Friday, December 31, 2010

2010: A Retrospective

Since 2010 just ended, I thought it would be appropriate to write a summary about how I felt the year went and my goals for 2011. I will resume my year end countdown lists next week. And, in order to not be too redundant, I won't specifically talk too much about the best experiences I had this year since that will be featured in a top ten list next week. But, I will talk about many of them generally because they played such a big part in my year. Here are my thoughts on 2010...

I think this has been one of the most challenging years of my life, and largely I feel I failed the challenge. Right at the beginning of the year, my girlfriend broke up with me. This was an extremely difficult thing for me to get through. I don't deal with rejection well and for the first couple months of the year I was depressed, thinking about my now ex-girlfriend. In a lot of ways, it cast a shadow on all the events that occurred throughout the first few months of this year. But, there was some good that came out of it. I was happy that I was able to stay good friends with the girl who broke up with me. I don't hold any grudge against her at all. I realize that I wasn't the best boyfriend ever since it was all new to me. What made it all hard was the fact that I'm still not sure what it was that caused the breakup. But, it is in the past now, and is best not to dwell on.

Beyond that, I was able to finish my time at BYU strong with a 4.0 GPA for my final semester. I had some great experiences with my classes and great experiences with Kevin. He really came through for me and helped me get over my depression. We did a lot of things that last semester that we had always talked about the entire time we were in college. I was proud of myself for being able to graduate. It was a great event and even my grandparents were able to attend.

Over the summer I stayed in Utah looking for work. I feel bad because I wasn't able to find work, but I did have some great times with Kevin and some great visits back home to California. It was the last time Kevin and I would get to really spend a lot of time hanging out and I feel that we made the most of it. After the summer was over and I still didn't have a job, it was decided that I would go back home to California and look for work there. It was sad to leave Utah since I grew to love it and had lots of friends there. But, it was really great to come back home and spend time with family since I had largely been away from home for college and my mission for the past six years.

I still wasn't able to find a job when I was home but I did start working with my dad. My dad is a band leader, so I would go and help him pack up all his heavy equipment. Beyond that I was able to really further develop my love for writing. I was able to finish my first novel that I've been working on and have really developed a passion for it. I am hoping that some day that I can use that passion in a career.

So, in summary, this year was plagued by two major disappointments. They were, first my girlfriend breaking up with me and second my difficulty in finding a job post-graduation. But, there were lots of great things as well including graduating from BYU, finishing my first novel and getting to spend real quality time with my friend, Kevin, and with my family. So, it wasn't my favorite year thus far in my life, but there is still a lot to be grateful for and memorable experiences that I will cherish.

For 2011, I have three main goals. The first is to finally find a job. I need to learn more about how to be able to find a job and not be scared to do whatever is required. I have faith that I will find something. The second goal is to lose weight. I am very committed to starting a system of exercise and eating right. The third and final goal is to start a rigorous schedule of writing and reading. I really learned this past year that writing is my main passion, so, in order to develop it I need to write regularly. And, to become a better writer, I need to read more as well. So, I haven't decided completely what this new schedule will be, but it'll involve setting aside time every day for writing and reading.

So, I hope for a great 2011 where I can really accomplish my goals and work on my many weaknesses. I'm excited and hopeful!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Top Ten TV Series of 2010

Ok, I'll admit it, I like TV. I enjoy a lot of different shows in several different genres. So, I thought I would give my top ten shows of 2010 to catalog my year in TV watching. I feel that TV at its best can be creative, entertaining, and showcase genuine human emotions. Just like a good book or good music, TV done well can really be enlightening. And, of course there are other shows that are just good entertainment. With this list, I've decided to restrict it to the new episodes that aired in 2010. I really got into Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel this year, but since they are old shows that I watched on DVD, I'm not going to count them on this list. I loved watching several classic episodes of The Office, but thought their new episodes this year were not quite up to the same caliber, so that show isn't included. I hope that clears up the list!

(WARNING: There are spoilers throughout this list, so don't read my description of each show unless you're caught up or you never plan on watching it.)

10. Flashforward
This sci-fi show only lasted one season, but I thought it was really well done during that season, especially the second half that aired at the beginning of the year. There were many compelling mysteries and fascinating characters (including Simon played by Dominic Monaghan). The finale was especially good when we finally got to see the flashforward play out in real time where certain things people had seen from their future came true exactly, but many were different than they expected. There was a cool question running through the show if we can change our future or if it is set in stone. Unfortunately this great little show was canceled, but I won't forget what I consider an excellent season of TV.

9. Chuck
Chuck was a new show I discovered this year. After always being intrigued because it came on right before Heroes, I decided to finally rent the first season on netflix. What followed was an extremely entertaining spy comedy featuring a very likable and relatable lead character. This latest season is keeping the quality up to the same level as always with a great new character of Chuck's mom played by the original Sarah Conner (Linda Hamilton). I really love the dynamic of this group and seeing to relationship of Chuck and Sarah develop. This show is just too much fun!

8. Community
Ok, this is a very recent addiction of mine. This is the epitome of fun TV. It is hilariously funny and the characters all play off of each other brilliantly. It is often absurd and ridiculous, but that is all part of the fun. I really have only watched the last few episodes of season 2, but I can already tell this show is going to have a place in my heart. It can often also be oddly heartwarming. In a recent episode, a character was celebrating his 21st birthday in a bar so he could have his first drink. After seeing all his other friends acting horribly under the influence of alcohol, he decides to forgo the drink and just take everybody home. A simple but important message that I was surprised to see on network TV. I can't wait to catch up on all the episodes I haven't seen yet!

7. Glee
This is my guilty pleasure show. Anyone who knows me would not predict that I would like this show. But, there is just something so contagious and fun about it. I love the musical numbers and the diversity of the cast. I love the quirky humor that is constant throughout every episode. Sue Sylvester is an absolute classic TV character and oftentimes there is a lesson to be learned. I'll admit that recently Glee has been straddling the line a little too much between appropriate and inappropriate. But, the majority of new episodes that aired this year were glee-ful fun for me.

6. Survivor: Heroes Vs. Villains
Survivor is my absolute favorite reality show and this may be my favorite all time Survivor season. There was just so much to love about it. The battle between Russell and Rob. Parvati giving out not one by two hidden immunity idols during tribal council to protect her alliance. J.T. giving away his hidden immunity idol to the absolute last person you'd ever want to do that to- Russell. It was all awesome and ended fairly satisfying with a final three that all deserved to win. The current Survivor season has been a little disappointing, but Heroes Vs. Villians was a great example of why I love Survivor so much.

5. Modern Family
Absolutely the best comedy on television right now. Somehow this show is able to really accurately portray real family issues. It can be hilariously funny at one moment and then heartfelt and poignant the next. What places this show so high for me on the list is that I was able to get my family into this show. It is often hard for me to convince my family to watch a new show (they always say they already have too many shows to watch), but they took a chance on this and now I'd say it is our number 1 family show. There are so many memorable moments, so it is impossible to list them out here. But, every one of the three little families focused on in this show has their moments. Brilliant comedy.

4. The Walking Dead
This is a new show I discovered when there was some buzz about it around Halloween. I decided to give the pilot episode a chance even though I'm not a big horror or zombie fan. What followed was one of the most compelling and interesting hours of television I have ever watched. Beyond all the gory zombies, this show centers on a group of survivors who are trying to figure out how to get by in the worst of circumstances. There are satisfying twists, multi dimensional characters, and fantastic visuals. It feels as if you are watching a movie. I was able to get my dad and sister hooked on this and the first season (only six episodes!) was truly awesome. I can't wait for more next year.

3. Dexter
Season 4 of Dexter is one of the best seasons of TV ever. So, it was always going to be a challenge to have a successful season 5. I'll admit that season 5 did not reach the brilliance of season 4, but it still left me on the edge of my chair. I loved the character of Lumen and the complicated relationship she has with Dexter. Deborah also had a really great season, culminating in almost finding out about her brother's true nature. I felt the season was very satisfying and I can't wait for what they'll do in the next season!

2. Fringe
This is such an awesome show! I started watching in season 1, but didn't really get hooked. But, over the summer I decided to pick up the second season, and I was blown away. This is one of the best sci-fi shows ever made. The current third season is the best season so far. The alternate world storyline is so interesting and compelling. I love all three of the main characters and I love the versions of them in the alternate world and the little differences in the alternate world. There is a real heart to the show as well, and it is fascinating to see what unique cases they will deal with next. I am absolutely in love with this show and will be heart broken if it gets canceled.

1. Lost
There are no words to describe how perfect I think this show is. Lost will forever be my all-time favorite show. What really makes it so great, I think, are the characters. This is the best cast ever assembled. Getting a look into their characters through flashbacks was an incredible way of really connecting to them. Yes, there is a lot of incredible plot twists and great island mythology that is really fun to think and theorize about. But, in the end, it was all about the characters and how the show was a significant journey for them. The most important part of their lives was the time they spent together and so they move on to the next life together. It was a poignant and moving ending, and I was literally in tears throughout the whole finale. Absolutely perfect in every way.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Upcoming Year End Lists

I know it has been a little while since I've written in this blog and I apologize. But, I have made some progress in my new writing project, tentatively titled "The Chosen." I have a good direction for it now rather than just a vague premise, so that really helps as I write it. The only thing I'm not sure about is where I want to end the book. Originally I wanted the book to work as a stand alone novel with potential for a sequel if it did well. But, I have so many ideas, it is going to be hard to put them all in just one book. So, I think I'm just going to keep writing and see where it ends up naturally. It should be a fun process.

Other than that, there isn't much else to report. Over the next couple weeks, I'm going to start coming out with my year end lists. What I mean by that, is lists that showcase my top 10 (or top 5) of certain things from throughout the year. I like making lists ranking my favorites, and I feel it is a fun way to review the year. So, the four categories (and I may add more) are going to be: albums, TV, movies, and life experiences. It should be fun and will give you a look into the things I loved this year.

So, that is about it for now! I hope to start posting these lists soon, so look out for that. And, I hope that everybody can enjoy this holiday season, I'm really starting to get into the spirit of it!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

New Writing Project

I don't know why, but I felt inspired to start writing another book. A flood of new ideas came to me and I just can't help but start to write it. So, I have added a third progress bar on the top right corner of this blog. I'm not sure yet how I'm going to divide my time between the three projects. My hope is that having so many different projects going on will help make sure that I'm not bored with any particular project. We'll see how this goes. It is possible that after a while I'll decide that I don't want to work on this particular novel right now, and I'll put it aside for a while. But, I believe if I'm excited about an idea, I should pursue it while I'm excited about it. But, I believe I will draw the line at three. Any more writing projects at the same time will probably be overkill.

I don't want to say too much about this new project at this time. Partly because I like keeping it a mystery, but also because it is still in its early stages so everything about it is subject to change. I am calling it "The Chosen" for now, but even that title might change. This new book is specifically being written with a Young Adult audience in mind (roughly those from age 13-17). I feel one of the biggest flaws of my Avaria books is that I wrote it only for myself. I didn't really think of what age group might like it or how I might be able to market it. So, since I'm getting more serious about wanting to be published, I've decided that I need to write a book for a specific type of audience.

All I can really say at the moment is that the book will follow a young man named Thomas. He finds out that he is being tested for something, but he has no idea what it is. So, he must survive these brutal tests as he tries to figure out who is responsible for giving him these tests and for what purpose he is being tested. The book will take place in modern day America. It will be mostly a mystery thriller, with perhaps some fantasy/science fiction elements. It should be fun. I know that description is vague and could probably describe several other stories, but I don't want to give too much away yet. I just want to say that I'm very excited about it, and perhaps I'll give more information about it on a later date.

Album Review: Moon Safari- Lover's End

I posted this review on but figured there may be some who don't go on that website and could still benefit from reading this review. Even though this is a progressive rock album, I recommend it to all people who love music. So, here is the review:

Every once and a while I get an album that completely captivates me. An album that I feel was made especially for me. An album that touches me deeply to my very soul. Lover's End by Moon Safari is that album. Since I received it, I have continued to play it constantly, and I am still playing it even now. Every thing about it is perfect to me. I haven't been this touched by music in a long time. Because of this reaction, it is hard for me to read some of the more negative reviews. I just find it hard to believe that people can't instantly hear the beauty of this album. In a way I feel sorry for them because they are missing out on something truly special.

Moon Safari is a band I have grown to love the past few years. I felt that there was something special on their debut album, "A Doorway To Summer," but that they still had a ways to go before perfecting their sound. The sound quality of that album was not great, and I felt the album missed a little bit of a bite. "Blomljud" was definitely a step in the right direction and was one of my favorite albums of that year. I did feel, however, that maybe "Blomljud" was just a little too long and could have benefited from some trimming.

But, in my opinion, with Lover's End, Moon Safari have perfected their sound. The sound quality is great and the album is the perfect length where every song is a highlight. Every moment of this album is beautiful. I tear up every time I listen to it because I can't believe the pure majestic beauty I am hearing. The instrumentation is wonderful. There is a wealth of great piano/keyboard melodies and solos. There is wonderful acoustic guitar moments and electric and slide guitar solos. The drums and bass provide a solid backbeat. But, what truly makes this music transcend is the impeccable vocal harmonies. In many ways, I feel that Moon Safari could be a fantastic a capella group because their singing is just perfect. The vocal arrangements are mind-blowing and leave me speechless. I have a soft-spot for these types of harmonies, so hearing them so perfectly executed brings the music to a whole new level for me.

Like I said before, every song is a highlight. The album begins with the wonderful "Lover's End Pt. 1" that really sets the stage nicely for the progressive feast that is about to come. "A Kid Called Panic" is one of the greatest prog songs of all time. It moves along seamlessly with a chorus that is to die for. After a fantastic instrumental powerhouse section, there is some beautiful piano playing with some of the best singing on the record. It is a glorious song. Then, we move to the pure beauty of "Southern Belle." It starts with an indescribably beautiful a capella section before the beautiful piano comes in and a beautiful melody is sung on top of it with more incredible harmonies.

"The World's Best Dreamers" is just more of the same beauty on display. Great vocal harmonies on top of a great symphonic prog instrumentation. The band has some fun with the brilliant "New York City Summergirl" which effectively evokes an American feel through some more great vocal arrangements and more of a pop prog arrangement. "Heartland" is pure symphonic prog at it's best with some great keyboard playing. "Crossing The Rubycon" is definitely a highlight of the album with some great acoustic guitars, more amazing harmonies, and some of the most majestic music I have ever heard. "Lover's End Pt. 2" is a great epilogue of sorts that wraps up the album with a great Beatles-esque vocal section.

My descriptions don't do it justice. This album is pure beauty. A fantastic blend of symphonic prog and impeccable vocal harmonies. This is a special band and they have created their first masterpiece. From start to finish I am captivated and have tears in my eyes. This is the music I was meant to listen to. I am so grateful to the band for this gift that they have given me. I will cherish this album for the rest of my life. I strongly recommend it to all music lovers.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Two New Experiences

I was able to finish chapter 6 of "Avaria book 2: The Aftermath" and I'm very excited about where things are headed. It is so fun to imagine something and see it come to life through the words you are writing. When I write, I generally have a very rough outline of the book (meaning I have an idea of what the ending will be and some of the details on the way to that ending). However, a lot of the plot gets made up along the way, and sometimes the things I come up with can drastically change what is going to come later. But, that is the fun of the process to me. The book evolves as it goes and becomes something even better than my initial vision. I am having a lot of fun with the characters in book two. In some ways I'm liking it even more than book one.

Beyond my writing, though, I wanted to talk about two things that really touched me yesterday. I experienced two things that really stuck with me and are two of my new favorite things. The first is the album "Lover's End" by Moon Safari. I love music, it is a great passion of mine. I received the latest Moon Safari album yesterday and immediately had my first listen. It was incredible! This is the music of my soul. The band manages to combine jaw-dropping vocal harmonies with extremely fun progressive rock. They are like if a world class acapella group suddenly decided to start a prog band. Acapella music is one of my favorite things, and to put it to a symphonic prog background just puts it on a whole new level. This album is practically perfect and is going to give Spock's Beard's X a run for it's money in the race for my favorite album of the year. I just couldn't believe the feelings of pure joy I had as I listened to the music. I haven't felt that way since Transatlantic's "The Whirlwind."

The other experience I had was going to the midnight showing of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows." Me and my sisters went about two hours before midnight and managed to get great seats. Going to a midnight showing is fun because the crowd gets really into it and it makes the whole experience more exciting. I think the book "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" is one of my favorite books. It astounds me how JK Rowling was able to end such an epic series with a perfect ending that wraps up everything in a satisfying way. I feel the movie really captured the feel of the book. These aren't kids having magical adventures in a fun grade school setting anymore. These are young adults who are figuring out their place in a very scary world. They are learning more about their relationships with each other and about themselves as they face impossible odds. The three main characters are all classic characters and it is a joy seeing them on screen, interacting with each other. I think the actors play them perfectly. I can't wait for part 2 in July! It is going to be epic!

And, I suppose that is it for now. I strongly recommend both "Lover's End" by Moon Safari and "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 1." They are both excellent.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A New Beginning

It has been a while since I have written in this blog, and I feel bad about it. My plan originally was to try to write on a weekly basis, updating everybody on the major events of my life. Well, as can clearly be seen, I haven't written since the beginning of August. So, I'm recommitting myself to write in this blog more regularly. And, not only that, but I'm going to change the method in which I write in this blog. Instead of weekly entries, I want to write a little bit more frequently. The entries may not be particularly lengthy, but I think it is important that I get my thoughts out in some way. One reason for this change is that I've decided I'd like to use this blog to track progress with my writing. I am trying hard to get into a good routine with my writing and I feel that tracking my progress through this blog will be a good motivator.

So, on the top right hand side of this page there will be progress bars with an approximation of the percentage of work I've accomplished on my current writing projects. At this time, I am working on two writing projects. The first project is a second draft of my first novel, tentatively called "Avaria Book One: The Sacrifice." The second project is the first draft of the sequel to that novel, which is tentatively called "Avaria Book Two: The Aftermath." As I complete work on these projects, I will update the progress bars accordingly. When I start up a new writing project, I will add a new progress bar. It should be a fun way to track my progress, and hopefully it'll motivate me since I won't want to keep the progress bars stalled at the same percentage for a long period of time.

Since there may be some who read this blog and aren't familiar with my writing, I thought I would briefly describe the plot of my first book (without giving too much away, of course). The novel takes place in a mystical land called Avaria located in an alternate universe. In Avaria, there were originally two races, the humans and the Ginerists. The Ginerists are supremely intelligent beings with the power of telepathy and mind control. Because of their mental superiority and strong inclination towards peace, the Ginerists were set up as the leaders of Avaria, with a supreme king in charge of all of Avaria. Throughout time, the humans have argued and fought to such a large degree that the Ginerists felt it would be wise to separate them into different sections of Avaria. The Ginerists also took away all technology and magical development since they were being used for destructive purposes by the humans. The humans developed in their own way in accordance with the environments they lived in, and formed into four seperate races, labeled as Men, Dwarves, Elves and Aquarians.

For the first time in the history of Avaria, the supreme king has been assassinated and his young son, Kydanis, must step up to this leadership position. As an idealist, this young Ginerist, now supreme ruler of an entire world, decides that the only way Avaria can exist in complete peace is if the separate races come together so that everybody can exist together in harmony. What he didn't expect, however, was that this act would be the impetus to a rebellion fueled by years of the people's freedoms being taken away at the hands of Ginerists.

This novel follows three people. It follows Kydanis, the newly appointed king of Avaria, as he attempts to bring the world together in peace, but is seemingly thwarted at his every attempt. It also follows Dak, a leader in the rebellion that is mounting, who believes that the Ginerists have unjustly taken away the people's freedoms. The novel also follows a young boy, named Goodwin, who somehow ends up in the middle of a war between the Ginerists and the rest of the inhabitants of Avaria.

This description really does not do the novel justice. It is hard for me to succinctly describe my novel in just a few paragraphs. It is definitely something I need to work on. But, hopefully it is somewhat intriguing based on this short description.

So, from now on I'm going to try to post more often. When I first started blogging, I tried to create several different blogs, each of which discussed a different side of my interests. In order to write more frequently, I've decided to use this blog to write about all of my interests. So, one day you might read an entry about a particular event in my life, then another day I might talk about an album that has been particularly moving to me, and then, I might talk about the latest progress on my writing. In this way, I hope that this blog will stay varied and interesting, and beyond that, regularly updated. The common thread for this blog is simply me and my life. Anything of particular interest to me is fair game to be discussed here.

I hope from this point forward there will be many more entries and that they will be interesting for others to read. I thank anyone who regularly (or even just occasionally) reads my blog! There will be more to come shortly!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

25 Years of Life: A Reflection

Last year on my birthday I wrote a blog post reflecting on 24 years of life. I enjoyed writing it so much, that I figured it would be a good tradition each year to use my birthday as an opportunity to reflect on my life. I'll most likely keep this entry much shorter than the one I did last year.

in my mind, life is a culmination of successes and failures. The successes are moments where, perhaps against odds, perhaps despite the temptation to do otherwise, a person does the right thing and accomplishes something worthwhile. There can be different measures of success, some successes might be as simple as doing a homework assignment for a class when you are feeling lazy. Other successes could be huge, like winning a gold medal at the Olympics. My life has contained several successes. I'm going to outline a few of these now.

Completing my mission was a huge success. There were moments on my mission of absolute despair where I felt like giving up. I felt like I was not up to the task and that I was not qualified to do the work I was doing. Mostly, I realized that my shyness really hindered me, and I worried that it placed an unnecessary burden on my companions who inevitably had to pick up my slack. However, I stuck with it. Not only did I simply manage to last two years, but I accomplished much good and learned several valuable lessons. Sometimes I don't realize how much of an accomplishment this truly was.

Another success involves my experience at college. It was a victory just to get accepted to BYU, which required me to perform well in High School. However, I was able to graduate with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology just a few months ago. This achievement required a great measure of sacrifice as I took a lot of time to study and write papers to make sure I understood the material and could pass my classes. I survived a difficult stretch of time where I abandoned my first major and searched desperately for a new one. But, once I chose Psychology, I knew there was no more time to waver from that choice and I needed to stick with it until the end. I am proud that I did, and I need to make sure to use this success as a foundation for future success.

It was also a success to get the job I had at Independent Study. I am the first to admit that I struggle when it comes to getting a job. My shyness tends to make it difficult for me to be able to ask for applications or to do well in an interview. But, I felt that I pushed through my discomfort and did all I could to make sure I would get that job. And I performed well within the job so that I could keep it for the duration of my time at BYU.

There are more successes in my life, but these are the ones that particularly stick out. However, life is made up of failures too, and I've had my fair share of them. When it comes to failures, the important thing is to be able to learn from them and not dwell on them and let them consume you. This is my great challenge in life. I have a tendency to look at all my past failures often and feel that they define me more than my successes do. For some reason I highlight my failures and come to the unfair conclusion that I am a bad person.

Some notable failures include when it took me five tries to pass my drivers test. This may seem trivial now, but I still cringe at the thought of the minor mistake I made on each test that led to me getting rejecting. It was tough to deal with at the time, and there was a point where I thought I would never drive. Another failure is specific points on my mission where I was unable to get over my fears of talking to people. I would have my companion talk to people when I couldn't. I felt uncomfortable when I was taken out of my comfort zone and had to go on exchanges. There were moments where I felt that if I didn't have a companion at all times who was extremely skilled and spiritual, I would have nothing to show for my two years of service.

I feel I failed at dating. I put my heart out there and was rejected, and I still don't really understand why. All I can conclude is that I was just too inexperienced and shy to be able to fulfill her needs. I feel like a failure especially this summer as I have been unsuccessful in my job search. I have applied to several places, but fear once again keeps me from doing all that I could be doing. I also fear that I have made the wrong choice of a major and that I now don't have the necessary skill to have a good career.

But, even though my failures are many, I need to not let them define who I am. I need to learn from these mistakes, and remember that there have also been numerous successes as well. And, if I have been able to succeed in the past, there is certainly hope for success in the future. My life has been full of ups and downs, moments of perfect happiness and what felt like endless despair. But, it is important that when I look back, I emphasize the high points and remember that I am a good person who has true potential. Yes, I have failed, but so has everyone. The true test is how I deal with these failures. If I feel that my life is defined by my failures, I am doomed to re-live them. But, if instead of dwelling on them, I can learn from them, I can turn them into successes and have a much happier and fulfilling life.

Friday, July 30, 2010

New Blog: At The End Of The Day

I have created a new blog called "At The End Of The Day". The link can be found on the right side of the screen, or you can click on the following link: At The End The Day . I created two blogs in the past called "Leviathan" and "So Many Shows" which I have never been able to regularly keep up for some reason. So, I have combined the ideas behind those two blogs and created the new blog "At The End Of The Day". My hope with this new blog is to add a new entry every day about something that made me happy or excited that particular day. This could be new music I've discovered, a new show or movie I'm excited about, or just some experience I had that day. The entries will most likely vary in length, and may end up being very short. But, I'm hoping I will be consistent in posting there each day. So, please visit that blog if you are interested!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Fun At Disneyworld Part 2

After our fun day at Epcot, we decided we needed some rest, so we took things easy the next day at Animal Kingdom, which I was grateful for. We first went on the ride Dinosaur, which was one of my favorites in all of Disneyworld. It basically has the same track as the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland, but instead of Indiana Jones, you travel in a time machine back to the time of Dinosaurs and try to find a specific Dinosaur before the impending meteor. It was a lot of fun! After that, I rested while Kevin went on his favorite ride in all of Disneyworld, Expedition Everest. We then had lunch at a nice restaurant and headed to the Kilimanjaro Safaris, where you take a ride in a truck and see many real animals in their natural habitat with the driver as your guide. It was really a nice safari and cool to see the different animals such as giraffes, elephants, and lions.

After that ride, Kevin went on Expedition Everest one more time while I shopped for souvenirs. We left that night and went back to our hotel room and had hamburgers for dinner which Kevin went and bought at a bar. The next two days we went to Hollywood Studios, which I thought was a lot of fun. We went on the Great Movie Ride, which is where you travel through different movie scenes such as Wizard of Oz, Alien, and Indiana Jones. At one point, while you are in the scene of a gangster movie, one of the gangsters actually comes out of the scene and hijacks the car that you are riding and becomes the new tour guide, only to be killed later so the original tour guide could return. It was a lot of fun. Also fun was the American Idol experience where you become the American Idol audience and people who auditioned that day compete for an audience vote. It was fun hearing the different talent and getting to vote for my favorite. What was also cool was that the winner of each show during the day participated in a finale show and the winner of the finale show would receive a golden ticket that allowed them to go to the front of the line for any American Idol audition throughout the country. I enjoyed the American Idol Experience so much that I went a second time without Kevin.

We also went on Star Tours, which was identical to the Disneyland version. We attended the Indiana Jones Stunt Show, which was incredible and featured live stunt men reenacting scenes from the movie. After that, we went on the Studio Backlot Tour, which featured a tram tour through the Backlot, and some demonstrations of different stunts. We went into a place that had props from the movie Prince Caspian and then to an exhibit that showed the history of Walt Disney and how his dreams became a reality, which was really cool to see. That day we also went on Toy Story Mania, which is where you go through and use a kind of gun to shoot at things and try to earn points. The line was incredibly long, I believe the wait was up to over two hours at one point. Luckily Kevin and I had fastpasses, so the wait wasn't as long for us. That night we attended the Fantasmic show, which takes place in a theater specifically built for the show. I thought it was really cool, although Kevin was disappointed that instead of the part with Peter Pan that they have at Disneyland, they had a scene from Pocahontas. Also, the dragon that is supposed to come out at the end didn't quite work right, so that was a little disappointing. But, besides that it was a great show.

After that day, we switched hotels and stayed at All Star Movies, which was not as nice as the first hotel we stayed at, but fun in its own way. We spent the last 3 days of our trip going back to the parks and re-doing the rides we liked the best. We had lunch with Erin at Hollywood Studios on one of the days. After that, Kevin and her went on the Aerosmith Roller Coaster while I stayed behind and went to the 3D Muppetvision show. After that, Erin left, and Kevin and I went to a stunt show that involved cars driving backwards and lots of explosions. It was really awesome! On our next day we went to Epcot and attempted to eat around the world, meaning have some kind of food from each of the different countries. We got to America, and then were too full to eat anymore, so we were only able to eat halfway around the world. On our final day we returned once again to The Magic Kingdom and had fun repeating all of our favorite rides from there. It was great!

So, all in all, the trip was tons of fun and I'm really glad I went! Disneyworld doesn't have quite the same magic as Disneyland, but there is so much to do and it is so much fun!

Note: Sorry it has taken me so long to write this entry! I'll probably write another one soon where I go through what else has happened this summer (which unfortunately isn't much).

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Fun At Disneyworld Part 1

This past week, I went to Disneyworld with Kevin to celebrate our graduation from BYU. We had been planning this trip for quite some time, so it was exciting to see it actually become a reality. We left early (early for me at least) to go to the Salt Lake Airport. I always get nervous in airports, but everything went really smoothly, and I enjoyed the flight to Orlando because I got to play trivia with other people on the plane, including Kevin, and I even ended up with the highest score of the whole plane ride. I was also able to listen to a lot of great music on my ipod while doing this. It was really a blast! That first day we basically just made sure we got into our hotel and were settled in. We did go to Downtown Disney that night for a little bit, which was when I first realized that this was going to be a very hot week, the weather was really humid and hot which was uncomfortable until I got used to it a little more throughout the week.

The next day, we started our Disneyworld adventures at the Magic Kingdom. This is basically the part of the park that most closely matches Disneyland. I went to Disneyworld about 15 years ago when I was 10, but I didn't really remember the Magic Kingdom at all. So, it was all basically a new experience for me. Kevin and I spent the morning in Fantasyland going on Peter Pan, It's A Small World (both are not quite as good as the Disneyland version in my opinion) and Snow White and Winnie the Pooh (which are both superior to the Disneyland version in my opinion). Then, we met up with Erin for lunch at a hot dog place that she is a huge fan of. We then went on all the other Magic Kingdom rides, included my personal favorite, Mickey's Philharmagic. This was a 3D movie in which Donald Duck goes through several other Disney movies. It is really creative, fun, and most importantly for me, not too intense. We also went on The Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Carribean, The Jungle Cruise, Country Bear Jamboree, Tiki Room, Stitch's Great Escape, Monster's Inc. Laugh Floor, and the Carousel of Progress. Of course, Kevin and Erin also went on Splash Mountain, Thunder Mountain and Space Mountain while I waited, since I'm not a fan of big drops or fast, roller coaster rides. It was a really fun day, and we were able to see The Main Street Electrical Parade and the big fireworks show at night.

The next day we spent at Epcot, which is probably my favorite of the four Disneyworld parks. I remembered a little bit more of this park from my childhood. Before we got to Epcot though, we met up with Erin at a restaurant to eat breakfast with Disney characters. I wasn't sure what to do when the Disney characters came to our table, but it ended up being a lot of fun, and I got several cool pictures with the different characters (Donald, Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy). After that we took the monorail to Epcot. There are basically two parts to Epcot, the Future World and the World Showcase. We started in the Future World and went on several rides. My favorite was Soarin', which takes you on a hang glider through various parts of California. I also went on Spaceship Earth, which is inside the big golf ball and takes you through a perspective of Earth's history. I also went on a ride called Living with the Land, which is a slow moving boat ride that takes you through all the agricultural advancements that Disney is working on.

After spending time in the Future World part, we began our journey through the World Showcase, which is basically where they have representations of 11 different countries. We started in Canada, where we watched a really cool movie about Canada. At this point my legs got really sore and it became difficult to walk, which was unfortunate since we had a lot of walking in store this day. But, I kept on through England and then on to France where we watched another movie, this time of course about France. I was so exhausted that I took the opportunity to take a nap while the movie played (don't worry though, we went back another day and this time I actually stayed awake for the movie!). Also, at this point I was getting really hungry, which I think contributed to my fatigue since I hadn't eaten anything since breakfast and it was now approaching dinner time. We made reservations to eat in China, so we made our way over to the restaurant which was about 5 countries away. After eating, though, I felt better, and we went to Mexico and went on the little boat cruise through Mexico with the Three Cabelleros, which was entertaining. We then went on a ride in Norway called Maelstrom that takes you through some viking lands and then has you go down a short waterfall. It was a lot of fun. After this we headed to Japan, mainly to get a spot to wait for the fireworks show, illuminations. I needed to sit down since my legs were really sore at this point, so I waited alone while Kevin ran around Epcot getting candy bars and Erin spent time shopping around Japan (her favorite country). They stood in a different spot for the fireworks show for a better view while I stayed sitting. After illuminations, we left Epcot and got much needed rest for our next day....

...and I'm starting to realize that this is going to be a really long entry, so I'm going to end part 1 here and continue on in a later post. Stay tuned for our time in the Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The End (?)

Life feels strange right now. Almost as if it is not real. I have moments where I reflect and realize how odd things are. I feel I'm at the end. Everything that kept me going is ending. As I faced this extremely difficult last semester, I kept thinking ahead to several things in the future that would give me hope and happiness. One of those things was the big Transatlantic concert which was absolutely fantastic. The other occurred just two days ago- the Lost finale. The finale was even more incredible than I expected it to be. The only thing really left for me is my big Disneyworld trip in a couple weeks with Kevin. After that it is all over. What is there to look forward to? The last Lost episode was appropriately called The End, and I feel that is an accurate title to this part of my life.

So, what is the logical next step? Either I give up- have nothing to look forward to and go through a long period of hopelessness. Or, the better option, I find something new to look forward to. I'm struggling to find this new thing as I start to feel like the future for me isn't too bright. I have crippling doubts of ever having a successful career or a family of my own. I'm starting to really think there is something truly wrong with me- that I'm not capable of accomplishing what any "ordinary" person can easily accomplish. This is a problematic viewpoint and maybe this very outlook about myself is what is keeping me from progression.

These past few weeks have been particularly uneventful. I've been trying with great effort to find a job, but so far I haven't been successful. I'm starting to run out of options about where to apply and it is terrifying me. I did decide last week to go home for a week to be with family. I thought it was a great opportunity to see my family since I didn't have any obligations tying me down to being in Provo. I really enjoyed my time at home. I was worried my parents would scold me about not finding a job faster and it would make me even more depressed, but they were very understanding and fair. I felt like I got to spend good quality time with each family member and I even got a nice visit to my grandmother and uncle. I even surprisingly extended my trip a couple of days because I desired to spend more time with my family. I also was able to get a new pair of glasses and get new tires for my car. So, all in all, I felt like it was a very successful trip.

Coming back to Provo and trying to really put strong effort into finding a job hasn't helped me feel any better though. I just feel an emptiness right now that I can't describe. I'm trying to simply fill my days with productivity to deal with this. I'm planning on spending a good portion of each day looking for jobs and writing my novel. I also want to start to be more dedicated to a simple exercise program. I hate having nothing to do each day, so hopefully these goals will keep me from the boredom that is watching TV all day. Much to everyone's surprise, I do not enjoy staring at a TV screen all day. One of the stereotypes about me that people have (I'm mainly talking about my family) is that if it was up to me I'd watch TV and play guitar hero all day, every day. This stereotype is incorrect. In reality, this would be torture for me. I hate not being productive- I like having school and/or work to make me feel like I'm accomplishing something with my life. I need to have a better variety of interests so I can make life interesting and not waste hours staring at a screen.

Even though I obviously haven't been going through the best time in my life, there have been really great moments. Music has been inspiring me to a great degree lately. I have recently received what I consider to be the greatest CD so far of the year- the new Spock's Beard album "X". Kevin ordered the super special deluxe edition of this album for me for Christmas and it finally arrived last week. It was so exciting to open the package it came in and discover all of the cool goodies. The best part though is that I'm listed in the album as an executive producer and my name is sung in the lyrics of one of the songs of this album. It was such a blast listening for my name in the song. The album is by far the best Spock's Beard album after Neal Morse left, and may even be better than some of the albums Neal was a part of. I'm really blown away by what my favorite band has accomplished here, and I'm positive I'll be listening to this album nonstop for a long time.

Also profound to me was the finale of Lost. I will admit that I was in tears for much of the episode. Lost is BY FAR the best TV show of all time in my opinion. I'm glad that the finale focused on the characters the fans have come to love so much and I feel the ending was perfect. I am sad that there is no new Lost episodes ever, but I couldn't have asked for a more satisfying finale. The next big event to look forward to now is the Disneyworld trip that Kevin and I have been planning for a while. It should be a whole lot of fun, and it'll be cool to see Erin in Florida. Thankfully there is this one thing to look forward to and keep me going for the next little bit. Hopefully I can use this time to find the next thing to look forward to.

Perhaps I shouldn't look at this stage of my life as an ending...but a beginning. I've laid the foundation, now I have the rest of my life to look forward to. Maybe what is making me so sad is that I'm focusing on the wrong thing and am not giving myself enough credit for what I've accomplished thus far. I need to realize my true potential. I need to put aside these irrational, crippling fears. I need to start living. Life is a special gift and I need to not toss it aside. I want to enjoy life. I want to be happy with who I am. I have a long way to go.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Garden of Forking Paths

I feel lost. I feel alone. I don't know what to do with myself and it scares me. I've always had a routine to numb me from the fear of an unknown future. My routine is being stripped away and I'm soon about to face my greatest fear. I don't know how to handle it. Every reminder of what is coming is like a dagger to my heart. Why do I feel this void of emptiness? What can I do to fill this void?

Hopelessness is one of the worst feelings one can experience and I feel it about to consume me. I don't have any clear direction for my life. I feel extremely overwhelmed and don't feel I am appropriately prepared for the future ahead of me. I wish I was brave. I wish I was confident. But, I sadly am not.

I feel like I am losing everything. My friends. My family. My comfort. Soon I will truly be alone and that thought terrifies me. I definitely feel that a chapter in my life is ending and the blank pages that are the next chapter stare at me menacingly, daring me to write on them. I wish I could have built myself a better foundation so that this turning point in my life wouldn't be so scary. However, I have allowed comfort and fear keep me from preparing appropriately and I'm paying the price now.

Life is like a garden of forking paths. Every choice gives multiple possibilities to where life can lead. There are an infinite amount of possible futures based on the decisions we make. Some are more likely than others, but oftentimes life is unpredictable and a path you would have never expected ends up being the path you follow. Right now I have a big decision to make, a forking path where I could go one of many directions. I just hope I make the right choice and go down a pleasing path that will lead to fulfillment. If only I could have a flash forward and see myself in several years (or months even) to give some idea of where I'll be, or even give me some measure of confidence about where my life is headed. But, a vision of the future could be a curse as I bring to pass that future just because I have seen it and believe that my future has been determined. This would be especially bad if my vision of the future wasn't the most appealing- it could lead to despair and more hopelessness.

The future is not set. It is ever changing depending on the choices that are made. The forking paths lead to infinite possibilities and I need to make the choices that will lead me down the most fulfilling pathway. I need to not view this as terrifying, but as exciting. There are many possibilities for me in my life, many of which are positive and full of happiness. I need to focus on these positive possibilities and not feel like my life has already been predetermined down a path of misery and loneliness. As I try to change my view, I will "smile and act like everything is alright" even though I am in turmoil inside. There are still glimpses of my past chapter that will keep me satisfied until I write the new one. The danger, however, is staying in the same chapter and never moving on due to fear, staying perpetually stuck in the beginning of the book of life and not having a satisfying ending.

Note: This blog post is mainly due to having a boring week without much to write about and wanting to exercise my creative juices. I'm not depressed, just scared of an unknown future as I'm sure many in my position are.

Monday, April 26, 2010


This is where "real" life begins. I am done with school (for now) and need to figure out what to do with my life. Last week I attended my graduation and in two weeks I won't have a job. I'm scared. But, life is all about growth and how can I grow unless I am forced outside my comfort zone and made to do something new and difficult?

Before I talk too much about my fears for the future, I should relate what has happened in the past week. Last Monday through Wednesday I focused on finals (ok, maybe I really didn't focus much on finals on Monday, but I promise I did on Tuesday and Wednesday!). I had only two finals- one was super easy for my music appreciation class. I studied for about 40 minutes Tuesday morning and then went to the testing center to take it. My other final was considerably harder and was scheduled for 2:30 on Wednesday. I studied from the moment I woke up on Wednesday (around 8:00) right up until I had to go take the final. I was a little late getting to my final (mainly because I was selling some textbooks back) and it started pouring rain as I started walking from the parking lot to the building where I was to take my final. I was only wearing a t-shirt and shorts because I didn't think it would rain, so I was late and drenched and ended up having to take the final on the floor of the classroom since all the seats were taken. I was so wet I was dripping water onto my blue book and I had to take my glasses off because they were filled with water spots and I couldn't see my final. I had to write four essays, and I feel I did pretty well. My mind went blank for a minute on the last essay, but I recovered pretty well as I started writing it and things started coming to my mind. I hope I did well on that final, I should find out this week.

After that final, I went and picked up my cap and gown and then waited for my mom and grandparents to get into town that night. When my mom got into town she called me and I went over so that we could spend some time together. We watched American Idol and prepared for the graduation the next day. The next day I got a haircut from my mom in the morning and then headed to the commencement with Kevin. Now, before I get into how the commencement went, I want to admit that I was really nervous about graduation. I knew it would be crowded and crazy, and I didn't know much about how things were going to happen beforehand, which added to my nerves. But, I was happy that things ended up working out really well and my nerves were mostly unnecessary.

At the commencement we all lined up in different lines according to the college we belong to, which unfortunately meant that Kevin was in a line at the complete opposite side of the parking lot from me. So, I was very much alone and didn't really know anyone around me in my line. But, it didn't end up mattering all that much. We all walked to the Marriot Center and took our seats and I was amazed with the huge number of graduates and family there was in the Marriot Center- in fact I thought they were going to run out of room for the graduates in the Marriot Center. The ceremony itself was really awesome, and as I walked out of the Marriot Center, I saw my mom and grandparents and their excitement, and it was really a cool feeling to finally start realizing how big a step this was.

Outside of the Marriot Center I quickly spotted Kevin and his girlfriend Amy and we waited for our families. It was nice to hug my family members and receive their congratulations. I'm truly grateful to my family for coming, especially my grandparents, they had to travel quite far and my grandma wasn't feeling well, but they said they wouldn't miss it for anything. After they left and after witnessing Kevin ringing the victory bell (I made sure he rang it once for me too) I rode home with Kevin and got ready then went to my mom's hotel to spend time with my grandparents and mom watching Survivor. It was nice to spend time with part of my family.

The next day were the convocations, which I was even more nervous for because I had to actually walk up to the dean and receive my (fake) diploma. I got to the Marriot Center an hour before and had some difficulty finding the line I belonged in. But, it worked out fine, and I sat in my seat and began what was an almost two hour wait for my name to be read and for me to walk. When I did walk, I heard my sister and grandma scream for me (even though the dean said not to before they handed out diplomas). It was nice to know how much my family supported me. For convocations my sisters and dad were there and after several minutes of confusion, we met up after convocations and hugged and took many pictures. It was really cool, and I felt a little overwhelmed. After that, we met up with Kevin and all had a celebration dinner at Rodizio Grill. The food was awesome and my family and my grandparents gave me cards and very generous gifts, and I can not express how grateful I am for them and for all their support of me throughout my college experience and my whole life. I most definitely could not have done it without them, and I hope they know home much I love and appreciate them. After dinner, we went to Kevin's house for cake and ice cream and it was a lot of fun for all of us.

Saturday morning was a bit crazy because I had to move out and clean my apartment by 10:00AM. It ended up not being too bad, and afterwards I immediately drove to my family's hotel and we proceeded to spend some quality time together for the rest of the day. The day was balanced between fun, lighthearted conversation and serious advice and discussion of my future. I was grateful for my parents words of advice, even if it did make me a little more nervous than I was before about my future. On Sunday, we had a final breakfast together, and then I said goodbye to my family. It was sad because I'm not sure the next time I'll see them. After they left I had a long Sunday by myself in a hotel room since I couldn't move in to my new apartment until Monday morning. It was a day spent reflecting about my past, thinking about my future, and just relaxing after what was a pretty nervewracking week for me.

So, there you have it- my crazy week of finals and graduation. It is weird for me to think that I'm done here at BYU. It may not even be true because I'm seriously considering returning here for graduate school. So, I'm very uncertain about my future at this point, and really all I know is that I must find a job as soon as possible, and that I'll be spending the spring/summer figuring out plans for my future. But, I need to not get discouraged- this is the time for me to truly shine and to make something of myself. I have grown comfortable in my routine of school and work at Independent Study, but I was ready for a change, and I welcome it now. Life is something to be cherished, not dreaded. I hope that I can prove myself in the next few months, and for the rest of my life. It is about time.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Concert To End All Concerts

Music is extremely special to me and has been a huge part of my life since I was young. This past Saturday night I had one of the most special musical experiences of my life. It was truly amazing to see five of my favorite musicians (Neal Morse, Roine Stolt, Pete Trewavas, Mike Portnoy, and Daniel Gildenlow) come together and play with all their heart. The concert was the perfect example of everything I love about music. There were moments of pure joy, deep spirituality, and flawless performing. I can not say enough to truly express how wonderful the experience was.

But, lets go back to the beginning of the trip. Surprisingly for me, things went pretty smoothly leaving Utah for California. There were no car troubles, speeding tickets or traffic, just an enjoyable drive with my best friend Kevin. I decided since Transatlantic is a super group composed of members of four different bands, that a cool idea would be to listen to an album from each band that these members are a part of regularly. It provided for a lot of great music on the trip, and gave a good balance of time for listening and time for talking. It was honestly one of the quickest drives from Provo to Fontana that I've ever driven.

When we got to my house on Thursday night, my mom was the only family member home, so the three of us went to dinner together to a mexican restaurant and then watched Survivor at my house. It was a pleasant evening, and fun to spend time with my mom. The next day, we spent some time with the rest of my family and all had an awesome homecooked meal and watched Lost. Even though nothing really amazing happened, it was just nice to have some time to spend with my family. I often miss it as I'm at BYU.

Saturday was the big day, and my family left in the early afternoon for my sister's birthday celebration while Kevin and I stayed at my house to wait until it was time to leave for the concert. We watched Iron Man and played pool and got excited about what we were about to experience. We left my house and got to Downey (where the concert was) without any issues. I parked at the theater and Kevin and I walked to a nearby In-N-Out for dinner. As we were walking, we heard the band practicing in the theater and it made us even more excited for the concert that would begin in a few hours. Waiting in the theater for the concert to start was rough since I was so excited for it, but the wait was most definitely worth it.

The band began by playing their latest album, The Whirlwind, in its entirety. When the intro music came on the speakers for The Whirlwind, I could feel the excitement in the room and the audience clapped and cheered for Transatlantic as they came on stage. All of The Whirlwind was incredible- it made me appreciate the album even more than I already do. What was cool was that certain parts of the album that I considered weaker (like, for example, track 2- The Wind Blew Them All Away) were really awesome live and made me realize how incredible those tracks are, enhancing the whole album for me. A big moment was the end of track 11, Is It Really Happening?, which is extremely difficult to play, but the band pulled it off incredibly. This was the first live performance of this album, and the first live performance by the band in almost 9 years, and it was practically flawless. I'm still amazed by it.

After playing this close to 80 minute song, there was an intermission and the band promised that they weren't even half done yet! They came back after about 20 minutes and played all their great epics- All of the Above, Duel with the Devil and Stranger in Your Soul along with two of their shorter "ballads"- We All Need Some Light and Bridge Across Forever, which were great and heartfelt. They even switched the lead singer for We All Need Some Light, which was really cool. All of the music was incredible, I was amazed at how the band could pull off all of this complex intricate music with less than a week of rehearsal. You can tell that there is a special musical chemistry amongst these band members. They had a lot of fun and really felt the music they played. I loved looking at their expressions, especially those of Neal Morse who was performing directly in front of Kevin and I. He is my musical hero and he proved why during this concert. I could see the emotion on his face, especially during the encore of Bridge Across Forever and Stranger In Your Soul. Several times throughout the concert I really felt the music strongly and had the emotion of it wash over me. It was an incredible experience.

After the concert, Kevin and I talked the whole ride home about how awesome it was and picked up Oreo Shakes at Jack In The Box. I'm really glad that Kevin was there to share the experience, and I'm happy to know someone that loves music as strongly as I do. We left for Utah the next day, and now I'm back in Utah and have to focus on finals and graduation. It was a fun vacation before this final stretch of my time as an undergraduate at BYU. The next few weeks should be interesting as I graduate and focus on finding a job. I feel like this concert experience refreshed me and now I can better face the difficult things ahead. How can life be a bad thing when it contains music that is this awesome?

Monday, April 12, 2010


Well, I promised I would start writing in my blog more regularly- so here is a new post! Do I have anything worth saying? Hmmm…that is the tough question. I covered my dilemma about what to do with my future in my last post, so I’m not sure I want to get into that anymore. I’ll just say that I’ve decided that the best plan for me after graduation is to find an affordable apartment here in the Provo area and find a job. Mainly it just involves me finding the right apartment (which needs to be soon since I am going to have to leave my current apartment in less than two weeks) and applying to as many jobs as I can hoping that one will accept me. Once I get settled into this apartment and job situation, I can start seriously considering future school plans (such as graduate school). So, that is the plan for now. Nothing groundbreaking, but it helps give me some kind of direction since it seems that everyone around me is worried about my future. I know they are just looking out for me, but sometimes it unnecessarily adds to the worry that I already have.

I have my final classes at BYU, at least as an undergraduate, this week. Tomorrow will be my last class, and then I have two finals the next week. Before I think about my finals, though, I’m going to California this weekend to see my favorite band, Transatlantic. This is a huge deal because this band haven’t performed live for 8 years, in fact, I didn’t think I would ever see them perform live since I discovered the band after they stopped touring and essentially split up. But, thankfully for me, they reunited last year, released one of my favorite albums of all time, The Whirlwind, and are now performing live less than an hour from my house in California this Saturday. It is truly a dream come true, and I still am having a hard time believing that it is real. I should have some fun things to report about it in my blog entry next week.

Besides that I’ve just been enjoying my last few classes at BYU. I spent a lot of time last week on a paper for my research class- in fact that was my last paper as an undergraduate, which is pretty cool. So, besides school and work, I’ve spent my free time doing the average stuff- watching shows, listening to music, and hanging out with Kevin. A frustrating part of last week was that my internet decided to stop working on my laptop. I connect to the BYU internet connection through an ethernet cord in my room in my apartment. Well, lately they have been requiring that you have the latest windows updates and an up to date anti-virus program. Well, I thought I was meeting these requirements, but the internet connection wouldn’t work. To make matters more difficult, my wireless doesn’t work (regularly) on my laptop, so I can’t even get online to try to find the updates I need to be able to connect. So, it is frustrating and making things a bit more difficult, but that’s life.

I wish I had something more interesting to say, it is bad sign when the most interesting thing I can think of to talk about is my bad internet connection. I’m hoping that things will start looking up and be more interesting as my job search heats up. Oh! And I guess another thing I should mention is that I achieved a goal of mine this past week- I actually wrote in my novel this week! It wasn’t much, but it is still exciting that I’m getting the writing bug again. Hopefully it’ll lead to more writing in the near future.

I'm still obsessed with Lost and the episode this past week was a classic Lost episode showing the connection between the sideways and island world. There have been theories that involve how those in one reality may need to move to the other, or at least combine somehow with the other. Essentially, they need to transition from one reality to another. I feel I'm in a similar transitioning state, I need to move from one reality (the BYU student reality) and into another (the real job reality). I'm starting to see signs from the next reality pop up in my life now because the barrier between the two is thinning since the transition is occuring so soon. These signs scare me because I want to stay in the current reality because I have grown comfortable in it. However, I need to face this transition with positivity, learning from my previous reality, and hopefully come into a new, more meaningful reality. (Sorry about this weird tangent trying to connect my life to the latest Lost episode, but I wanted to flex my creative muscles and somehow connect this post to the title and picture. Also, sorry to those who may read this that don't watch Lost, because I'm sure this makes absolutely no sense. Don't worry, it doesn't make much sense to those who watch the show either.)

And, I guess that is about it for now. I’ll hopefully have more to say next week.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


“Time is high. Now's the time
For a mindrevolution.
You can change and it starts
Like a wave deep inside.
Everything you send out
Will come back to the giver
With the blind eyes of love
You're saving your soul
And the world.” – from Mindrevolutions by Kaipa

It has indeed been a long time since I’ve written here, and, as always, I apologize for that. For some reason I just can’t get myself into a normal routine of writing, whether it be a blog, a journal, or a novel. I love writing, it is certainly one of my passions, but for some reason I have a difficult time motivating myself. Luckily, there is always time to change and I can promise to start now. Of course, based on previous experience, that just means that I’ll write this week and maybe another week, and then stop again for a long period. Hopefully the past doesn’t repeat itself, and I really can get into a good routine. Its time for me to change. As Kaipa would put it, it is time for a mindrevolution.

I am at a crucial point in my life, at a time when everything is about to change. I have become comfortable in my routine of attending classes at BYU and working at Independent Study, going home to California occasionally for a summer, holiday or concert. However, now I’m graduating, which means no more BYU and no more student job at Independent Study. This change is occuring in about a month’s time, and to be honest I’m very scared of the future right now because I really don’t have any concrete plans. I’m beginning the job search now, but so far it doesn’t seem promising due to a bad job market and a difficult undergraduate degree. It seems that to be able to do anything with a Psychology degree one must have a masters or PhD, which I won’t have anytime soon. I may have made a mistake by not immediately enrolling into a graduate program, but I wanted a break from school, a chance to earn some money so I can better afford graduate school, and, to be honest, I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to get in due to not having the strongest GPA, and not having made the appropriate connections to be able to get good recommendation letters.

But, the reality of things is that I’m not going to be able to get into a graduate program for at least a year, so I need to figure out a plan in the meantime which must require getting a job and living on my own. My hope is to find a decently priced apartment in the Provo/Orem area, find a good job in this area, and start saving money for Graduate School. Hopefully this can happen; I’ve only had one job, so I’m not very experienced in finding new jobs, but I’m sure I’ll get something if I seek dilligently enough. But, obviously my future has been a very pressing issue on my mind and I’m constantly worrying about it.

As for what has been happening to me so far this year, I must admit it has been pretty average. I have settled into a pretty predictable routine of school, work, and hanging out with Kevin in my freetime. It seems like the last few months have gone by incredibly fast- probably because of my fear of this semester being over and having to face a huge change in my life. I have done really well in my classes this semester and have kept my grades up. Kevin, Erin and I have gotten together pretty much every Tuesday for Lost and for several Fridays for our usual Disney Movie Night. It has been a lot of fun, and refreshing to me that I can still be really good friends with Erin even though we went through a breakup. The plan is still intact for the three of us to go to Disneyworld, although Erin will already be there since she is doing an internship at Disneyworld starting at the end of May. It’ll be sad for her to be gone, but I know she’ll be happier there, so I’m happy for her.

In my last blog entry, I talked about how hard things were, and indeed things only got harder after that entry. I was depressed often for the majority of the past few months and I felt it start to affect my life. I went to Las Vegas to witness my parent’s vow renewal, and I feel like I sort of ruined the trip because of the sad mood I was in. I could tell that my family sensed I wasn’t myself. My mom since has been trying to think of everything she could do to help me improve, but not much was helping me. I lost hope. I felt that “the good life” just wasn’t for me and I would have to settle for a mediocre life of loneliness and disappointment. It is a pretty bleak outlook, but that’s how I felt. I did have moments of happiness, such as hanging out with Kevin, attending my classes, which I enjoy immensely, watching several shows that I love (including a new obsession called Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and, as always listening to music.

Speaking of music, a new band that I’m currently obsessed with is a band called Kaipa. The lyric that started out this blog entry is from a song by them that I think is a brilliant masterpiece. I think I need what they call a mindrevolution- I need to completely change my way of thinking so that I can come out of this depression and into a happier, more optimistic place. “You can change.” I’m not doomed, I can change, and I can save my own soul in the process. I have been improving over the last several weeks and I already feel this mindrevolution taking place. Now is the best time for change as a lot of things are changing in my life. I just need to make sure it is a positive change, not one that drags me down even further in the depths of despair. But, I’m gaining confidence and optimism, and I feel the change is coming and I’m about to make some great progress. Things are looking up, that’s for sure.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hard Times

Ok, now that I've reviewed last year, I think it would make sense now to jump in to the events that have occurred so far this year. To be honest (and why wouldn't I be honest in my own blog?) it has been a tough couple of weeks for me. For the first couple of days of the year I was still spending Christmas break at home with my family. We had a fun New Year's Day, and decided to go see Avatar as a family. The theater was crazy and many of the shows were sold out, but we managed to get tickets to a showing, and my sister Lauren and I stood in a huge line to get into the theater. This was my second time seeing the movie and it just solidified my opinion that this is the greatest movie of 2009. My family seemed to all like it as well.

After the fun at home, I had to return back to BYU for my final semester as an Undergraduate! I was excited to get the semester started and work on several goals that I had set for myself (aka New Year's Resolutions). Unfortunately, when I got back to Utah, my girlfriend called and broke up with me. I don't want to dwell on this too much, but it was a difficult thing for me to deal with. I have a tendency to blame myself for everything that goes wrong in my life so I had a hard time accepting that I wasn't the one at fault and that it was truly the reason she gave- that she isn't ready for a relationship at this time. There are two main things that are getting me through this tough break up. One is the hope that maybe someday I can start dating her again once she is ready to be in a relationship. The other is my friendship with Kevin.

Kevin has really been there for me at this time and I am so grateful for his kindness and friendship. He has taken a lot of time out of his busy schedule to hang out with me and get my mind off dwelling on the break up and the potential things I did to cause it. We have had many fun experiences in the past couple weeks. First of all, we went and saw Sherlock Holmes and it was really good! It was a great, fun movie that was a fun puzzle to figure out. A highlight for me of the past couple weeks was when Kevin and I went to Salt Lake to eat at The Roof restaurant and see the Joseph Smith movie. This had been a goal of ours for quite some time but it seemed that something always interfered with our plan. Well, I think we finally broke the curse by doing another thing that we always talk about- playing the Lost board game.

The food at The Roof was incredible and the Joseph Smith movie was even more incredible- it really showed me the huge sacrifice that Joseph Smith made to help bring about the great church we have today. Another fun thing that Kevin and I did was go to the IMAX theater at Jordan Commons on Monday to see Avatar. Yes, this was the third time I saw the movie, and I was still just as impressed seeing it a third time. It was the first time Kevin had ever been to the IMAX theater, so it was a fun experience, and I think he might have liked the movie.

I just can't express how lucky I am to have such a great friend who can help me through difficult times. Besides the fun we've been having, I did start school and it seems like it is going to be a good semester. I have only three classes. One of them is a fun class- Music Appreciation. I love music and I wanted a more laid back class for my last semester so I could focus on my two harder classes. My other class is a Psychology class called Personality. The teacher is Dr. Slife, who I had last semester, and he is an incredible teacher. He manages to make these really complex psychological concepts easy to understand.

The final "class" is actually doing research in Psychology for a professor here at BYU. I had a lot of difficulty finding a research opportunity, which scared me because I need it to graduate. I signed up to work with a certain teacher, but he e-mailed me and said that he isn't doing research this semester. I signed up with a different teacher who e-mailed me the same thing. In desperation, I got an e-mail from the psychology department about a research opportunity, so I jumped at the chance and ended up getting on a research team with this group and I'm excited about it. It will take some time this semester, but it should be fun.

Besides that there isn't much more to say for now. I am setting a lot of goals right now because I need things to work on to get my mind off the sad things I'm dealing with, and I need to improve in many areas. I'm hoping that I can lift my spirits this semester and become a better person at the end of it by working on several goals. I feel more hopeful this week than I have the previous two weeks, so that is encouraging to me and I'm hoping this positivity will remain with me.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

2009 In Review

I feel bad that I stopped updating this blog these past few months. The reasons are a combination of just being too busy, being discouraged by the fact that not many people read this blog, and that my life is just not that interesting. However, I feel writing in this blog is important because it gives me an opportunity to document the significant events of my life and reflect on what has happened. I feel that before I can start regularly updating my blog again, I need to have closure about what occurred last year. So, I'm going to use this blog entry to recap my 2009, which I consider to be one of the best years of my life.

Starting from the beginning, which I'll admit is a little hazy, I had a great winter semester and the best part of it was being able to be roommates with my best friend, Kevin. Now, of course, it wasn't all wonderful- we had a mutual roommate that we both got annoyed with frequently, we had issues with cleaning checks, and I feel I let Kevin down a few times throughout the semester, which makes me sad. But, we really did have many great moments watching movies and shows, making interesting meals and desserts, and having fun experiences in the ward. The semester itself contained some difficult classes, but also some fun ones including my creative writing class with Brandon Sanderson which taught me how to have a more regular routine of writing my book and taught me how to take constructive criticism. It also caused me to be slightly discouraged about the possibility of a writing career, but I did discover that I really love to write.

The other great class I had during winter semester was Church History with Brother Fluhman. I love Brother Fluhman because he is able to be extremely funny and spiritual at the same time, making for an extremely entertaining and meaningful class. Many of my most spiritual experiences of the year occurred in this class and I'm grateful for his dedication as a teacher. I feel I finished the semester strong even though I felt discouraged throughout the semester. During Spring and Summer I decided to stay in Utah and continue taking classes and working so that I could keep busy and get ahead in school. I think this was one of my best decisions, even though it was sad that I wasn't able to be with my family throughout the spring and summer as I usually am able to do.

Ironically, though, I probably visited home more times than I ever had in previous years, I just didn't generally stay at home for very long when I visited. During Spring I had maybe my most awesome set of roommates I've ever had in college and I had a lot of fun and enjoyed my two Psychology classes. During Summer I didn't enjoy my roommates quite as much, and it was a tougher situation for me because I worked full-time and didn't have any classes. But, I still made the most of it. One significant part of the summer to me was becoming friends with Erin. I went to the 4th of July Stadium of Fire with her and would come over to her house and watch So You Think You Can Dance. It was a fun time and nice to have two really strong friends to spend time with during the summer when I felt kind of alone due to not really connecting with my roommates. At the end of the summer, I went home to see a concert with my Dad called Prog Nation that featured Dream Theater. I went to California for concerts two other times during the year with Kevin to see Rewiring Genesis and CalProg. All of those concerts were fantastic and are highlights of my year. Another musical highlight of the year was the reunion of my favorite band, Transatlantic, and them coming out with one of my new favorite albums- The Whirlwind.

The fall semester last year, to be honest, was mostly about Erin. We dated during the last four months of the year and had some great experiences. Memorable to me was our trip to Disneyland. The three of us, me, Kevin and Erin, spent the weekend at my house in California and on the Saturday of that weekend went to Disneyland and had a fantastic time- it was perhaps the best time I've ever had at Disneyland. The next day we just stayed at my house and played games and had fun visiting with each other. It was great. Before I left for Christmas break, another memorable experience was taking Erin to dinner and to see Avatar and then exchanging gifts. It was a great way to end the semester and was a magical night to me. After that, I went home for Christmas break and was grateful to feel the love my family has for each other.

All in all, 2009 was an incredible year with plenty of memories that I will cherish forever. I was happy to share many of those memories with my two best friends and with my family. I realized throughout the year, and especially at the end, that life is a wonderful thing not to be taken for granted and that I am a good person despite when I tell myself otherwise. I am excited by the prospect of starting this new year and I have some exciting goals that I hope will make 2010 even better.