Sunday, October 31, 2010

Tricks and Treats

It's Halloween in Utah on a Sunday, and that means, of course, that all of the real holiday related festivities were celebrated here Friday and Saturday. But who's complaining?

Friday night, I took part with Biz, Bryan, Ian, Jana, Scott, and Steve, with Grant and Parker on music, in putting on the Improvables' second annual Halloween show. For these festivities, we extended our usual hour-long time slot to a 90-minute performance. A large and enthusiastic crowd attended, and many of them dressed up in costumes. This night featured our debut of "Mousetraps," for which Biz, Ian, and I were fitted with blindfolds and had to walk around the stage in our socks. (The mousetraps didn't actually hurt as much as I had feared they would, though I wouldn't let the audience know that.) In addition, we featured other seldom-played games, such as "Oxygen Deprivation" and "Nightmare."

Then, last night, it was the annual Millstream Ward Trunk-or-Treat up at the stake center. While this is usually one of the highlights of the year for our motley crew, it was a bit disappointing this time around; it was a rather cold and rainy night, plus someone in the ward hosted a murder mystery dinner at the same time, and a large group of people attended that instead. As a result, only six people (myself included) showed up to pass out candy to the kids. Still, those of us who came made the best of things, and we enjoyed ourselves for most of the 90 minutes.

I once again dressed up as Samwise Gamgee - why not?

Pepe was a hit with his glow-in-the-dark man costume:

Melanie, Marty, Nadine, and Heidi were among the others who supported the cause:

Later on in the evening, Parker and I carpooled down to Draper at the invitation of Caleb Parry, owner and manager of the Off the Wall Improv troupe, to perform with them at their Halloween show, held at the Draper Historic Theater. (It kind of reminded me of the old Queen Theater, which no longer stands, in Bountiful.) It was quite an interesting experience, to say the least, getting to perform on stage with another troupe, and at times I felt a bit like an Improv beginner, but nevertheless it was a lot of fun, too, and another large and enthusiastic crowd turned up to see our show. Cameron, Gwen, Rick, and Taylor rounded out the evening's cast:

That's all the damage I can do for one weekend. Happy Halloween, folks!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Flock of Seagulls

When I woke up this morning, my hair bascially looked like this:

For people like Kate Gosselin or Robert Pattinson, however, this is just a normal day (rim shot).

Yes, you needed to know this.

Monday, October 25, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Lot like Halloween

Halloween is now less than a week away, and we celebrated that fact tonight with a ward Halloween party for our FHE activity.

I am always looking for excuses to dress up in silly costumes, and that's one of the many reasons why I love Halloween. I took advantage of the opportunity to come in costume as Samwise Gamgee (or my best version of him) from The Lord of the Rings movies:

Yeah, I know; save your compliments. Mordor never looked so hot!

Among my favorite costumes of the evening were our fearless elders quorum president, Steve, as a nerd (seen alongside Ashley, as a character from one of the Japanese anime movies I've never heard of); Eric, as the Shredder; Adrianne and Jen, as Thing 1 and Thing 2 (which is basically what I'd expect from them, since they are joined at the hip and all); and Bishop and Sis. Lake, as a couple of pigs:

And then there were those whose costumes I can classify only as "miscellaneous":

Cecily, Kristy, Andrew, Naomi, and MaryAnne were among the handful who carved pumpkins and contributed something constructive to the evening:

Good times were had by all.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Shoebox and Old Lace

For those of you who may have missed the bulletin, I belong to a somewhat theatrical family. Most of us participate in theater in one form or another, be it singing, dancing, playing instruments, musicals, or Improv.

My family of thespians extends to my cousins. Earlier tonight, one of my cousins, Scott "Shoebox" Sanders, made his theatrical debut as one of the policemen in Arsenic and Old Lace, presented by the Lehi Arts Council in (you guessed it) Lehi.

My parents, Ben, Adi, Steve, Biz, Jeff, and I joined Claudia (Scott's wife); Madison (their youngest daughter); Claudia's aunt, uncle, and cousins (visitng from Argentina); and a handful of other friends of theirs in cheering him on. Together, we managed to take up nearly all of the seats on the left wing of what turned out to be a rather small theater and stage arrangement – but an altogether cozy and nice atmosphere for theater. (I’m thinking also of the Hale Center Theater in Orem here.)

I had seen Arsenic and Old Lace only once before, and it was good to see it played out on stage again - perfect for the October/Halloween time of year.

My dad, I think, accurately pointed out that Scott was basically "playing Scott" in his role and that he did just fine. We enjoyed the show quite a bit.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Return of the Jedi?

I've been a major slacker lately and haven't been doing too great of a job at keeping The Epistle updated. Well, that is about to change. Hopefully.

It's now been more than two months since my last post, and though I haven't been completing posts, I have been getting them started. As I complete and publish them to The Epistle, I have several more ideas, stories, pictures, and more to share with you - those of you who are still with me, that is.

Thank you for your continued support.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Taking a Stand

At the conclusion of yesterday's post, I mentioned how much I enjoyed last weekend's general conference of the Church.

Today, I became aware of the fact that there is a group of people, some of whom I know, who didn't particularly enjoy general conference - in particular, Pres. Boyd K. Packer's Sunday afternoon talk, titled "Cleansing the Inner Vessel." In fact, they downright hated it.

This talk, in fact, can now be viewed online here:

From what I gather, the part of the talk that did not go over too well with these people is when he preaches against those in our country who are trying to legalize gay marriage. The complaints I've been reading, mostly on Facebook, have been calling Pres. Packer "hate-filled," "harsh," and an "out-of-touch old man" and have been comparing his rhetoric to Adolph Hitler's - yes, really.

As I watched and listened to Pres. Packer's talk again today, I found nothing hateful or harsh about it - that is, I suppose, unless you're of the point-of-view of one who is upset "because the Lord would not always suffer them to take happiness in sin" (Mormon 2:13). Rather, I found it to be full of love and concern. But that's just me. For some people, sadly, tolerance is not a two-way street, and emphasizing an already established Church doctrine or, at the very least, expressing an opinion is tantamount to being "hateful" and/or "homophobic."

The fact that there were some people who disagreed with what was said at general conference is nothing new; if you've attended general conference in person, then you've seen these nutcases outside the Conference Center, holding their signs and shouting their slogans and trying to tear down everyone and everything around them. What is disappointing, to me, is when people criticizing a Church leader like Pres. Packer are people I thought were active members of the Church, who should know or act better than that.

Whatever becomes of this brouhaha, I’m grateful for inspired leaders who are courageous enough to stand up for and teach true principles, even in spite of the ever-changing ideas and attitudes of the world. God bless you, President Packer.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Today, El Guapo Is . . .

. . . 33 years old! (wink)

So . . . today marks another birthday for me.

It's funny how these things - birthdays - keep happening to me year after year, whether or not I'm ready for them.

I’ve already been somewhat overwhelmed by the many birthday wishes and greetings received from family and friends, both far and near, via personal visits, text messages, phone calls, Facebook, and the like. I really am blessed to know and associate with so many good people.

In addition, Mother Nature is giving me a nice gift today: The weather is finally starting to turn into the kind of autumn weather I'm used to seeing in October. It's my favorite season of the year, and I'm so glad it's finally here.

Last Sunday, the family threw a fun, combined party for Biz, Kira, and me, which included another epic game of "Pass the Parcel." I finished third – my highest finish in quite some time - and, yes, I'm proud of that fact.

As one of my birthday presents, Mike, Jana, Biz, and Jeff chipped in and bought me a ticket to Friday night’s BYU vs. USU football game up at Romney Stadium in Logan. The Cougars have been having an uncharacteristically terrible year, and their effort in this game was no improvement; they fell behind 24-3 by halftime and eventually lost, 31-16, to the Aggies. It was USU’s first win over BYU in 17 years (I was, in fact, also in attendance at the last one, a 58-56 Aggie win in Logan in 1993.) Still, it was a fun boys' night out with Dad; Mike; Dallin; Ben; Steve; Jeff; Jeff’s brother, Dave; and Dave’s two sons.

Adding a nice touch to an already enjoyable weekend, many great talks have been given by the General Authorities and officers of the Church over the past two days. General conference, as it always is, has been fantastic.

Can life get any better? I submit to you that it cannot.