Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Day 31: Jackson, Mario, and Luigi: Evolution

Earlier in the month, I posted here on Disconcertingly Choppy about my nephew Jackson's affinity for the Mario Bros. and friends, as well as posting a photo of him playing with his brother Dallin's Mario and Luigi toys. Well, when Jackson came over the other day, he had taken it to the next level: dressing up as Mario (minus the mustache, which he is still a bit young to grow on his own).

He also had many of the video game sound effects down, such as Mario's jumping, fireball-throwing, and star power noises.

This three-year-old is definitely smarter than the average bear.

P.S. We're now 31-for-31 on Project 366 as January comes to a close. Here's hoping we can keep it up for the other 11 months.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Day 30: We Love Our Xbox 360

Whenever the nieces and nephews come over to visit, invariably I will hear a quiet voice or two ask me: "Uncle Paco, can we play on your Xbox?" A few moments later, this is usually what is going on:

Day by day, they're getting better than me at it. Before I know it, they'll be beating me at everything. Not that I'm complaining.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Day 29: "I Have My Books and My Poetry to Protect Me"

The latest book I've finished reading, as of earlier today, is Elder David A. Bednar's Increase in Learning - a very good read which, indeed, helped me to increase in learning.

I didn't know really anything about Elder Bednar when he was called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles more than seven years ago, but since that time, he has become one of my favorite speakers at conference time. This book offers much of the same keen insight he gives in those addresses. I highly recommend it.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Day 28: Dinner Group at Joy Luck

Our latest mid-singles Institute-sponsored quarterly dinner group took place earlier tonight. My destination was a personal (and family) favorite, Joy Luck Chinese restaurant, in West Bountiful, where I gathered with some old friends, as well as some new ones, to enjoy a good meal.

There were 27 of us total, and the eight folks at my table included, left to right, Sheena, Pepe, Jenae, Teresa, Tiffany, yours truly, Jeanette, and Eric.

Good Chinese food and good people is always a winning combination.

Day 27: Improvables of Tomorrow

Following another successful Improvables performance last night, Jana (the night's M.C.) gathered everyone together for our traditional "Notes" post-performance session to discuss what went well and what went not-so-well during the show.

Before that happened, however, my niece Kenna and her cousin, who were in the audience and who had observed our final game of the evening, "Back in My Day," stepped forward to give some zingers of their own.

They may, indeed, be members of the Improvables one day. For now, I hope, our jobs are still safe.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Day 26: Popcorn

We're a family of popcorn eaters. Whether we're watching a DVD at home or are sitting at the theater, we usually have popcorn to get us through it. Heck, we don't even need a movie as an excuse to eat popcorn.

Ben and Adi stopped by the other night to collect some things, as they are in the process of getting various things moved into their new apartment. Mom greeted them with: "Would you like to make you some popcorn?"

Of course they said yes. And they were eating it out of this bowl when I stopped to chat with them, including about Project 366. So, naturally, I took a picture.

Day 25: Spontaneous Breakdancing Lesson

After the conclusion of last night's weekly Improv workshop at the theater, Jordan invited us all to his other troupe's (Play Theory) Friday night performance and mentioned in passing that breakdancing would be involved but that he really didn't know that much about it. Guy then suggested he could teach us a few moves, and before I knew it, a bona fide breakdancing lesson had gotten underway in our rehearsal room.
Yeah, we're white and nerdy, but we don't hide that fact.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Day 24: Kenna's New Haircut

Kenna recently got her hair cut, and when she saw that I was taking pictures, she asked me to take hers so that I could post it for my project.

It would be hard to say no to that face, wouldn't it?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Day 23: Utah Jazz Autograph Party

Earlier tonight, my brother Mike called me up with a last-minute offer: free tickets to a Utah Jazz autograph party for season ticket holders. Since none of us are season ticket holders, I wasn't about to ask questions (he got them from his employer); and that's exactly the kind of event for which I can drop whatever I'm doing and head directly to EnergySolutions Arena.
The snowstorm farther up north actually kept Mike from coming down to Salt Lake, but Ben and I were able to go and ended up using the tickets, arriving a bit late into the 6 to 7:30 p.m. window. In the 45 minutes or so we had left, we were able to meet and get the autographs of Coach Tyrone Corbin, Al Jefferson, Gordon Hayward, Raja Bell, and Josh Howard.
You may commence being jealous . . . now.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Day 22: Playing "Pass the Parcel"

One of our family's patented good-time games is "Pass the Parcel," a tradition that Mom learned in England as a girl and then brought with her when she came here to the States nearly 50 years ago.
Whenever we get together to celebrate a family birthday - as was the case today for my sister-in-law Jessica - a crucial portion of the party involves playing this game, in which we pass around a parcel loaded up with treats while music plays. When the music stops, whoever is left holding the parcel is out, though he or she gets to unwrap a layer of the parcel and gets to keep and eat whichever piece of candy falls out. It's a lot like "Musical Chairs," and it's really a win-win situation.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Day 21: Karaoke Party

A few days ago, Ben and Adi, Steve and Summer, some of Steve's friends, and I got together for an evening of tacos and karaoke. Is there a better combination for a fantastic evening?

I submit that there is not.

Here, Summer and Steve (and friend) sing - go figure - "Summer Night" from Grease.

Day 20: The Improvables, V. 2012

Following last night's Improv show - which was a great success, I must say, as we had one of our biggest crowds turn out since we moved to the Davis Center for the Performing Arts in October, as well as an all-around great performance by our cast and crew - I took some new pictures of the group. It had been a while since I had taken any, and in addition to working on Projcet 366 in 2012, I'm also trying to keep our Facebook page (The Improvables - Utah, for future reference) updated as best as I can.
We're a good-lookin' bunch, aren't we?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Day 19: Kenna's Goat

The other day when she was over at the house, Kenna showed me her new present: a goat marionette.

In the past, I've written about my (non-irrational) fear of marionettes here on Disconcertingly Choppy, so this was a tense moment for me. Fortunately, Kenna's marionette is nowhere near as creepy as the ones in The Sound of Music.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Day 18: My New Enemy

My old enemy: stairs

My new enemy: this thing

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Day 17: Jack-Jack Closeup

I was getting ready to take McKenna's picture the other day when a mischievous, three-year-old face suddenly appeared in front of my camera. I pressed the button regardless.
I think I ended up with a pretty good shot anyway.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Day 16: Awkward Conversation

Earlier tonight, Bryan, Parker, Ryan, and I performed an Improvables remote show for one of the Centerville YSA ward's FHE events. The last game of the evening was "Awkward Conversation," a game that only our troupe plays - which I had seen before but in which I had not previously participated. In the game, we take turns having a nose-to-nose conversation, trying to get the other person to laugh or to break character. If that happens, that person then has to rotate to the back of the line. The objective is to stay in "the middle" for as long as possible.
Awkward conversations - in a singles ward? That's a stretch.
I was a split-second too late with this photo, which shows Ryan right after getting out against Parker and moving to the back of the line.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Day 15: Dallin's a Deacon

This afternoon, my 12-year-old nephew Dallin (I may have mentioned him once or twice in the last little while) was ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood and to the office of a deacon. His dad, my brother Mike, officiated, with the assistance of Grandpa Plowman and three of his uncles (Ben, Steve, and yours truly). He's looking forward to passing the sacrament and all of the other things that deacons get to do, and we're proud of him.
It was also nice to meet Bishop Bruce Newbold, who presided over things. You may remember him as Parley P. Pratt in How Rare a Possession, as well as a number of other Church films.

In the above photo, the Church's newest deacon poses with Grandpa and Grandma Plowman.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Day 14: Kid in the Freddy Kruger Sweater

In Davis mid-singles Institute news, I was recently drafted into helping out with the Activities Committee. This is not an official church calling but something I "get" to do, as Mr. Handley, my sixth-grade teacher, might have said. It is also an opportunity to lend a hand and to be a bit more involved with the group.
At any rate, earlier today, I met with the rest of the committee - both of them, Emma and Pyper - for lunch at Chili's to discuss plans for some of these upcoming events. While we were there, I couldn't help but notice that the kid in the booth next to us was wearing the same red-and-green sweater that Freddy Kruger wears in the Nightmare on Elm Street film series. I wanted to be as sly as possible about taking his picture for Project 366, so Emma and Pyper were good enough to pose for a shot, with the kid in the background.

Day 13: Jackson, Mario, and Luigi

When Dallin and I returned from last week's aforementioned birthday lunch and shopping trip, the person most excited to see us was his three-year-old little brother, Jackson. The reason: Among Dallin's new toys were LEGO-ish (I don't know the brand name) Mario and Luigi figures, and Jackson is currently obsessed with all things Mario.
Dallin confided to me that it was all part of his plan. Jackson has, apparently, also been getting into Dallin's LEGO sets and playing with them, so this was a sort of peace offering, as well as a way of keeping Jackson out of his room.
Smart kid, that one.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Day 12: Training Ozzy

When I visited Mike and Jana's place earlier this week, it was also second time for me meeting their new dog, Ozzy, who has been under their roof for just a short time now. As you can see (hopefully), he's a mix of a few different breeds, and he's a very enthusiastic and friendly puppy.

In today's photo, Dallin attempts to teach to teach Ozzy to "sit."

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Day 11: Flat as a Pancake

Last night, I was rather nonplussed to discover that my car had gone and given itself another flat tire. I had gone quite some time since my last flat - see earlier posts on the topic about my chronic tire issues, if you must - and then, like a bad recurring dream, it happened yet again. Not only was the tire flat; the rim was actually touching the ground, as you can see from this picture:

Yup; can't go too far on that. Fortunately, first thing today, I was able to get the spare put on, and the good folks at Big O, who now know me on a first-name basis because of my frequent visits, got the puncture fixed up.

And there was much rejoicing.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Day 10: 185 Envelopes Walk into a Bar . . .

Today's photo is of a stack of envelopes, taken from tonight's multi-family gathering to stuff and address wedding invitations for Ben and Adi's upcoming nuptials. I heard someone (Summer, I believe) say that she had counted a total of "185 envelopes" in this stack, and immediately my mind went to the Improv game "185," in which we make up lame jokes about 185 "somethings" walking into a bar, and . . . punchline.

Yeah, good times were had by all.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Day 9: Mad Hatters

At Friday's Improvables show, Mad Hatters was the theme, and those who showed up wearing their funkiest-looking hat got a $2 discount on the ticket price. We also gave away two free passes to future shows to the winners of our best hat contest.
Those winners were Jen Nance:
and Blake Paget:
Thanks for playing, kids.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Day 8: Dallin's Star Wars Cake

Today, it was the family's turn to help celebrate Dallin's twelfth birthday, and we gathered for family dinner and a party following our respective church meetings.

My mom made him the above-pictured Star Wars-themed birthday cake, which drew three-year-old Jackson's interest as soon as he saw it. Among the action figures standing on top of it are Darth Vader, Han Solo, a Stormtrooper, Ewoks, and several LEGO figures.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Day 7: My Dinner with Dallin 2012

Earlier today, I picked up my nephew Dallin for our annual birthday outing, which includes lunch at the establishment of his choice and a shopping trip (i.e. me paying for a present that he gets to pick out for himself at the local toy or video game store). It's really a win-win deal, as he is a great kid to hang out with in general, and as he approaches his twelfth birthday next Tuesday, he talked with excitement of his upcoming ordination to the office of deacon in the Aaronic Priesthood.
Dallin chose Arctic Circle for lunch, and after we enjoyed a good meal there, we were off to the store, where he chose a set of Pokémon cards (displayed in the photo) along with Mario and Luigi LEGO-ish figurines (which, I think, he mainly chose for his little brother Jackson's sake).
Good times were had by all.

Day 6: Jazz Win!

Earlier tonight, I attended my first Utah Jazz game at EnergySolutions Arena in . . . well, it had been a very long time since the last one. I honestly don't remember when it was, but I do remember that Jerry Sloan was still the Jazz coach, and Andrei Kirilenko, Mehmet Okur, and Deron Williams, all of who have since departed, were still on the team.

At any rate, the tickets were given to me as a Christmas present, for which I am grateful. It was a very enjoyable game, with the young and somewhat rebuilding Jazz team playing well and pulling out a 94-85 victory over visiting Memphis, bringing their record on the season to 4-3.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Day 5: "Life's Lessons Learned"

Having now wrapped up my reading of S. Michael Wilcox's Walking on Water, I have moved on to the other book that was given to me for Christmas, Elder Dallin H. Oaks's Life's Lessons Learned. Take a gander:

Trust me; it's better than it looks. I'm enjoying it so far.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Day 4: Possible Wedding Invitation Photo #2?

The rumor going around right now is that my brother Steve and his fiancée, Summer, will be using this photo for their wedding invitations. I hope it's true.
Yes, our family's planning two weddings right now. 2012 is going to be an epic year for los locos Plowman.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Day 3: Possible Wedding Invitation Photo?

The rumor going around right now is that my brother Ben and his fiancée, Adi, are going to be using this photo for their wedding invitations, which I should finally get to see sometime later this week.
I hope it's true.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Day 2: Safe-T-Rex

Earlier tonight, Biz, Jana, Parker, Steve, and I represented the Improvables at what we call a remote show - a performance away from our own theater - for a singles ward up in Farmington. We've been doing a handful of these lately in our efforts to try to promote the troupe when and wherever we can.

At any rate, we were in the Primary room, warming up for the show, when I went out to get a drink of water and to use the, ahem, facilities. When I came back, Parker had drawn the following on the dry erase board:

Safe-T-Rex looks like the kind of series of advertisements or kids' show I could really get behind. It certainly couldn't be any worse than Barney.
The show, incidentally, turned out very well, and we had a great time performing for them.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Day 1: "Walking on Water"

Today's photograph is of the book Walking on Water, which was written by S. Michael Wilcox. It was given to me for Christmas, and earlier today I finished reading it.
Bro. Wilcox, now retired, was one of my favorite instructors when I attended the University of Utah Institute, and reading this book was almost like being back in his classroom. If you're looking for some good reading, please allow me to recommend it. In it, you'll find unique and insightful commentary on important gospel principles from someone who has dedicated his life to learning and teaching them.