Saturday, November 29, 2008

Day of T-Gives

So yeah, I just thought I would blog about yesterday, since, you know, it's a major holiday and we had a lot of fun activities and such.

We started out with Amber's 2nd Annual Cedar Hollow Turkey Trot, which I missed out on last year, so I was way excited to be able to participate this time. Amber seems to opt for the slightly longer 4-mile race (unless you would rather do half at 2 miles), rather than a traditional 5K, so that was a nice change. It was raining in the morning, but turned into a light drizzle eventually, which was perfect to keep cool during the race. Apparently, according to the results, I placed 13th, and heck, based on the demographics of the turnout, I bet I'm even in the top three of my age group! Woot! And yes, in this picture, I'm totally rocking fingerless gloves. I'm just that hardcore a runner nowadays.

Mom and her three boys! (She doesn't like to exclude the in-laws in classification as "sons".)
It was Matt's first race (I think), and he did great!

After that, it was still really early so we came home to get things ready for later, but I crashed for a while on the couch while watching Archuleta schmaltz his way through "Crush" and Kristin Chenoweth dazzle me with "The Christmas Waltz" in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Eventually everyone appeared and we had an awesome meal and great times. I was reminded of last Thanksgiving in Appleton, where I was blessed with a great meal, but uncomfortable surroundings. I was really excited to be surrounded not only by amazing food, but the best company I could ask for. The rest of the day consisted of a ping-pong tournament (I don't want to talk about it, okay??...), which predictably ended with a showdown between Matt and Jordan, a boys vs. girls jigsaw puzzle competition, which the boyz won fair and square (all right, it was only by about 20 seconds, but still!). Last year the girls won, and there are many theories as to why the boys dominated this year... Yeah. Anyway, people trickled out slowly and we ended up having a rousing game of Wackee Six and quoting Fred all night. Good heavens, that game hurts my head sometimes.

It was really nice and relaxing. It's so lovely to be able to just sit and, well, do nothing for a while. No GRE to worry about, no major academic events in the immediate future. I was finally able to put on my Thanksgiving playlist (if you're creative, you can actually find several songs that could be about the idea of generally giving thanks, thus Thanksgiving).

And now, at LAST, I can finally listen to Christmas music unabashedly and unashamedly, without reasonable fear of reproach or chastisement. If now's not the time, when is??

Also, thus begins the countdown... For maybe the first time in my life, I'm just as excited, if not more so, for the the day after Christmas as for the day itself.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Post-GRE Catharsis

I am spending today doing... well, nothing! And this temporary lack of desire to act is based on two things: First, I am one class away from Thanksgiving break, and second, the GRE is in my personal past. Since people might be wondering how it went, here's the official, albeit brief, report.

The test was administered at a testing center in Lindon, with security measures comparable to those of Fort Knox, but I felt fairly well-prepared when I arrived. It took me three hours to complete, and even though it's almost impossible to study (per se) for an exam like that, I was grateful to roommate Jeff for loaning me the book he used to prepare (he took it a few weeks prior), it actually helped in understanding the most effective way to eliminate wrong answers and guess when you have no idea (which I did a couple times for sure). It wasn't as painful as I expected, although I wouldn't necessarily want to do it again right away, and in the end, I scored higher than I had on the practice test the night before, and just slightly below the average for grad school applicants at BYU, so I think I'm pretty good there. There were also two written portions, which will be graded separately, which I felt pretty good about too.

So yes, that's all I have to say about it. It was a rough couple of weeks of intense preparation, but it seems to have paid off (so far). And the rest of the weekend was devoted to... like I said... nothing. So nice.

Although I did watch the BYU/Utah game... I know, who am I anyway?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Opening Night...

Yes, yes, while people all over the world should be lining up and getting their first look at the latest Harry Potter installment, they're instead drooling over the drippy angst that is Twilight. And, in case it weren't bad enough that WB keeps taunting and teasing us with the fact that Half-Blood Prince is still half a year away, as if to add insult to injury, Twilight's date was moved UP from 12 December to 21 November. Apparently SOMEONE realizes that the fall/Christmas movie market is fairly lucrative. While I'm pretty sure the film released tomorrow is going to be fairly awful, I'm also quite confident it's going to be well-received. They could throw poo on the screen and call it Twilight, and some people will eat it right up anyway. After all, they were content with Breaking Dawn, right?

Recently Julie drew my attention to a relevant and disturbing piece of news:

...Just last week the 22-year-old British actor [Robert Pattinson, who plays Edward] was at an Apple store in New York City when a 7-year-old girl asked to take a photo with him. No big deal, right?

“But then she went really quiet and she was like, 'Can you bite me?' ... It wasn’t a joke...I looked at her and thought, 'Do you know what you’re saying?' There are these kinds of sexual thoughts that come out of people that they don’t even know are sexual.”


There is something seriously so wrong about that. Poor guy, but at least he seems to realize the fans are insane. Good work, SM, another example of even a pre-tween caught up in the subtle, subversive sexual world of Twilight.

And now... back to my GRE prep. Only a couple days left.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Final GRE Countdown Begins...

T-minus one week... and counting...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Post-Prop 8 Goings-On

Oh my word... Things have exploded in the world. I have a few very interesting things to post about what's been happening since the people voted and Prop 8 was passed (as well as related propositions in other states), but I recommend people visit Lili's blog, because she has been keeping quite up to date with a lot of brilliant thoughts and damning evidence of intolerance by the No on 8 crowd.

Let me start by saying this: This is a democracy. Concerning socially desired changes of policy, there is a certain protocol that must be followed. Some such issue is brought to the table, the people vote, and that's it. Sometimes there are changes or amendments or whatever, but in general, that is how it works. When a presidential candidate I don't much care for is elected, I might complain as far as my personal and rational sphere allows, but I suck it up, hope for the best, and move on. When Prop 8 was passed the first time (this news surprised my roommate when I told him yesterday... he wondered why they even voted on it again if it's already passed... Good question, Jeff), that should have been it. Instead, the activists pressured and prodded until the powers that be overturned the voted-upon result and another proposition was up for debate. Does this not steam anybody else?? Does the majority vote not matter anymore?? I don't know why anyone's surprised it passed again, when you think of it. It passed last time, and societal morals don't shift that dramatically in just a few years. I will say that, unfortunately, I feel this is a delay of the inevitable, however, since by the time the older generations are gone, the younger, indoctrinated generation of voters will be around. Who knows, though? Maybe tradition and values will play a part even in the malleable minds of the MTV generation.

So, some of the things going around.

This is an outrageous, unfounded and pretty much ridiculous attack against the Church's involvement in the Proposition 8 issue. I mean... seriously?...

Here is an LA Times article citing the absurd protests at the LA temple... I mean, really, what do they expect? That the temple president is going to say, "Hmmm, you're totally right! Your obviously love-motivated actions have made me realize that the Church and dozens of other churches were wrong to promote family values and traditional morals! Since I'm the head of the LDS Church, I'm going to do something about it right this moment!" Please!!! I've never seen such hatred and intolerance displayed than in the articles about these protests. It's like a child having a tantrum because his mom didn't give him a cookie. And when people start blocking entrance and/or exit from MY temples, I am NOT happy. That's infringing on religious liberties, which ARE unalienable constitutional rights.

Then, a little closer to home, this article tells of the pointless and misdirected efforts of those protesting in Salt Lake City. Honestly, when are these people going to realize that there was a VOTE, and the majority spoke? It's stupid anyway, as if the LDS Church is the only one who participated in support of this proposition? Here's an awesome excerpt from the article:

Bishop William Weigand, head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento, Calif., and former bishop of the Dioceses of Salt Lake City, lent his support to the LDS Church in a statement Friday.

"Catholics stand in solidarity with our Mormon brothers and sisters in support of traditional marriage — the union of one man and one woman — that has been the major building block of Western civilization for millennia," Weigand said in the statement.

"The ProtectMarriage coalition, which led the successful campaign to pass Proposition 8, was an historic alliance of people from every faith and ethnicity. LDS were included — but so were Catholics and Jews, Evangelicals and Orthodox, African-Americans and Latinos, Asians and Anglos."

Weigand called the "bigoted attacks on Mormons" for their part in the coalition "shameful."

"I call upon the supporters of same-sex marriage to live by their own words and to refrain from discrimination against religion and to exercise tolerance for those who differ from them," he said. "I call upon them to accept the will of the people of California in the passage of Proposition 8."

And finally (for now), this is the ultimate expression of intolerance. See for yourself, it'll blow you away. They dare demand tolerance while exhibiting this kind of behavior?? Can it be a joke?...

One good thing I will cite, though, is a news feature about the SLC protests featuring my dad, and the full, raw footage of the interview with Dad, one of the few people willing to stand up against the attacks and against the moral decline of the country, as far as he's able anyway. I applaud anyone who is brave enough to take a stand like this.

In other avenues, WTH?!? First Richard Dutcher, then Stephenie Meyer, and now Steve Young?? Is it at all possible for a Mormon in the spotlight to stand up and be a decent representative of the Church??

Monday, November 10, 2008

Weekend Update

... That is all. See management for further details...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Just Call Me Utah Jazz...

And now, for something completely different...

All right, all right, although it's against all my better judgment and taste, I'll put it up...

I'm a Jasper! I found out through Which Twilight Male Are You? Take the quiz and find out!
Take the Quiz and Share Your Results!

Sheesh... Still, it could be far, far worse.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Few Words for Election Day Adam

(Matt used to apply the term "Adam" as the day after a holiday, since Eve indicates the day before. Anyway...)

So yeah, I thought I should say a little something about yesterday. And I mean little.

Yesterday there was a lot of drama involved in my being able to vote at all, due to car troubles. Luckily, thanks to help from Jared and Jessica, and ultimately Dad, the car started and I was able to vote! There were a total of two people voting when I arrived at 7 pm, so I had to wait a total of two seconds. Of course, by the time I arrived at my parents' place, the race was pretty much over already. It's kind of what I expected actually, but I still felt a certain pit of my stomach that hasn't exactly left, and I don't quite expect it to anytime soon. I'm not going to throw out buzzlines like "foreign policy" or "international healing", I'll just say that the burden of proof now lies squarely on B.O.'s slender shoulders. You better bring it now, man (even though last night he was already qualifying the possibility of not following through on his promised changes... "These changes may not take place in a single year, or even a single term...").

Last night I was in a right state, and it's still sinking in, but I am feeling more prepared. All I can say is that I'm amazed and thrilled about Prop 8 and similar efforts in Florida and Arizona.

So we have elected our first half-black president. Good thing race never had anything to do with it, right?...

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Few Final Words for Election Day Eve

It's weird, even though I totally have seen this "historic" day coming, Election Day still sorta sneaked up on me this time around. I'm pretty sure how I'm going to vote, but I'm actually not quite sure how it's all going to turn out. Last time I was pretty darn sure President Bush had it in the bag, but this time, I'm just not certain. I definitely have hope for a certain direction, but we will see.

So, rather than post a lengthy rant about my personal politics, I will post a few videos I've run into online lately.

Honestly, these terrify me, and they seem like the people making them are completely serious about them, which scares me even more. Make of them what you will.

There is something so manipulative and wrong about using unwitting kids to further a political agenda, and everything about this song (especially the conductor) screams Communism. Word is Obama, obviously touched by the "spontaneous" display of affection and support from children who don't even understand what he believes in, had this creepy, Naziesque song on his website until he realized, well, it makes him look like a Communist.

As for this one, why do celebrities seem to insistently think the public actually cares about their political views? A paganistic chant of "Obama" and a multi-culti display of celebrities reading canned lines isn't going to impress anyone but people who already support him.

This one just amuses me:

So vote!

(...For anyone but Obama...)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Out with October, In with November

So, as much as I'm not a fan of Halloween in general, we had a pretty nice, eventful weekend, and I thought I would give a little report on it, for those inquiring minds which want to know. First, I will state a seasonal pet peeve of mine, relating specifically to Halloween. It is this: It really bugs me when people pronounce Halloween like "HALL-oween" (as in Miss Scarlet with the candlestick in the "hall") as opposed to "HAL-oween" (as in the name of the mutinous navigational robot in 2001: A Space Odyssey) I am utterly unclear as to the origins of this mispronunciation, since the root of the name of the holiday refers to the ancient pagan celebration of "All Hallows' Eve". If anyone can offer me an explanation to this, besides the obvious reasoning of possible original mispronunciation in the media and such, please let me know.

On to the big fun, then. Mom, Dad, Amber, Melody, Jonny, Julia, Elise, Jeff and I headed up to Logan in three shifts with plans of running the "First Dam Run" 5K on Saturday morning. Secretly we wanted to run it just to get the shirts with a cleverly appropriate swear on them. Grandma and Grandpa are doing fairly well, and Grandma even had a nice list of chores for us to help out with. Friday was Halloween, and marked the first year in several that I didn't don my traditional Harry Potter costume, and as such, decided to go as, well, a runner, since I had just finished my run up to the Logan temple and back. When Melody and Jonny brought the little bee, we decided to let her take advantage of the glorious pile of fall leaves I had been accumulating.

I know she looks like she's leaning away from me, but she's actually posing.

Melody and Mom joined in the raking and bagging leaves fun.

Come on, baby! Cooperate for the picture! Still cute, though.

We had a total of two trick-or-treaters (although the doorbell is reportedly broken, which could have contributed to the relative lack of kids asking for free candy), who were dressed as a storm trooper and Snow White. Later in the evening we watched Grandma's latest netflix delivery, Penelope, which turns out to be quite appropriate for Halloween, and then slept in preparation for the 5K.

Leaving the pumpkin with designated babysitters, Elise and Jeff, Grandma, Mom, Amber, Melody, Jonny and I headed to the park to get ready for the race! As it turns out the weather was perfect, not cold or windy, but brisk and bracing, with only the slightest bit of rain in the early hours. (Incidentally, I think all such races should begin around 10 am, it's the perfect time for such an event.) I decided to try and keep up with Jonny, which determination lasted about ten seconds until his swift foot carried him far ahead. But the miles went by, and in the end, we all did really well. I even set a new personal record! 24:38, which gave a 7:57 mile. Woot!

The ladies:

The fellas:

And we had a lot of finalists! (I didn't place too high in my age group but I was mostly racing against myself and my former time, so I was totally satisfied.)

Thanks, Lili and Jeff, for holding down the fort and keeping the child entertained.

We had a nice lunch and spent some time together, and then it occurred to me that November is finally upon us. I haven't broken out the Christmas music just yet (although certain radio stations and stores certainly have, and, although I have purchased a couple of new exciting Christmas music CDs new this year...), but it's quite clear that winter is not too far off. We drove home, again in three shifts, and I slept quite soundly after a nice session of the LOST club.

Happy HAL-oween.