Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Big Plans...

I'm not so good at this blogging thing. In any case, school keeps me excessively busy.

I'm currently listening to this song called "Down" by Something Corporate, and for some reason it's describing exactly how i'm feeling right now, so I thought i'd share a section of the lyrics with anyone who cares...

Wish upon a star but

Do you know what stars are?
Balls of fire, burning up the black space
Falling from the landscape
Exploding in the face of God

Let's get crazy,
Talk about our big plans
Places that you're going
Places that I haven't been
Build my walls up
Concrete castle
Keep this kingdom free of hassle, yeah

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Quick update...

I'm not dead... just super busy. At least that's what i keep telling myself. I spend nearly every hour of every day at school, either studying or tutoring other students. It's exhausting.

Last week was technically supposed to be a break. I spent the first few days of the break writing a lab report for my advanced organic chemistry class. Even though I put quite a bit of effort into it, knowing the other people in that class, my attempt is bottom-of-the-barrel material. It's a shame, as i really enjoyed the actual class and lab time.

The rest of the week was filled with tutoring and Halo 3. My Xbox 360 is actually in Texas having a new optical drive put in. I was thankful that my friend Alex was willing to lend me his 'box while he was out of town.

Today I met with a representative from Case Western to discuss my possibilities of getting into dental school there: Outlook Good. Mr. Aftoora gave me some literature about the school, which my dad enthusiastically read over after dinner. A couple of minutes later, my dad came to tell me that, "Dental school looks fun." My reply: "Dental school is going to be difficult and scary, not fun. Fun? Fun is pwning noobs in video games."

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Download iTunes... again

Today was a milestone. Not in the fact that I did something great, or that something I've been waiting for a very long time to happen finally came to pass (ahem, Halo 3 in two days). No, today I downloaded the billionth iTunes update. I've been using iTunes for years and years, but I've always been annoyed at how frequently they release new versions. I also believe that the program is more buggy now than it ever has. iTunes hasn't been the same since version 7.0 came out. My biggest gripe is that the newer versions are memory hogs, no longer playing nice with other programs. Sure it has a lot of cool features, but if you think about it, they really aren't all that functional: cover flow = cool to watch yet utterly useless. I'll stop griping, only after I say one last grievance. I liked the green icon better than the new blue one.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Unexpected Fortune

I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome of today's football game. My Utes completely walked all over the UCLA Bruins, who had a very close game with BYU last week. The final score was 44-6, a real spaking. I will admit, that I went to the game expecting a score similar to that, just the other way around. I do feel somewhat guilty for having those thoughts, but I think I made up for it with all of the cheering I did. I was a bit hoarse after the game, and even now I'm still feeling quite raspy. At any rate, this is what Fox had to say on their website last week:

"As if fate wasn't unkind enough to Utah, now UCLA is coming to town. The unbeaten and nationally ranked Bruins find a wounded animal in Utah and, this week, the perception will be that the Utes are too crippled to fight."

Wow... that's pretty harsh.

Just as I arrived at the game, the Utes scored a touchdown on a 53 yard play. UCLA answered with a field goal in the first quarter, but that was half of the points they would score for the rest of the game. For the majority of the second quarter, the Utes worked on stopping UCLA in their tracks. I actually wasn't comfortable with the lead the Utes had built up until late in the third quarter. I kept expecting something to come from the offensive side of UCLA, but it never did. The fourth quarter was everything a Ute fan could ever hope for: I wanted to see a score over 40, and my friend Ken wanted to see no touchdowns scored by UCLA. You can put a check mark to both items on that list.

The only other thing I wanted to highlight, was the play in which UCLA almost scored their only touchdown. It was a passing option, perhaps from around Utah's 40 yard line, caught maybe about the 20. Just when I thought they had scored, a Ute came barreling over, snagging the dude from UCLA. As they both fell to the ground, the poor chap from UCLA tried to reach the football over the line for the touchdown. Instead, he sputtered and choked, dropping the ball into the endzone, giving the Utes a touchback.

For more details this article is pretty decent.

Go Utes!!!

Friday, September 7, 2007

A is for Apple

So, there's all sorts of buzz about the new iPods and all. Especially about the price drop on the iPhone and the the $100 gift card that will be going out to all of the people who bought the iPhone before the price drop.

I saw the following comment left on an article on engadget, and thought it was worth sharing it with the 3 people who read this blog.

"Funny thing is: Apple store is now selling a limit edition t-shirt that reads 'iSucker' for $100. In 7 forgettable colors."

Friday, August 31, 2007

An ongoing offensive against neighborhood evil...

Ha ha ha. I just finished watching Disturbia. It was a really cheesy movie, but that line made my day. If you haven't seen it, I'm sorry you're missing out on all the fun.

And while I'm at it, I think I'll add another song to my official Buttshakin' playlist. I often refer to putting a song in the infamous Buttshakin' playist, but in all actuality, it's fairly scattered. In any case, the song I promised you is:

Taper Jean Girl by Kings of Leon

Thursday, August 30, 2007

One of those days...

Today was a horrid day. Lectures were boring, and my Advanced Organic Chemistry lab didn't go so well. I suppose it could have been worse... On the drive home, I was coming down 4th south when I noticed something on my windshield. Closer inspection revealed it was a headphone: a headphone that was still attached to my iPod, which was sitting on top of my car. I'm really glad I've got one of those silicon skin cases, or it would have been long gone. Cheers to these guys.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Summer, where hast thou gone?

Well, here I am, nearly done with my first week of classes. It's always hard to get back into the swing of things. That said, I feel as if I should reflect on my accomplishments of the summer.

Right after finishing up spring semester I drove to Albuquerque with my Dad. My sister was competing in the Intel International Science Fair. She did quite well, placing 3rd in the Biochemistry category. The major reason I wanted to go to New Mexico was because I wanted to visit White Sands National Monument to take some photos. I took a day trip down to White Sands, and took some excellent pictures. Later, I was disappointed to find that I had inadvertently left my camera's ISO setting at 400, which resulted in some excessively noisy photos. I originally planned to watch the sun set from White Sands, but I decided to head back earlier and save that for a later date. Really, though, it's an incredible place:

As soon as I got back from New Mexico I immediately downloaded the Halo 3 Multiplayer Beta, and proceeded own n00bs. I felt that the beta build played really well, and took a little bit more skill than Halo 2. The new weapons and gadgets made for new and exciting gameplay situations, where ingenuity frequently ousted the standard run 'n' gun feel of the Halo franchise. I also found myself so thankful to spawn with an Assult Rifle, as compared to the traditional starting weapons of Halo 2, the SMG and Battle Rifle (underpowered and overpowered, respectively). My only gripe in the Beta was that the respawn system seemed to have a few kinks: the guy you just owned spawned about 30 feet from where you killed him, and is chasing you down before your shields have finished recharging. Spanking the same guy over and over again gets a little boring after a while... ;-) In any case, I throughly enjoyed the Beta, achieving the rank of Major.

While I played Halo by night (my personal motto is Carpe Noctem), I went to class during during the afternoon. After having the most wretched experience imaginable while taking a lab class during the summer of '06, I swore I would never do it again. Unfortunately, I realized that I should take a couple of classes to make my senior year at the University of Utah a bit easier. I ended up taking a ceramics class as well as intermediate writing. I rocked them both. Ceramics was incredibly fun. For the final project we needed to make a three dimensional object out of slabs of clay. Everyone in my class made a box or cube, that is, everyone except me. I made a dodecahedron. I think my classmates hated me, however they had the last laugh: I spent about three times the amount of time in the studio.

The rest of my academic time was usually spent sitting in front of my laptop plunking away at the keyboard or perusing sources I was using to write my papers. The theme of my writing class was Wealth and Poverty. I had just finished the book Bono: In Conversation, in which Bono spends a great deal of time talking about African debt and poverty. Following his lead, I chose to reseach, report, and argue on this topic. I couldn't have picked anything better to learn about. I did struggle with the large amounts of information, much of which was highly politicized, and the depth of the issues on the African continent. My final paper focused on the current debt of African nations. I was pleased to receive a perfect score on this paper. Thanks to my friend Megan for helping me with the editing (sorry, Megan, but I didn't take out all of the passive voice you underlined).

I was also able to take off on a few trips this summer. Most importantly, I was able to hang out with my friend Thomas, whom I met in Zion National Park. Along with Tommy's dad, Brian, we hiked the narrows, 16 miles down the canyon about half of that in the Virgin river. As if that wasn't enough physical activity for the weekend, the next day we went water skiing at Lake Powell, and then spent the night at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. It was an incredible three days. In addition, I went to Montana and Washington. Good times.

I've already touched on this, but I wanted to go back and talk a little bit more about my experiences a a photographer during the past couple of months. This summer, I have really been able to come to terms with my camera, especially with my macro lens (100mm f/2.8 for those of you who care). My familiarity with my equipment has allowed me to get some great captures in situations that previously would only have resulted in a poor photo. In addition, my skills in using Photoshop are constantly getting more refined. Last year I told myself that I wouldn't get another lens until I had built up a significant gallery of photos that I was truly proud of. While I never actually defined what "significant" was, I have definitely made progress toward that goal this summer.

This post is much longer than I anticipated, however, I've barely scraped the surface. The best parts of summer have been the little things: weekly lunches with friends, unlocking xbox achievements, halo parties, going to concerts, hanging out with friends until 3 am, slurpee runs to 7-11, and most importantly sleeping in until noon. It was an awesome summer!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Forks and La Push

It just so happened that I was in Forks, Washington on August 7. In case you are in the dark on that one, it was the day that the third book in Stephanie Meyer's series, which takes place in Forks, came out. While I'm not obsessive about the books (like a few people I know), they are a decent read. While in Forks and the beach at La Push (perhaps near La Push would be more correct) I took a bunch of pics for the more obsessive of the group. I also make no apologies for not visiting the local high school and hospital, or for going all artsy fartsy and taking photos of rocks and flowers on the beach. Somehow, I think you'll all survive.

Looking toward La Push from Realto Beach

Looking north on the beach

Wild Pea Blossoms

The only picture from Forks (not much else to take a photo of)

Seattle Pics Pt. 2 -------> Downtown and San Juan Island

These three are from the outdoor marketplace that Seattle is famous for. Have you ever seen the flying fish market on TV? Yeah, it's at this place. I'm going to refrain from posting a photo of the space needle, 'cuz everyone knows what it looks like.

From San Juan Island, we took a boat whale watching. It was pretty tight. I took a ton of pictures, but they all look very similar, so I'm only posting one. 300 mm of zoom has never been so useful!

There is also a Lavender farm on the island. It was another prime opportunity to bust out my macro lens.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Seattle Photos Pt. 1 - - - >Kubota Garden

The first stop in Seattle was Kubota Garden. It has a very interesting history, which you can read here. It's a beautiful place, and the overcast weather made for the perfect conditions for my macro lens. For your viewing pleasure here are a few of my favorite shots from the day.

I'm counting on my friend to post a comment and tell me what this one says...

Seattle Vacation

I've been back from my trip to Seattle for a few days now, and I'm finally getting around to post some photos that I took. The one above is the crappiest photo you will probably ever see on this page. I don't know exactly how a photo taken in bright sunlight could end up as blurry as this one did. In any case, I also feel the need to say that this photo is a picture of someone else's artwork. I figured it'd be the best photo for the opening of my Seattle post.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

A Bad Show? 'Frayed Not!

So, last night The Fray came for a concert at Usana Amphitheater. I'd never been to Usana, and I must admit that I went intent on finding something to gripe about. However, when it all comes down to it, there isn't anything worth being grumpy about. The band sounded great, the weather was nice, there were no bugs, and the fans... well the only thing I can complain about were the fans. That's not anything different from usual, as I hate people, especially in large groups. What I didn't understand is why people felt the need to stand when it would have been easier for everyone to sit back down on the grass. Eventually, about three songs into the show, common sense began seep into the masses: "Oh, man, standing up on your own is a lot harder when you aren't packed together like sardines!" Obviously the seepage of common sense moved much slower in places due to the density of certain individuals. I took it upon myself to heckle the dude standing about 10 feet in front of me. "Hey, you! Sit Down!!! Yeah, you! Hey! Sit!" When he actually realized that he was blocking the view of about a hundred people he removed himself from our lines of sight, allowing us to concentrate on the show.

The show itself was quite amazing. Simply put, it sounded as though they could have put on a CD of their music and pumped it through a couple hundred thousand watt speaker system. Because Usana is an outdoor venue, there wasn't that terrible distortion that occurs when sound bounces inside a closed area. I also love it when a band does a cover of another artist's song at a concert. I believe it shows the depth of their musical abilities when they can take a different song, play it in their own style, and have it sound decent. They played a version of Shakira's Hips Don't Lie, and ended Over My Head with a portion of Wonderwall by Oasis. In addition, there were a couple of songs that definitely sounded a bit U2ish, which I appreciate tremendously.

All, in all it was a great first experience at Usana. Below, are some pictures I took using my phone, from a very long way away (I was seriously angry at myself for not bringing my camera). The photos are basically free from any details, but you are encouraged to use your imagination and picture what it was like to be there...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Huzza! I now have a blog. It's been on the to do list for a very long time, but as I'm sure you can relate, it's just happening now. I wanted a place to tell my thoughts about everything, as well as share some of the pictures I've taken. Hopefully this will do the trick.