Monday, December 27, 2010

Uncle Zach

This Christmas season was more than just a season of giving and receiving, but rather of becoming. I became, for the first time, something that I have coveted for a long time. I became an uncle.

Many of my friends have been aunts and uncles for years now. Some have even been an aunt or an uncle since they were born or just infants. Not me. I have waited 25 years for this to happen and let me tell you, it is such an awesome experience. Here is little Violet, my niece.

She is just the most precious little girl. I couldn't stop smiling while I was holding her. I was just so happy.

Holding her in my arms was like holding a little piece of heaven. She is so pure and so beautiful. Absolutely flawless. That was quite the Christmas gift to become an uncle. Now it's just a couple months until I get a little nephew. I can't wait.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Album Cover

So, I was a little bored at work and started looking through my photos. I came across my Japan/Korea tour pictures and found this beauty.

Why was this never on the cover of the tour cd? Oh, man! That would have been sweet. If I ever get a rock/funk/whatever band together, we're going to do something epic like this for our cover. Awesome.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The "Me" Monster

How many of us out there have been plagued by the "me" monster? I'm sure at some point, all of us have. I know I have, especially these past few days. I this, I that, me this and me that. It happens to the best of us.

These past few weeks, in our church meetings, we have talked a lot about serving others. Of course, my initial response is, "no way can I find the time to serve others. I have so much to do that I can barely take care of my self." The thing is, that is exactly what the "me" monster wants us to think. He wants us to think that we are the most important, the number one. However, this goes against the teachings of the Bible and everything that Christ stood for. I'm sure that Christ could have played the "woes me" card, that I so often play when I'm overwhelmed and in need of strength and help. The fact is that in times where He could have done that, he served and helped others. Because of this, our Heavenly Father provided for Him and gave Him the strength he needed to progress.

We had a great lesson in Sunday School that came from the book Ezekiel. Three verses in particular stuck out to me. It was Ezekiel 34: 2-4. These verses are regarding the leaders of the church and how they should be watching over their flocks (respective callings and congregations), but they are neglecting to do so because of everything they are doing for themselves. There was a comment made that really hit me. She explained how this also applies generally to everybody, where the flocks are all those around us with whom we may come in contact everyday. When we focus on ourselves, we neglect everyone around us who may need help, even if we ourselves are seeking help. What occurred to me, after this comment was made, was that when we are able to help others when we ourselves are hurt and seeking help and guidance, that is when our Heavenly Father puts someone else in our path to serve and help us. Purely focusing on ourselves and our immediate needs does not bring us all that much happiness, as has been proved by these last few days in my life.

Of course, we are all busy. There is no denying that, especially in this modern world. Service rendered does not have to be huge and require hours of our time. It could be a smile or even a brief conversation. This is something I need to work on. There are so many opportunities for service that I miss because I'm thinking too much about me, my schedule and everything I have to do.

For everyone that made it to the end of this, I have a treat for you. If you have ten minutes, listen to the most beautiful piece of music ever (link below). I'm sure there is other beautiful music out there (actually, I'm positive there is), but this piece moves me and ignites something deep down in me. This is the beauty of art. It does something to you. It calls upon emotions of all kinds. This, however, is another topic of discussion I may touch on in the future. I hope you enjoy "Fratres II" by Arvo Pärt (If this does not move you, you have no soul, or I'm just a little weird).

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Beauty of the Earth

So, the favorite part about my house is the view that we have in the back. It is quite magnificent. I have spend many hours just looking out there and pondering whatever comes to my mind. It is an outlet for feeling peace, which hasn't come by easily lately with so much going on. Since I had a camera close by, here are some of my favorite shots from the past couple of weeks.

(tonight's sunset)

This has basically been one of the main things that keeps me sane now days. Just thought I would post it before I have to jump into finishing my string quartet, which may take a while to finish.

Monday, October 11, 2010


So, I have always liked taking pictures. It was fun. But, it wasn't until a friend of mine introduced me to photography with a nice camera. Ever since then, I can't get myself to use my little point-and-shoot. It just won't produce the kind of image that I now know is possible with better equipment.

Initiate secret savings account and intense research.

After saving for several months and reading everything I could find about cameras, I finally decided to get one. Here are some of my favorite images from this week.

This is a leaf that fell from the tree in our front yard. It got caught on a spider web and was hanging there.

One morning when I woke up early enough to see the sunrise.

My dog. What a good lookin' pup.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Man Files

I was enjoying my day just doing the same things I normally do each day. I composed a little music, played my horn, went to rehearsals and even went to a class. I did this for the entire month of September. I had gotten into my groove and was pretty comfortable where I was. 

However, as September turned to October, I realized that something was different. I tried to place my finger on it but could never figure it out. As I was driving up to campus to do some homework in the library, it suddenly dawned on me. "Umm... you could get in a lot of trouble. Your car registration has expired."

Oh no! How could I let this happen? I had all of September to get my safety and emissions done and renew my registration. How embarrassing. 

Without any delay, I canned the library idea and set off for the nearest mechanics shop. I took it in and they said it would be 45 minutes. "That's not too bad," I thought to myself. Indeed, it took about 45 minutes, but again, I could sense that something was wrong. "What now?!" Everything on my car had passed except for the brakes. Dang it.

Without any delay, the mechanic began punching in all sorts of numbers into his computer. "If you want, we can fix them for you today. It will take about 3 hours." In my mind I was thinking, "I don't really care how long it takes. How much money are you going to charge me?" I waited for an answer... ... $450. Wait, what? $450? I don't think so! I'll do it myself, thank you.

So, I stormed out of the mechanics shop with the determination to change my own brakes. Problem: I've never changed brakes before. Spark plugs - yes. Oil - yes. Brakes - not a clue. But $450? I don't think so. I could figure this out to minimize the cost.

Cue call to dad. He's a smart guy and has changed brakes before. He went by the store to grab the brakes we needed and decided that we would get the job done on Saturday between LDS Conference sessions. 

I've never felt like such a man before. Getting dirty, using power tools and lifting jacks. You know. Man stuff. Check it out below.

(Dirty, greasy man hands!)

Overall, this was a great experience and I had a blast doing it with my dad. It was well spend, male bonding time (not to mention that we went out to eat after the priesthood session of conference. I've never eaten so much Indian food in my life. So good). 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

LDS composers' concert

I just recently performed this past weekend on the horn. I love performing. I love the rush that I get. I love having people listen to what I've prepared. I don't love, however, the anxiety and nervousness that comes from it. I could sure do without that.

A friend of mine provided me with the unique opportunity to be the featured horn player of this concert. He is from Australia, is a composer, and first heard me play my horn at my own composition recital in February 2010. He has created what is called the LDS Composers' Trust. He has started gathering music from composers of the LDS faith and has set up concerts to be performed of this music. The composers ranged anywhere from seasoned composers who have made a name for themselves to those just beginning and studying composition. Being handed the opportunity to play some of these pieces has been a joy for me.

There were two performances that happened on Sept. 23 and 24. I had a blast performing in each one. I played three pieces and each one was very different in style. 

The first was a piece that took me way out of my comfort zone. When I say way out there, I mean way, way, way, way, waaaaaaay out there. It not only required me to play, but to act, as well. I was to convince people that I was chewing gum before starting the piece. Then, I had to place the gum in mouth so that I could play with it in there. Half way through the piece, the gum gets stuck. Then begins the long process of getting the gum out. So, here I am on stage, blowing through my horn, hitting and banging it, twisting and turning it, trying to get it out, when finally, it comes out the end of the horn. I pick it up, replace it in my mouth and then finish the piece. Fun little piece. I think I pulled it off alright, considering all my acting skills.

The second was a piece by one of my professors, Christian Asplund. I loved this piece. It was aesthetically different than what most people are used to, but nonetheless, very, very beautiful. This turned out being the premiere of this work. It had been lined up to be played several times in the past, but never got performed due to many setbacks. I'd definitely play this piece again. It was hard but a lot of fun.

Then, the last piece was a funky version of a children's song. It was fast paced, exciting and overall, just a fun piece. It was only too bad that we didn't have as much rehearsal time as we wish we would have had. The performances went well and were well received by the audience.

I love music so much. I never thought that I could be involved with music for the rest of my life. For a long time, I always thought that I would have to move onto something else eventually. It was always a little sad to think about because of how much I love music. I hope that more opportunities keep coming my way so that music can continue to be the main part of my life.

Monday, September 13, 2010

drumroll, please...

It has been seven months since my senior composition recital and I made a promise that I would post the recordings of my music. Well, it wasn't possible for me to post my music on blogger because it either isn't possible, or I'm just too stupid to figure it out. Well, without further ado, I present to you...

Here you can catch all the updates on my musical life including performances of my pieces, premieres and any other concerts and what not I may be participating in. I hope that you all get a chance to check it out. It's not super impressive (yet!), but I'm going to keep working on it and hopefully I'll turn it into something amazing and awesome.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Barlow Endowment Day 3

I couldn't believe the last day arrived so quickly! On this final day, we all gathered together one last time to pick out our recipients of the general and lds commissions. The best part was that multiple winners could be chosen. That was also the worst part because we wanted them all to get something.

The process of elimination happened just like the day before for the prize. However, when we came down to a few, they were the recipients! No further weeding needed to happen. However, another factor was thrown into the equation. The Barlow Endowment only had so much money for these commissions. So, the judges began the process of 'who really deserves how much?'. It was interesting to see as some asking prices were left untouched and others were slashed significantly. By midday, the commissions were negotiated and everything calculated and was in harmony with what the Barlow was willing to award.

I had so much fun with this internship. It has been a remarkable opportunity for me. I learned so many valuable things in just 3 days and gained some new friendships. I'm all fired up to be a composer, especially after hearing what the winners were writing. I wanted to be one of them. I wanted to feel like I was being rewarded for my talent. Of course, I always feel rewarded by my talents, but it's also nice when the world recognizes these talents.

Sometimes, I think I'm crazy for pursuing a career in music. I wonder everyday about how I will support myself and my future family. One thing I do know is that I am definitely doing what I love. I have no regrets about doing it. There is nothing that a little hard work won't do for you. All of my hard work has been rewarded. If I do all I'm supposed to and put the rest into my Heavenly Father's hands, I know that He will take care of me. I love music. There is nothing that I would rather be doing.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Barlow Endowment Day 2

Let the final judging begin!

On the second day of my internship in the mountains, we all convened together with our 4-6 applications that we felt were the best from our rooms the previous day. After we had all gathered, us, the interns, presented the applicants to the judges. We played a sample of their music for them, similar to what we listened to in the individual rooms, while they took notes. Quietly, we moved onto the next application. We did this for all 20 applications that were brought to the table. After every application had been presented, there was discussion.

Discussion was rather interesting to me. It seemed that the best applications naturally rose to the top of the pack. The was something that distinguished them from all the other applicants. Quickly, all the applications were whittled down to a few. This is when I thought things would get ugly. I thought that one person was going to stick with one application to the very end and never be convinced that someone else was going to win. It started to look that way. We took another listen to the pieces. Listened to some additional things in more depth. This then led to more discussion. Surprisingly, all of the judges came to a consensus  rather fast. "What? That's it? No fighting? No yelling or screaming?"

The judges were very respectful of each other's opinions and rather than fighting, they presented their concerns and arguments and were completely open to what others had to say. It was quite remarkable and amazing.

Shortly after lunch, a winner had been decided for the prize.

After all this, we were given a little break. We then had the task of going through the general and lds applications. This process was much faster as there were fewer applications to sort through.

The general applications are different from the prize applications in a few ways. First of all, there is no set commission money. They can name their composer fee. As much or as little as they want. Second, they don't have to write for a specific ensemble. They can choose anything they want. The purpose of the general commission is to promote new music and to help young and old composers alike to actively create new music. Also, because this is an endowment from Brigham Young University, it has a special category for lds composers.

We chose the final applications, which were to be brought to the table the next morning.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Barlow Endowment Day 1

These past few days, I have had the amazing opportunity to hang out with several modern composers of our day at the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition. Everything that went on was so interesting to me and quite inspiring. I had so much fun doing this.

First off, I got this opportunity from BYU to be an intern for this competition. The Barlow Endowment is specific towards music composition and gives composers a chance to get their names out there as well as compete for a hefty prize (this year was $12,000 to write a piece for Piano Trio). So cool.

My job as an intern was to file all of the applications. As boring as filing and data entry is, this was really neat. I got to know composers better. I got so see where all of the applications were coming from and to see, in person, all of the music that was coming in. All of the applications were due by June 1, and we had everything filed away by the end of that first week in June.

After all the filing was done, I had to wait until the beginning of August where I was to be present at the judging of all of these applications. The judging took place at a beautiful resort at Snowbird. I thought it was really cool to take all the applications and to go far away into the mountains to judge everything. It was really nice and relaxing to be there, and it was absolutely beautiful (smack forehead because I forgot my camera!).

I will chronicle everything a day at a time because there was so much that happened in each day. This post would be forever long if I didn't.

I arrived in Snowbird on Sunday evening, August 1. The main thing we did was get a quick run-through of what we were supposed to do and then we set up the rooms with a sound system and the applications for the judging the next morning.

The morning came, and after a huge all-you-can-eat breakfast, all the interns and judges gathered in a room for a quick meeting. We were given a time frame for judging, some guidelines and then we headed to the rooms to get started.

This is where it gets interesting. Our first task was to go through the applications for the Prize, which is a $12,000 commission for a Piano Trio. There were four judging rooms, 8 judges, and about 82 prize applications per room. We had to get through them all and choose our top 4-6 before dinner time. That came to about
7 hours of judging! If you do the math, that gave us roughly 5 minutes per application. Some of the pieces that people would send in were anywhere from 5-60 minutes long, and they each sent in two pieces. That is quite a task to make a judgment call after hearing a piece for only a few minutes.

I learned so many things just being the intern that was helping out and basically staying out of the way of the judges. Here are some of them.
  1. Direction - where is the piece going? What are you trying to do with the material? There were so many pieces that started, but never really went anywhere, whether that was staying with the same ideas as the beginning, or being stuck on the same chord in the end as in the beginning. Everything needed to serve a purpose and to lead the listen to something else.
  2. Don't be afraid to enter - there were a lot of applications that were submitted. In turn, there were a lot that were really good, but in the end, only one winner could be picked. However, one of the judges I was with was a performer. He was writing down all sorts of names and contact information because he himself wanted to play the piece or he had some students that would like to play one of the pieces. Just because there is only one winner, that doesn't mean that the remaining 325 applications go unnoticed.
  3. Cleanliness really is next to Godliness - the applications that came in that were neatly bound, printed on nice paper and were very clear and clean always got a little more time with the judges. If they took the time to mark where all the tracks were and pointed the judges to places that they should look at fared a lot better than those who didn't. Though it all comes down to the music and your compositional skills, presentation was a huge part that would catch the attention of the judges in the first place.
These are just a few things that I learned. The list goes on and this post would get longer and longer, and you would be inclined to read less and less. I know that happens to me when I don't have a nice picture to take a break on.

Well, this is basically all we did for the entire day. Saying that makes it sound so boring, but it was so much fun and I would do it again in a heartbeat. I've never been so exciting about composition before in my life. I heard so many great things in one day and it sparked my imagination in so many different ways. I just hope I can produce some things that can compare to what I heard.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Being Healthy is FUN!

So, my newest thing as of late has been my desire to make homemade meals and to make them look good and appetizing so that I don't dip into the foods that are going to make me feel icky. So, tonight, I got off of work about an hour early, was bored out of my mind, was really hungry, so I decided to make something. Here it is!

It didn't take very long to prepare and it was incredibly delicious (Lucky Charms theme, "they're magically delicious!" just went through my head. This meal, not "magically" but "incredibly." Could be "magically"...maybe...we'll see). There was a piece of halibut, my favorite fish, in the freezer so I cooked that up. Then some spinach with a delicious italian dressing (not too much!) and parmesan with a slice of watermelon on the side. YUM!

I love preparing my own food, especially when it turns out like this. Bon appetit!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

My Newest Possession

While I was on my trip with my family to Denver, I acquired something unique and very interesting. It is a musical instrument that has seemed to have lost a lot of respect over the years, though it is making a huge comeback in European music, especially that of the Russian variety. I acquired a beautiful Scandalli accordion, made sometime in the 1930's, that has had very limited use and is practically perfect in physical structure and appearance. Check it out!

(oooOOOoooh! Italy. Nice.)

This baby can really produce a lot of sound and it sounds amazing. This accordion was sitting in my grandparents house for decades. It has been untouched and unplayed for about quite some time now. When we went over to visit them, this is how the first moments went with my grandpa...

"Hi grandma! Hi grandpa!"

"Well, it looks like you made it all right."
[firm grandpa handshake]

"Yes we did."

"Come with me."


"I want you to take this. It has been sitting here in the closet
and hasn't done anything. I thought that you might like it
and maybe would do something with it."

"AWESOME! Thanks grandpa! This is so cool!"

: : :

There you have it. That is how fast I acquired it and how fast grandpa was ready to give it away. He must have been thinking about it for weeks before we even came over (he told me he wanted to give it to me over the phone, but I had no idea that this would be the first thing that would happen when I got there). But, nonetheless, I am really grateful that he did give it to me. I am fascinated by it. I've tried playing a couple of times, but have no idea in this world how it is done. I'll have to look up some things and get working on my favorite Russian pop song. Why is it my favorite? Easy. It uses accordion with a white Russian guy rapping about his black BMW, and how it gets him all the ladies, and the dancing is quite stellar in the video. Just saying. It's pretty awesome.

Friday, May 14, 2010

My Newest Obsession

Yes, I have a new obsession. It used to be an interest a few years back, but quickly died because the price of this obsession was far more than I could ever afford. It all started when I saw my first racing bucket seat. Not just any bucket seat, but one that was made out of carbon fiber. There started my interest in it.

What is carbon fiber? Let me tell you as far as I know. Carbon fiber is a fabric that is woven from extremely thin strands of carbon atoms. These carbon atoms bond together and form these strands. I don't know how, but because of the way that they bond together, it gives the strands a high strength. When many are woven together, this creates a fabric or a sheet that is both very strong and extremely light weight. Random fact, a single strand of carbon fiber is about 5-8 micrometers in diameter. The average diameter of a human hair is about 80 micrometers. That's significantly smaller, yet it is much, much stronger. Pretty cool.

Of course, I don't have the money to purchase carbon fiber pieces and parts for my car, as the prices run high. Nor would I put anything carbon fiber in my car because it would seem out of place and would serve no real purpose. This all happened about 2 or 3 years ago. I quickly brushed away this thought because of the depression that occurred, knowing I had no money and my car was not up to carbon fiber standards.


I discovered carbon fiber film. This is vinyl that has the appearance of carbon without the cost of it. The best part about it, is that it is not just a print that looks like carbon fiber. It has an actual three-dimensional texture that reflects light the same way real carbon fiber does. So cool!

I quickly discovered that there were so many uses for this other than in a vehicle. Check it out.

That's right. My light switches in my room! Isn't that just so cool? I love it. What says manly more than a light switch that looks like it's made of carbon fiber? I'm still trying to think of other things that I can "carbon fiber," so if you have any ideas, let me know.

In addition to finding this awesome vinyl, I also found other household and common products that are made out of real carbon fiber. Check it out. There's some very fun and practical stuff there.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Time to Get Fit!

The week before graduation happened, I decided that my goal for the summer was to get in the best shape of my life. I know that this is the goal of half the people on the planet for their summer plans or New Years' resolution, however, this is a real one and it is going to happen. I'm sick and tired of being so insulated, though it is nice for the winter season. I have decided to trade it in for something a little harder, stronger, better sculpted, and far more attractive.

I have decided to give my try at P90X. Yes, I know what you're thinking, "Wow. You got sucked right into that infomercial. Sucker." Although that may be partially true, it is not entirely true and therefore false. I did extensive research on the topic and read hundreds of reviews and what not before I took the plunge. So, unless everything I read is wrong and misleading, yes, I am a sucker. But I don't think so.

I started off the program by taking the embarrassing pictures of me with my shirt off in several poses. I will not post those until I have the final results at the end of the ninety days just to leave you all in suspense. One thing you can rest assured about is that I will complete all ninety days of it and I'm not going to skip a single one. If not, you all have permission to come and smack me and laugh hysterically in my face to your heart's content.

Right now, I am on day 25, and things are looking good. That's all I'm going to say. You'll hear back from me in 65 more days with my results. You can count on this one. This is going to be the best summer yet...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


April 22 and 23 marked two of the biggest days of my life. I graduated from college! For me, this is a huge accomplishment. While in school, I always had the feeling that there was no end in sight and I would be in school forever. Well, after 5 years of Brigham Young University, I received my Bachelors Degree in Music Composition. This finally marked the end of my undergraduate career.

What are the pros of being a graduate? Let me tell you.

First off, if you are a music major at BYU, you get a fancy pink tassel! Check it out! The majority of people get either a white one or a yellow one. That's a music major perk.

Secondly, I am now a member of the BYU Alumni and get to reap the benefits of that, whatever they are. Maybe I should check it out and learn what it is all about.

Thirdly, I get to say the I am graduated. How much more snooty can I get than when someone asks, "are you in school?" Ha! I'm graduated. Didn't see that coming, did you! I guess there are more snooty things such as "I have a Masters" or "I'm a Doctor." I'm working on that.

The cons...

Well, I either have to do more school or grow up and find a real job. I've opted for more school. I have been accepted into the Masters program at BYU in Music Composition. Right now, I have in mind going the whole nine yards to get my doctorate. Well, I guess that all really isn't a con because I enjoy being in school. So, I guess there are only pros right now. Win!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

It Happened...a while ago...

You can tell how excited I am to tell all of you about one of my first big achievements, which happened about a month ago. The reason I waited so long was to keep you all in suspense of when I was going to post about it. Well, wait no longer because here it is!

My car did make it to 200,000 miles! It didn't croak a few miles before it was supposed to happen. It happened right after the afternoon session of LDS General Conference (check it out if you missed it. Amazing!). It happened at the perfect time as well.

I knew that it was going to roll over soon, so after conference, Kristin, Josh and I all got in my car and drove around for a few minutes until it finally ticked over. As soon as it hit 199,999, we all got really excited because we knew that it would soon tick over. But when was it going to do that? The suspense was killing us.

When's it going to change?

We were driving along 500 West, turned right on to Bulldog Boulevard and waited until it ticked over. As I was driving, the light ahead of me turned red and I thought, "wouldn't it be awesome if it ticked over as soon as I stopped?" As soon as I thought this, we came to a stop and sure enough, when I crept to a stop, it ticked over. 200,000 miles! [insert celebration here. See celebratory pictures below] This was also perfect timing because I could easily pull out the camera and snap a couple of shots of the odometer.

200,000! Woot!

                                                (excited!)                                       (excited!)

(mission accomplished! yes!)

Way to go Corolla. Keep going strong. I'll see you at 300,000.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Major Event Coming Forth

So, from the title, you may think that this is some major event of epic proportions. Well, you thought right.

I drive a 1999 Toyota Corolla. She's a trooper. In fact, she's about to pass a huge milestone.
200,000 miles!

At this moment, I'm about 150 miles short of that. I'm pretty sure this is my last tank of gas before she roles over. Just to get an idea of how far 200,000 miles is, I've put this together for you.

Distance from my house to my Grandparents (in Utah) :: 1 mile
I've traveled to my grandparents house and back home 100,000 times!

Distance from my house to my other Grandparents (in Colorado) :: 500 miles
I've been to my Grandparents house and back 200 times.

Distance across the country (California to Maryland) :: about 3000 miles
My car has been across the country almost 67 times.

Diameter of the earth :: 7,926 miles
My car has traveled to the other side of the earth through its core 25 times (12.5 times there and back. I've still got a ways to go to get back home)

Circumference of the earth (around the equator) :: 24,901 miles
My car has traveled 8 times around the earth.

Distance from earth to moon (from core to core) :: 238, 875 miles
My next destination. Better pull out my set of moon tires. I'll finally get to use them! Good thing I brought my iPod, too.

Monday, March 15, 2010

New Olympic Event: Chair Stacking

I work a custodial job while going to school. Despite the common conception of custodial jobs, I actually love doing it. I don't love it because of the things that I have to do (such as clean up a backed up sewer mess. Eww!), but my supervisor and coworkers make my job interesting. The reason for writing this post comes from my experimentation to make carpet cleaning fun and interesting. I'm going to share with you a little on how to make something dull and boring a little more interesting and worthwhile.

Carpet cleaning by nature is nothing special and very monotonous. Basically, you move the furniture out of the way, vacuum, spray down the soap, then extract it. I have been experimenting with making the first step interesting: moving furniture.

Most of the carpet I clean is found in classrooms and there are a lot of desks to move. When I first started, I would just push the desks to one side. Then I experimented with stacking. The trick with this is to stack them so that they don't fall and severely injure the person in the morning that has to move all of them back. I also see it as a way to make the morning person's job interesting. It's like a puzzle that they have to take apart just right so that it doesn't come crashing down. For example, this is my latest stack.

This is by far my most complex stacking job to date. I'm always looking for ways to make the stacks higher and more complex. It keeps my brain working while doing mindless tasks.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Coming soon...

Hey everyone! I'm attempting to put recordings of my music up from my senior recital. Sorry if you all get disappointed every time you check my blog, but these past few weeks have been super crazy. I just finished my senior composition recital on Feb. 3 and it feels really good to have it over with. It went so well and I hope that you enjoy the music when it gets posted. Come back soon!

Friday, January 8, 2010

What is Philosophy?

Inspiration for this post has not come from a profound answer that I happened to stumble upon during my nightly, deep ponderings of life (by nightly I mean rare to none. The latter actually), but from a hilarious joke and presentation from my philosophy professor of what philosophy is not. Here's how it went.

Our first assignment for the class was to ask three people "what is philosophy?" and we would discuss the answers in class. In our class, a common answer came up, which was that philosophy is the love of wisdom. Our professor then began a 30-minute lecture, as if he had been hoping and praying that this answer would come up in class, about how "love of wisdom" is not what philosophy is and that it in fact tells us nothing about philosophy. Now for the best part.

He began to break down why people would think that philosophy means "love of wisdom." It came down to this. If we look at the word philosophy from its Greek origins, we see that phil(o) = love and sophy = wisdom/knowledge. Sometimes, this kind of breakdown of a word from its origin helps us to understand and get a good grasp of what it might mean, but not in this case. Then came the best example I have heard in my life.

He presented us with this scenario: He needed a babysitter for the night while he and his wife enjoyed a nice dinner together. They were discussing who they should hire for the job. "Hey! The perfect guy for the job is Steve, from down the street. He's a pedophile" (ped = child/kid, phil = love, thus a kid lover or person who loves kids). Perfect, right? ... Wrong!


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Reflections on a First Week

This is my last semester of my bachelors at BYU and the first week has been an interesting one. Here's how it went:

Monday :: Longest day. Ever.
I start the day at 10am with a philosophy class. What is philosophy? Who knows. I guess that's why I'm taking the class. Then I was off to Form and Analysis at 11. Another music class. Should be a good one. Then a little break before a rigorous rehearsal of Mahler 5 at 1pm. Yeah, Mahler is kicking my butt. It's going to take a lot of practice to play that piece. After rehearsal, which ends at 3, I just sat around waiting for horn class to start at 5. Then work at 6. This isn't as bad as my Mondays last semester, but it will be a close second. We'll see how it goes.

Tuesday :: Worst day. Ever.
I started off the day with a horn lesson. That wasn't the bad part. What comes next really made my day awesome. After horn lessons, I was not feeling well at all. Thanks to a beautiful friend, Kristin, I was able to get home so that I could get some rest. Didn't get much rest though. I spent the remainder of my afternoon getting to know my toilet really well. A little too well. Because of this, I missed my composition class and work as well. Kristin also came down with a huge migraine, which was also no fun.

Wednesday :: Things are looking up!
I turned in my first assignments. I was playing awesome in orchestra. Learned that philosophy does NOT mean love of wisdom. Still don't know what it is, though. Turned in my program and packet for my senior composition recital. I'm excited for it (I'm still scrambling for some players, which is kind of scary!). Went to a fun art store with Kristin where she bought a ton of acrylic paints for this semester (can't wait to see her new projects!). I worked that night and got bored, tried to find some stuff to do and eventually left for home.

Thursday :: Not too shabby
The morning was a little rough because my stomach was not cooperating. Everything settled down by class time (I don't start classes until 3pm! First time ever!) I spent most of the morning practicing, which felt really good. I haven't had that much time to just sit down and practice for a long time. I may actually get good at the horn this semester!

Friday :: Great day!
Found out that my philosophy teacher is hilarious. Ate some Pier 49 pizza. Absolutely fantastic. Got completely embarrassed in front of one person. No one else in the world saw what happened, but I turned red and was quite embarrassed anyway. Learned a ton about 20th century orchestration in just two hours from one piece by Mahler. Cool! Then, the day ended with a game of operation and building a fort. How cool is that?

Though things started out a little rough and dismal, things only got better. If my semester reflects anything from this first week, it is going to be an amazing semester.