Monday, August 30, 2010

Failure, Failure, Failure

If you've seen the old movie "The Shakiest Gun in the West" starring Don Knotts, you'll understand the title of this post. If not, better get it on that Netflix cue.

I realized that I spent nearly an entire month in Arizona and had only 1 blog post to show for it. (That's what I mean by "failure".) I mean, naturally I wouldn't stop my fun vacation time to sit and write about it all ...I'm not that devoted to my blog. But now that I'm comfortably settled into the apartment that I'll be in for the next few months, I've got no excuse not to write a bit about my adventures.

My visit to Arizona was jam-packed with time spent with friends and family, interspersed with geology expeditions that have really opened my eyes further into some details of the geology of my home state.

I really cherish time with my family and friends, and this living in Idaho has made that very challenging. As I contemplate my choice of where to continue my education beyond BYU-I, I've either got to be closer to home, or own a good road bike. So maybe I'm not the Harley type, but I could see myself on the right sort of motorcycle. Especially when gas prices are what they are.

One thing I'm looking forward to is my off-track. I've never had a real off-track since I spent my last one here in Rexburg working. So I'll be coming home for the Christmas Break and I'll be staying in Arizona until school starts again in April. That seems like a much better option than braving a full Idaho winter yet again.

Highlights of my trip home:

-a day with Seth, Aunty Julie, and Grandma.

-Sunday dinner at home with the regular crowd, Jim, Ju, Mom, Dad, and Ed.

-a road-trip with Julianne. So much fun! We took her car down to Thatcher, saw my friends Stormy and Spenser, and stayed and visited with the Morrises. David took me out on a geology expedition while we were there. It's always fun to collaborate with another geologist. We then headed over to Queen Creek area and stayed with Mike and Brittany. I love them. I miss them a lot. It seemed like our time with them flew by way too fast. Oh, and Rarri and Kaci. Can't forget them.

-seeing JC and Mari and their girls.

-Mommy and me swim lessons with Lacy and Trent, and seeing my other nieces there with Mari too. I wasn't a mommy, but I was me, so I was persuaded to help.

-exploring out east of town in the Chinle Fm. with two Paleontologists from the Petrified Forest. I also spent time looking around the Park with them. So neat.

-bailing hay. There's nothing that'll get you in touch with your small-town roots faster or better than sittin' up inside the cab of the John Deere and putting in some good work hours. I listened to the country station on the radio. About an hour into the job, I tried a different station, but it just didn't feel right. You can't bale hay to just any kind of music. It was awesome to be back on the farm doing some real work (in an air-conditioned cab).

-seeing Perla, Lori, Anders & Cindy, Devin, Becky

-Lord of the Rings marathon with Jay, Linz, Zach, Tammy, and Layne.

-cliff jumping at Clear Creek

That about does it. Don't feel left out if I haven't mentioned you. You fall under the "times spent with friends and family". If I mentioned all of you, I'd be here all night. It was a good trip. I can't wait to come back!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Concerning Blogging

Blogging has been very good for me. I think that there are some people who need to write. Just like other people need to go fishing. It's the activity that restores balance to their perspective, straightens the glasses on their nose through which they view life.

My blog has proven to be a source of entertainment, of help, and of good memories. I've referred back to it to obtain dates or photos or to even use bits of my entries for class projects. There are times when I just sit and read through old entries for hours. Am I that vain? I don't think that's it. I think it's healthy to review your personal history.

Lately, I've lost a little motivation. I have things to blog about, sure. But what's the point? Who am I writing to? If it's just for me, that's not quite enough. It's probably why I've never been able to do a real journal. I know I have at least a dozen regular readers, but only a few of them have an account to be able to leave comments. So for now, I guess the only thing driving me to keep on is the fact that I know it's preserving a personal history.

Here's my situation: I'm living in Rockland Apartments here in Rexburg. I'm not at all happy about it. Here's why: (Oh dang, I just noticed that I sound like I'm griping. Maybe I am, okay?)

The complex I was living in (Somerset) decided to let the school use ALL their apartment units for EFY kids. Seriously? Use student-housing? What about the GOSH DANG STUDENTS WHO LIVE THERE?!!! I had signed a 1-year contract so that I'd get the 7-week summer break rent-free. Well, when it came time, I found that the Rexburg Housing company was "not doing that promotion any more". Well, they were doing it when I signed, so I pretty much demanded that they honor it. After a few days and a couple of long phone calls to the main office, we got that worked out.

However, since Somerset was being used for EFY, all the current tenants had to relocate to some other complex for the break.

So, I had to fight to get the free contract I'd been promised, and now they're making me move to another place for seven weeks, just to move right back? I don't know if this sounds completely outrageous to anyone else, but that's how I feel. Outraged.

I've been pretty successful at just taking it in stride and going along with it, but I really want to complain about it to someone.

So after all that, I found out that Rockland wants us to do check-outs on the 3rd of September and check-ins at Somerset don't start until September 6th. So I thought I'd be looking for a place to stay and stow all my stuff for that weekend. I talked it over with my managers and they're going to let me check back into Somerset early. Even so, I've had it. I hate moving and they're making me do it twice for no good reason at all. I don't mind if the EFY kids stay there. I don't. But keep a few apartments for students to live in. Every time I deal with Rexburg Housing, I get the feeling that I'm dealing with a monopolized giant. They provide a commodity that students HAVE to use, since Rexburg is small and Student Approved housing is limited. They have no sense of care for customer satisfaction. If you've had a bad experience with them, they don't give a darn. There are hundreds of other students still in line looking for a place to stay.

I come from a place where you deal with people with a face and working ears and minds. You can talk things over with them. You can at least try and see eye to eye with them. You may not agree with them, but at least you can work things out. This is a large, impersonal company that thinks of people as lesser folk than cattle. I don't like that. After this semester, I'm going to get out of Rexburg Housing. My friend's parents own the Delta Phi apartments. I think I'll try and get a place there for next Spring Semester.

So there you have it. I think I should write a letter to the school paper. I know that my fellow students probably share my feelings.

For the past few days, I've just been whiling away my time here, doing a whole lot of nothing much: reading the Lord of the Rings, running, napping, going to the dollar theater. If I was already moved into my other place, I'd be fine with it. Right now, I feel like I've been stuck at an airport with all my luggage and I've got a layover of about 2 weeks.

I think that does it. All my gripes are out. Now I'm off to see Step Up 3D at the dollar theater. Wish me luck!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Meet One of the Robinsons

Seriously. This is the living representation of Wilbur from Meet the Robinsons.
I saw this kid and thought "My sister Julianne has got to see this!"

But I'm not usually the type to take sneaky phone pictures. And there's no way I was going to go ask him if I could take his picture. So ...with Julianne's prompting texts, I eventually got the opportunity to snap a quick inconspicuous photo.

Do that kid's hair in a faux-hawk and you've got Wilbur. I know my photo was not the greatest, but I think you can still see it. I love that he was wearing a black shirt and jeans, just like he should. And his ears poke out precisely as they should. It's uncanny.

I wasn't aware I'd captured so many other interesting things in the picture I snapped. What are those guys doing? Does that girl realize she's being photographed? Wow. I should snap random photos more often. Well, Ju -here ya go.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Against the Grain

One of the things that keeps life interesting is variety. And one of the things that makes people interesting is variety in their likes and dislikes.

I don't want you to think this is another "I hate this" posts. I just want to point out some of the things that other people can't believe I don't like ...purely for interest's sake.

1) I can't stand The Office. I used to. I used to sit with my roommates and chuckle at it. I say chuckle because I never laughed. And the chuckles were sparse. I began to realize that it was a show that demanded too large a time commitment with too little a pay-off in terms of merit. I hated the mood it created in our place. While I do get a kick out of some of the characters, all in all, I can't stand that show and people can't believe it. That theme song is still pretty catchy though...

2) I don't like the Beatles. Any time I say that, I get such a reaction! You'd think I'd done something illegal, like I should be reported to the police immediately. I bow to their musical abilities, but the mood created by the majority of their stuff is just ...ugh. And those lyrics? Please shoot me the ear. Actually, both ears please. I concede that there are two (and only two) Beatles songs that I like. And I really like them a lot: Blackbird and Here Comes the Sun.

Story time: Back in July, I was riding in a BYUI van with some of my fellow geology buddies. The iPod was plugged into the stereo and we were enjoying some great travel music. Then somebody got the itch for the Beatles. I had to mention that I wasn't a fan. Of course, everyone looked at me like I'd just said "I hate orphans." After two songs, I requested a change of artist. My friend Patrick asked, "So when you say you're not a fan, you're really saying you can't stand them in a nice way?" Yeah, that's it. Sorry to everyone who loves this group. I really can appreciate their music ...if you've got the right two songs.

3) Sticking with the music topic, most people also gasp when I mention I don't really like Rascal Flatts. This isn't as extreme as the Beatles. There are some Rascal Flatts songs that I really love, but not because it's performed by that group. One is Life is a Highway, a cover. It kills me that people don't realize that Rascal Flatts didn't come up with that song. I think my dislike comes from a bad first impression. When I first heard the name, I hated it. I still hate that name. You could name your band anything and you named it that?
Maybe they have a reason, but if that reason isn't apparent, or if the music isn't good enough to make you like them despite the name, what in heaven's name are you thinking? Take Jimmy Eat World. That name is really out there. But the music, especially their earliest stuff, was great. The name became endearing as a freckle on the nose of a 3-year-old girl.
Anyhow, the deal-sealer for this dislike was when I browsed the Special Features on the Emperor's New Groove DVD and watched Rascal Flatts do a music video called "Walk the Llama-Llama" complete with an instructor teaching dance moves to the song. I just can't shake the feeling that this group is all-out ridiculously stupid. If they've got a good song, I'll listen to it. But just please don't mention that name!

4) Inception. A good movie. A well-made movie. A phenomenal cast. That's it. The world is a-buzz with praise for the most mind-blowing epic of this century. Uh, really? I honestly walked out of the theater completely satisfied, with no questions. Everyone else I was with was still trying to "figure it out". That's what baffled me. It's got some complexity to it, but you watched it all play out, right? What's the question? I had (and still have) no intention to see it again, not even in the dollar theater. It was good, but my point is not that good. I guess I get annoyed when large groups of people get overly-excited over something silly.

And so there you have it. Some of my really quirky dislikes. I've been meaning to blog this out for a long time. Can you tell?