Monday, September 28, 2009

I Run Faster than Classical Composers

A couple weeks ago we (me, Julie, Melody, Jonny, Cami, Allison) ran Pleasant Grove's Beat Beethoven 5K, all proceeds going to fund the Pleasant Grove Arts Council, which you should all know is a worthy cause as far as I'm concerned. The race begins with the famous first strains of Beethoven's 5th Symphony, and the idea is to finish the race before the piece is finished (roughly 32.5 minutes). We were pleased to report that each and every one of us beat Beethoven, and were thusly awarded with a commemorative button. It was a really nice course, slightly different from the Strawberry Days one, and it was a nice, cool September morning. Julie and I were afraid we had missed it the weekend previous when we were in Missouri, but as it happens, the timing worked out perfectly after all. There was even a dude there dressed as Beethoven bringing up the rear with the golf cart playing the music. Next year I hope they figure out a way to have the music audible throughout the course, and not just with the cart or at the finish line. We all ended up with pretty good times (21:41 for me, just under 7-minute miles, thiiiis close to being in the top three for my age group, and thiiiis close to being in the top ten overall!)

I'm not exactly sure why it looks like I'm doing some kind of mixture of deer-in-the-headlights and Blue Steel in this picture, but whatev.

Eat it, Ludwig!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Hero Worship to the Extreme

There are so many, many things wrong with this picture:

Seriously, people would never, EVER have praised previous presidents in recent years in this sickening manner, least of all the most recent president. So gross. The man has hardly even been in office for half a year, and he has performed most unimpressively so far. What is there even to praise? His (half) skin color? It is interesting though that everyone else is stating his middle name so prominently when that used to be an argument against Republicans.

So this kind of crap is allowed to go on while recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance is forbidden? Ick.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Open Letter to the Weather

Dear 64 degrees,

I love you.



Friday, September 18, 2009

Moste Disappointed

It's been a little while... Of course, the thing that gets me to blog again is TV...

Last night was a big night of season premieres. While I can safely say I was quite satisfied with Survivor Samoa, The Office has really let me down. I think I laughed a total of one time, and even then it was half-hearted. Alas, has the greatest comedy on TV jumped the shark?? Say it's not so! Everyone was out of character, the whole thing was uncomfortable and awkward the entire time, and they've been pushing Michael and Dwight's characters way too far lately, even for Michael and Dwight. *sigh* I'm holding out for improvement as the season goes on, but allow me to register my disappointment.

Oh, The Office! What has happened to you??

Monday, September 7, 2009

A Glorious Honeymoon

At the risk of getting too gooey, I'm going to just post a few fun honeymoon pictures as well, and just suffice it to say that I'm so wonderfully in love with my wife. We had a great time in southern California for six days, and I'll provide my report in bulleted fashion as in the previous post. (FYI, Julie has also posted on the honeymoon, which can be read here, and as before, I plan on uploading many more pictures on facebook, so check out more of them there if you're interested.)

  • We stayed the first night in Little America in Salt Lake City until catching our Sunday morning flight to LAX. The hotel provided a lovely set of newlywed surprises including chocolate-covered strawberries, a bottle of bubbly, and a souvenir key engraved with our names and the date of our wedding. The room consisted of a king-sized bed, a killer view of downtown SLC, a living area with a big desk (and complimentary wireless internet), a plush sofa and a dining area, a mounted plasma-screen TV, a an iPod compatible clock radio (both of which we didn't even touch) and a really nice jacuzzi tub with glass doors. It was such an awesome hotel, maybe the nicest I've ever stayed in, and we would have loved another night there to check out the pool and other amenities, but Delta called...
  • We flew into LA on Sunday morning, picked up our car at what might be the most ghetto rental establishment in California, and drove to Long Beach.
While waiting to go to the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, we did a little sight seeing on the nearby pier, had some dinner and watched Julie & Julia at the local Cinemark. The aquarium was fun, and had lots of fish. I overcame my fear and touched sharks. They were itty, but they could still probably have eaten at least two of my digits at once.

Later we checked into our moste excellente suite in the Anaheim Residence Inn Maingate, which also came with a delightful newlywed bundle, including a bottle of wine (we felt bad they went to the trouble, but they can use it for the next lucky couple I guess), and some Disneyland newlywed paraphernalia. It had a full kitchen and a living room.
  • On Monday we had an open day (I made sure not to overplan--the last thing I wanted was an unrelaxing honeymoon), so we went to Huntington Beach and enjoyed the freezing cold ocean. Julie initially seemed hesitant to visit the beach ("What do you really DO there?...") but in the end the sand and the surf won her over and she was the one who wanted to dive in and swim out to the slightly deeper water.
I like to call this picture "Mission: Accomplished."

Later that night we dressed up and went to Downtown Disney for a little shopping and dinner at the Rainforest Cafe (WOW, the ribs there...).

(No, we didn't fork out the cash for these novelty hats that we would most likely never wear again. Luckily we were able to take perfectly suitable photos, and have the memories regardless.)
  • Early the next morning we went to the famous esplanade and joined the crowds lining up to enter the Happiest Place on Earth.
Shame on you for touching that golden apple when it clearly warns not to touch it!
Then you had to suffer the punishment of spooky thunder noises!

It had only been almost three months since we had visited previously, but it seemed like it had been forever. We were able to see all our favorite attractions and eat at the Blue Bayou (despite them having no openings for the whole day), where we were served a special newlywed dessert.

Honestly, we're never going to Disneyland again without deciding on something to celebrate and obtaining the appropriate buttons. It's so much fun to get the congratulations and occasional surprise special treatment from Cast Members and fellow guests. We hit a sort of wall in the afternoon and headed back to the hotel for a couple hours (it was so deluxe to be staying 10-15 minutes away from the entrance to the parks) after which we came back to see California Adventure in the evening, and then Disneyland again at night.

Of course, why did I never think of making the C into a G?

Fantasmic is back and still super cool, but the new, much-hyped Maleficent dragon was not yet in operation. Maybe next time!

  • The next day we woke up later than planned to head back for Day 2 at Disneyland.

Both days were really fun, but by mid-afternoon we realized that we probably never want to visit in mid- to late-August again. You can still get a lot done, and if you avoid the 12-3 pm time period, it doesn't get TOO hot or crowded, but that's a key bit of information I have gleaned (which gleaning I expected) from this trip. On this day we were also ever so fortunate enough to eat at the ultra-elite and super-secret Club 33. I had never been there, and learned right away that they are serious about their dress code (don't you dare show up with flip-flops, regardless of the overall effect and quality of your ensemble. You can wear the tackiest of tourist apparel and cut-off shorts as long as you have closed-toe shoes). It was worth the trek to the hotel and back in mid-day, though, when we spent a couple of the hottest and most crowded hours of the day in an out-of-the-way, lavishly furnished restaurant discretely located above New Orleans Square. There wasn't any particular newlywed bonus here, but the chateaubriand was delicious, and the salad and dessert bars were quite remarkable. We only regret that we didn't enjoy more of the crab claws and lobster tails.
We rounded out the day by watching the new fireworks show, complete with not only flying Tinker Bell, but flying Dumbo. It was awesome. But so crowded. So we altered our plans of hitting a few more select attractions during the Fantasmic lull and headed home. We were even ushered backstage with the post-fireworks crowd. It was like a flashback to winter 2002, being backstage again. It was also a much quicker, but much less scenic, path down Main Street, USA. We bid a fond farewell to Disneyland, vowing to go back again soon as can be.
  • The next day was another delightfully unplanned day, which was spent enjoying the awesome hotel breakfast buffet, watching TV, and resting our feet from the previous two days. I had one more surprise for Julie, and informed her we had to check out because we were staying somewhere else for our last night. I didn't tell her where yet, but we packed up and did a little shopping (where our rental car was backed into by some other out-of-towners, but we were luckily at no fault, so the insurance should cover it completely) until we were able to check in at the famous Disneyland Hotel. It's always been a dream of mine to stay there, and what better time than your honeymoon?
The theming and atmosphere was expectedly magical, and despite a few hiccups (random people trying to enter our room without knock or invitation), maintenance pestering us a couple times, unwarranted phone call charges), it was a really nice place. The room was really fun and the pool was heated and Peter Pan-themed. We went to Surfside Beach at sunset, where we found a nearly deserted shore of rough sand, tall crashing waves and even a dead pelican, washed up on the beach.
The waves really liked Julie.
Which way to the beach? THAT way!

It was really nice, but turned a little chilly as darkness set in, so we headed back and found some dinner (after an unsuccessful walk through Downtown Disney, we settled for the local favorite Jack-in-the-Box).
  • The next morning we packed up our stuff, took a few last pictures, bought a few last souvenirs, and headed back down to L.A. The traffic was horrendous, but we spent an hour or two at a nearby art museum, after which we turned in the car and headed to the airport. A couple of hours later, we were back in the land of mountains and 90 degree heat (it was soooo nice in CA, go figure). Although the post-vacation fatigue, the L.A. traffic, the trouble with the rental car and the desire to start living life with The Wife made me really glad to see the Beehive State again, we were both already wishing we could go back.
And there you have it. Probably more information than you ever wanted! But I hope you enjoyed it. Three weeks later I'm even more in love. Married life rocks.

A Glorious Wedding

Just over three weeks ago I was wed to my beloved Julie Ann. I finally have a few minutes to sit and blog about it all. I decided against a detailed synopsis of what happened, since most of the people who read this blog were present anyway, but I am going to provide, in bulleted fashion, a list of highlights of the day.
  • Things started off pretty stormy. Our morning brunch was forcibly relocated from the awning in the front yard to inside the house. Luckily Mom's living room/kitchen is perfectly suited to host a party of exactly such a number of guests. We were glad to have a little something before the afternoon wedding to get the Party started and get loved ones gathered near.
Seethong and Mai Chou Yang came all the way from Appleton, WI to visit and to attend the wedding. It was my first time meeting Emerson Cojtus, their 3-month old baby. OMGsocute.

Kami had just finished doing Julie's hair, which was gorgeous! It looked even better later on when the flowers and ribbon were added. Those girls were up and working on it at 7 am.
What a couple of troopers!
Here you see a photo of what the storm did to the awning and the table setup we hadall ready to go. Things were looking pretty grim for the reception later that evening...

  • I forgot this when Julie, I and our escorts headed to the temple. Yes, I raced back to find it, and yes, I panicked when I couldn't, and yes, I said a little prayer, and yes, I found it just in time. (Much thanks to Amber's skills for providing it. It was a perfect companion piece to the strand of pearls and the pearl earrings I gave Julie for her birthday.)
  • We had a really lovely sealing in the Mt. Timpanogos Temple. The officiating sealer was Alvin G. Schow, evidently randomly assigned to us. I don't remember everything he said, but he talked about the importance of covenants and how we will report to Heavenly Father in a little PPI (his euphemism for Judgment Day). All I know is that I was so happy to have this beautiful girl sitting next to me and so many of our loved ones gathered around. And yes, I was a little misty when he declared us husband and wife. I'm not ashamed of my emotionality.
  • And then she appeared in her full wedding attire and my jaw almost quite literally hit the ground, I had never seen anyone look so beautiful.

  • Less than 30 minutes after emerging triumphantly as husband and wife, thanks to the expert organizational and photographical skills of Matt and Travis from Tandem Photographers, we had all of our group shots with everyone and were on our way to taking the traditional couple photos around the temple. They turned out just beautiful! (This is just a random sampling, I have posted hundreds of wedding photos on facebook in the last few days for those who are interested.) As you will notice, the weather cleared up perfectly, leading to a nice, cool afternoon and a blue sky dotted with white, fluffy clouds. I almost stressed in the morning, but all was well by the time we headed to the temple.
(Emily, we missed you so, but we're so glad you're doing so great. Hang in there!)

Yes, we kind of just wanted to mix it up for those last two pictures. Random, I know, but it was fun. We love you, Laceland!Mah boyz.

And now, presenting highlights from the official wedding photos:

Special thanks again to Tandem Photographers for the professional and friendly experience.
  • The reception was a huge success, by all accounts:
~ The tent resumed its former, upright position, and the weather remained gorgeous and even kind of cool all the night long.

~ The cake was beautiful, and turned out exactly as Julie hoped it would. (And wow, it tasted really good. Thanks, Dawna, and hurrah, the colors were just right too.)

~ The guests were smiling and abundant, and we were happy to share the evening with so many loved ones.

I like to call the above two the "Sisters Do As Sisters Should" photos.And this one is the "Brothers Do as Brothers Should."
And this one is the "Former Elders in the WMM Do As Former Elders in the WMM Should."

~ The music and slideshow were a big hit, though it took some doing to get it started. Special thanks to Dan Findley for his moral support.

~ Then of course we had to take some awkward pictures. If there's one thing we love better than awkward wedding photos that somehow look just like bad prom pictures, it's wedding photos that are intentionally awkward. But I think we love the first ones better, though it was fun to take some really bad ones. Special thanks to Lili for posing us just right.

~ Then we just couldn't take it anymore and busted up laughing.

~ Then of course we had to take some LOST Club pictures...

~ And a few Disneyland reunion pictures...

~ And then it was finally time to head out! And a special thanks to the Disneyland Club for decorating the car so tastefully and celebratorily. (Best made-up word ever.)

We drove away and all I could think about is how lucky I am to have this newlywed bride sitting next to me, and that we would never again be parted, in this life or the next. I was so over being single, and I know this is the girl who was meant to break my nearly three-decade streak of bachelorhood. Maybe it won't always be a picnic (as some people feel the need to inform newlyweds for some inexplicable reason), but even during struggles and trials I know I can still be happy because I have my beautiful and patient companion by my side, and we were sealed for time and all eternity by the power of God. Ah, yeah.

Honeymoon post coming soon! Stay tuned...