I was really bored and wanted something to do. Either way, I had fun!

The first dance I went two actually was at my youngest brother’s school, it happens to be a chartered school and the group who organized it rented it out, one big coincidence. Well thanks to the impersonal event system on Facebook I was invited to the party where my friend was DJing. I arrived there thinking I would run in to at least a few friends since they tend to know the same DJ and are invited to all the same events. Wouldn’t you know it, I did not know anyone there except the DJ. Well, rather than scouring away like a normal person I decided to take this opportunity to meet a lot of new people that I probably would never see again. I had a good time dancing the “All the Single Ladies”, Lady Gaga, the Top 40, and all the other dances. This dance had a lot of people from the same ward there although about 500 people were invited on Facebook, all of them clicking “Maybe” as their status for maybe being at the dance so not to hurt their inviters feelings although I pretty sure the inviters weren’t there either. This ward was about the only group there and so everyone asked me, “Who are you here with?” “Why, I am here just too party friend!” I would respond “I hear that!” They would say back, then I would talk to them for maybe two minutes and then move on to the next person where the same situation would go down. Good times, guaranteed that is the last time I show up at a random dance party without some other friend there I can sucker in going with me.

The next dance party I went to was a lot less awkward, it was put on by my local church congregation and we invited about nine other ward (congregations) over as well. To be honest, Utah Mormon dance parties are lame when it comes to turnout. There was maybe over 900 people invited to this dance and maybe 100 showed up, but that did not stop the people there to have fun! This was a Valentine’s Day dance and there was a lot of great food provided by the Marvellous Catering Company (I recommend them for any wedding, party, corporate event, spoiled sweet-16 party, etc). Several people just busted out the moves, it was a blast. Really, these kind of dance parties are fun. People just go out there and have fun and they do not care if they dance or not. A lot of people need to have that kind of attitude, maybe they cannot dance, but really, what white person can? (the king of pop technically does not count!) and they need to go out there and just have fun! That is how this dance party was and it was great. In the end I got to dance with a few cute girls and realize that the conversation was boring during the dance, so they therefore lost my interest. Seriously, these dance parties between singles ward are made just to find people to date, and I found a cool girl who caught my interest and I got her number. Thinking I was all cool about it, I decided to advertise this to a friend, only to discover he had four numbers from the dance. . . someone is a number hog.

Basically dance parties are fun, when you are not by yourself at a party where you are expecting someone to be there that you know. So just go out there and dance, meet new people, party on, and go crazy. It makes life fun! We all every once in a while need to just flow with the groove and have some fun, dancing will let you do that.