Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A New Decade Around the Corner those that read my blog, you're just going to have to get over the fact that I don't post here as often as you'd want. I know, I know, I do understand. It's probably not going to change.

That being said, it's almost midnight, coming up on New Years Eve day, and I find myself a little reflectivey and contemplativey. Yes those are words, shush. 2010 is roughly 24 hours away. That's crazy! I graduated high school five and a half years ago, I've been home from my mission for just over three years now... It's just crazy.

So I have to ask myself, is my life where I want it to be? That's a hard question, I mean yes and no. I could easily make a list of everything I want to improve about my life, from the fact that I'm not yet graduated to my being nowhere near the physical shape I want to be in. Yet on the flipside I could make a long list of things that I absolutely love about my life, my family first and foremost, my amazing friends near and far, the fact that I no longer have to work during my college semesters thanks to the generosity of our federal government... This list goes on. Not to mention the fact that I'm in the prime of my life, I'm not dead, an alcoholic, a druggie, or a baby daddy. I have a faith that I cherish, people to support me, and a future full of possibilities... There's so many things to be happy about.

Yet New Years is customarily the time for change, and resolution, and what better time then a new decade? It's not just a new year it's a new set of ten which means that resolutions you make this year will be ten time more likely to stick right? Meh, here's to believing.

To everyone in my life, even those not in my every day life to whom I don't get to say this to much, I love you all and wish you the best for the next decade. It'll be fun to see the changes the next ten years bring. First off I'll be 34...bleh. Anyway, off to bed.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

fall is in the air...

Given lots of ridicule and prodding, I've decided that I need to blog before September goes away...and seeing as how that's tomorrow, here we go!

So...sorry once again for having not written in a while. I promise I really have meant to write, but we're just two weeks into school now and things have been moving incredibly fast and I've been doing a lot of homework, practicing, partying, etc and kind of fell out of my normal rhythm.

So let's see. School. I'm in my third semester as a music major and everything's going great. As many of you know already, I auditioned for and got into Collegiate Singers here at BYU-Idaho, which is the top audition choir, which needless to say made me extremely happy. Shout-out to anyone in Collegiate who might read this(not sure if there are any), but you all rock! I've never been in a choir that was this close this fast. It's been amazing. The music is really hard, but is so much fun to sing. We're doing an Eric Whitacre piece called "Leonardo Dreams of His Flying Machine" and it's crazy, eight minutes long, 26 some odd pages. It's amaaaazing!

As many of you might know, I now have a girlfriend, her name is Sheryl Andersen. She's also a music major and also my accompanist. T'is very exciting!

I'm actually getting rather tired, and my cold is doing a number on my head with a wonderful sinus headache. So I'm going to call it here with a nice short one, so I'm hoping to blog again soon...we'll see how that turns out...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Summer Spoils & New/Old Beginnings

(Current favorite bands - something I'm thinking of adding to each blog post: Muse, Motion City Soundtrack, Skillet)

So...I looked at my watch today when I woke up and saw that it's August 22nd... when the freak did that happen?

Soon after that I decided it was time to blog again, after all it's been about a month and I was trying to do better than monthly. Meh.

This summer has been definitely one to remember. There have been some amazingly wonderful moments, and some really bad ones. You could say it's been the best worst summer in the last five years plus. I don't really want to go into the details of how and why for the negatives. So I'll try to stay on the positive side.

First off, Summer Spoils! - I don't say this to boast, but this has been a summer of financial prosperity for me, so what did I do? I did my part to stimulate the economy by... investing in electronics. (That's a good positive spin right?)

My first, best, and most expensive toy of the summer was my shiny new 32 gig iPod touch. It makes me very happy. Anyone who doesn't have one should seriously look into it. Aside from the iPhone itself, there is no single device that I would recommend more to anyone. Basically think of it as a tiny little laptop. You can access wifi hotspots at school, home, coffee shops, bookstores, wherever, to do the following: Surf the web, twitter, facebook, access email, youtube, itunes, and so much more. Plus at all times you have music, video, and endless other apps for just about anything you can think of. I have books on it that I can read whenever, wherever through Stanza and the Kindle app. It's amazing. Latest app: iStudiez. Tracks your school schedule, assignments, projects, homework, practice, anything you want with a very easy to use interface. I love it, and I haven't even gone back to school yet.

To go along with this were the other sub purchases, two cases and a wall & car charger for it so it wouldn't die on my roadtrip. The main leather case is pretty sweet, the second case is an athletic, arm-band type. Reasoning? I want to work out more, and money is a very big motivator for me, so I figure if I invest into it it'll help me exercise more. Did it work? A definitely makes exercising more enjoyable.

Next wasn't quite a purchase, more like an inheritance. One night my dad comes in with a 320 gig external hard drive that he had bought earlier in the year, said he didn't use it and asked if I wanted it. My jaw just about hit the floor. Asking a college student/nerd if he wants free electronics? Yeah. Pretty awesome dad, love ya! :)

Up next are my oh so amazing Bose in-ear headphones. Up until this summer I've had the same sony over-ear clip headphones that I used before my mission, all through it, and up until recently. They were good, but sooo needed replacing. My iPod came with some white, generic apple in ear headphones. I liked the idea, but my ears complained. So I decided that in wanting better quality and less pain I went to Best Buy,aka the bane of my wallet, in search of replacements. So, I figured while I was getting headphones I might as well get good ones, so I looked to see if Bose had any in-ear ones, because I knew they made those reaaaaly big ones, but I didn't feel like looking like a soundtech while walking to classes and was happy to find out that they had what I was looking for. In ear headphones with two little speakers in each bud with the gel tips on the end that fit in your ear perfectly(and two other sizes just incase your ears are exceptionally larger or smaller. They're awesome, sometimes I even forget they're in, and yes they stay in during exercise. All in all, a sound/music geek's amazingness.

Somewhere during the summer during one of our many random conversations. Erik and I decided that I should swing through Washington state on my way to Idaho. (Yes I realize it's very much out of the way, but I've never been that far west and I've also never seen an ocean, or visited Erik's house or Seattle. See four birds one stone) So in planning for the trip I decided that I needed to get a couple of things to make it a great trip. A GPS, because I don't really enjoy driving places I've never been to, and a camera, because if you can't post pictures on facebook it never happened right?

So, with that in mind I set out to buy both with the little funds left to me at the end of the summer that weren't already budgeted to me with the planned road trip and starting school. My sister, Lori, and her cool husband decided that they wanted a new GPS and offered me theirs at a nice low price. So I'm now the proud owner of a Garmin nuvi 750(? Not sure on the model number) As well as a new Kodak camera.

The only problem with having a new camera is that I wanted to take a picture of my summer spoils and post it, but it's a little hard to take a picture of my camera with my camera and include it in the picture with the rest of my new toys...soon as I figure that out I'll post a complete pic. Easiest solution would probably be just to borrow my mom's camera or something...anyway, not important.

The best part about this whole situation? I'm getting a Pell grant on top of my student loans this fall. What this translates to? I probably won't have to work at all this next year at school, unless I want to, and everything will be covered and I can enjoy the next two semesters to the fullest without always worried about where the money for my next set of ramen noodles are coming from.(Extreme example, I do eat better at school)

So now, as I approach the end of summer, something I've been looking forward to for months now, I'm torn. I long for the day when I can settle, have my career, family, everything sort of locked in place a little more, something I'm hoping and planning to be here in KC, but at the same time I'm so excited for the new experiences, great friends, fast-paced lifestyle of college life. Most of my friends here in KC are graduated, moving forward, getting married, buying houses, etc. It's kind of easy to see myself as lagging behind, comparing myself to them. It's stupid, I know, I realize that as I do it in my head, but the truth is that knowing it doesn't stop it from happening.

Plus, while Rexburg is certainly not my city of choice for places to live for any indefinite amount of time, the friends that I have there make it one of the best places in the world to be, and I can't wait to be back with all of them. Plus, I'll be trying out for the top choir at school this fall and think I have a decently good chance of making it in. Also, it's fall, which means the Orchestra's Halloween concert which is always amazing to attend, then for us vocalists there's the Christmas in the Snow, and also we're doing the next Oratorio in the Sacred Music Series that happens every other year, which includes going on tour. It's going to be one heck of a semester.

So all that being said, while it's sad for me to leave the best summer job I've ever had, great friends, and my amazing family, I've never been so excited to be going back to school.

- Trent

Thursday, July 23, 2009

34 Days...

...until my end of summer road trip begins!

The basic outline:

August 25th - Last day at perceptive software, finish packing & load my car.
August 26th - Drive to Salt Lake!
August 27 & 28th - Hang out in Salt Lake, visit friends and family, and recover from 16 hour drive.
August 29th - Drive to Washington state!
August 30th-September 5th - Hang out in Washington, visit Seattle, maybe Forks... :)
September 6th - Drive to Rexburg!
September 7th - Move in to new apartment!
September 8th - Try out for Collegiate Singers
September 10th - Classes start!

I'm pretty excited about this. I've never been to Washington, and I've never seen an ocean, two things I plan to remedy. Plus I'll get to hang out with Erik which is always awesome.

As for me, things are continuing along. I'm trying to decide what to buy with the money remaining for the end of summer, that is the money that isn't already set aside for college and my Christmas flight home.

Things I want:

- a new suit. I haven't bought a new one since summer of 2005, while I was on my mission. The one I have is entering the end of its days I think...

- a GPS for my car. While I believe in my ability to follow a printed instructional from google maps, having a nice voice telling me when to turn in my upcoming road trip into undiscovered territory would be nice...

- a Bose stereo dock for my iPod touch so I don't have to always listen with my headphones or my laptop speakers which are...atrocious....

- new headphones from Apple. They have a really nice set of in-ear buds that form to your inner ear so they aren't bulky or over the ear like earmuffs, but they also fit so they don't hurt after a while...

- new clothes. Most of my clothes are getting on in years, and I haven't really been getting new ones. Plus I'm a huge pack rat which means I have to really force myself to get rid of stuff. Moving almost everything I own across the country every six months helps, but my wardrobe needs a little Spring...well Summer Cleaning.

That about covers my current wish-list. I have a few, more-exorbitant wishes, like a new desktop PC, but that can wait until next summer or more. I'm not sure that I'll be able to afford all of the above. Probably not in fact, so the rub comes in trying to be 'responsible' and choose which ones I want more, or the ones that are close to needs...

I'll let you guys know... :)

Friday, July 17, 2009

"Eight Myths About Video Games Debunked" - My perspective

Henry Jenkins, the director of comparative studies at MIT, wrote an essay about eight myths of gaming that he clearly, and very well I might add, destroyed eight gaming stereotypes.

This essay in its entirety, complete with citations, can be found here on PBS' website:

I'm going to copy it here and share it all with you, because I thought it was amazing, and add my own two cents. Hope you enjoy and/or learn something. To anyone who holds any of these stereotypes dear to the center of your being, I hope that you read it through, and that the pain of the following paradigm shift won't be too bad.

Reality Bytes: Eight Myths About Video Games Debunked

Henry Jenkins
MIT Professor

A large gap exists between the public's perception of video games and what the research actually shows. The following is an attempt to separate fact from fiction.

1. The availability of video games has led to an epidemic of youth violence.

According to federal crime statistics, the rate of juvenile violent crime in the United States is at a 30-year low. Researchers find that people serving time for violent crimes typically consume less media before committing their crimes than the average person in the general population. It's true that young offenders who have committed school shootings in America have also been game players. But young people in general are more likely to be gamers — 90 percent of boys and 40 percent of girls play. The overwhelming majority of kids who play do NOT commit antisocial acts. According to a 2001 U.S. Surgeon General's report, the strongest risk factors for school shootings centered on mental stability and the quality of home life, not media exposure. The moral panic over violent video games is doubly harmful. It has led adult authorities to be more suspicious and hostile to many kids who already feel cut off from the system. It also misdirects energy away from eliminating the actual causes of youth violence and allows problems to continue to fester.

(My thoughts: What's great about this, is that just because someone doesn't understand something doesn't mean they can't try to prove it's 'dangerous' through the use of heavy handed statistics. You have to ask yourself, what's easier: Blaming an outside media influence for your child's behavior, or accepting responsibility as a parent for not teaching your children ethics and morals. Just food for thought.)

2. Scientific evidence links violent game play with youth aggression.

Claims like this are based on the work of researchers who represent one relatively narrow school of research, "media effects." This research includes some 300 studies of media violence. But most of those studies are inconclusive and many have been criticized on methodological grounds. In these studies, media images are removed from any narrative context. Subjects are asked to engage with content that they would not normally consume and may not understand. Finally, the laboratory context is radically different from the environments where games would normally be played. Most studies found a correlation, not a causal relationship, which means the research could simply show that aggressive people like aggressive entertainment. That's why the vague term "links" is used here. If there is a consensus emerging around this research, it is that violent video games may be one risk factor - when coupled with other more immediate, real-world influences — which can contribute to anti-social behavior. But no research has found that video games are a primary factor or that violent video game play could turn an otherwise normal person into a killer.

(My thoughts: I remember what my statistics teacher in college told us repeatedly, almost every class period. "Statistics, studies, experiments prove nothing! All they can do is provide evidence toward one conclusion or another." The truth is, the opponents of video games, as stated above in the article, have done a very bad job at proving much of anything")

3. Children are the primary market for video games.

While most American kids do play video games, the center of the video game market has shifted older as the first generation of gamers continues to play into adulthood. Already 62 percent of the console market and 66 percent of the PC market is age 18 or older. The game industry caters to adult tastes. Meanwhile, a sizable number of parents ignore game ratings because they assume that games are for kids. One quarter of children ages 11 to 16 identify an M-Rated (Mature Content) game as among their favorites. Clearly, more should be done to restrict advertising and marketing that targets young consumers with mature content, and to educate parents about the media choices they are facing. But parents need to share some of the responsibility for making decisions about what is appropriate for their children. The news on this front is not all bad. The Federal Trade Commission has found that 83 percent of game purchases for underage consumers are made by parents or by parents and children together.

(My thoughts: The fact that 83 percent of game purchases for underage consumers of any kind are made by parents or with children and parents together proves one of my above points. If you aren't educated about video game ratings, even so much as to know that M really does mean Mature, then it's your fault that your child is playing an adult-oriented video game. Should an eleven year old be playing Grand Theft Auto 4? No! But his -parents- should be the ones keeping him from buying it, not Rockstar Games or Xbox.)

4. Almost no girls play computer games.

Historically, the video game market has been predominantly male. However, the percentage of women playing games has steadily increased over the past decade. Women now slightly outnumber men playing Web-based games. Spurred by the belief that games were an important gateway into other kinds of digital literacy, efforts were made in the mid-90s to build games that appealed to girls. More recent games such as The Sims were huge crossover successes that attracted many women who had never played games before. Given the historic imbalance in the game market (and among people working inside the game industry), the presence of sexist stereotyping in games is hardly surprising. Yet it's also important to note that female game characters are often portrayed as powerful and independent. In his book Killing Monsters, Gerard Jones argues that young girls often build upon these representations of strong women warriors as a means of building up their self confidence in confronting challenges in their everyday lives.

(My thoughts: Girls that play video games are awesome... that's all)

5. Because games are used to train soldiers to kill, they have the same impact on the kids who play them.

Former military psychologist and moral reformer David Grossman argues that because the military uses games in training (including, he claims, training soldiers to shoot and kill), the generation of young people who play such games are similarly being brutalized and conditioned to be aggressive in their everyday social interactions.

Grossman's model only works if:

* we remove training and education from a meaningful cultural context.
* we assume learners have no conscious goals and that they show no resistance to what they are being taught.
* we assume that they unwittingly apply what they learn in a fantasy environment to real world spaces.

The military uses games as part of a specific curriculum, with clearly defined goals, in a context where students actively want to learn and have a need for the information being transmitted. There are consequences for not mastering those skills. That being said, a growing body of research does suggest that games can enhance learning. In his recent book, What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy, James Gee describes game players as active problem solvers who do not see mistakes as errors, but as opportunities for improvement. Players search for newer, better solutions to problems and challenges, he says. And they are encouraged to constantly form and test hypotheses. This research points to a fundamentally different model of how and what players learn from games.

(My thoughts: Contrary to popular belief, video games do not turn you into a mindless zombie who can take no thought for itself. You still have the ultimate choice in every circumstance how you behave in any situation.)

6. Video games are not a meaningful form of expression.

On April 19, 2002, U.S. District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh Sr. ruled that video games do not convey ideas and thus enjoy no constitutional protection. As evidence, Saint Louis County presented the judge with videotaped excerpts from four games, all within a narrow range of genres, and all the subject of previous controversy. Overturning a similar decision in Indianapolis, Federal Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner noted: "Violence has always been and remains a central interest of humankind and a recurrent, even obsessive theme of culture both high and low. It engages the interest of children from an early age, as anyone familiar with the classic fairy tales collected by Grimm, Andersen, and Perrault are aware." Posner adds, "To shield children right up to the age of 18 from exposure to violent descriptions and images would not only be quixotic, but deforming; it would leave them unequipped to cope with the world as we know it." Many early games were little more than shooting galleries where players were encouraged to blast everything that moved. Many current games are designed to be ethical testing grounds. They allow players to navigate an expansive and open-ended world, make their own choices and witness their consequences. The Sims designer Will Wright argues that games are perhaps the only medium that allows us to experience guilt over the actions of fictional characters. In a movie, one can always pull back and condemn the character or the artist when they cross certain social boundaries. But in playing a game, we choose what happens to the characters. In the right circumstances, we can be encouraged to examine our own values by seeing how we behave within virtual space.

(My thoughts: I loved this paragraph. Having played the Sims and all its incarnations, as well as many many modern RPG's. Video games of this nature, and many video games in general that have freedom of choice in their game design, allow you to truly explore the consequences of actions in a safe environment that won't affect the outside world. This makes video games the only truly interactive art form that engages mind, body and heart.)

7. Video game play is socially isolating.

Much video game play is social. Almost 60 percent of frequent gamers play with friends. Thirty-three percent play with siblings and 25 percent play with spouses or parents. Even games designed for single players are often played socially, with one person giving advice to another holding a joystick. A growing number of games are designed for multiple players — for either cooperative play in the same space or online play with distributed players. Sociologist Talmadge Wright has logged many hours observing online communities interact with and react to violent video games, concluding that meta-gaming (conversation about game content) provides a context for thinking about rules and rule-breaking. In this way there are really two games taking place simultaneously: one, the explicit conflict and combat on the screen; the other, the implicit cooperation and comradeship between the players. Two players may be fighting to death on screen and growing closer as friends off screen. Social expectations are reaffirmed through the social contract governing play, even as they are symbolically cast aside within the transgressive fantasies represented onscreen.

(My thoughts: People who still think this to this day are -completely- stupid. I only play many of the video games that I play because of my friends. Some of them even just because of Ryan. Video games are among the most social of activities that you can participate in, at any age.)

8. Video game play is desensitizing.

Classic studies of play behavior among primates suggest that apes make basic distinctions between play fighting and actual combat. In some circumstances, they seem to take pleasure wrestling and tousling with each other. In others, they might rip each other apart in mortal combat. Game designer and play theorist Eric Zimmerman describes the ways we understand play as distinctive from reality as entering the "magic circle." The same action — say, sweeping a floor — may take on different meanings in play (as in playing house) than in reality (housework). Play allows kids to express feelings and impulses that have to be carefully held in check in their real-world interactions. Media reformers argue that playing violent video games can cause a lack of empathy for real-world victims. Yet, a child who responds to a video game the same way he or she responds to a real-world tragedy could be showing symptoms of being severely emotionally disturbed. Here's where the media effects research, which often uses punching rubber dolls as a marker of real-world aggression, becomes problematic. The kid who is punching a toy designed for this purpose is still within the "magic circle" of play and understands her actions on those terms. Such research shows us only that violent play leads to more violent play.

(My thoughts: This is just funny...almost. I've been playing video games nearly all my life. I remember playing them for the first time at our friend Dean's house when we first moved to Kansas City, which puts my first gaming experiences at somewhere between ages 3-6. I've played games of all type, from adventure to first person shooter, real time strategy, etc. Everything from the most violent video games of Prototype, GTA, Rainbow 6, Call of Duty - to the most harmless of games like Mario Paint, DDR and Rock Band. I'm no closer to harming another person or stealing a car than I have been for the last twenty years.

To those who fight against video games I ask: Please, get new arguments.

Those of you who've read to the end, I'm planning on writing an entire essay of my own for gaming from a Mormon perspective. Something I've wanted to do ever since my mission really. Stay tuned :)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

And again...

So, after being chastised at the family reunion, here I am writing in my blog again. Just so you all know, the reason I didn't write again after my last one is the '0' in front of the comments. I just assumed no one was reading it. My bad...

So, since the end of April...where to start?

I'm currently working as a 'Development Support Intern' at Perceptive Software here in Kansas City. This is the opportunity I wrote about in my last blog that my awesome friend Mike was able to secure for me. So I now have an awesome full time job for the rest of the summer and am saving up money for the next year of school, as well as buying new toys...

Speaking of money for college, I was able to secure a Pell Grant for this upcoming year. Talk about a huge load off my back. This means that I will be able to fully involve myself with everything it means to be a music major, including all the practices, concerts, etc, have a social life, enjoy college life, and not have to work during school! I'm stoked.

Speaking of new toys. I joined the dark side and bought my first Apple product in the form of the 32 gigabyte iPod touch. It's beautiful. People ask me why I didn't just get the iPhone. First off, I'm not able to pay over $100/month for the plan that I would need to make it my cell service. Second, the iPod touch is basically the world's best PDA/pocket PC...though I guess it would be pocketMac in this case. I'm looking forward to having it at school, so I don't always have to lug my 17" laptop with me to class.

I think I'm going to start doing my blog in sections or categories. Seems interesting. Especially since otherwise I'll just babble on for way too long. We'll see how it goes.


I'm in the middle of about four or five books at the moment. I'll read a chapter or two in one and then get tired of a non-moving storyline and move on to the others. The current exceptions to this are the newest books in the Star Wars universe. I'm always excited enough with them to read them from start to finish. Usually within two or three days. The next one comes out in August.

The other books I'm reading at the moment are: Wizard's First Rule by Terry Goodkind. Small Favor (A novel in the Dresden Files, book 10 I think) by Jim Butcher, Academ's Fury(Book 2 in the Codex Alera series) by Jim Butcher, and Dune by Frank Herbert.

Don't get me wrong, they're all good. I just seem to not be able to stay with one book for an extended period of time. I think this is a combination of my excitement to actually get to read this summer, and having so many books on my list to want to read that I'm overloading myself.


As many of you know, I play World of Warcraft. I know, I know, blah blah, waste of time, blah blah waste of money. Save it. I enjoy it, and it's fun to play, especially with friends. Perhaps I'll write an entire blogpost dedicated to my defense of WoW and its normal players. Who knows.

New games that I've tried and enjoyed. Sims 3 and Prototype. I've always liked the Sims, though only in small bursts.

Prototype is actually very fun. A little dark, and obviously violent, but fun. Basically think of Grand Theft Auto, without all the sexual content, meets I Am Legend. Free roaming world, cool powers, interesting storyline. Literally jump from skyscraper to skyscraper on the island of Manhatten, built almost perfectly to scale. Very awesome.


Though I already answered this question about thirty times at the reunion, and it's mostly family that reads this anyway, I'll share it again just in case. I will be going back to BYU-Idaho. I registered for my classes in June and I'm really looking forward to going back.

I think that's probably enough updating for now. Comment if you want me to write about different stuff, otherwise I'm going to stick with this general style. Hope everyone has a great week!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Returning the Blog

Hey everyone, not sure quite why I feel the need to apologize for not logging in two and half months. See the problem is that even though I like blogging and enjoy leaving my thoughts and life for others to see, it's just not something that I think immediately of doing, I always think, 'I can just do it tomorrow' and suddenly weeks go by. *shrug* We'll see if I can get down to at least once a month and we'll see where I go to after that ;).

Things since February have been crazy. I've reneged on my decision to transfer away from BYU-Idaho. I know this basically makes my entire last point moot, but I climbed out of my funk that I was in and realized that I didn't want to base major, life decisions off of a slightly depressed state. That being that, everything I said in my last post is still true, but I realized and discovered many good points of staying and a few negatives to transferring home, one of which would be not graduating as quickly which I really want sooner rather than later.

This last semester was easily the worst I've had in the five I've had. The funk I was in lasted until the beginning of March and let's say that the damage to my grades was not as recoverable as I hoped. I could leave it as is and graduate but, after this fall and a couple of retaken classes everything will be back to it's normal place and I won't have lost time in my overall progression.

I spent the weekend after school got out earlier this month in Salt Lake seeing family and attending my two friends TK and Jillian Sheppard's wedding. It was an absolutely amazing service and I wish them all the best! My time in Salt Lake went way too fast though and I didn't get to see nearly everyone that I would have wanted.

After my 18 hour drive home I spent the first week just de-stressing which involved relaxing and sleeping in, catching up on some reading and also visiting friends here that I didn't get a chance to see over my three days of being home at Christmas. This week I decided to finish getting my self settled in and ready to tackle the summer. I started at the end of last week to do some job hunting. It didn't go as well as I'd hoped at first.

A good friend however might have an amazing opportunity for me with a paid internship at the software company where he works for the summer. It would be a full-time job with good pay. Couple that with a part-time evening job and I should be able to scrape enough money this summer to not have to work this coming semester. *crosses fingers* That's the hope anyway. Nothing is set in stone, there's still a few steps of getting approval from his higher ups but it's looking promising and I'm trying to stay positive about it.

So wednesday and yesterday I spent almost the entire day cleaning, sorting, unpacking and settling into my room. I got rid of a large trashbag of stuff and now my room is clean and settled. It's so nice, especially since I never really got moved in to my room this last year of school and I feel more at home now. Might have something to do with actually being at home...

Yesterday I called Kelly at the Applebee's on College and Metcalf, she was one of my old managers at the Shawnee location. I called to see about getting an evening job there. Let's say that she's awesome and I must have been a decent server because she basically told me over the phone that I was hired. Plus Kevin, the regional manager for all the locations in the KC area was there. I knew him from when he did his own manager training at my first Applebee's, he told Kelly to definitely hire me. It made me feel pretty good. I start Monday for a day of 'training'. Luckily I already know most of the menu as well as the computer system so it'll just be a matter of learning their restaraunt and especially table numbers and whatnot. I'm confident that it'll be just fine. I'm a quick learner and I'm not worried about it. I do need to find a pair of black, non-slip shoes since my dad stole my old ones...

Tonight was really fun, I went with Mike and some of his friends from work, and Megan to the Power and Light District downtown. It's such a fun place! For those of you who've never been, it's an outdoor pavillion area with bars surrounding it and dance areas and all sorts of awesome things like that. So kind of a small, outdoor mall for bars. We spent the night dancing and having crazy fun. As the only non-drinker in the bunch I was uh... designated... to be designated driver. :) The thanks for this was that those I drove paid for parking, my cover charges and food and (soft) drink. I thought it was a great deal.

I'm not sure why I'm still up at 3:21AM writing this, but I got home about 1AM and after browsing facebook and youtube I'm still not overly tired. I think I'll get some light food and watch some Scrubs and see if that winds me down. Anyway, love you all, hope you all have an awesome weekend!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

College Decision Woes

So, I thought I would announce it on here first, and make my first real post on my new blog something of actual importance. There is a very high likelihood(dependent on admission) that I will be transferring to KU (Kansas University) for this coming fall semester. This is a decision I've definitely not come to easily, and has caused a lot of stress. However through prayer and a lot of personal reflection I think I've made the right decision. The future is of course always up in the air, so nothing is definite, but the chances are high.

BYU-Idaho is an amazing school, and I've had experiences that I would have never had without coming here, experiences that I wouldn't trade for anything. There are so many friendships I've made here that I will treasure forever. I wish that I could keep all of the benefits of BYU-I with me when I go, but unfortunately it's not going to happen.

However, let me vent about Rexburg for a moment. I hate this city. Having to drive thirty minutes to get to a Best Buy or a Chili's is really annoying. Everything here is overpriced, they gouge us on everything. The 'dollar' menus here are all $1.39 or higher. The best place to buy anything is Wal-mart which depresses me. The roads never actually get cleared. They plow down to where there's about two or three inches on the road still, which then quickly becomes solid ice, and then they spread this weird reddish-pink clay stuff on the roads instead hoping that it'll actually do something. I don't mind cold weather, I'm accustomed to it actually. It gets colder at home, with humidity, which makes it worse. The fact that I can't drive on cleared roads is what bothers me a lot.

This next thing I'm going to say is not meant to offend my fellow mormons. But sometimes I feel like I'm living in an episode of Leave it to Beaver. There are plenty of exceptions, but for the most part being around some people here make me feel like I'm going to get high off of a sugar overdose.

There's of course something to be said about the small town 'charm.' In my opinion, however, small town charm is meant for vacations and short periods of times. I miss living in a place with history, people, culture, nuance, diversity and so on. I miss the busy traffic of the highway, I miss a faster paced life to which college here doesn't really compare. Here I'm busy, yes, but not fast paced busy...more like drudgery slow that makes me want to put a bullet in my head.

Last but not least, the 'honor' code. Apparently having honor means that I can't be treated like an adult. I don't have the freedoms to be home when I want to or the trust that I can behave myself with members of the opposite sex when not in public. Seriously, college is a time meant to prepare you for life. I had more freedom and responsibility in high school. I feel like I've taken entire steps backward in my personal development because of this handicap. I'm a returned missionary, and a twenty-three year old man, I feel like I can live my own life, making my own decisions. Seriously, if I wanted to, I have a car and could go anywhere I wanted to with a girl, -if- I wanted to. What is the 'chastity line' for again? I can stay up until three or four in the morning and get horrible amounts of sleep, what is curfiew for? Don't even try to tell me it's for 'lessons in obedience.' That's what the commandments are for, the scriptures say so.

So now I've covered the positive side of Rexburg(amazing friends and amazing religious opportunities), and the downsides(read above), now I'll cover the positive sides to KU. The negatives are basically the opposites of BYU-Idaho's positives except that there are amazing people back in Kansas too.

KU provides me with an opportunity to stay close to my family, who I would love to spend a lot more time with. It provides me with the chance to live at home if I wanted to and commute, with midwest gas prices being lower is still a plus in terms of cost. Going to a Kansas college will provide me with a better career start with Kansas City internships or even Kansas Certification if I decide to teach still.

I would gain all the benefits that I feel that I'm missing in Rexburg(my rant of Rexburg above). There's also a chance of me procuring an academic scholarship from KU with my current college GPA.

All in all, I don't feel like this has been a bad choice or experience, like I said earlier I wouldn't trade what's happened these past two years for anything, and also, nothing is concrete yet, but I do feel like it's time to move forward in my life, and I feel like this is the best decision to make right now.

Not-so-presidential Inauguration

Hello world. I've decided to also succumb. Heaven knows much of my family and many of my friends have blogs now. I decided to give in. We'll see how it goes. I used to have a blog on xanga, and it fizzled shortly after returning from from my mission. Hopefully this one will stay on a little bit longer. I would always have hoped that facebook would turn into a blog of sorts, but it never really included the part that a blog needs...the part where you blog.

So, anyway, I promise no consistency when writing this and not even always the news of my life, but I will attempt to at least post somewhat regularly to give news, thoughts, reactions, and opinions of events in my life and of the world, going off the age-old internet assumption that anyone actually cares. But hey, you're reading my blog so you get to hear what I think. :)

Anywho, I might get back to this later today and post something of substance...after I finish my homework...yeah...homework...