Monday, August 11, 2014

Questivus for the rest of us... [Pt. 1]

A few weeks  months (I'm bad at posting regularly) ago I participated in an event called "Questival." It was an epic 24-hour adventure race/scavenger hunt -OR/AND- a brilliant marketing ploy for a new outdoor gear company, but either way, it was a lot of fun. Cotopaxi, is a new company that claims that it does, "Gear for good." That is to say, for what you buy of their products, the donate to NGO's and Charities around the world. Anyway, I've already provided enough free exposure for them, myself and over a thousand other participants, so if you are curious as to the particulars, then go ahead and click on the hyperlink above.

On to our team, and the fun times we had. Our team consisted of 4 Men (although some might dispute that distinction for some of us), Alan (AKA: Old Man Beardsly), Shawn (AKA: Potato Biker), Gluch (AKA: in-it-to-win-it) and ME (AKA: Mr. Plantastic). (Not actually known by any of these nicknames, but I feel A-Team rip-offs are in order). Politicchic picked out a swell name, #atdawnweride for us.

Alan is my brother-in-law, and Gluch is my main villian from mission days, and Shawn is Alan's friend and grabbed the whole family and drove down from Idaho, he's that hardcore. We had a few overly long planning sessions before the race actually occurred, because the list was released before hand. What list you ask? The list of tasks. The big draw for a lot of participants was that you got a $30 backpack for the sign-up cost of $10. This was incentive to participate, as well as a way to ensure that the tasks were completed properly with members of the team present (I'm pretty sure there was some egregious cheating going on, but who cares? the rules were ambiguous enough and you can only do so much for people's honesty).

Enough of that, the quests: Click Here (It was easier to put it on my old portfolio website then anywhere else, just scroll down, its all there)

As you can see, there is quite an extensive list. I'll chronologically list out achievements over the course of questival.

Friday April 11th at 2 PM: Alan arrives at my apartment, and we await the arrival of Shawn. Gluch was at class or something, so he was meeting up with us later.
Previous to the competition, I had made Llama rights signs and a brownie shaped like a llama. I was terribly proud of both, but sadly the challenge involving picketing for llama rights was stricken from the final rules list. We did it anyway, as you will see later.

Somewhat before 3, Shawn and his wife arrived, and he jumped in with us and we headed down to the start off point, South of BYU. (Since I had the best vehicle for the adventure [a Ford Escape named "Bruce,"] and no smart phone, I was the driver for this escapade.)

3 PM: We arrived to a good line, that grew very quickly. We were lucky to get in when we did, because in no time at all, the line stretched around the block. There were some real go-getters that sold lemonade as per a quest item to the people in line as soon as they got their backpacks. Alan and I betrayed the team and bought lemonade from them.

We got our Backpacks, Mine was blue and white, and ran to go do our first task.

3:15 PM- Took a picture with Professor McKonkie, a really cool guy. Also thanked him.

3:20 PM- Alan, Sean, and myself then went to the Food and Care Coalition to perform an hour of service. Gluch met up with us there.

4:20PM- We then hustled to the Provo High Track to run a mile. Which I did while the rest looked on. Gluch ran a lap, but was in jeans and street shoes, so just waited for me to finish.
 After (Note Gluch's feigned exhaustion):

While there, we also threw a sticker on my vehicle, whose name is Bruce, and took a picture of my Llama cake/brownie.

4:45 PM- We booked it on over to the Utah Valley Conference Center to shake the Mayor of Provo's hand. Apparently, he got an tsunami of requests to do this, and so set up to 10 minute periods to get it over with, at his leisure. Smart guy. We also "clocked", and "planked" there. I had no idea what "clocking" was. Apparently, you hold your hands out like the hands of a clock in some diverse location... and "planking" is laying prone somewhere. These are stupid trends. But alas, they were tasks to complete, and so we completed the hell out of them.

Somewhere around 5 PM, we rushed to perform the task of eating a hot dog with hot sauce in a hot tub while wearing hot pants.



Gluch also seized the day and planted a flower in the planter outside the apartments where the hot tub was located.

5:30 PM- We drive down to Spanish Fork to visit the Krishna Temple.

There we do the following: selfie with a llama, yoga pose in a scenic location, and best of all, we shoot a sweet little training video with my camera that I had planned previously. Gluch (Dave) really rose to the occasion. =

And the Video:

At 7:15 or so we watched the sunset.

We will continue the tale on the next few posts.

And at the conclusion of Each I will include the following:

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Some of the Ugliest Vehicles on the road today... (in my humble opinion)

Not need to beat around the bush. These vehicles are hideous. Sorry if you like some, but they really are.

1)Pontiac Aztec

This is the car on Breaking Bad... I know. Good for it. Still hideous. I imagine the writers for that show sat down and asked each other, what is the ugliest, non-gangster car that we can get on the cheap for this low budget series? Someone timidly raised their hand and proffered.... "How about an Aztec?" They then were subject to much ridicule and people probably swore at them. But alas, when they looked at their budget, they had to go along.

2) Chevy SSR

Not much to say. The picture speaks louder than words. Fails as a truck. Fails as a car. Succeeds as an instant wrath generator.

3) Nissan Cube

Nice back windows... NOT! The wrap around was surely some designer's hope that a trend would emerge. That trend didn't catch on because it is stupid and ugly.

4) Toyota Prius

Many kinds of Prius, all of them ugly. If this is what it takes to save the environment, then maybe we should consider if the environment is worth saving...

5) Chrysler PT Cruiser

Eggplant on wheels? It would probably look better if that were the case. I like to think that it was this car that caused Chrysler to declare bankruptcy in 2009.

6) Mercedes (I think?) Smart Car
I admit, it would be a dream to park. However, so are bikes, and a bike would provide marginally better protection if you were to collide with another vehicle while using one.

7) Subaru Outback

See the SSR's comment.

8) BMC Mini-Cooper

Featured prominently in "The Italian Job." Is that a plus? I don't know, but these are ugly.

9) Chevy Avalanche

Super ugly.

10) Not a car, but rather what people do to their cars. This could be its own post, but the thing I hate most is a dropped pickup with skirting...

This hurts my soul.

And for your amusement:

No sooner had I completed this post when I drove across town and saw more ugly cars. This is actually a whole subset I'll call "tacky futuristic SUV's". Category includes: Nissan MuranoDodge Nitro, and the Ford Edge. There are a whole bunch of others in this category (some already listed above), but it is past time to stop thinking.

Friday, February 14, 2014

My new roommate: Why we are the odd couple.

My new roommate... *sigh.

Nice guy.
Divorced with a 7-year-old daughter. That is no problem. He is fine with sharing, and largely occupied with his own life.
So wherein do we become the odd couple?
I am cleaner than pretty much everyone that I have ever lived with. This includes every mission companion that I have ever had and a slew of roommates over the years. (Joe is also pretty clean). The current roommate, who we will call "T" is not clean. He is not filthy, but it swiftly became apparent that I have different standards of clean then he does.
My first hint were the shoes that appeared by the door.
I didn't find this an issue initially. Some people get into the happen of removing their shoes upon entering their house to protect the carpet. We don't have nice carpet. BUT, before he came here, he MAY have had nice carpet, so I was willing to overlook it.
Until they never moved.
They just sat there. One week. Two weeks. A month went by before something happened. What happened you ask? Not removal, no no, it was joined by a pair of jeans with the belt still in them. Seriously as if they had been removed upon on entering. They ALSO didn't move for several days.
THEN, to round out the party: a grocery bag full of what appeared to be dirty laundry. WHAT?!
So that continued for a few more weeks. And finally, all disappeared. More mystifying than crop circles.

He also sucks at doing dishes. I detest pulling out a cup or bowl only to discover that there is a film of SOMETHING coating a part of it. It makes me wonder about the cleanliness of all of the dishes in the cupboard. This is obnoxious. Also, the penchant for washing only HALF of the dishes, and never cleaning the counters or the floor. This is something that I am used too, but still annoying. Particularly because of this other trait that T has: he fancies himself a health eater.

SO! Constantly scraping flax seed gunk off of the stove top. There is a myriad of blending devices and juicers cluttering up an already crowded counter space. The man doesn't exercise much, but he buys a ton of fresh vegetables and things and makes a LOT of smoothies and other things that make a mess. Which he infrequently cleans. (You can say what you want about my diet, but pop tarts, cereal, and hot pockets do not make much of a mess).  This brings us to yet another annoyance: the 3 week old chicken. You know those rotisserie chickens you can by at Smiths for around 6 bucks? Imagine 3/4ths of one sitting on the second shelf of your fridge for a month. Guess what? It stinks. I nearly get up the nerve to chuck it, when it is magically replaced with yet another rotisserie chicken, and thus the cruel cycle begins anew...

He just started the #*$@ing horrible practice of burning incense. I am neither a hippie, nor trying to cover up the smell of pot, ergo, I am not an incense fan.

And then there is his girl friend.
She seems nice, but crazy clingy. He will NOT do better, but he wants to dump her for some reason. This has led to a series of loud, LONG, DTR's (determine the relationship) until all hours of the morning. The walls of this fine apartment are (shocking, I know), thin. So I get to hear about how he doesn't seem to care, and how he is mad at her judging him, and bla bla bla bla bla.... bla. I never thought something was worse than having that conversation. I was wrong. Listening to it ebb and flow for hours as you try to drift off into slumber every day for most of a week is worse. ALL THE TIME WITH THIS. Now they are in my living room, monopolizing my TV, with a TON of dishes and whatnot dirty from their Valentines dinner. I am not passive aggressive, merely a jerk, so it has been difficult for me to not let fire fly forth. Thankfully, because he usually corrects the mess eventually....

And then there is his daughter. She is not really loud, but I'm not a huge fan of kids. I like some, but by and large, I prefer when they aren't in my living space. So, every now and then, I am surprised when I awake or come home to find one underfoot. I want to eat, but she's coloring on the table. I want to watch TV, but she's watching cartoons. Strange world I live in. Oh, and T usually uses the kitchen table as his laptop viewing area, so eating there is rather uncomfortable. Can't talk, he is watching stuff on his computer, so rather than doing that, I eat in my room.

He also runs the heater WAY more than I ever did pre-T entering the picture. Granted, I liked to keep thinks about 62, which to some people is unreasonable, but I pay the gas bill straight up for simplicity's sake, and last month I was appalled.

I use a lufa in the bathroom. I love lufas, not one of my more many admissions. He has no lufa. He has no rag. Unless he just squirts bodywash directly on his body, he must be using my lufa. ...
I want you to think about that.

Lastly, and this isn't so much a negative: he currently has a 2 year supply of food storage. We don't have a lot of storage space, and what we have is now filled to the brim with food storage. If the apocalypse happens, I will simply poison him and then be set.

So there you are, I am the clean, organized one, he is the other one. Together, rather than hilarity ensuing, I just spend more time than usual cleaning. At least I spend the bulk of my time at school.

*Much later note by me-- The guy isn't that bad, I just use this blog as a platform for venting, as I am sure you have noticed by now.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

I was born in the wrong era...

I love adventure stories. I am currently reading a book for my Water Law class that starts out with a huge and probably unnecessary story about mountain men and John Wesley Powell. He was so hardcore, he explored the Colorado river with 4 wood boats in a time when nobody had a clue what was there, and he did this with only one arm. Reading this reminded me of some other cool explorers, like John Goddard, and Percy Fawcett. Also Marco Polo, and Lewis and Clark. There are too many to name, but something occurred to me. THAT WOULD BE AWESOME. (Exploring the unknown, that is).

Today, there is no place on Earth left to explore except maybe some of the deep rain forest of S. America or the bottom of the Ocean. The former might work, but the latter doesn't really do it for me. And our space travel options? Nill (or is it?, see below). So here I am, born in the age of satellite imaging, and instant communication, and I feel like I would have had a real nice time shoving off into the unknown.

I recently heard about something that I regret that I did not have a chance to sign up for: the Mars One mission. The sign up process ended last year in August, so I guess I missed that boat. But here is the kicker, there will be subsequent missions. Maybe I should try to go? It is a one way ticket, and as of right now, 8 Utahns passed the first round of screening to go on the first trip. Lucky bastards.

Way  back when I began my undergrad, I took archaeology, geography, world history, etc. Kind of dreamed of becoming Indiana Jones I guess.
 (Thanks jas-tham)

I feel like Lee Marvin in Paint Your Wagon, which you need to watch if you never took the time

I need to get moving on my bucket list. If I haven't gone to Australia and Brazil in the next 5 years, be a darling and put me out of my misery.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

So... long break, but oh well.

Lot happened, too much to recap. But bullet point:

Law School happened...

Ok, maybe not so much to recap. I worked in Chile for a firm, that was fun, then for the 4th District Court here in Utah. Also fun.

Came back to school, less (no) fun. Ok, we are up to date. (Also got a roommate, whom I seldom see, so he is great).

Things you should check out on the internet if you enjoy wasting time as much as I do:

1) Honest Trailers
2) How It Should Have Ended
3) CGP Gray
4) Reddit
5) Especially Reddit/awww
6) Schlock Mercenary
7) Apple Trailers (better than watching the actual movie 90% of the time
8) Spotify

There are many more, but that is enough to get going on.

Monday, May 13, 2013

1 year down. Gone down south.

This year has passed quickly. I was really happy to say that I have finished a year, but I don't feel special about it. It was a year. Not really much more. I learned a lot, and that was nice, but I am glad to say that I am still the same old me. Right now, I am in Chile, munching on some awesome cookies that I discovered today: Rigochoc. I will have much more to say about Chile on my Travel Blog. I had grand ambitions of writing a lengthy, impacting blog post. But it will have to wait. Until next time.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

5 Reasons new technology is making us worse, 5 Reasons new technology is making us better

1) Memes. These are sometimes funny, usually stupid, and have become so prolific on Facebook feeds that I wonder if anyone ever posts things about themselves anymore.

2) Political Passive Aggressivism. I don't think that is a real term, but it certainly expresses one of the most irritating things I have experienced lately. Anyone seen this lately?:
That is what some (thousands) people have thrown up as their FB picture to show support for gay marriage. While I don't support gay marriage, I have to wonder if any of these people have actually done anything to support what they so publicly support on FB. Ever wrote a letter to your senator? Ever donated to a campaign? Ever subscribed to a pro-LGBT publication? Did you even vote in the last election? How about your State elections? I have a sneaking suspicion that many more people threw up the "equal sign" then did any of the other things. FB also allows people to take positions and assert theories without having to actually engage anyone directly. Sure there are LONG comment lines over controversial subjects, but no one is really 'discussing' anything, it is just ignorant statement making at its finest (THIS GOES FOR BOTH SIDES, RIGHT AND LEFT).

3) Twitter and FB feeds. WHO CARES?! Obviously lots of people, otherwise they wouldn't be so popular. Here is where a balance must be struck. I am as guilty as anyone with obsessively logging on to FB and frequently posting asinine updates, but where this has made us worse is that we never feel the need to actually talk to people anymore. This goes for Texting as well. When we have 3 message exchanges with someone, it negates the need to actually call that person and to discover what is going on in their life.

4) TIME DRAIN. I wonder how much time I spent watching YouTube videos or just cruising around on Amazon in the last year (or checking FB). I probably could have lost 5 pounds if I'd have exercised instead. I probably could have mastered a complicated song on the guitar. I probably could have written half of the book that I am trying to write. When you think about how little you accomplish when you are trying to do something on a computer, it is sad. Right now I'm in law school, and I have to think that the poor people to attended law school 30 years ago learned a great deal more, even though they didn't have the wealth of information, because they likely focused on learning law without wondering what new phrase the "grumpy cat" has been assigned or checking out the "100 most epic fails of 2012."

5) Stunted Social Skills. To make this point, I shall use an image and one of the aformentioned 'memes' (What?, am I not human?)

I am a little surprised at how often I'll be in a group of people, and yet alone. See, I don't have a nifty phone with internet access, and so I cannot ignore everyone around me to see what my 600+ "friends" are up to or peruse the dozens of twitter feeds that I follow. Sometimes, it is hard to even talk to these people, because the second you turn your back, they are playing BEJEWELED on their Ipad or looking at pictures of LEGOS on PINTEREST on their Iphone. (You know who you are). I find it a little unsettling that everyone with a 1-2 year old gushes about how they can operate their _________(Insert random Apple product here) already. This is cool, but it worries me as well. As these kids grow up, are they going to be able to articulate in more than 150 characters at a time? Are they going to be able to focus on reading a whole book? Are they going to care about what happens in the world? Their own government? I think that my generation is sliding pretty badly, and I see no improvement with the next crop. I myself cannot function without music. Studying, working, etc. I probably listen to an average of 8 hours of music a day. I am not certain that it is bad per se, but this behavior and its possible impacts should be considered.

Quick recap: Weaker relationships, less ability to concentrate and accomplish, less time spend on producing valuable things (marketable skills/products), less thoughtful discussion, more bandwagonism (less individual/original thought), the fact that "tweet" is a word, the fact that the word "google" is a verb, over-dependence,  and Creed and Nickleback (Ok, so maybe they are unrelated but they are so bad I've decided that every negative list that I make will, by necessity, include them).


1) Interconnectivity.

In all honesty, this can cut both ways, and there are plenty of negative aspects. But upon thinking about it, I would have to consider this a net positive. I would say that it is a good thing that we are more globally connected. This enables us to broaden our frame of reference and to be more understanding of other people's perspectives. It is a lot harder to hate/demonize/ignore other countries/people/cultures when you know things about them and have talked to them. Like I said, there is a flip side. Knowing more about Hugo Chavez and Kim Jong Il did not make me love/understand them more. BUT, I would point out that being aware of these people and knowing them for the threats to society that they were was valuable, and knowing about some of the difficulties that their subjects faced does make me more concerned about them. Being able to perform family history research and keeping in touch with people that you normally would lose contact with are other ways in which this is beneficial. Currently, I still have an idea about what most of the people I met on my mission are up to. Also people from high-school/college.

2) Educational Opportunities. Sadly, I doubt that new technology is used principally for this, but it is a nice feature. Do you want to know how to do something? "Google it." -or- "Watch a YouTube tutorial." This is one of the greatest things about living in this day. I learned how to iron shirts. I learned the quick and perfect T-Shirt fold. I learned how to make Tartar sauce. I learned how do edit a photo to achieve the 'Gatorade sweat' effect.
There are lots of cool things to learn. I can currently access pretty much any Case/Regulation/Legislative History in the US. That is amazing. My friend is building a 3D printer from scratch. I have learned various Chile and Latin American Folksongs by looking up tabs and finding the music on YouTube/Itunes. The list goes on and on. Wikipedia. You can find out anything you want about most businesses, including reviews (although usually the only people who comment on those are people who have had negative experiences, so they aren't as helpful as one would think, but that could be a post of its own). Want to learn how to write code? Want to know where to eat in a foreign country? Want to take a practice LSAT? All of this information is found in nifty things called books, WHICH I LOVE!, but when you need to know something and don't have the money to buy a book or the time to find one, the internet is amazing.

3) Access to AMAZING CREATIVITY. Every now and again, I am glad that I monitor thousands of stupid and pointless status updates/posts when I find the proverbial needle in the haystack. Here are a few nifty things:
"Best Coin Ever Spent"

Side note: I feel bad for the guy who died trying this a few weeks ago.

There are many other things, but that is what your 'search bar' is for. I have seen awesome art, heard great music, etc, etc.

4) Improved Networking. This is no small shakes. I firmly believe that:
This has never been easier. You can find people all OVER. Linkedin is based solely on this concept. But it is not just networking, it is professional facility. It is so easy now to communicate. You can e-mail a college, create a PDF or word document, you can use Google Docs to organize signups and do mass scheduling, you can scan anything you need and send an electronic copy wherever, you can pull money from virtually anywhere in the world, and spend your $$ without ever seeing Washington's face. This is great for business. Like anything, there are dangers and negatives galore, but in my own relatively short life, I have seen the benefits and blessings in being able to become aware of, and apply too, a myriad of opportunities while never having to leave your chair. This was not possible 30 years ago. And lets not forget initiatives like Kickstarter, and crowd-sourcing in general

5) Blogs. I'd be a fool to not include blogs, wouldn't I? Obviously I see negatives in blogs as well, but I enjoy the idea that if you feel like you should have your own editorial column, no you have one.

Here are 2 Things that I honestly can't decide are good or bad: GPS on mobile device and Sheer Mass of Info.
GPS Pro: People can locate places easier and even share pictures and information as easily as pushing a button and swiping a screen. Con: people are becoming blind to what isn't on the device, and often suffer if there is a glitch or for some reason they are without the device. This is in the vein of over-dependence.

Sheer Mass of Info Pro: There is anything you would want to know. You can investigate agencies, check out salaries, etc, etc. Con: There is so much, that people often don't know where to begin, or if they try, sometimes it's hard to see the forest for the porn ... I mean trees. (seriously, Porn must be about 2/3rds of the internet, and FB probably is the other 1/3rd). But this is a serious problem, people seem to be less educated than ever, and yet there is such a surplus of information, I think we are trained to just skim upon the surface.

And to close, why the H*** not? MORE MEMES!

One last Negative for Big Steve: Blog Writing Negative: No grammer/spell checking, generally hasty and poor righting. I KNOW!

(And I know that "grammar" and "writing" is misspelled, I am just keeping you on your toes and making a point :) )

OH! I forgot about emoticons... oh well...