Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

I now have stamps in my passport from Europe and Africa. I was told, however, that it good not to mention that Egypt is in Africa. It is in the Middle East. I don't know whether that is true, but I may soon (if I remember to ask).

I spent half of two days in a plane. The other half, I spent in layovers in Minneapolis and Amsterdam. I read Deception Point by Dan Brown, Doctor Faustus, by Christopher Marlowe, and much of Jane Eyre on the trip. Besides, who wants to leave the airport in....Minneapolis?!?

Amsterdam was another matter. I've never been to Europe. And if I had a ten-hour layover, I was going to take advantage of it. Ironically, I did. So, a few other passengers and I piled into the train and ventured into the great unknown of Amsterdam.

Amsterdam is quite the city. I was warned before going about the *ahem* questionable activities that go on there. I'll admit, I've never seen so many people opening smoking pot in my life. We stayed away from the Red Light district and just walked around looking at the architecture and the canals.

Turning down a little alley-way, we found a quaint Indian restaurant that served some of the best falafels that I've ever had. The Indian lady (from Punjab) said that she had lived in Amsterdam for the past 24 years and really enjoyed it. While we were there, a bunch of Israelis came in who were staying in Amsterdam for New Years. I overheard one of them asking if she ever served American tourists and I looked up and said 'yes, of course'. It was rather amusing.

After lunch and looking in a few gift shops, we got back on the train and headed back to the airport before it got dark. No sense in getting lost or missing my plane when I had yet to reach my real destination.

The flight in to Cairo was fortunately uneventful and I had a pleasant ride with a taxi driver from Giza who pointed a lot of the sites of Cairo to me as we headed for Nancy and Andrew's. It was past 4 AM when I finally got in. Quite the trip.

Snowshoeing in December

Amanda invited me to go snowshoeing last Saturday with some family and friends, so we all piled in to the vehicle and away we went. Arriving at our destination way up in Provo Canyon, we noticed every vehicle in the parking lot was a 4X4 truck, jeep or SUV. Except our little two-wheel-drive mini van. We weren't intimidated at all.

It was beautiful, trekking through the snow-covered forest, admiring the breathtaking landscape, and politely disbelieving Brother Pilmer's tales of beating up bears, stalking wild animals, and (I'm assuming mildly) "true" scout stories.

We only had a couple spills. Justin decided that walking backwards in snowshoes doesn't work.

Also, I managed to knock Amanda over with my amazing fencing skills with our snowshoe/ski/walking stick thingies. We also had a drawing contest, creating a hallway of art along the trail in the middle of a field. Talk about vandalism of pristine snow landscape. Bwa hah hah!

We saw no wild animals on our trip, although we did meet up with the Peadons and had a little trouble getting out of the parking lot.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Week of Christmas

So, I've decided that this is the week of Christmas. Wednesday was the library Chrisymas party. I was on the committee of five that planned the festivities for 280 people who RSVP'd and it was quite the undertaking - especially considering the fact that the room we'd booked only holds 250. We booked a room for overflow and fortunately, enough people didn't show that we ended up not needing the overflow room after all. Which meant I got to sit in the room after all.

I'm re-reading this and I realize that this is a pretty boring post. Bah!

Needless to say, the party went well, I recited Twas' The Night Before Christmas" Voice Male style, and it was a huge success with great accolades thrown my way....with regards to the party, not the recitation....

Yesterday was the BYU ballroom social dance lab with a festive theme. I wasn't in much of a mood for dancing so I only stayed two hours.

Tonight was our department Christmas party. Dinner farm-style, including hot home-made rolls. ~dramatic reminiscence~ I also managed to get a glass Santa Claus martini glass with a handle (yes, hard time picturing it. I understand that.) as my white elephant gift. Not bad. I could've ended with the hub cap.

Tomorrow is our annual Muppet Christmas Carol movie party that Brandon (my roommate) has had since before I moved to Utah. That's a long time.

Sunday is our annual family Christmas party in Sandy.

Yes, that is five....count them....1...2...3...4...5....five parties in five days. I don't think Christmas will get this festive.

I'm going to bed.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

It's a small world

So, about a week before going to Canada, I messaged my friend, Christine, on Facebook. I said, basically, that I have never asked anyone out on Facebook before, so I figured now would be a good time. Besides, I didn't have her phone number and I'd only be in Canada for a couple of days.

Now, don't get me wrong. This isn't something I just go and do. I've known Christine for ten years, she was my (second) cousin, Heather's, best friend, and she we had a crush on each other for a long time. Actually, she was the first girl I held hands with. Unfortunately for us, I moved to Utah a few months before she turned 16.

Fast forward to now. Laughing at my childish method of getting dates, Christine said she had never been asked out on Facebook and she'd love to go out with me. It was about time we went on a date. I mean, it has been 10 years!

So, we get to Canada and set up a date. We also visited Heather in the hospital because she just had her baby (and Sadie is really cute). Heather, in her groggy, just-had-a-baby, pain-enduring, med-imbued state, teased how Christine goes on at least three dates a week and warned me that she even has a guy up from California trying to date her. (Are you noticing the foreshadowing? No? Ok, I'll continue.

So, date night. We came up with all these elaborate plans that included dinner, volleyball, and dancing. Almost none of these came to fruition. I picked her up and we went to visit Heather and the new baby, whom Christine had never seen. We had a good visit with the whole family then went for dinner at Mr. Mike's, where my sister works (it was very good). By the time we finished though, it was well after 8 and there was no dance after all, so we just went to a movie instead. Twilight. The movie felt like the script was written by a fourteen year old. Definitely not my favorite movie - although Christine and I enjoyed heckling the movie too each other. The best part of the movie was when someone in the back yelled 'SHUT UP' to all the young, teenage girls. Priceless.

Overall, it was your typical date. Of course, she does live in Canada, so that provides a slight problem for further dates. Besides, there's this guy from California....

The next day, we visited another set of cousins in Okotoks. When they asked how our visit had been so far, I mentioned I went on a date. "Oh, with who?", they asked. My mother said that I'd gone with Christine. They kind of looked each other and laughed. You see, there's this guy, Neil, from California staying with them who seems to be trying to date her. ~Dramatic pause~ Fortunately, he wasn't home at the time. Dixie said how they were teasing him Friday night because he was home. "Where's Christine?" they ask. "Why aren't you with her?" He didn't have a clue. She was with me. Bwah hah hah.

Seriously. Who would have guessed that one cousin would warn me of a guy trying to date my friend who lived with my other cousins? Weird!

So yeah, that's my random Mormon moment. Too many connections! Of course, Christine did say I 90% convinced her to come to BYU. Hmmmmm....

My Music Horoscope

So, I saw this on Abra's blog and figured I'd try it. Hers seemed to fit pretty well, so I figured I'd have to prove that the songs have absolutely nothing to do with anything. Besides, I have a lot of music, including religious, classical, jazz, Portuguese, popular, etc. We'll see how it goes.

On Abra's blog:

"You know the rules. Put your MP3 player, iTunes, WMP, or whatever on shuffle with all the music you own on the playlist. Press play and the first song that plays is the answer."

It's fitting, considering my previous post so why not?


1) How am I feeling today?
Make You Whole : Sonja Jenson & Joel McCausland (From the New Testament seminary CD)

2) Will I get far in life?
English Fiddler - Mrs. Marriott : Dave Swarbrick (World Naxos World 2004 Sampler)

3) How do my friends see me?
O Canada (live) : Five Iron Frenzy
This totally fits. It's Ska. And it's random Canada-ness

4) Will I get married?
Snails : The Format (from the album Dog Problems - seriously)
Sad but true.

5) What is my best friend’s theme song?
Leatherwing Bat : Tony Trischka, Pete Seeger, Bruce Molsky (from A Sound Legacy: 60 Years of Folkways Records and 20 Years of Smithsonian Folkways)

6)What is the story of my life?
Caring Hands : Felicia Day - from Dr. Horrible's Singalong Blog

7) What was high school like?
Shandon Bells/Haste To The Wedding : Marty Smith (from Aurora Borealis)
More true in University, but works for high school least in Utah.

8) What’s in store for this weekend?
Long As I'm Here With You : Sheryl Lee Ralph (from the musical Thoroughly Modern Millie)

9) How is my life going?
Going Down Slow : Eric Clapton
It's funny 'cause it's true.

10) How can I get ahead in life?
Free Ride: D. Hartman

11) What’s the best thing about your friends?
When Love Comes to Town : U2

12)What song will they play at my funeral?
I'm Moving On : Rascal Flatts
Very Fitting - I'm impressed.

13) How does the world see me?
My Girl : Aerosmith Unless it's the fact that all my girls end up getting married to my friends and end up their girl.

14) Do people secretly lust for me?
Kayama : ATB
I can't even find a translation for this.

15) How can I make myself happy?
Lump : The Presidents of the United States of America

16) What should I do with my life?
Bleed America : Jimmy Eat World

17) Will I ever have children?
Goodbye Alice in Wonderland : Jewel

18) What does your mom think about you?
Lean On Me : Various A Capella

19) What is your mortal enemy’s theme song?
Natural Mystic : Bob Marley

20) What is your personality like?
All About Ruprecht : David Yazbek (from the Musical Dirty Rotten Scoundrels)

21) What song will be played at your wedding?
Jumptown : Steve Lucky And The Rhumba Bums (Swing Song)
Probably something like this at one point, but definitely not my song.

22)Your overall theme song?
Elephant Love Medley : Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor (from Moulin Rouge)

Well, I must say, a few actually worked. Most were way off. Insights?

Monday, December 1, 2008


So, I broke down and bought a car a few weeks ago. I am now the proud owner of a 2001 Hyundai Elantra. It was about a $1000 below Kelly Blue Book price and has 94,000 miles. I figure I can probably get another 100,000 miles out of it. It's a good little car and runs smoothly. It has brand new tires and brand new brake pads even. And a clean record.

Now, I have some wheels so I can go on dates without borrowing my mother's cars. Not that I have time these next couple of weeks...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Book Review

Sparked by a book-reading update that Ben posted on his blog, I've decided to update you all on the books I'm currently reading, also. I'm reading a lot right now, which is probably why I haven't actually finished a book for awhile.

I'm almost done with Star Girl by Jerry Spinelli. I highly recommend this book to Josie! It's about one of those people who doesn't really fit in in high school. It's cute and well written and annoyingly frustrating. I didn't think I'd get into it, but I actually enjoy it!

I'm really enjoying Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. It's one of the most unique views on magicians that I have yet read. It's a throwback to old Victorian literature with a Gothic influence and a splash of psychology. It's very enjoyable. At over 1000 pages, it is rather long though.

Oscar Wilde's only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, is very enjoyable. There is nothing as exquisite as Oscar Wilde's wit, although it is difficult to decipher which character is most like the author. It is in an older language, so those who don't enjoy a slow plot probably won't enjoy this (or many classics at all).

Jane Eyre is probably my favorite of books by the Bronte sisters. It is so well written and you really come to know the characters. I definitely would not mind marrying someone with the intelligence and wit of Jane. (Now I'm even sounding like Ben).

I just picked up the Life of our Lord by Charles Dickens. I got it for free at a BYU Bookstore promotion. It's a classic rewritten account of the life of Christ for children. It is good, although I do believe that I prefer just reading the New Testament.

Standing For Something by Gordon B. Hinckley is really good. I can't believe I've never actually read it all the way through before! I can't tell you how many times I've just picked it up and skimmed some or chosen a few points for a talk.

I started Walden by Henry David Thoreau. It is definitely sound philosophy. He was about my age when he went to live in that log cabin he built himself for two years, so I thought that was intriguing. It really states the importance of food, clothing, shelter, and fuel. Everything else is just luxury.

I'm also slogging through the collection of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle, Grimm's Fairy Tales, and I'm planning on finishing the Book of Mormon again by the end of the year.

So, that's a few books. When I'm done those, I'll finish the Fablehaven series, read the new Ender novel by Orson Scott Card, read the last book in the Mistborn trilogy, and hopefully start Bartemius trilogy. So much to read, so little time.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Dancing Machine

Saturday, I went to a birthday dance party at Dema's apartment. I realized how much I miss dancing and like to dance. I just haven't done much of it lately....

My first dancing experience was a school talent show in grade 1. My best friends, Charlie, Landry, Johnny, and I, all dressed up as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (complete with brown paper bag heads), and danced around and spun on our "shells" through the Ninja Turtles television theme song. We were the most popular grade oners in school!

Another influence was the May Day festivities in elementary school and my mother teaching folk dances in our basement to the neighborhood kids. I don't remember too much of these, but I liked them.

I started going to organized dances in grade 6 when we would have dances just for the grade sixers. They were fun, even though no one actually knew how to dance. Apparently, we were the only age group that was responsible enough for these dances, since they would only be for the two grade six classes and they would be during school hours in the gym. I'm not sure how they advanced our education, but I remember them. :)

Church dances are where I really began to shine. I remember Abra taking me to my first youth dance (thanks Abra). She was 18 and was going to her last dance with her friends. I guess you could say she passed on the torch to her little brother. She and her friends taught me how to dance and I kept that style going until I left. I can honestly say that Mark Thompson, Tim Pederson, and I were the last people to dance like that and it is a style I still miss. Abra also made me promise to never miss a slow song and to dance with all the girls, not just the cute ones. I lived up to this promise and didn't miss a slow song for 3 1/2 years of Calgary dances. Consequently, I think I knew every girl in the region that went to the youth dances, much to the annoyance of my friends. The youth dances were every Saturday, they were regional, and gave me an opportunity to get out of High River (a town I never totally fit in to).

David, Mark, Logan, and I started a breakdance crew when I was 15. We weren't very good, but gave ourselves names. The crew was Breakin' Ground and my name was Flipz. We got better and were some of the top breakers in High River. Not that that is anything to brag about. It's not exactly your dancing haven. (I moved before Grade 12 and the rest of the crew became amazing - I stayed mediocre). We had a lot of fun practicing and learning new moves.

Breakdancing led to swing, and I was always partial to this (probably why I never put as much time into breakdancing as the others). We'd do stunts with the b-girls (like Sheena) and incorporate swing moves. As such, we became the top swingers at the youth dances. Of course, this was a t a time when being a good dancer was swaying in rhythm to the music and occasionally twirling a girl. Anything above and beyond that was fantastic!

Swing dancing led me to Utah to learn more moves at the youth ballroom dance camps. I was very much a beginner, but it was my passion. I suddenly found myself the ballroom guru of High River, even though I knew next to nothing. I did go back every year to improve my skills and ballroom quickly became my favorite contact sport, although hockey remains my favorite collision sport.

Moving to Utah, I quickly enveloped myself in the dancing culture, competing ballroom in grade 12 and throughout my undergrad years. I won a few competitions, was on team at BYU, and still take the odd class after 5:00. I also joined the International Folkdance ensemble at BYU and made the second highest team. Unfortunately, I joined near the end of my schooling and wasn't on the touring team because of it (although, if I had put off graduation for a year....).

The ballroom/folk opportunities, however, did have some concessions. Utah youth church dances were terrible. Sock hops at high school were fun and I went to every date dance, but I think I've been to two non-ballroom dances at BYU, a couple dance parties, and a couple institute dances, over the past seven years. The music and styles have certainly changed over that time. I do go county dancing at time, although the music is definitely not my favorite.

But Saturday night, I slipped a little into my old mold and danced just to have fun. Sure, it was mostly R&B and Latin, but that didn't matter. I just danced. It was great, and I realized how much I miss it. So, if you know of any dances going on, I'm game.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I have quirks? Oh yeah, I guess I do.

So my sisters finally got me to post. That is because Nancy tagged Kelli, who then tagged me. Wow! Apparently, I'm supposed to copy the rules, so here you go...

Rules: A - People who are tagged need to post these rules and 8 random habits, facts, quirks about themselves. B - At the end of the post you need to choose 8 people to get tagged and list their names.

I don't know if I'll fulfill rule B, since I don't know who follows my sporadic postings who hasn't already been named. Hmmmm....

Quirk 1: I would misplace my head if it weren't attached. I don't necessarily lose anything, but I do forget where I leave things in the house. I usually have certain places where I leave things, but occasionally, I will put something - wallet, keys, phone, dinner - someplace out of the ordinary and "lose" it. Most of the time, it is hiding in plain site, often in one of my usual places.

Quirk 2: I almost always text message in full sentences and it bugs me when I get e-mails with text message non-grammar.

Quirk 3: I can't remember much of my life before grade 4. Pretty much nothing, except the odd instance or stories I've been told, but those are memories of being told, not the actual occurrence.

Quirk 4: I have cracked my knuckles since grade 4. I've tried to stop countless times. It's just one of those habits that is hard to break.

Quirk 5: I'm a Broadway junkie. I sing musicals everywhere. I listen to them on my computer. I have about 15 different piano books of Broadway musicals.

Quirk 6: I read while I walk. I know, I'm coordinated! If you see someone walking towards or away from campus with his nose in a book, there's a good chance it might be me.

Quirk 7: Ballroom dance is my favorite contact sport. Hockey is my favorite collision sport.

Quirk 8: I love to play board and card games. I own many of them - Ticket to Ride, Cranium, Munchkin, Missionary Impossible, Mousetrap, Settlers, Cranium, Imaginiff, Yspahan, Killer Bunnies, Battleship, Uno, Phase 10, Fluxx, Boggle, The Wrong Games, Quelf, Monopoly, Unexploded Cow, Life, Othello, Mexican Train Dominoes, Bang!, Chess, Connect Four, etc., etc., etc.
I don't think you actually read all of those (or at least I didn't expect you to), but you get the idea.

Ok, 8 people to select. Um....Josie, Emily, Krystal, Michelle, Jennie, Uncle Bruce, Heather, and Michelle (or Andy). Bwah-hah-hah!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Office - Contains Spoilers

So, on Thursday, I went to Chris's birthday party slash season premier of 'The Office' party. Of course, I dressed as Jim (who else) and I must say, we look alike (or so I've been told). We watched old episodes, ate cake, and then watched the premier. It was pretty crazy. There were about 30 people crammed into Chris's living room. Of course, the vast majority were girls. This has its benefits (as you will read shortly) but also has its drawbacks. For example, the scene where Jim finally proposed to Pam merited a covering of the ears due to all the screaming. "Why?" I asked. "This is a daily occurrence at BYU."

Before I left, I asked Anthony if a cute girl in the room was dating anyone. Anthony promptly told me she was single, stole her phone, and called me from it so that I would have her phone number. Just before I left, I said, "So, Erica, if you get a call from a random guy from this party asking you out, it's because Anthony gave him your phone number." Erica replied, "Ok....wait....that's what he was doing when he stole my phone?!?" It was pretty funny. So now I have a phone number and a date for next week.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Ballroom Blues

I'm taking ballroom dance every Monday night. It's fun and it's free, so I figure, why not? I'm starting to get back in form and I love it. Today, my friend Ashley (new friend...I didn't know her name until today) asked if I wanted to compete novice open with her. Craig and Brittany (Harper) Wakefield teach lessons for cheap ($25/hour) and could choreograph routines for us. I just have to decide if I have time to practice. I've got a week to decide. I really want to do it. But at the same time I've got institute and my masters degree to work on. Decisions. I'll keep y'all posted on what I decide.

Blind Date

I went on a date on Saturday. Yeah, I know, it's been awhile. It was also the last day of World of Dance, which of course I couldn't miss. So at dance class on Monday, my teacher had asked who had already purchased tickets. I scanned the crowd to see who hadn't and saw a girl that hadn't that I wanted to ask out. So I did.

Saturday rolls around and I go to her house to pick her up. No answer when I knock. I call her. It goes straight to voicemail. I knock. I call. I knock harder. I call. I go to the laundry place and double check that that is, indeed, the right building. I call. I knock. No answer.

So, now I am there with Kyle and his date, and I have an extra date, half an hour before the show. Oh....did I mention that it was also a BYU home football game? That means, most every girl I know is at the game. We call around until Kyle finds a friend at home and we rush to her apartment to pick her up. Kyle goes up there and takes his time, leaving me and his date to talk in the car. Finally, he comes down with Chrysta and we leave for the date. Crazy, eh?

We made it just before they closed the doors and went and sat down. The performance was incredible. The Cougarettes were definitely the most polished, the folkdancers brought back Last Night (a clogging routine I love) and did another dance I performed two years ago, the ballroom dancers were great but didn't hit all their lines, and the ballet dancers surprisingly had a lot of falls and trouble. Oh, and the modern dancers did their hilarious mini-mattress routine. It was a good show.

We went to Red Robin after the dance show and had dinner. It was there that I discovered the truth about my sudden blind date. Kyle's friend had decided she didn't want to go and had left for the football game. Kyle was up at her house calling all his friends until a random girl walked up with her groceries. I had said earlier that we should just knock on a door or stop by a girl walking down the street and ask someone at random, so he asked her. She said yes. Yes, crazy.

It was actually a really fun blind date, even if it was with an 18-year-old who had moved here from California only 3 week ago.

So, that's my story.

Disclaimer: I was not stood up for the date. Tikla had slept in til 1:08 (I was picking her up at 1:15). So she was getting ready and all her roommates left. I came and knocked on her door because they don't have a doorbell. She couldn't hear it from her room and her phone hasn't been working properly. It didn't ring and wouldn't even show she had missed four calls. We left at 1:30 and she had remained in her room, oblivious that I was outside waiting. Sad. I'm going to take her out again some other time.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I'm tired today and finding it hard to concentrate, so I figured I'd tell you about it. You see, working full-time and taking classes for my masters degree, a dance class at BYU, and institute, it doesn't leave much time for reading. And I'm reading such a good book right now (Well of Ascension from Brandon Sanderson). It's just long....and I'm slow. Consequently, I've been reading until 1 am for the last several days and I'm starting to feel it.

So if you run into me and I'm a little aloof, there is a reason. This time.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


So I was going to post pictures of my new house, but I can't because I left the cable at my parents. I can, however, post some of the pictures from my mission. I served in Brazil from Sept. 2002 - Aug. 2004. It was amazing.

More to come....I'm going to a party.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Library Clarification

So, I realized that I need two posts for this assignment, and didn't have too much to add, since I put so much into the first post. For some reason, however, it seems people thought I worked at Temple. I actually work at BYU and was comparing the two a little. BYU has one library in the heart of campus, although we do have a small annex in the nursing building. Temple now has one library also and is making many changes that focus on the user.
I'm glad that libraries are becoming more user-centered. I think that in a service economy, that is very important. After all, we are here to help the patrons and if we don't address their needs, why be there? Science is becoming so inter-disciplinary that it only makes sense to house the subjects together. Especially since many schools are in different colleges, but have very fuzzy lines between them. I've tried to do the new book lists and to decide if a book is Nursing or PDBio or Sports Medicine is a fairly impossible task (some just go onto multiple yearlists).
So, that is where we're headed at BYU. I just need to figure out the best way to do the subject pages/blogs. Then I can think of how to better help students use our resources. We have a lot of information that can help them. I think that's the problem though. We have too much information for their needs and they don't know how to sift through it. At least I didn't when I started my undergrad 7 years ago.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Changing the Science Library Perspective

Note: For my friends and family: This posting is homework. Colleagues and Classmates, read on.

Even though I've only worked in the science department since February, it's been interesting to see the changes that have been happening. We're in the process of condensing our reference section since a lot of material is being put online. We're also becoming more technology-based, I'm creating department blogs, and we're offering more courses on how to use online databases. We're also considering some changes that I can't discuss here. Throughout the library, we're becoming more technology-focused for the patrons. We've revamped our Information Commons and trust me, you can do anything there! Video editing, format conversion (including LPs, Videocassette, film negatives, etc.), software classes, conference rooms, scanners, etc. It's crazy! We've also put in a lot of lounge chairs and study tables, especially around the world classics and sampler room collections. We're also migrating to an OPAC that is more google-like and hopefully will do federated searching within all our database subscriptions!

We're not the only library doing changes though. Temple University recently closed all of their Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematical Sciences libraries and built a new Science Engineering & Architecture Library (SEAL). This library is well-lit and aesthetically appealing for students and faculty. The collection policy has changed. They have an extensive reference collection, computers, and only the most recent 10 years of monographs in architecture, biology, chemistry, engineering, geology, physics and general science. To aid patrons in using library resources, they also house a library instructional services. Also directed to the new technological generation are several new online services such as Instant Messaging reference, new book lists, and a blog site featuring new tools, resources, library events and news.

Temple, BYU, and many other libraries are certainly becoming more user-centered. Online reference is a big help since many people cannot, don't have time, or prefer not to go to the library to do their research. These libraries are also migrating towards more open and inviting spaces and workstations that invite collaboration. This helps the patron feel invited to the era and more likely to study and do research in that area. The Shhhhhh! Era has ended. We have moved on to focus more on the individual user so that their needs are met and they leave with a positive experience. Science is becoming more cross-disciplined. Temple showed they could address that patron issue by combining its science libraries. I'm sure there are other ways we can be more user-centered, but this is a start.

Resources used:

A Changing Profession

In 2002, shortly before I left on my mission, I was working in the BYU Bookstore. It was fun and the whole campus knew me (except my fellow Freshmen who can't use their mealplans in the Bookstore) because 1, I worked the lunch rush shift in the Twilight Zone, and 2, I was the happy Canadian bag boy with the permagrin. :)
I remember about a month before I left for Brazil, Russ Taylor, one of my frequent customers, asked if I would return to the bookstore after I finished my mission. I said that I was actually hoping to find something that would look a little better on a resume. He said to look him up in Special Collections and he'd give me a job in the library.
Two years later, I found myself working in the library and that was the start of my short career (thus far). I worked in Special Collections for three years as a student, gaining experience and responsibilities to the extent that they hired me back as Collection manager upon my graduation.
It's funny. I had never thought of going into library work. Actually, I was debating between law or business and truthfully, I will probably still pursue an MBA and/or JD, but for now, I'm half-way done my MLS - partly because it guaranteed me a job for awhile, partly because it is good experience that will help me in the future, and partly because they offered me a nice little scholarship which means I won't have to pay for the degree.
Now, I'm working full-time in the Science Department as Science/Maps reference specialist. At least I'm making use of my pre-med courses and chemistry minor. It's fun, but we're seeing a lot of changes and we're going to be seeing more in the future. Students are using the library less. Methods of research and requirements for study are changing. If we can't reach the students soon, we will send many into the workforce unprepared for what needs to be done in areas of research (particularly in the sciences). We'll see how it goes.
This post is prepping for the next one, which I will warn you, is a requirement for a class I'm taking in my Masters of Library Science degree. I'll try to make it interesting. :)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Helping People Get Jobs

Last Saturday, Eric, Matt and I taught the Career Workshop at BYU. I was recruited to teach the Sunday before and they told me that their last workshop that they tried to put on was a bust. Even with that torrid history, we were still optimistic. We had had over 55 people respond to the advertising and were confident that we would have at least 20 of those show up.

Getting there bright and early, we set up for the conference and slowly people began to trickle in. They did so for some time and we ended up having 64 people (who signed in) attend our four-hour workshop!

Now, it is difficult to squash a 12-hour workshop into 4 hours, but we divided the workshop into parts, created a strict time limit for each section and went to work. I wish we could have included all of the practice time that is normal and we cut out a few sections, but overall it was very successful!

My favorite sections are the 'Me in 30 Seconds' and 'Power Statements'. Me in 30 Seconds is almost like a trailer at the start of a movie. It tells you about yourself and it tried to get the audience hooked - without giving away too much. The audience could be an interviewer asking, 'tell me about yourself' or a CEO who you randomly meet in an elevator. 'Power Statements' take a quality or attribute, a specific example from your life, and the result and put it into a statement that has power! These can be used to answer almost any power statement!

Attribute + Example + Result (with numbers preferably)

An example: I'm very creative. While working at a recreation complex, I was asked to create some new programs. By the time I finished I had created the plan for three new programs that we then implemented.

These two principles will help anyone present their skills to an employer and help them get a job.

It was a lot of fun. Even my Mom came. It made me remember the good old times in Brazil. By the way, I'm a very effective teacher. For example, while teaching the Career Workshop in Brazil, I taught weekly sessions for between 10 and 25 people per week. As a result, about 25% of them got new or better jobs within 3 weeks of taking the course!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Batman and Beyond

About 3 weeks ago, a group of friends and I decided that it would be fun to watch Batman: Dark Knight on opening night. Now, I haven't been to many opening night showings....I did see Pirates of the Caribbean 3, Transformers (pre-showing) and, surprisingly, the Ring II (which admittedly, I was invited to 5 minutes before and there was virtually no line). At no times, have I dressed up.

Batman is different. Batman is, well, Batman. And you dress up for Batman.

I had been planning on purchasing a Robin costume on eBay, until I saw how pricey those were. I should've started looking months ago. Then, I left my Batman shirt at my parents' house. I didn't even go home after work either, we went straight to Diana's to watch Invader Zim before going to the movie. Crazy, I know. So, puzzling over what I was to wear, while Diana was sewing a cape for Brandon and adjusting her t-shirt, I suddenly was struck with a stroke of inspiration.

On the way to pick up Steve, Diana and I stopped at Shopko where I purchased two pieces of poster board and a Sharpie. In tribute to the 1960s Batman show (which was amazing), I created my costume.

Yes, accompanied by 5 Batmans, I went as a giant POW sign. It was the best costume ever!

We got to the movie two hours before it started and played a 10-person game of Hand and Foot. In the movie theater. In our chairs. With 15 decks of cards.

The movie was incredible. Dark, yes, but very well done. Once again, there was clean language and no immorality, but there was quite a lot more violence than Batman Begins. I jumped once during the movie when a body slammed into a window (not a spoiler since I'm not saying who or when) and laughed at someone lamenting that nothing went right for Batman. It was really good. Heath Leger was incredible! I have never seen a creepier character and his little tongue twitch. Wow!

So, I got home at midnight. Exhausted. And not ready for eight hours of work the following day.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

What did I do?

So on Sunday, Eric announced that there would be a Career Workshop taught on Saturday at BYU. Having taught the Career Workshop in Florianopolis and Porto Alegre, Brazil (while managing the Employment Center in Floripa), I firmly believe that this is something all college students should take to prepare for getting a real job! Of course, I opened my big mouth in support of the program.

Let's jump ahead to today....

I just got home from our second meeting. I am one of four teachers teaching the workshop on Saturday and there is lots to do to prepare. We've had about 60 RSVPs which is double the largest group I taught in Brazil. We're also condensing the 12 hour workshop into 4 hours. I'm excited but also wondering how I got myself into this. You see, Eric happened to be one of the organizers, and when he realized that I was a certified instructor, he jumped on the opportunity to have me help teach.

So here I am, ready to teach Power Statements, Networking skills, getting past the Gatekeepers, Me in 30 seconds, resume building, etc. Just remember, the resume is the tip of the iceberg. It's the intangibles that employers want to discover and you need to show them exactly who you are beneath what they can see. That's what we teach!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Slip N'Slide

I remember when I was a kid, Crocodile Mile was one of the coolest things on the block. After school, we'd pull out the slip n'slide, turn on the hose, and race to see who could make it down the slide the fastest. As I've grown, I've determined that the toys are just the same as when we were kids. They're just bigger, faster, and a lot more fun.

Imagine a 65 degree slope, draped with a two meter by 100 ft. sheet of 4 pt. plastic, three hoses, and soap. Throw into the equation thirty college students, a little music, and a lot of up-man-ship and you have the ultimate slip n'slide party.

Kicking off the evening, Ryan soaped up his hairy body (trust almost rivals Dallin's) and soared down the hill. A bunch of the other guys sent down and we had to spend the next several minutes figuring out how to stop people before they hit the asphalt trail, upon which we left a few patches of skin. We'll be a little raw tomorrow. Some of the more spectacular displays included Tyler, who went whipping down the hill so fast that when a couple of guys grabbed the bottom of the plastic and pulled it up to catch him, he burst right through and kept on going! I was a little disappointed that no one succeeded in staying on their feet all the way down, although Mike made it about 3/4 of the way down before biffing it! We even got a few of the girls to go down - until Tyler broke his finger that is!

Yeah, good times. That's college for you.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Strange Examples

My new Bishop is from New York. He is pretty mellow for a New Yorker. He once said that he when he was young, his parents put him in little league and his mother would sit in the stands every game and scream at him to do well, at the umpire to call the game right, and at anyone else. He said that one day, his someone asked who that loud, obnoxious lady was in the crowd and Bishop McGarr proudly claimed her for his mother. Loud and obnoxious was high praise indeed for New York and his mother couldn't have gotten a better compliment in his estimation! She was pleased too.

That is a little preview of the type of man our bishop is. We can never anticipate what will come out of his mouth. Today in Sunday School, we were talking about tolerance and getting along with people. I'll admit that there were several people who were dozing/not paying attention....until the bishop raised his hand to comment. "The best analogy I can't think of," he began, "is that it is kind of like dogs." This is how it began and it was amazing to see all of the doze-ers perk up. "I mean, you take your Saint Bernard or Great Dane to the park and they meet a little Chihauhau and you think, that dog is going to be eaten alive. Instead, they look at each other and then proceed to sniff each others butts. They don't care that one's big or little or brown or white. Everyone's equal and is worth a sniff. Not that I'm saying that we should sniff other people, but we should be more accepting like dogs."

Yes, that's my bishop. It sure makes the ward a lot more interesting....

Friday, April 4, 2008

Work - It's an ongoing project

So, I've now been in my new position in the Harold B. Lee Library at BYU for about a month and a half. It's been quite the experience. I'm the Science/Maps Reference Specialist and one of my duties is to discover why students aren't using the reference desk as often as they used to. That's really an easy question. The answer is simple. The internet. Now, the more thought-provoking challenge I'm facing. How do I convince students to continue to use our resources....especially since we're shelling out thousands of dollars for electronic resources they have access to FROM HOME!?!?!

So, here's my dilemma. I need to get students aware of resources and get them to ask questions. Not that my example was good. I only went to the library to work. I didn't study. I didn't check books out. Heck, I didn't even ask out girls in the library (of course, my roommate, Landon, met and asked out his wife in the library so perhaps I should have). But, that's my task.

So far, I've come up with a couple solutions that might work. I created a Science Reference Facebook group. It's called the HBLL Science, Engineering, and Technology Forum. We'll see how it works. It's open to anyone in the BYU network and hopefully will spark some discussion.

Next, I'm trying to create database seminars that I will teach in the department buildings. Hopefully, if a session is only half an hour and we advertise well, people will come. After all, jobs hire people for their skills in finding information in databases and we have several of the most important databases on the market.

Any other suggestions on how to reach out to students would be greatly appreciated. I just graduated eight months ago and I'm having trouble knowing even how I thought that long ago. :)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

I'm So Proud!

Last night, Patrick asked out a girl. A girl he didn't know. In public. I'm so proud!

At about 8:30, Patrick and I ventured to Chandi's weekly Tuesday get together. This week, once again, we took advantage of Applebee's appetizers (ummm....shrimp). Our party consisted of Patrick, myself, and six girls.
After a very spririted sugar packet fight, blowing our straw wrappers at Jessica simultaneously, eating our food, and a hushed discussion about why our server had been in the bathroom crying prior to come serving us, our conversation turned to the random things guys talk about.
You see, on Saturday night, Jessica, Joel, Derrick, and I had gone to IHOP for dinner. Derrick had told Jessica that guys do not talk about girls when they are alone. Jessica was pleasantly amused that we were talking about how cute our waitress was and were trying to get Joel to ask her out. He didn't, but it did make for a lively conversation later at Applebee's. Derrick's reasoning was that since Jessica was present, we could talk about girls. :)
So here we were, sitting in Applebee's discussing these topics. Patrick mentioned that the hostess was cute and he thought he should ask her out. Patrick, however, is extremely shy. He's never just asked a girl out before. Ever. We discussed it for some time. Patrick mentioned that it's best to be direct because phone numbers left on tables just induce laughter and not dates. He should know. He worked in a restaurant and was usually the one who laughed.
Suddenly, Patrick stood up and started talking to the girls sitting behind us. He said, "Hey, I'm wanting to ask out the hostess over there but I'm really shy. What should I do to ask her out?" This coming from someone who's supposed to be shy. We were laughing too hard to actually catch what they were saying, but Patrick got the suggestion to just do it and be direct. Talk about original suggestions.
Our waitress looked at us from the other table and we mentioned that Patrick wanted to ask out the hostess. She suddenly smiled and said, "Oooh. Just a second." She came over presently and informed us that she was not dating anyone and encouraged him to go for it.
Patrick was so nervous he kept looking around. He said he felt like puking. I half expected him to do so. After a while, the hostess started clearing a table near the exit and we made our move. Patrick went to talk to her and the rest of us slipped outside so we wouldn't be a distraction (although we were guilty of peeking through the door at the scene). Well, Patrick got her phone number and has a date.
Patrick immediately called Nichole to tell her that he had completed her dare. He also called Garion because Garion wouldn't believe him.
But there are witnesses. Patrick did it. He asked out a girl. Because she was cute. In person.
I'm so proud!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Singing Praises

So about three weeks ago, Russ, Joel, and I were jamming on the piano after ward prayer singing hymns. Unfortunately, that is a risky thing to do in my ward. You see, Didi, in our ward, is the stake music director...and the ward music director. Well, Didi animatedly asked us to sing a special musical number in our ward. We sang a bunch of songs, trying to choose a hymn. We then called to invite Kimball to sing in an a'capella quartet.
That's about as far as we got. We talked about it and practiced once, but never really had anything definite. We weren't too worried because we're all pretty good at sight reading...except for the fact that I was to sing Alto. Crazy.
Well, I was sick last weekend and totally spaced the fact that we were singing. Oh, and somehow, our singing in our ward morphed into singing in Stake Conference. Today. Once again, crazy!
So, yesterday I received a phone call from Didi at about 10 am, asking if we were ready to sing in Stake Conference and if I'd come to choir practice later that day. We were already in the program. I tell you, when you miss one day of church, you completely miss everything! Well, I called Russ and he was in Florida. I called Kimball and he couldn't come practice yesterday evening. We did decide, however, that Kimball, Joel, and I would sing a trio but we didn't know how we would sing each verse or even what song, for certain, we would be singing.
Choir practice went well and I was asked to lead the music in the stake leadership priesthood session. Hey! What's a little more singing? :) I told Didi we'd do the song we'd planned (even though she had put Be Still My Soul).
After Stake Priesthood session, we met for stake choir practice. Kimball wasn't not there yet, so I texted him. Of course, he had slept through his alarm. By the time he got to the church and we finished practicing our choir number, it was about 10 minutes before we were scheduled to sing and we didn't know what we were doing!
The Lord accepted our desire, forgave our slothfulness, and decided he would help us in singing praises. Joel said, "While, we should probably practice once with the piano." Our pianist for choir, Charie Brown, asked what we were singing. When we told, she said, "I have a really cool arrangement for that song." We asked if she had it with her. She said, "Oh, I made it up and don't have it written out." She played it while we sang and it was amazing! She agreed to play for us.
Needless to say, the performance went well and was highly acclaimed and we had Charie to thank for that! I switched from Alto to Lead which was good, because I still haven't got my voice all back which I'd lost at the hockey game on Friday, so I doubted I could hit all the high notes. It was a lot of fun.
It just goes to show, when you sing praises to Heavenly Father, he's always there to help you out and buoy you up.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Newest Menace to Socitey!

Yesterday, I successfully completed another trip around the sun. It takes a whole year and this was my personal record, 25th time around the sun! I know, it's a pretty impressive stint. My goal is at least sixty more. Think I can pull it off?

Yes, I am officially a menace to society, borrowing from the lesson Steve Young gave in the movie, Singles Ward. Of course, he was in his thirties when he married, so I'm learning from the best. I had to argue, however, that I have been a menace to society long before I turned 25.

Yesterday, I got birthday wishes from Auntie Arlene and Uncle Michael in California that brought up an interesting point. I may have turned 25 years this year, but next year will be my Royal birthday! I'll be 26 on the 26th. This will be a big par-tay!

My friend Jennie asked me what I wanted for my birthday, however, I really couldn't think of any thing in particular. I recently (I was officially hired on the 25th) started work in a full-time position with benefits that pays pretty good considering I am only seven months out of a bachelors degree. :) That was my biggest wish. My second is that my mother get a better job. She has an interview on the 10th for a position she really wants, so pray for her. My last wish, I'm keeping to myself. Bwah hah hah!

So, I passed an otherwise uneventful day at work. I set up an interview for Special Collections because they are understaffed. Even though I'm on another payroll now, I'm going to stay in my old position for about 10 hours this week. I'll also return to train my replacement a bit. It's quite the transition though. Special Collections to Science and Maps.

So anyway, some of my friends planned a trip to Applebees to take advantage of 50% off appetizers like they have after 9. Shrimp and Hot Wings. Ummmmm.... It was quite the way to celebrate a birthday, although I do get embarrassed by fusses and having a hundred people sing Happy Birthday at Applebees (it was kinda busy) was a little much.

Overall, it was a quiet, non-plussed birthday. Just the way I like it.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Wedding Craziness

My sister got married again yesterday. Combine Kelli's five kids with David's five kids and you get quite the family. Plus the fact that David's oldest is married and has a kid. That makes, um....14 people in the family! Crazy. Kelli's new last name is Haggard, which is what everyone is like after an afternoon of attempting to corral the twins. Lucky for me, I got to help with that last night after the wedding. :)

This is the beautiful family picture I stole from Nancy's blog. Seriously, I don't know if we'll ever get them all sitting in one place at one time again. It took several people waving arms and making goofy faces to get the twins to sit still.

It was a nice wedding. Only family and close friends were present and it was a simple ceremony. It had to be with all of the kids running around. Dave and Kelli looked so happy, although they were both obviously very stressed.

Dad toasted the new couple. He only gave them one piece though, and it had no butter or jam or anything. Uncle Kevin did the DJing. Nancy and I did some swing dancing. It was fun to see Sabrina get into the action.

After the wedding, I took the twins home with Grandma and Grandpa Layton and we attempted to get them settled and ready for bed. It was amazing how much energy Olivia has despite her IV that is still in her arm from her infection. Also, Sabrina did not want her dress off at all, even though she was poopy. I was glad to leave.

Note to those visiting Kelli. You can not turn left from her street onto the main street. I tried. There is a large divider in the middle of the road. I don't usually like to use main streets as round abouts, but in this case I did, otherwise I would've been heading up the wrong side of the street. :) Luckily, there was no traffic due to a red light and construction up the street. Whew!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Do we really need to read?

Have you ever noticed that when you go to a public bathroom and the neighboring stall is occupied, you can often hear them chatting away on their cell phone or you hear the mad dash of fingers texting away? A lot of people take that as a sure sign that books are dying and that literacy is at an end. E-mails are even starting to have texting lingo included in them so that you can ttyl to your bff. What is happening to our society?
Back before Aristotle and Socrates, or even before Homer, education was oral based. The learned man was the one that could quote all the history, rhyme and verse of the people. They learned rhyme and rhetoric and were hailed as the learned men. An emperor (who ruled, but was usually not very educated) demanding popular support could hear these wisemen give him praise and think it grand, when in reality the educated people would leave something such as bravery, or kindness, or proper rhyming or timing out of their poetic praise. The learned people would read between the lines and know what was not being said and therefore what was being implied and would laugh at their little joke.
Suddenly, the Phoenicians invented written language and all of a sudden, these oral traditions and learning were banned from the "inner circles of logic and resoning" by the likes of Socrates and others. Writing and the "scientific method" replaced oral tradition and whoever could write were given a certain power or status over those who could.
This would explain why the church became such a powerful entity during the dark ages. Those who could read and write had a special gift fom God and those that had the word of God had a mandate from him to lead his people - even if they were followed blindly and ensured it stayed so.
This led to another revolution as the printing press was invented by Gutenberg and the likes of men such as Martin Luther and Jon Wycliff paved the way for revolution. We owe these men for the power of books which guided the world for another four centuries.
We are in the middle of another revolution though. In the mid-1800's, something called the telegraph was invented. Then we had the telephone, Morse Code, talking pictures, television, computers, the internet, cell phones, blackberries, etc. We are being bombarded by a new digital age and the way we are thinking is changing. We are now a visual and oral society that is based on immediate information....and lots of it.
For example, when President hinckley died, I think everyone knew within 15 minutes to an hour. Example 2: When a student does research, he first goes to google. Example 3: We don't trust sources anymore. Anyone can say anything about anything. We trust the masses. That's why feedback and comments are so important on, eBay, and consumer testing sites.
So I ask, where are we going in the future?

I read this article last night. It's rather polemic in its thinking, however, I found it intriguing and have been thinking about it ever since. I kind of summed up my thoughts on the article and it's main points in the previous paragraphs, but I recommended reading the full article.

Friday, February 1, 2008

America's Next Top Model

While I wast last up in Canada, my sister, Abra, said that I should try out for America's Next Top Model. Abra had done modeling when she was younger and said that the photos were good. I showed the photos to my mother and she thinks I should try professional modeling. Weird, eh? I'd never actually thought about it before.
I bring this up because today, I received some of the photos taken by one photographer during my photo shoot last August. How I got there is quite the random story.

It was a fine summer's day in June (I might've been July). Patrick had planned a morning of Ultimate Frisbee and we were playing hard. While we were resting between games, a woman came and asked if some of us would like to model sunglasses for her. The only people who would were me, Ashley, Lindsay, and Donny. After the "shoot" (only one picture each and a group shot), Kris invited me, Ashley and Lindsay to come to St. George for a photo shoot of rock climbing, biking, hiking, etc. We decided to go.

So, there we were in St. George, Utah, taking pictures in the hot sun. I was selected for a few rock climbing shots, some hiking shots, some video game shots, and...well, that's about it. During the course of the three days, I felt fairly unused and to tell you the truth, I was a little put out about that (and for some other reasons). Well, I decided to market myself with some gymnastics, facial expressions, and capoeira and surprise, surprise, my photos actually turned out pretty good and were right up with some of the better selling photos from Redrockalypse on

Maybe I am a model!

We actually found one of my photos being used online at

It was a fun experience and you know, I probably wouldn't mind doing it again.
Besides, Abra says I could be America's next top model.

What say ye?

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 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) 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

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 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.)