Sunday, October 26, 2008

Story of the past: Cool guy of the week

I thought I'd pull a story from my past years for this blog post. Partly because I don't want to write about my week every time, otherwise people may realize I don't live the adventerous, action-packed life that I say I do (Though really I do, if I were to talk about my week this week, I would tell you stories of wandering through the dangerous areas of Detroit, visiting cider mills, one with a bridge rumored to be haunted, and let's not forget game night on Friday, where I saw the phrase "The man took his dog to find his lost meat" slowly change to "Evil vampire man attacked the girl with a pitch fork"). So my past life story I'm going to tell we'll call "The Origins and Endings of The Cool Guy of the Week".You had to be cool to be cool guy of the week. It was the most important rule.

As I've said before, I always lived with the same guys through my undergraduate years at college. During our time together, many interesting traditions started and ended...and sometimes even started again... Cool guy of the week was one of those traditions. It started our freshman year. Basically, every week, everyone on our dorm floor would vote for someone to be the cool guy that week. This meant anything they said went (cool guys obviously can't be wrong), they got prime seating for midnight movie on Thursdays, and everyone else had to constantly let them know how cool everything they said was. Oh, and you had to wear a all week, called the cool guy shirt. This shirt could never be washed, although you were allowed to jump into the pool with it on, if you felt that it needed a little rinsing off.

Don't worry, we did not discriminate between male or female. Either sex could be voted cool guy of the week, though some thought it unfair that we refused to allow the title to be changed to cool girl of the week, or anything like that. But let's be serious, guy encompasses both male and female.

The tradition obviously stopped while my friends and I served missions for our church, but when we got back, it started up again (with a new cool guy shirt, as the old one was lost, and with the addition of a cool guy sweater option for those colder days). And the tradition grew to include much of our ward (church group that met together). Eventually a roommate started up an online voting website (I did a google search and found the website: it still exists!). This is where the tale becomes sad. Corruption, greed, and false coolness lead to many problems with the voting system. Soon, campaigning began, as if one could campaign to be cool. People began to lose sight of the true meaning of being cool. Then fake votes began showing up. Due to a flaw in the security system of the voting website...or maybe just the complete lack of any security system on the website...people were able to vote as many times as they wanted, and false names were often created.

I was voted in as cool guy during a week of civil unrest. The previous cool guy, outraged that one of his cool mandates had not been met, refused to return the cool guy shirt and sweater. During this time of turmoil, a cool guy coat was created (bought in Mongolia by one of my roommates). I have never gotten so many angry looks on BYU's campus as when I was wearing the cool guy coat everyday. I suspect people were angry and jealous of my coolness. I did not wear the cool guy hat that is shown in this picture, I didn't think the world was ready for that kind of coolness.

In an angry response, our apartment shut down the online voting, seizing all control of the naming of cool guy of the week, so that only we could decide who should be cool guy of the week. This caused many horrible backlashes in our ward. Angry mobs formed, bricks were thrown threw our windows, followed by torches. The cool guy of the week could not calm them down. Finally, after getting thicker windows that would repel bricks, we decided that the once proud, unifying, tradition of Cool guy of the week, had lost all meaning, and needed to be retired. The cool guy shirt and sweater were hung in our closets, and there remained...and possibly still do remain.

The final cool guy of the week was the naked indian on BYU's campus (please note that the statue is not actually naked, he is sporting a loin cloth, we just refered to him as the naked indian statue). He was cool because he could sport the sweater in the normal fashion, or as a cool guy loin cloth.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

My scary tale of sisters and ghosts.

Anyone who knows me, knows sisters scare me more than ghosts.

This is my mom and her friend playing cello for Boo at the Zoo. They love to dress up in somewhat elaborate costumes, they went as ghosts this year. I don't know why, but my mom completely changes when she's around some of her friends. She gets kind of crazy...and I mean that in the good sort of crazy way, since I assume she may read this.

So I went to Ohio this weekend, that was fun. Friday, after finishing up everything that needed to be done with school (I use the term finishing somewhat loosely here...), I left Ann Arbor, picked up my older sister and my youngest sister from the Detroit airport (they had flown's an airport, it's what you do.) and we went down to Cleveland. This was no random trip back to my childhood home. We went to see my mom, who had also flown in from Texas where my family's living, play cello at the Cleveland Zoo. The more I try to explain this to people, the less sense it makes to me, but it happens. My family hasn't lived in Ohio for like 5 years. My mom used to play cello with her friend every Halloween for "Boo at the Zoo". Even though my family moved many dozens of hundreds of miles away, my mom still flies back to Ohio every year around Halloween time. It's kind of like a vacation for her I think...but they pay her to take it, which seems like it would make any vacation better. I am willing to travel to Hawaii if anyone reading this would like to pay me to go there.

Again, Boo at the Zoo. So, they've taken up playing these funky looking cellos. They're electric cellos. It's because by day my mom plays at the zoo, but by night she rocks out with some pretty hard core bands. You should hear the electric cello, electric banjo, and electric kazoo all play together, you get some pretty rockin' tunes.

On the way to Cleveland, my sisters and I stopped at Cedar Point, which is a pretty awesome roller coaster park. Then we continued on to the east side of Cleveland, where I grew up in a small town called Chesterland. We stayed with some family friends who treat us like we're their kids. Only I wonder sometimes if they don't treat us better, so maybe like grandkids. Let's be serious, I've seen my parents around my nephews and nieces...they definitely treat grandkids better than kids. Saturday I went to Columbus to pick up a friend from BYU who was interviewing for dental schools, then went up to Boo at the Zoo. My favorite part, besides the cello playing of course, was looking at all the kids costumes (apparently this event is for kids like 8 and under, so if you are, say 24, and do not have any kid with you, you actually tend to feel slightly out of place). Halloween's coming up and I always struggle coming up with a costume. So I figured I scope out what was hot, and just copy the most popular costume. Turns out fairy princess is pretty popular. I may not be that.

Picture of Ohio where we stayed. I've got to say, I'm pretty proud of this picture, got the sun just right through the trees. Had to cut down 7 trees to do it, but it was definitely worth it.

Sunday was fun too, went to church with a lot of people I knew growing up. Plus it was the primary program, which means the entire meeting was done by kids younger than 12 (and a few adults to help them). I also sat by a friend who had two of his kids with him that were too young to be part of the program. So, yeah, needless to say I enjoyed the meeting a lot. Kids are funny, and I seem to relate pretty well to them. Turns out we even have about the same length of attention spans.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Week 2: Still here.

Last summer, my family went on our first big family vacation ever. We went to Belize, it was a lot of fun. Despite my original belief, Belize, though Itallian sounding, is not in Italy. It is actually in Central America. Wikipedia and Google maps agree on this.

Yup, it's week two and I have not given this up yet. That's a good sign. I took up running a little while ago. Ran almost everyday for a week...and then stopped and haven't been out again since. So, two weeks in a row without quitting is pretty good for me.

Mainland Belize is a pretty cool place, with lots of old Mayan ruins, surrounded by jungle. It was fun to wander around, eating fruit off the trees, and bugs off the ground, just like Baloo taught Mowgli in the Jungle Book (Disney cartoon version, as I'm not mature enough to actually read any sort of book, or watch a real movie). Just need those bare necesities.

I was going to just write about my week, but I realized I have one major problem. I have no pictures from anything I did this week. And since some people (namely my brother...possibly others) tend to only look at pictures, I realized I was going to have to do some improvising. So I think I will show random pictures that tell one story, while here in the text I will talk about something completely different. This will most likely be very disorienting and confusing, but my mind's made up, so it's too late to change anything. This week I did some country dancing at a church activity (and possibly even did it right...well...small little parts of it right). The whole activity was fun, even though there are rumors floating around that the chili judging was rigged. By rumors floating around, I mean I hope to start some by mentioning this in my blog. I did not win, nor did I take second...or third. On top of that, the guy I was taunting all week took second place, completely thrashing the credibility of any future trash talking that I might do.

We didn't realize it at the time, but some of these sites were famous...well, more famous than other ancient indain ruins. The top picture is one taken with my camera. The bottom one is not. This may be the closest I ever come to being in a famous movie. For those who don't recognize the bottom picture, it's from Star Wars (Return of the Jedi I think...). Please note, I thought of many lame Star Wars related jokes for this caption, and I held off on putting them. That should be worth extra credit in we get graded on our blogging skills?

Also this week was my first ever visit to a cider mill, followed by many hours wandering in a corn maze (It was actually very similar to Lord of the Flies. After so many hours of wandering lost without water or food-not counting the hundreds of ears of corn that surrounded us-our group started to split into tribes. Then the tribal wars started. Things got ugly for a while. There was much backstabbing, friend turning on friend, life long enemies made, then unmade...and promptly made again due to said backstabbing. It was definitely a lot of fun and I would highly recommend it to anyone.) Cider mills are apparently very important in Michigan. There are tons of them around and everyone has their favorite one to go to. In fact, I'm told you can tell a lot about a person by what cider mill is their favorite. I'm trying to figure out which cider mill says "I'm cool, tough, and ruggedly handsome". That's the one I plan on making my favorite...which may shake many people's faith that you can tell anything about anyone based on their favorite cider mill.

After spending a few days in the jungle, we went to the coast and went snorkeling (first time I've ever been). I had mixed feelings about it at first. I had recently watched shark week on the discovery channel and had seen a "harmless" reef shark bite a camera man. The mixed feelings came from my fear of being attacked in contrast with my hope of losing a sister or two to feed the poor, hungry sharks. Neither one of these happened...nor was I able to ever catch...or even touch...a fish despite the fact that there were many that mocked me by swimming close, only to dart away when my hand moved.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Blogging and me

Family a few years ago. Since this picture was taken, two more nephews have been added to the family and one brother-in-law. Also, two sisters have been sold off, causing great gain to family morale and finances.

I'm kinda new at this blogging thing. In fact, until recently, I considered blogging for older, married people (these two go together, being single means you're young, married: old, and married with kids: really old - Sorry Kip and Katie, but congrats again on becoming really old). Recently, however, I stumbled upon an underground movement of hip, young, cool people who have blogs. So I thought, I'm hip, young and cool, I like underground things, maybe I could blog. Then, after talking with some of these bloggers, I decided I'd give it a try. So that's the basic story of my starting a blog.

It turns out, starting a blog means lots of decisions...some of which I wasn't really ready to make-this includes naming your blog and choosing a template. I'm told I can change these later, so that made it less stressful. I picked a random template, and called the blog "This blog was made for reading", mainly so I wouldn't make two mistakes. One, so I would remember I should probably try and make it at least somewhat interesting since people will (possibly) be reading it, and two, to remind myself that this is not a private journal, if I write it, people may actually read it, so be careful self, don't write too much of what you don't want known.

My plan for this blog will probably change pretty often. Secretly, I'm not much for talking about myself, which is what I think you're supposed to do on a blog, so I decided I would ramble about nothing instead. Then I remembered this blog was made for reading, and random ramblings might get old. Since I recently started a new phase in my life (graduate school at Michigan), I decided maybe I could use the blog to keep old friends and family (old refers to friends, not family, I still hang out with the same family as I did when I was younger) up to date, and also, it could be used to help people in Michigan get to know me better (which may be a bad idea, if people start avoiding me, I may stop blogging, or just start telling outlandish lies to trick them into thinking that I am cool to hang out with, and should not be avoided).

Again, family, couple years old. The main reason for this picture is that there was a lot of text without any picture, so I threw this in to break it up a bit. It's in San Antonio, my family moved to Texas about 5 years ago.

I believe there is an "about me" or something like that on the side bar, haven't really looked at anything on the blog yet before writing this post, so I figured I'd summarize my life in this first post. There are 7 kids in my family, I have two older brothers, an older sister, then three younger sisters. Despite being surrounded by sisters, don't worry, I grew up very manly and tough. My mom is a musician, my dad an engineer, so I guess I got a bit of both...making me a poor musician and a bad engineer. I spent most my life growing up in Ohio, just east of Cleveland. I was a distance runner in high school, and did many other very important and wonderful things I'm sure. Really I was somewhat quite (somewhat may or may not mean really) and possibly even somewhat nerdy (somewhat here should give the impression that this is not very likely, but there is a small, very small, possibility that it is true). I did my undergraduate studies at BYU-Utah in Chemical engineering. It was a pretty fun time for me, freshman year I lived in the dorms and got to know the guys on my floor pretty well...after spending about a month only doing things with my roommate. The original plan was not to get to know anyone and eventually move to the mountains and become a hermit, but eventually we got to know everyone else on the floor and decided they were cool enough that we could hang out with them.

"Family" picture of roommates - this caption is above the picture because I am somewhat struggling to get the captions to do what I want...
I would be roommates with some of the guys I met freshman year for my entire time at BYU, and stay pretty well in contact with most of the rest. I went to Argentina for two years after my first year at college as a missionary for my church. Then I came back and finished my degree in April 2008. It seems like a lot of time at school was spent trying to figure out a get rich quick scheme with my roommates so that we could drop out of college and be rich. A few were really good ideas, but we always ran into snags. One of my favorites to talk about was a very simple idea, we only needed the use of our apartment complex's pool, and a killer whale. And, as luck would have it, one
of my roommates was going to Alaska that summer, a prime place for capturing killer whales, or so I believed. Basically the idea was to keep the whale in the pool and charge people admission to swim with a killer whale (a good date idea if I've ever heard one, but also fun to do with a group of friends). I'm pretty sure we could have made a lot, I
know it's one of my dreams to swim with a killer whale, and if it were in a swimming pool that was small enough that the whale would have trouble eating me, all the better. We even realized we could start up a collection for people to donate money to get a larger aquarium for the whale, thus making us look humane and caring. We would then promptly pocket the donations. Sadly, my roommate failed to bring back a killer whale, thus wasting his trip to Alaska. He has still not been completely forgiven. Since none of these get rich quick schemes took off, I am still going to school, studying Nuclear Engineering at the University of Michigan, waiting for the day when I can drop out and get rich quickly, with minimal work. If all else fails, I may eventually take my own trip to Alaska, and show my roommate how whale capturing is meant to be done.

I've liked Michigan so far. I moved here in the middle of the summer (July 9th) so that I could start working in my advisor's lab before classes started. This worked out well for two reasons. One, I got to know my way around the lab a little bit before getting bogged down with classwork, and two, I got to know a good amount of people out here during the summer when people tend to do more (good weather, less school for those in school, and...I don't know, people just do more in the summer, it's true, so I don't have to justify it with reasons). That second point was important, since there are no mountains in this area of Michigan, I couldn't fall back on my original plan to become a hermit living in the mountains, shunning all human contact. Luckily, there were a lot of activities I could go to with people from my church, so all I had to do was pretend I was social, and I got to know a good amount of people pretty quickly.

My first apartment in Michigan. I lived here by myself for two months...this is at the end of the two months after I furnished the apartment with an air mattress a stool (technically, my mom came and visited, and had pity and went out and bought the stool).

Well, that does a decent job summing up my life...well, at least as well a job as I'm willing to type right now, and probably more than most people are willing to read. The plan is now to go back and figure out how to put pictures in this thing so that it at least looks interesting. I will try and put pictures of family, Utah and Michigan. I will probably not put any of Argentina, because I have no pictures on my computer. They are all stored in a man book. For those that don't know, a man book is similar to a scrap book, but much more manly. Where a scrap book looks nice, has colorful pages, cutely written captions, and cleverly cut pictures, a man book has white pages, messy, short captions written with a black sharpy, pictures crudely cut so that they would fit on the page, sometimes cutting people in the picture off so you can cram more in, and it just has a general manly feel to it. It is a very tough thing to have, and portrays a strong sense of manliness about the person who is skilled (and manly) enough to make one. Well, that's it for now, until next time (probably next week, the plan is to be a weekly updater).

I took this picture from someones facebook album. It's a picture of me in Michigan, conveniently the one that has the most other people in it that I could find. I am sure I picked this picture so that others could see some of the people I hang out with in Michigan, not because I think it makes me look well-liked and popular. But, by all means, please note how many people are in the picture and come to any obvious conclusions. There are at least dozens of people, and that's not counting the third table of people that is outside the picture. Nor is it counting the picture taker...who may or may not have been the waitress, I'm not sure. Either way, we were good friends.