Monday, June 28, 2010

"Exiting the Cave"

Here is my cousin Eden's latest YouTube upload, which I believe is a teaser for a forthcoming Lego animation project:

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

It's Better Than Bad; It's Good

So, last night I engaged in a conversation with a female acquaintance of mine.


Gasp! I know, it's hard to believe, right?

As we were chatting, the topic somehow changed to high school and the kinds of nutty things we did back in the good ol' days. She mentioned to me that a lot of the pictures taken of her by yearbook photographers could never have ended up the actual, final yearbook, because they contained images of her "flipping off the camera."

Granted, this was "back in high school," a place we'd both left behind a number of years ago. Most of us did things in high school that we are not necessarily putting at the tops of our résumés, if you catch my drift. But talking about this fact in the present, she didn't seem particularly ashamed or embarrassed about it.

For some reason, when a young woman flips people off or uses vulgar/course language, or anything of the sort, and I know that she belongs to a Church that would hold her to a higher standard than doing this, it tends to offend and/or trouble me more than when a young man does the same thing.

Why is this? Perhaps it's because women, generally speaking, are better than men. I'm not above pandering, in my singleness, but I've also observed their more gentle, nuturing natures and have come to this conclusion. There's a reason why they memorized such things as virture, faith, charity, integrity, good works, and the like when they were younger.

Case in point: At essentially every priesthood session of general conference, the brethren almost always get one or more lectures - I'm not saying that they're not deserved - about the fact that we need to clean up our acts, to avoid anger, bad language, grooming, pornography, laziness, and other destructive things.

Do women ever get these types of lectures at Relief Society conference? Not to my knowledge (but please let me know if I am mistaken).

By contrast, when women don't act better, it's worse. I guess, in other words, when they're good, they're great, but when they're bad, they're worse - because I know that they're better. Does this make any sense?


We all make mistakes. I am reminded of that fact every day when I make more than my share of them. But when I lose my temper or fail to meet my home teaching responsibilities or hurt someone's feelings, I certainly don't feel like joking about it or climbing up to the roof and announcing it to the whole neighborhood, either.

Maybe it's just me.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

"Arizona Sing-a-Long"

I saw this video today, and it gave me a rather good chuckle.

No matter which side of the immigration debate you stand on, you have to admit that the incompetence and stubbornness of many of our national leaders and their neglecting to read things/study them out fully is somewhat embarrassing.



Feel free to post your thoughts on the issue, if you feel so inclined.

Friday, June 18, 2010

My Long-Lost Twin Loses on "Jeopardy!"

Apparently, I have a long-lost twin somewhere out there in America.

According to my parents, who are avid watchers of the classic game show "Jeopardy!", his name is Marty Scott, and he is a three-time champion of the program.

Earlier this week, when Marty made his first appearance on the show, they told me that one of the contestants was a dead ringer for me. I was skeptical about this bit of news, but still I tuned in to the show with them the next night and found that Marty did, indeed, look a lot like me.

Sorry about that, Marty - wherever you may be.

Over the next couple of nights, I watched as Marty completed a four-episode run on "Jeopardy!" He finished in second place on that fourth night, ending a rather impressive run on the program, during which he won more than $66,000.

I did some more research, Googling Marty's name and also learning that he had been a contestant on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" several years ago, when Regis Philbin was still the host, and had won an additional $250,000 in game show money.

Not bad at all. Good work, long-lost twin.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Shameless Plug: Full Circle's Pinked Up Songs

A couple of months ago here on the Epistle, I posted about my experience of going down to the recording studio and singing some backup lyrics for a CD that my brothers Ben and Steve and their friend Jeff were working on. That CD has finally been released and is now available for purchase.

The primary target audience for this recording is Mary Kay (as in the makeup) sellers and distributors. It's a long story as to how this idea came to its fruition, but suffice me to say that Ben, Steve, and Jeff will be doing a lot of networking and will be attending various Mary Kay conventions and such in an attempt to market their CD.

Just this afternoon, I was handed a copy of Full Circle's Pinked Up Songs, fresh off the press. I may be somewhat biased, but it's an awesome CD.

Tracks include parodies of several popular tunes, including: "M.K. Basic Skin Care Set" (Metro Station's "Shake It"), "3 Is a Magic Number" (Jack Johnson's "The 3 R's"), "Eye Revitalizer" ("Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger"), "C-U-P-C-A-K-E: Seven Sweet Reasons to Sell Mary Kay" (Nat King Cole's "L-O-V-E"), "Just Have to Stay On Track" (Michael Bublé's "Just Haven't Met You Yet"), "Mary Kay Man" (ZZ Top's "Sharp Dressed Man"), "Pink Cadillac" (Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline"), and "The Bee Is the Key" (the Trashmen's "Surfin' Bird").

Yours truly - ahem! - sings backup on "M.K. Basic Skin Care Set" and "Pink Cadillac," along with a handful of others.

In addition, the guys cover four other well-know hits: Ryan Shupe and the Rubber Band's "Dream Big," Man of La Mancha's "The Impossible Dream," Jekyll & Hyde's "This Is the Moment," and Miley Cyrus's "The Climb."

To obtain a copy of Pinked Up Songs at the very affordable price of only $15, you may simply contact Ben, Steve, or Jeff personally. You can also find more information about the group and hear song snippets by visiting the Full Circle Web site at: http://bringitfullcircle.com/.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Sky Rockets in Flight

A good rule of thumb in our ward is fast becoming: Never miss out on a good FHE, especially when the Galloways are leading the charge. It's our version of a "box of chocolates" - you never know what you're gonna get.

If you will recall from my previous post in February, Bro. and Sis. Galloway are our YSA advisors and are also the couple who led us in the UFO-building activity. Earlier tonight, under their tutelage, we made rockets and shot 'em up into the air.

For this event, we split up into teams of two. I was paired up with new Millstreamer Melanie Dabb, and our rocket creation, I think, turned out rather well. We used an old two-liter soda bottle, neon glo sticks, foam, parts of old campaign posters for Bountiful Mayor (and my old stake president) Joe Johnson, and of course duct tape to create our vessel. Here, Melanie displays the result of our labors:



Once the building phase was over, we ventured outside to shoot the rockets into the air by the bowery and the open field to the west of our meetinghouse. We propeled them up into the sky by filling them halfway with water and by using Bro. Galloway’s air pump.

Here, Jon Farley watches as his rocket (seen just over his right shoulder) falls back to the ground:


You really had to be there to appreciate the scope and the awesomeness of this activity, so suffice me to say that it was a lot of fun. Plus, Dutch oven-cooked peach cobbler and ice cream were served for dessert, so overall it was a fantastic evening.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Coming Up Roses

At today's family dinner, my 12-year-old niece Kylee got creative. And the results were, I must say - I am a bit biased when it comes to my nieces and nephews - pretty awesome.

Using only a few pink pieces of Starburst, she created a rose. This is how it turned out, as captured on my cell phone camera:



These kids never cease to entertain nor to amaze me. Who are these children coming down, anyway?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Great Expectations

Earlier today, I found myself looking up at the sky a lot. A freaky-deaky sort of rainstorm rolled into Davis County, for those who did not witness it. I suppose it's because the sky kept reminding me of "The Nothing."

"The Nothing" is, of course, that thingy in the sky in the movie The Neverending Story (which truly never did end, as far as I know - weren't there two or three sequels and/or a TV show made?), which eats up and destroys everything in its path.

As a matter of fact, I recently watched The Neverending Story for the first time since I was a kid, thanks to Netflix, and I learned a few things that escaped me when I was younger. For one, I learned that the movie may, indeed, be even creepier than I originally thought. For another, I learned that "The Nothing" represents people's indifference.


As one of the characters describes it: The Nothing is represented in the fact that not only don't people don't care, it's that "they don't care that they don't care."

If you've followed this blog for sometime, then you already know that indifference is my #1 pet peeve about people.

Why is this? Upon reflection, I think it's perhaps because I often set my expectations too high, and I am too often disappointed when people do not meet those expectations.

I'll give you an example of what I mean, and it comes from another movie I recently watched: (500) Days of Summer. The title refers not to a season of the year but to the main character's (Tom's) relationship with a girl named Summer over the course of a 500-day period of time. It chronicles their ups and downs, and - skip to the next paragraph if you don't want the ending spoiled - breaking Hollywood taboos, they do not have a happy ending. (This is also not a film I necessarily recommend, due to some vulgar content.)

One scene is particularly heartbreaking, in which the screen is split down the middle. On one side, the viewer sees Tom's expectations of what Summer will do and how she will treat him at a social gathering. The other side shows what really takes place at this party and how Summer fails to meet those expectations and to love him in the manner he would like her to.


I relate to this scene, because I have played out the same scenarios time and time again in my own mind. And far more often than not, I have been disappointed with the reality or outcome of events. Has what I have perceived as indifference on others' parts been, in reality, my too-high or unrealistic hopes and expectations? Or has it, indeed, been indifference after all?

Either way, the lesson I get from all this is: To heck with others' expectations. If you look toward others to feel accepted, to feel good about yourself, or to feel loved, then you will more often than not be disappointed. Focusing on your own goals and ideals is a much better way to tackle things.

I'm not exactly there yet, but I know it's true, and I'm trying. Unless movies and TV have lied to me, I'm sticking with that.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Dinosaurs, Shooting Stars, and Superstars

Summer must definitely be here, or on the verge of arriving, because last night I watched my first outdoor movie of the season. The mosquitoes were biting, but it wasn't all that bad.

I joined with several friends in watching an old favorite, Jurassic Park, under the stars in Adria and Julia Jensen's backyard, the site of a handful of outdoor movies from the previous year. It was the setting for our infamous UHF party, among other events, and it's really a great location for this sort of event.

In the middle of the movie, a few members of our group and I spotted a shooting star in the sky. It lasted for only a couple of seconds, but I definitely saw it. It's only the second time I've ever seen a shooting star - the first was seven or eight years ago while I sat in a hot tub with my (at the time) "soul mate," Uncle Rico style - and I had to check around to make sure I wasn't the only one who saw it.


For those who know, is a shooting star an omen of good things to come? or bad things? Can you wish upon it, Gepetto style? Do we need to send Bruce Willis up into space to blow it to smithereens? I'm honestly not sure.

Lastly, as someone pointed out to me at church, today marks 66 years since 6/6/44, or the 66th anniversary of the Allied troops landing on the beaches of Normandy, France, during World War II - aka D-Day. So, make sure to thank a veteran should you see one in your travels.

That's just a helpful reminder from your friendly, neighborhood me.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

My Dinner with Kenna

Today, June 5, marks a doubleheader for birthdays in my family; it's both my mom's and my niece McKenna's birthdays.

As my gift to Kenna on her seventh birthday, I took her out to eat at her restaurant of choice last night, and afterward we went to the store so that she could pick out her own present.

For dinner, Kenna chose the Hungry Bear, an all-you-can eat pizza buffet - one that I had not previously heard of - in Layton.

As soon as we walked in the door, she rushed over to the vending machines to buy some more of the toy rings she has been collecting. I couldn't tell you what they are called, but I looked on as she she very enthusiastically sorted through them at the table:


Dinner itself was quite good. The Hungry Bear offers a wide variety of pizza styles, including dessert pizza - sort of a cross between pizza and cinnamon rolls.


I don't often have in-depth conversations with Kenna - after all, she is, once again, just seven years old - but I enjoyed chatting with her over dinner and during the course of the evening. Earlier in the day, she had wrapped up her first-grade year of school at Morgan Elementary and was anticipating doing many different things over the summer months.

Following our meal, Kenna spent several anxious minutes walking up and down the toy aisle at the store, trying to narrow down her choice; there were many selections from which she wished to choose. Like Winnie the Pooh in his thinking spot, she kept repeating, "Think! Think!" as she struggled to make up her mind. She also asked me, "What would you choose if you were a girl and seven years old?"

She's a smart one, that kid.

Finally, she decided upon a couple of Littlest Pet Shop toys - whatever those might be - and we were off to the register and on our way.


It was a fun evening spent with my cute niece, and I look forward to many more of these kinds of birthdays in the years to come.

Happy birthday, girls.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Too Darn Hot

Out of sheer curiosity, I navigated over to the Deseret News weather page this afternoon to take a look at this week's forecast. The current temperature - I kid you not - was listed at: 157°F

Just to be sure there was no mistake, I checked it again a few minutes later. Once more, the temperature was: 157°F. The dewpoint was also at 122°F.

It looks like we're in for a doozy of a summer.