Friday, December 5, 2008
Soon, a young couple enjoying some alone time in the park get corraled in to the discussion. The girlfriend, when asked, answered, "white." The boyfriend disagreed and said "Black." That started them off in an argument over who was right and who was wrong. They realized shortly into their argument that they were getting angry over nothing. The boyfriend points out, though, that if his girlfriend had just agreed with him, they wouldn't have argued. She in turn becomes upset at the notion and gets angrier. By then, the two men who started it all changed topics and conversed over where the other lived and so on and so forth. Sooner or later, all four were back to yelling at each other. The scene ends as a third man enters the park and yells, "Yellow" multiple times.
I came away from this drama some what perplexed. To what were they referring as black or white? Why were they getting so overworked about it? Was the issue over whether the unidentified object was black, white or yellow, or was there something deeper? As a class, we addressed some of these questions and through the discussion, I became aware of my idiosyncracies in arguing. My teacher asked what was the stupidest thing we had ever argued and with whom. It took me awhile to think of anything. I thought of some of my arguments with Melody Anderson, a good friend of mine, and with my mother, but the subject matter eluded me.
I realized that it was safe to say that most of my arguments were stupid. Not that I'm stupid, but I choose my battles poorly. My dad has quite a philosophy on this. He has told me on numerous occasions, "You can win the battle, but lose the war." Also, he has cautioned me about whether or not that was the hill I wanted to die on.
I guess the bottom line is: I want to be right. I don't care if it's over whether hot pizza tastes better than cold pizza or if my mother sounded critical or not. But I have to ask myself: is it worth it to be right? In my pursuit of rightness, what do I lose? Many a times, my dad has told me that people don't care what you know unless they know that you care. So it really doesn't matter whether or not I'm right and the other person is wrong. Okay, now that that's understood, can I actually follow through with it?
Here's a funny Monty Python video about arguing and some other stuff:
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Case in point.
But, there were some other cool things that I rather enjoyed being introduced to: the wonderful world of custom bikes.
But, there's only so much of bikes that you can take if you really don't know anything about them. However, there were other things to catch the eye:
I'm trying to mimic his face. It didn't work.
Cool dude, huh?
Then of course, you get to go to really cool things, such as Kenny Chesney. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I've realized on dream I've put on my list of things to do before I die: see the most beautiful man on the planet.
Okay, so not the best of quality, but I loved it.
Here's what I wrote on the Rapid City Journal's Sturgis Street Blog (They have since revamped that section and anything before 2013 is gone):
It was a sweet ride.
Our friend (more like, our financial advisor) from Nebraska City came up for the Sturgis motorcycle rally. I didn't think he'd come in style quite like that. He also has two Harley-Davidsons at home!
It sits three in the back, but we went two at a time. First was Katie and I.
Then Emily and Rebecca have a turn. It was great.
The weird thing was, I didn't feel that it constituted a real motorcycle ride. But then again, I shouldn't be too picky, now, should I?
Friday, July 25, 2008
Sunday, we had a lesson on mourning the death of a loved one from the Joseph Smith manual. How appropriate for my family at this time. I wasn't very close with my grandfather. The last time I saw him was in a visit our family made to Washington last summer for my cousin's wedding. He and my dad were so alike, I noticed. They had the same mannerisims in how they interacted with others. They were both very loveable. But of course the major differences stood out, mainly the absence of religion in my grandparents life was the biggest chasm of all.
As I analyze my grief and sadness, I feel a rather close connection if I imagine my grandfather on the other side of the veil, going through a "checking in" of sorts.
"John Franklin Beu," he'd say.
"Hmm..." the angel at check-in would scan his list. "Yup, here you are. Died this morning? Well, welcome to the world of Spirits."
I also imagine somewhat of a welcoming committe made up of his mother and father and other relatives. Maybe even his ex-wife. Who knows. I imagine him learning all sorts of things about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ by other spirits who know. I imagine him wanting to accept what he's being taught, but not being able to do much about it.
I see a family trip to the temple to do his work for him, whether we know or not that he's accepted the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
This is very much skewed and inaccurate, but it strangely consoles me to imagine what it's like up there from what I've studyied about the Spirit World.
Other thoughts have gone through my mind, such as how important family relationships are. I myself am not very good at keeping in contact with my extended family. I never have been and neither has my mother or father. I want to change that, as I learned in a class at school, these relationships are perpetuated beyond the grave. I am also held accountable for the relationships I have and what I do with, I believe.
After today, I plan on getting in contact with aunts and uncles with whom I have talked for a long time. I plan on calling my grandmother more often, as well as my mother's father, with whom it's difficult to talk. These plans should have been priority from the beginning. But it's never too late.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
In no particular order:
1. I learned my design 2 shift at the newspaper I'm working at. Makes me happy! I can do it without supervision, or without any help at all! Unless I have 16 pages to do, then I can worry. But all I do is plug it in, plug it in. The stories, that is. Or the pictures and the headlines. But I'm getting to be a pro! The only thing is, the people in the office don't like whistling or humming! I'm screwed! The problem with that is I whistle or hum without knowing it. Like one of the guy's cell phone went off and the ringtone was Indiana Jones (so cool!). A few minutes later, another guy said, "Here, we don't like whistling, humming, or singing." I didn't even notice I had done that! Sheesh, picky picky.
2. Winning a game of racquetball! I played three games of cutthroat with my dad and another guy. My dad won first, then the other guy, then me. Well, it's a big accomplishment because first off, I sucked it up. Then I gradually warmed up and then I won 14-5-6!! Now, if only I can beat my dad at singles...
3. Getting my scrapbooks in order for assimilation. That should be fun and maybe take up the rest of the summer! I am currently working on taking my baby pictures out of those acidic, horrible-for-archiving pages. I can't believe how cute I am!
4. This weekend was so fun. Why? Because I hung out with my family. We cleaned out the garage, took old clothes to Salvation Army, and watched "Chicken Little" together. Actually, before we watched the movie, my dad felt obligated to go to a barbeque for a friend from work. I went along to keep him from being lonely among the alcohol-guzzling party-goers. Well, turns out that we weren't the only Mormons there as a family from church came to the party as well. We were so surprised! They joined us and another couple who were their visiting the friend of dad's (he was the guy's brother) and funny thing: they're from Farmington, UT. So us Mormons make sure we make a good impression on the National Guard Recruiter and his wife. We ended up having lots of fun and good conversation about the church especially. He even said if I ever was needed a place to crash to look them up in Utah. I thought that was interesting seeing that we just met.
5. Okay, this might be really lame, but I found this really funny latin song about a mammoth - but it's actually really terrible. I first heard this song on a bus in Santo Domingo and I turned to my Nicaraguan companion and asked her about it. She said it wasn't a very good song -- and she was right! This mammoth ends up dying after wanting to learn to smoke, drink, do drugs, and other things. but the music is so cute - I can just forget that I know Spanish. On a better note, I found other music that I had fallen in love with on my mission, which made me very happy.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Since that time, three traveling exhibits of Sue were created to show him or her (the sex is still unknown) off to the world. One is an international exhibit where currently it is on display in Dubai. Another is a permanent display in Florida at Dino Land or something like that. The last exhibit travels throughout the United States and for the first time will come to back home to Faith for four months.
I drove up with a photographer and videographer to see Sue get put together. A team from the Field Museum had flown in that morning to assemble it for the opening reception Friday. Daryl Van Essen, the main assembly man (I forget his title), compared it to putting Legos together. Maybe a giant set of Legos. Five other men from Faith helped out, but Daryl and Hector, the other Field Museum guy, were the experts. I was looking up from below the 16 foot high hip bone; one challenge caused a dancing movement of Sue as the team moved the hip bone around to secure the two leg bones. It was quite amusing.
However, it was taking a bit of our time (nearly 2 hours since we had arrived) and they were only at the rib cage. They had about four more pieces to go. Plus, the fumes from the propane tank on the forklift were getting to me.
We finished our interviewing and then went to the Sinclair across the street. I started talking with the cashier about Sue and then an older gentlemen walked in swearing about the cones protecting the newly painted cross walk. Rita, the cashier, asked the man about Sue. He chattered away about when Sue was first discovered, about being there and getting to know the paleontologists and especially Sue.
"She was a cute little bugger," he said with a twinkle in his eye. I had to laugh. But my comrades were anxious to leave so we adiosed and left for Rapid City.
No need for a Jurassic Park when we have one right here in South Dakota.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
So I've been home about (pause as I look at the calendar) 2 weeks now. It's been crazy. My first Sunday home, I picked up a friend from the airport who came to visit me. Why is this new? She came all the way from Russia to see me! Well, that's somewhat of an exaggeration as Rimma, my friend, was actually in Washington, D.C. for an international law competition. Her Russian team placed 9th out of 200 countries. Ha, and we make fun of the Russians.
It was actually a small miracle that we got together. We got to be close friends in high school; she was a foreign exchange student living with a really good friend of mine. Our family shared Christmas with her because her host family had other plans (weird, I know). Our friendship has been a miracle. Well, I've known about her trip for a few months and she asked me to meet her halfway to D.C. That was a no-can-do thing because it would be either a plane ticket or a down payment on a car. I know, I know, sounds a bit selfish of me, right? Well, luckily, she's already a lawyer and could afford the $300 plane ticket to Rapid City, South Dakota.
We had a blast! We ran up and down the Black Hills, stopping at the tourist traps such as Deadwood and Lead (mining and gambling communities) and of course we couldn't leave out Mt. Rushmore. We saw the Herbie car in Deadwood's Hollywood Hotel. We cozied up to Wild Bill Hickok and mourned his premature death during a game of cards. We goggled at the largest gold mine in the world (according to the visitors' center informational video). We explored the Journey Museum, tried on cowboy hats and mounted horse saddles.
Rimma's biggest amazement was the fact that the snow scattered across parts of the Rapid City area didn't melt. However, chocolate candy and crayons melted, but not the snow (granted, the candy and crayons were in the car...). She loved seeing our guinea pigs, Mixie and Tedi, and took in the wonder of our ever-present Native American culture here in South Dakota. What I love about Rimma is her child-like wonder at the simple things. We also enjoyed as a family good discussions on politics and economics and religion.
My favorite part about the trip consists of two things: one was when we attended the baptism of a little Chinese lady. It was a wonderful, powerful experience. The other was after institute when the sister missionaries handed her a Russian Book of Mormon. Of course she can read English very well, but how many of us can understand Isaiah in our native tongue of English? So I hope that with the things we talked about and the things she felt, something will happen in the future.
Well, things quieted down after Rimma left. Actually, things stayed pretty noisy (you would know if you knew my family and my crazy sisters! Okay, I'm crazy too!), but we've all been involved in our different activities. I've been working for the nicest lady in the world, Ramona Policky, who has me doing odds and ends for her until my internship starts May 6. Oh, did I mention that my best friend, Sierra, works with me too? We both agree that we have the best job ever.
Speaking of my internship, my "boss" (I think that's who it is) told me that instead of doing copy editing and layout/page design like we originally planned, I would be a reporter for the first month, working Tuesday through Saturday. I was a little disappointed; I really liked the first idea. But this is where I can overcome challenges thrown at me. I've been looking for story opportunities, and doing so has me pretty much scared out of my mind. But I can handle it. I've done worse, I'm sure.
I had an interesting experience last night: as a favor to my dad, I spoke with about 20 young men at their mid-week church activity. The subject was career exploration and planning for college. Trust me, it was interesting. Not the PowerPoint (those are never interesting, I wish I had made it up though. Except the laptop we were using screwed up the visuals...). The young men had some interesting comments — I think someone mentioned he wanted to be a ballerina, another said a professional hobo. But for the most part, they were basically attentive; I tried spicing things up by showing them a couple of videos that my roommates and I had done to show them college isn't completely a waste of time (ha, ha). I had never really done any sort of speaking/presentation with high school aged guys in a long time, so I think it was dry, and lacked punch. If I have another chance, I have been well prepared (and warned).
Well, this summer should prove exciting. Heck, if you're in a single's branch, only Spanish soap operas have more drama than that!
Stay tuned for more (and frequent) updates!
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Can I just say how much I love family history? It's amazing and it definitely instills something in you: a love for people that you don't even know. We are all so inextricable, but yet so disconnected, especially with our forebearers.
My excitement came long ago when the semester just started and when I started to take a Family History class. Diving more in to my past created a "monster," if you will. I voraciously search almost every chance I'm on the internet (if I'm not doing facebook or checking email). There is something inside each of us that wants to know who we are and where we come from. This is where it starts.
I began a more intense search for different ancestors around the time that I was working on a video podcast for my visual media class. My inspiration for the podcast came from looking for information on my great, great grandmother, Challie Livingston. I was blessed enough to find a good amount of information on her while working on the podcast. Coincidence? I think not.
I found U.S. Census records, childrens' names and ages, parents and a whole long line of people related to her. It was like digging in your chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and finding a nugget of cookie dough. It tasted that good.
I finished my podcast project, but I have continued to look for information. Currently I'm stuck with Challie's husband's information. I have his dad's name and his mom's name, but the rest of his siblings are a little tricky. It also looks like his dad may have had a previous marriage, but I can't be 100 percent sure.
By far, my most exciting news is what I did today: I prepared names to take to the temple. For those who don't know, as Latter-day Saints, we believe that people have chances after death to accept Jesus Christ, if they didn't have the chance here during their life. Since we don't know for sure if that happens, we are baptized in behalf of them (proxy) for those who do accept the Savior's teachings on Baptism by immersion, repentance, faith, and others. To us, it's very special, especially for our progenitors.
On another note, Spring is here! Well, almost. It's still frigid in the mornings with frost on the car and your breath crystallizing in the air. But, the sun is coming up earlier and staying out longer. This is enough to satisfy me, well, except for the temperature. Shoots are seen along the walkways. I'm sure the birds will be singing soon, if not already.
This does make one think if winter will be missed at all. I can think of a few things: leaving leftovers outside when the fridge is full, ice-capades on the way to class, beautiful snow fall, piles of snow ten feet high, missing the chances to snowboard, ski, or sled. I think that pretty much covers it. At least for those of us with SAD (seasonal affective disorder) can rest easy and stop being depressed.
On come the shorts!
Thursday, January 3, 2008
It's been an eventful year for me, for which I am grateful. I wrapped up my mission, returning in April and jumped right back into civilian life. I accomplished a lot more in my love life: a first kiss and, consequently, a boyfriend. That was to be short-lived, but full of adventures in and of itself. I started working for a wonderful, generous lady who helped fund my mission as well. I became good friends with my co-worker, Sierra, who is absolutely amazing. I traveled to Washington state to see the marriage of my cousin. The travel bug never really left me as I returned to Ecuador to see the marriage of two wonderful families that I came to love as a missionary. That trip was especially intense as it was extended, due to full flights that continually pushed my companion and me back a couple of days (we flew standby). School came after that and I jumped right into a full load of classes and work on the newspaper, Scroll.
Now here I am: on the edge of a new year, a new semester, and new possibilities. Often, I feel overwhelmed with all that lays out in front of me. It's like an artist contemplating his empty canvas, or a writer staring at a blank page. They both have endless choices, and only they can make that choice. That is where I am. Staring at the blank page before me, not knowing the direction to go. So many choices! Where do I begin? Now knowing the proverbial sky is the limit, I want to do everything, see everything, go everywhere! What can stop me? Well, it seems that just reality is my only roadblock. Reality being money, school, etc. Plus, the unknown is a little troublesome. But man! I am excited!