Tuesday, January 29, 2008

David Layton - Super Agent

Notice. This could be the start of an adventure novel. Don't steal my idea. I'll write it!
Notice. This could be extremely weird, considering it was the dream I had last night and if I remember dreams, you know they're weird.
Notice. I don't remember everything so it's going to be jumpy.
Notice. I'm hungry.

5:32 a.m. The sun had yet to rise, but the lightened hue of the horizon told us that dawn was on it's way. My partner and I were on a stakeout in the middle of [insert city]. Our mission was so top secret, that the waking of from my dream has driven it out of my memory.
Coolly we waited. Looking at my companion, I could read nothing from his featureless expressions. I knew, however, that we were in for a wild ride.
3:07 p.m. My partner and I have been joined by a female super agent. She is your typical Hollywood-type, multi-million dollar agent. Blonde, cute, gorgeous eyes, and a nice smile. Plus, she was trained in virtually every martial art known to man.
8:56 p.m. My partner and I discovered that the girl was a double agent. The method of how we discovered this has left my mind, but tracking her took us to a museum. My partner and I separated and all of a sudden, I realized that the girl wasn't really a double agent. My partner was. Fortunately, he was unaware of the fact that I knew that he didn't know that I was a double agent. Yes!
I was the first to find the girl. Fortunately, one of the exhibits was a swamp. It was narrow, but it was a real swamp -sans alligators- and about twelve feet deep. I heard hot-female-super agent call me from the swamp, whispering we were both in danger and needed to hide. I went into the swamp to hide with her. Unfortunately, I made a splash and she only had enough time to show me how to use a log to breathe underwater when my partner came to the exhibit looking for us. It was painful to see how he threatened to find her and she gave herself up and was being led away.
I followed at a distance, and was about to swing in and save her when....
The dream switched and I was at a swimming pool witnessing an entire football team hop out of the hot tub and run towards the pool. They were all boasting about the cool splash they would make, however, as soon as the first reached the edge of the pool, they all simultaneously decided that it was too cold, turned around, and ran back to the hot tub. Heh heh. Wimps.
Suddenly, I'm back at Nancy's house with the girl. She was as cute as ever. Nancy and her were playing a game and Nancy lost a bet. Her loss was that she had to retrieve some really gross stuff from a gross-looking pond. There was a big fish in the pond, but she went in anyway.
That was when I discovered that the girl was only 15 and I couldn't date her. I was so dismayed that the girl I had liked, Miss Super Agent Hottie, was only 15, that I...
suddenly had a repeat of the football portion of the dream. Heh heh. Wimps.

Notice. Perhaps this wouldn't make a good novel after all. Either way. The plot is still copyrighted.
Notice. Did this stem from the fact that I was recently dumped or that my girlfriend (different girlfriend) over the summer was only 18?
Notice. Did this happen because I was reading Sherlock Holmes for two hours last night?
Notice. I'm still hungry so I'm going for breakfast.

I am sore and I don't know why....

Just kidding. I know exactly why. I'm out of shape since I graduated and have not been dancing (whether folk or ballroom) everyday for hours on end. Not that I haven't wanted to....it just costs money and there is nothing close. Or hardly anything. I need to try harder.
But this post isn't about dance, although I do miss it. It's actually about ice skating. Why? Because we went ice skating yesterday. I have not been skating since Nancy's crazy near-arm-break-crash-into-monster-girl experience at 7 peaks. You'll have to read her blog about that.
It was starting to snow as we got to the church to meet with the rest of family home evening group. It was cold waiting outside but we passed the time doing donuts in the parking lot or sliding on the ice on the sidewalk for as long as we could stay on our feet (I won). We left right as the snow was coming down it's hardest. Fun times.
I hopped in Joel's car for the ride there and I have since repented the fact that I though Patrick was hard on cars. Joel is much worse. I was grateful when we arrived at the arena. We had 20 people from the ward there.
Skating was fun, like usual. I didn't fall once, although I had some near misses). I didn't hit anyone, although a little girl cut me off about two minutes in and I almost hit her - but dodged her, dodged another man, and hit the boards. My backwards skating is coming back to me, but I still have trouble using the front edge of my skates.
The night was rather uneventful; little games of tag, pretending to be a figure skater (I can lift a back leg up pretty high...Ryan was good too, perturbing Russ and his date (he was the only one who brought a date)....you know, the usual.
I was a little wary to hop in Joel's car for the ride home. He, however, suffered for his erratic driving. His belt started squealing while Skip and I joked about how much hamster power his car had. Unfortunately, they were rebelling.
I woke up this morning and was really sore. I need to do more dance (My English teacher would be so proud). Then I would be able to do things without being sore again.
Taking offers for free back massage.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Farewell to a Prophet

President Hinckley died today. He was 97. I'm happy that he has the opportunity to return to be with his beloved spouse. I'm sure he would enjoy nothing else. It is sad though. I will miss him. He's been my prophet for the last 13 years. I remember when President Hunter passed away - rather, I remember being teased by my neighbor that my prophet had died back in 1995. That wasn't the same. I didn't know him like I know President Hinckley. Not that I have met him. I haven't. But the stories from general conference, from the mission, from my memory. It was all President Hinckley. I love how he was energetic and optimistic right to the end. That's the way I want to go.
Mom said that on her and Josie's walk, Bishop Bybee was leaving a house in the ward. Mom and Josie stopped to talk to the Bishop and Mom said that they were just walking because Josie was upset that President Hinckley had passed away. Bishop Bybee responded that that could not be - he had just been to the Olsens (grandchildren to Pres. Hinckley) in our ward and they hadn't said anything. He said he'd have to check and turned on his radio. He stopped his car and said, "I think you're right." By the time Josie and my mom got to the top of the street, the bishop was headed back towards the Olsen's house. Crazy, eh?
At ward prayer, just about everyone knew within an hour of it happening. News travels fast. At least we have a wonderful line of communication in church. If information travels as fast as gossip, we'd all know of a natural disaster or danger within half an hour of it occurring!
Well, President Hinckley will be missed. He was a great man. I'm looking forward to President Monson's tenure as President of the church (if the Lord calls him). He is also a great man. And we'll get to hear his stories more often. :)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

It's like a wildlife refuge, but for books.

I discovered a secret for book lovers that is hidden in the commercial industrials in Orem. Not that it's existence is secret from everyone. I discovered about it in one of the posts in one of the groups I am part of on LibraryThing.com.

Hidden in the plain yellow warehouses of 1200 W is a door with blinds that cover the windows. Both sliding doors are closed and the building looks a little foreboding. A small sign on the window informs the interested party that this, indeed, is the Worldwide Book Drive. Entering, you see shelves of books; children books on the left, religion books on the right, fiction books in front, and other shelves that flow through the back that are not entirely discernible as to the contents. It is quite the sight to behold.

Millions of books are thrown out each year. Thousands upon thousands of pounds of paper litter the world's dumps when it could be recycled. Even better, there are thousands of under-funded institutions, poor neighborhoods, and schools that are longing for better libraries.
John Keller noticed this and saw an opportunity during his senior year at BYU. Now, Worldwide Book Drive accepts thousands of donations of books. Many of these books are resold to cover expenses (hardbacks are $3, soft covers are $2). Even more are donated (140,000 last year and a goal of 250,000 this year.....they've already donated 35,000 and it's only January). Anything else is recycled.

So there you have it. A good cause and thousands of books to peruse through that will make any bibliophile palpitate. I purchased a couple Harvard Classics and a Press Edition of the Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. Oh, and a Marvin Goldstein piano book.
I give five stars and two big toes up!


Check, please!

So this morning, as I was buying a bagel, I commented on the novelty of my new card. I had just received it yesterday after a week of going without. Being the first transaction, the inquisitive checker asked if I wanted to keep the receipt as a memento of this momentous occasion.

Rewinding back in time, I got home from Las Vegas last Monday night (about a week and a half ago). I had been attending a conference for my MLS program and had endured eight-ten hours per day of mind-numbing instruction. Apart from my brain, which I had left mashed on the floor of the Lied Library at UNLV where my professor had trodden on it throughout the course of the conference, I thought that I had remembered everything.

To my dismay, the next morning I awoke and could not find my wallet anywhere. Now, I knew I had it in Provo because I got it out of my pocket to pay for gas. I backtracked all of my steps, called the owner of the car we car-pooled in, and searched in all the normal and not-so normal places I normally leave things to no avail; the wallet was nowhere to be found (mind you, I only looked for about 10 minutes because we were running late).

I had a feeling that my wallet was somewhere in plain sight. That is where I usually hide things of importance and it seems to work as a good hiding place. My parents were very concerned, however, at my lack of wallet-finding ability and suggested rather adamantly that I cancel my bank and credit cards. Needless to say, I put a hold on my credit card and canceled my check card, just in case.

Miracle of miracles, as soon as I got home from work, there was my wallet, in plain sight, in my room, where I had already looked.

As I looked at that receipt, the humiliation of my stupidity flashed before my eyes. I quickly declined and left the bookstore with the desire to eat my bagel in peace, far from the tortuous receipt bent on recalling to my conscience the fact that I really am scatter-brained. Then again, anyone who knows me already knows that.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Technology Challenged

Today, I finished the BYU Harold B. Lee library challenge for employees. I didn't do it to learn anything....I mean, I was learning anyway. I've been training myself on wiki coding and created a page for myself on the library intranet (sorry, that means you can't see it) and was thinking of tinkering with PB Wiki. I also started this blog, started a LibraryThing account, and have been teaching myself the intricacies of XMetal encoding (I prefer normal HTML templates).

In this midst of this technical jargon, I thought to myself, "Self, why don't I record this on the library challenge so I can receive a free $50 BYU Bookstore gift certificate?" So I did.

This is coming from a guy who has had a cell phone for almost a year and my brother discovered for me two days ago how to turn it to speaker phone.

Let's face it. I'm technologically challenged. One of these days, I may actually remember all of the coding I've been doing. Just think.....I won't have to use the online tutorials.

So, let's all give a cheer for us quasi-technologically savvy persons! We'll get it someday.

Monday, January 21, 2008


This weekend saw the advent of a new party activity. Last week, I had been perusing through Amazon.com and I stumbled upon a game I had never heard before......Quelf. "Hmmmm.....," I thought to myself. "This looks interesting." I read the reviews and within a couple of minutes, I had placed my order (with the addition of the Piano/Vocal book for the musical Hairspray in order to qualify for "free" shipping).
On Saturday, Patrick and I ventured to the house of Nate Gross' fiancé. It was to be a classic games night. The invite mentioned bringing your own games, so I brought Quelf. After a few quick games of Fluxx (another great card game), we had enough players to play Quelf. I don't think I have laughed so hard in my life!

Quelf is what happens when someone couldn't decide whether to play Cranium, Curses, Trivial Pursuit, or Imaginiff. They think, "Why not combine all of these games into one?" So that's basically what they did.
In the course of the game, Patrick was cursed with having to say 'yes, sir' (or ma'am) every time he was addressed. His neighbor was then directed to perform a Shakespearian sonnet (pure improvisation) towards Patrick professing his undying love. Patrick could only say "yes, sir". It was pretty amazing. And every time someone landed on a red square, the last person to yell, "Quelf in the land of the farm," had to move back a couple of spaces. My favorite was , "what's 1111111 x 1111111?" The answer was 123454321 or something like that. It said that if you got the question wrong, you are normal and may advance another two spaces. If you got it right, it said something along the lines of, 'what kind of freak are you?" Good times.

We did finish the night playing a couple of rounds of Bang!, but this post is not about that.

Sunday morning, Patrick suggested that I invite Andrew and Nancy to play Quelf with us. I readily complied. It happened that yesterday was also my niece's half-birthday yesterday. This may not have been such a big event, but Rachel has yet to turn one, so Nancy made a cake and brought their family over to our house.

We ate dinner and settled in for our game of Quelf. It was just as good as Saturday. Nancy was cursed with having to put the game box under her shirt. She put it in her back and we called her 'square butt'. That was nothing compared with Patrick, however. He was cursed with having to put his thumbs in his mouth while it wasn't his turn and if he spoke, he had to touch his shoulders. The card was kind and gave him the hint of crossing his arms.

Garion had to do a rain dance while the timer ran out. Nancy had to do disco dancing (with the square butt) and Garion kept flipping the timer while her back was turned so it never ran out. I don't think I've cried that hard for a while. :)

So, that is Quelf. It is probably one of the best games I've ever played. As we were leaving Caroline's on Saturday, Nate told me, "Don't bother bringing this game the next time you come over......I'll already own it."

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Murphy's Law

It was one of those cases where something ominous was said and we forgot to knock on wood. It's not that we expected anything bad to happen but that may just have been our downfall.

Yesterday, Josie really wanted to go ice skating. Now, this is generally not a problem and it wasn't today. The plan was that Josie, Nancy, Andrew and I would go ice skating while my mother tended Rachel. Preparations made, we went to Nancy's house, visited a little and prepared to embark on our ice skating adventure. Moments prior to leaving, Mom said, in a joking attitude, something to the effect of, "Now I don't want you to break a leg or an arm." We joked about this for a while, nonplussed. Not once did we think to knock on wood.

Well, skating was fun. Nancy and I skated circles around Josie and Andrew at first and then got to the business of helping them. It was the first time Josie had been ice skating since we moved to Utah and even then, she only remembers being pushed around in the stroller as a child on the ice (something which ironically is banned at Peaks Ice Arena). She did remarkably well and by the end of the afternoon was looking like a pro. I even taught her to "snowplow" to come to a stop. It was fun.

Unfortunately, the glee of skating came to a sudden and abrupt halt for some of our party within half an hour of arriving (minus the fifteen minutes it took the zamboni to putt around the rink). Nancy, skating around the rink by herself, was suddenly cut off by a rather large woman, who cut in from a weird angle and stopped directly in front of her. Now, the first thing Nancy had said to me as we entered the ice was, "I still don't know how to stop." Needless to say, she did not learn in half an hour. When you have a one-hundred-seventy or so, pound woman against Nancy, there isn't going to be much of a fight. The woman hardly budged (she may have felt something mind you). Nancy flew backwards, landing on her back with her arm bent under her at a funny angle.

The EMTs tended to Nancy and Andrew stayed with her to help her ice her arm. Josie and I skated more and we finally returned home. We weren't sure if Nancy had broken it or not. Arriving home, we found a thoroughly happy Rachel (happy for her mommy to return home) and an equally joyous Grammy (happy for Rachel's mommy to return so that she'd stop bawling like she had been). Our first words were, "Remember when you told us not to break a leg...."

So, that was our great adventure. Nancy and Andrew went to the ER instead of going to their New Years party. I went to another New Years party since I wasn't going to Nancy's anymore. It was quite the eventful afternoon.

The moral of this story: Don't forget to knock on wood or don't run into ladies that are substantially larger than yourself.

(Disclaimer: Thankfully, Nancy's arm luckily was not broken. She only had contusions. Rachel will not have the discomfort of laying on a hard cast whilst trying to eat and Nancy will be able to continue her blogging and Rachel-tending, as usual....although not without discomfort for a few days.)