Friday, April 30, 2010

Three Babies Redux

Last week younger sister Emily and her husband KC came back to visit from Maryland, with three babies in tow!  They are so much bigger and fatter and more responsive and happier than last time, when they were preemie newborns!  See for yourself!

!!!!!  Those faces!  Ruby's is the best in the picture.  They'll be here for a few weeks and we're so excited to see them all again so soon!

Then we decided to take a picture of all the nieces and nephews who were born in the last year:

L-R:  Penny, Brady, Alex, Bennett (tell me if I mixed those two up, Emily!), Ruby, Gabe

There were a couple other pictures later, but immediately after this was taken, Gabe started freaking out and everyone starting putting their hands over their faces, so this is the best one we took.  I'm sure someone else of the many of us who were taking pictures has some to share too.

And Cami had one just a year before that!  I think we're good on babies in this family for a while.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Time passes, and as it does things inevitably change.  Of course there are some things that remain ever unaltered, such as the undying devotion I feel toward my wife of now over eight months, but some things can and must change, and lately two very significant things have evolved for the better.

#1:  The living situation

I guess I never really addressed our big move.  After almost six months of unreasonable and vexing issues in our first apartment involving space and housing quality (read: disgusting creature infestation), crazy neighbors, questionable neighborhood, infuriating management and spotty maintenance (the details about which I won't bore you here), we decided it was time to try to sell our contract early and seek new accommodations.  We did some research, showed our place and within a matter of weeks we were out of there forever.  The poor fellow who finally bought our contract did so sight-unseen, but we decided that we felt good about giving our contract up to someone, especially a single guy because:  It's actually a pretty good sized space for a single man, even if he does, as we were led to believe, have a sometimes-child with him; most of the management issues would have been solved, since the property had recently been purchased by a different company (who have been giving us real problems as far as getting our deposit back is concerned, but that's for another blogpost...  Just beware of REMS, Inc. is all I can say); the bug situation was reportedly on the mend; the neighbor situation had been improved considerably; the contract only went until August, so if it was bad the new tenant could just put up with it for a few months (heck, we did) and then opt not to renew.  We had a lot of good memories at our old place, including our first winter and holidays, but it was time for a change.  And even though we only moved about a mile and a half away, the situation is decidedly improved, and considering other circumstances (see #2 below), we decided we could afford a few more dollars a month for such an upgrade.

#2:  The working situation

As I said, certain circumstances led us to feel that we could afford to move into a better situation.  Julie found work after several frustrating months of searching, and was quickly welcomed into her employers' good graces due to her high productivity, positive attitude and fun personality (not to mention that nice Masters degree...), and they have been encouraging her to apply for promotions and other such opportunities.

Hot on the heels of Julie's employment success, I experienced a little of my own.  Since last May I had been working as a graphic designer for a local company that creates and prints phonebooks for publication and distribution in Arizona, California, Wyoming, Arizona and Utah, and while I was grateful to have a job to pay for wedding and honeymoon necessities, and to live on while Julie looked for work, it was always a temporary situation until I found something a little more profitable and relateable to my education.  There were times I was so frustrated that I was ready to walk out immediately, but I knew I had to stick it out until something else came along, and I never stopped looking for new opportunities.  When the supervisor for the Hmong interpreters at General Conference indicated that his place of employment might be looking for a new/additional graphics man, I told him to definitely keep me informed.  Just two weeks ago I talked to him in length about the job, and he said they would definitely be looking for someone new.  I had been waiting for something else to come along, and along came something!  I submitted by resume, complete with link to my online portfolio, and by the next day I had been contacted and scheduled for a phone interview.  Within the week I was offered a job making much more than I currently was, working remotely (at home!) and doing work much closer to my field of study!  They wanted me to start immediately, but I insisted on giving the office some kind of notice, however minimal.  The company is Pearson, and their work is largely products, presentations, programs and websites for use in every level of the education system; the job is graphic designer/animator, and the atmosphere is fun and creative; most of the interaction is via web meetings and phone calls.  The only drawback is that the job was initially listed as temporary, but the company is very optimistic that it will turn permanent in the next few months.

By the end of the week they'll have me set up with a killer home office, including a new Mac and fancy tablet, and I'll be learning a lot and adjusting to new things, I'm sure.  I look forward to and welcome the challenge.  I've also worked out a deal with Dad to rent some of his unused office space so I can spread out and have a more roomy studio space until we have more room at home.

So that's what's been going on!  We love our new apartment, and I'm looking forward to some new work.  It's not my dream job of course, but until Disney calls me up, I'm glad to expand my skill set, build my resume and do some creative work on the way.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A New Record, for the First and Last Time...

The Wife and I had a goal of doing at least one 5K every month this year.  We were having trouble finding a good one for April, but ended up going to the Paul Mitchell-The School Race to Create Magic Fun Run in Provo.  Conveniently located immediately next door to the gym I visit several times a week, we were signed up by Friday afternoon and ready to go on Saturday morning at 7 am (a little early by my estimation, but I guess serious runners are hardcore and can handle it).  There was a nice crowd milling around during registration and before long the route was described and the runners prepared to take off.  I was thinking I would do really well in my age group since I thought most of the participants would be college students, and as such around the 18-25 set, so I was a little surprised to find a wide range of ages present, from the 10-year-old who finished in the top 10 to the 50+ ladies out to support their friends in the school and the cause.  Now comes to dramatic part of the story...

I came in first place!  No, not just in my age group, but overall!  I admit the number of participants wasn't entirely overwhelming, but I'll take such a victory anytime!  While I usually run just to beat myself, and even though at 22:15 this wasn't my best time ever, I was a little amazed to be the first one to cross the finish line.

For those who are interested, here are some of the details.  I started off pretty strong, in the front ten, and kept a pretty steady pace.  My new iPod from Julie has a Fitness feature, which times and counts steps (though I suspect the calorie counter isn't entirely accurate), and it worked perfectly throughout.  The race started at the salon, went down toward the Utah State Hospital, back up past Seven Peaks water park, up some fairly steep hills in a nearby residential area, then finished back down past the gym to the salon.  I managed to keep pretty far ahead until about halfway when I passed two or three people who had been pretty steadily ahead of me.  Unfortunately at the last turn, the girls who were supposed to direct runners were slacking and the girl running in the lead missed the last turn and probably ran a quarter of a mile before they were able to contact and redirect her.  By now I was amazed to see that I was a close second to a really steady guy with two dogs on leashes.  In the last hundred yards I was able to give a final spurt of energy and pass him up to finish less than a minute ahead.  I looked around, just a little bit incredulous that I was the first one to finish.  Mom asked how it feels to come in first, and I thought, kind of feels like I finished the race...  Pretty novel that no one finished before me, but in the end I was just glad that I kept a good pace and felt good about my time.  Still, this is a definite first, and I can probably almost guarantee it will be the last time such a thing takes place.  I did get a medal for winning my age group, but the overall awards were given to those who ran under special circumstances.  I even sat in the Winners' Circle for pictures of my age group!  Julie was so proud, and did great too.  I'm so glad she's into running and it's something fun and active we can do together.  We celebrated by seeing a matinee of How to Train Your Dragon and doing laundry later in the afternoon.

In the end, it was a very fulfilling morning of running, the perfect way to start off a Saturday, and I even won a can of hairspray in the raffle.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Set of WTH?

Sometimes the internet produces the most amusing things.  Sometimes it produces bewildering things.  Here are a few things that have lately crossed my path:

• WTH #1

In an email from netflix:

Drew, based on your interest in The Passion of the Christ
We think you'll enjoy Spartacus: Blood and Sand

Yeah, since they're totally related and stuff...

• WTH #2

Two random anonymous comments on my blog:

Hi !.
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There is no initial capital needed You may begin to receive yields with as small sum of money as 20-100 dollars.

AimTrust is what you need
The firm represents an offshore structure with advanced asset management technologies in production and delivery of pipes for oil and gas.

Its head office is in Panama with offices everywhere: In USA, Canada, Cyprus.
Do you want to become a happy investor?
That`s your choice That`s what you really need!

I`m happy and lucky, I started to get real money with the help of this company,
and I invite you to do the same. If it gets down to choose a correct partner utilizes your funds in a right way - that`s the AimTrust!.
I make 2G daily, and my first deposit was 1 grand only!
It`s easy to get involved , just click this link [link]
and lucky you`re! Let`s take our chance together to get rid of nastiness of the life

Could not find a suitable section so I written here, how to become a moderator for your forum, that need for this?
... Because of course I need moderators for my insanely busy and high-traffic blog, and of course who doesn't want to be happy and lucky, and take a joint chance to get rid of the nastiness of life??  Lucky you're!

• WTH #3

This graphic of book covers labeled "The Best Books Ever Written," presumably randomly generated by ratings of users...

One of these things is CERTAINLY not like the others.  There is something so wrong here.  In what universe is Twilight considered in even the same sphere as The Book of Mormon (let alone To Kill a Mockingbird,  Pride & Prejudice and The Lord of the Rings)?  I would like to see who these 28,993 voters were...

Thursday, April 15, 2010


This is something to which The Wife drew my attention, and it had to be shared immediately.


I care about this Alot!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Upcoming from Disney

So I've always said that when I worked for Disney, I would push hard for a Rapunzel movie.  I even did some concept drawings for it as early as 9th and 10th grade.  Imagine my joy, then, when I heard they were working on a fairy tale formula film based on the story of Rapunzel (and my simultaneous regret that I couldn't have been a part of it).  This film has been in talks for literally years, and some vague concept artwork has been released in the past:

... But now we're finally getting solid evidence that it's coming soon.  Though the above concept artwork has been floating around the internet for several years, the most recent official offering is this:

It actually is kind of promising.  I was a little nervous when I read how many changes were being made to the original story concept and of course the original fairy tale, not to mention the recent official change of name (from Rapunzel and/or Rapunzel: Unbraided to the more ambiguous Tangled in an attempt to appeal to a broader audience), NOT TO MENTION the change from traditional animation to 3D (admittedly, with a distinctly 2D look & feel, but still...) despite being produced by 2D animation legend Glen Keane, and then throw in the casting change of Kristin Chenoweth to Mandy Moore, and...  Well, my worries dissolved a little when I saw the above artwork and remembered the music will be composed by Disney favorite Alan Menken.  The trailer (below) isn't much to look at, and I mean that quite literally since it's about 30 seconds of voiceovers and zoom in on a single piece of artwork, but it's proof positive that we can look forward to seeing this movie in theaters by the end of the year.

Here's hoping they have another winner on their hands!  It'll be hard to beat Tiana and Naveen, but maybe Rapunzel and her man Flynn Ryder will be able to stand up next to the best of them.