Tuesday, July 10, 2012

England (arrival)

I travelled with Colin.  He is a UK citizen and so he abandoned me as he quickly was admitted through the EU passport line.  No bother, some of my favorite people watching moments of this whole trip took place in that boarder crossing line.  I stood behind a beautiful Persian family with a small child, and a confident Mexican mother with 2 teenage girls.  I was fascinated with the Americanization of the Mexican girls with Coach carry on bags and their Dolce and Gabbana sunglasses.  It was in striking contrast to the Persians, dressed in simple western clothes they stood completely dignified, the mother carrying the bags and the husband tending to his small son, too young to walk.  It just made me feel so cultured, and so lucky to be able to see such diversity.  That concludes the deep sentimental portion of this post....

Then I just felt EXHAUSTED!!!

I feel like John's face sums up our exhaustion....

After sharing some English chocolate, and Kelcey's ceremonial standing on the couch, it was a struggle to stay awake, so we went on a walk!

I think between the Drop Dead Gorgeous references and the dumb American tourist jokes Colin and John were questioning letting Kelcey and me accompany them to the Mother Land.  On this walk we came up with the idea for double decker buses. It was also the first of many glares we received for being too loud and obnoxious.  

As the next couple days went on the Rivera's got used to Kelcey yelling about worms inside her and our nightly dance party in their kitchen as we gorged on crumpets.  I just wish the rest of the English citizenry would have felt the same way.

This is me in an emergency exit row all to myself.  I wish I had a pic of the first class row I had all to myself on the return trip!

England (Spirituality)

This has been a long time coming.  I spent the beginning of May and the end of April (in that order) in England this year.  It was one of the coolest things ever.  I have been wanting to blog about the trip for a while, but I just haven't been able to think of the best way to do it.  I still don't think I have it figured out, but this is going to be a slow week, so here it goes! (I'll have to credit Colin Rivera, Kelcey Herring, and John Meyers for most of the pics in these blogs because I suck at taking pictures...)

Today's blog will actually just be about 2 places we visited in London: Westminster Abbey and St. Paul's Cathedral.

First, some reference pictures:
This is Westminster Abbey (all the instagram pics are Colin's.... he's so hip)

This is me in front of St. Pauls (all the goofy pics are Kelcey's)

As expected we have no pictures from the inside of these breathtaking buildings, but it is the experiences I had inside them that I'd like to include in this blog.

First, Westminster.  The gothic design and magnificent structure of this nearly 1000 year old house of worship captivated me from the moment we walked in.  The audio tour showed off the final resting place of dozens of monarchs and other notable political figures from over the centuries.  However, I think my favorite moment was near the end of our stay there.  After seeing the graves of Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin I took a moment to light a prayer candle and offered a silent petition to heaven that I might do so much more to be more than just a Mormon, but to be a real Christian in my life and seek to learn and grow in whatever way God would ordain me to.  It was amazing to see worship and spirituality take so many forms in every person who was there.

St. Paul's.  The sheer size of this cathedral is overwhelming to say the least.  The place where I felt the most spiritual power was, not surprisingly, at the High Altar at the back of the main floor.  Words do not do it justice, but the gold alter itself surrounded by mosaics telling the story of the creation, the fall, and the birth of Christ just left me overwhelmed.  As I looked at the altar and its highness I was left, as the artist I'm sure intended, to ponder of the unfathomable greatness, highness, and unknowableness of God.  His perfect love is something I can't pretend to understand, His clear understanding and complete omniscience I cannot comprehend.  Yet He is here, He is part of this world, and He wants to be known.

I guess more than anything I learned that God works in and through everyone, every belief, every understanding, every individual in order the bless and shape the lives of His children.  I hope that I can do much more to understand how I can do whatever He would have me do.        

Also, we found this AMAZING hummus restaurant just down the street from St. Paul's.  It has since become the greatest 2 words in my vocabulary.
Hummus Bros!!

Monday, July 9, 2012

First Impression, Last Impression

I have been told my whole life that first impressions are the most important.  After all, you only get one.  Obviously, this is true, but I tend to believe that there is one impression that is probably more important.  And that would be a last impression.  I bet you would behave very differently if you knew that the interaction you were having with a person would be your last.  I know I would.

Watches > Rings (aka Treat Yo'Self)

So this story begins where all good stories begin: a broken heart and to much store credit at a jewelry store.  

And this is how it ends!

The best part of my many months of coping with the effects of a horribly destructive relationship happened just a few weeks ago.  Due to the end of an engagement I found myself with a substantial amount of store credit at a jewelry store.  I had planned on just using this money for another engagement ring when the time came.  But I have been watch-less for way too long.  

My plan then became to buy one obscene watch, maybe a Tag Heuer, or a Breitling.  I found myself in this store during a special Father's Day sale, and if anyone knows me they know I am a sucker for a sale and a salesman.  The salesman convinced me that I didn't want just one watch, but I could get two and then have some diversity.  Oh how right he was!!  

I am now the proud owner of two gorgeous time pieces!  (Yeah, "watch" just doesn't do it justice.)  One is a Swiss Army, which pairs well with a grey suit.  And the other is a Nixon Capital Automatic.  That's just my $700 "around-town" watch.  

Anyway, I hope this doesn't make me sound like too much of a douche, but I thought is was great!

A couple tunes:

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Playing shows and a great new haircut!

I feel like I need to write something that is not analyzing Mexican electoral rules (life of a poli sci major...) so here goes this one:

I'm in a band.  I know that the big picture at the top of this page may not give that away, but I am.  I got to play several shows in the last couple of weeks which was super fun!

First the most recent one:

This picture describes the feeling behind a show, look at how all the instruments are just begging to be played!  We played a new song that is not available for download at the moment (because we have not recorded it yet...) called "Do it Right."  The writing of this song was quite an adventure (admittedly, what I do to a new song cannot really be called "writing").  The guitar line meshed with the drums and bass perfectly, but there was obviously something missing.  We messed with guitar effects, drum intensity, and cymbal sounds but nothing worked.  The other band members sang out a drum part for me and I laughed in their face because it was so simple and boring.  But the show spoke for itself!  As the verse transitioned to the chorus and the strong quarter note drums began pounding through the delayed guitar sounds and moving lyrics I saw a sold-out audience at the Velour in Provo simultaneously begin jumping right along to the movement of my left hand!  Nothing could compare (I sure hope this video becomes available very soon, but this is what the crowd looked like right after the song)

Two weekends ago we played another great show in Rexburg, Idaho. (Few things make me happier than seeing the red dotted line under the word "Rexburg" because my computer does not know that word.)  I think the previous show description does it justice; the highlight was less musical and much much more follicle.  

The special winner of our dance contest at Sammy's Cafe in Rexburg got to use clippers however she would like.  We then stayed the night and went to church in Idaho, I looked even more like a lunatic for that... (so much so that the Sunday School teacher was afraid to call on me--maybe my favorite part of the whole weekend) 

and now my hair is way too short, and I've been sporting hats everyday of the week. 

Impulsivity gets the best of me....again....


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Who am I??

It should be known that I have the greatest job on Earth.  (It should also me known that the passive voice is liked by me and being used appropriately by me in the preceding sentance.)  With that in mind, I'd like to explain my most recent assignment from my boss: I am to discover my MISSION in life.  This has turned out to be a life changing and revelatory experience for me.  Don't worry, I have not figured it all out (so this blog is not entirely a humblebrag, no need to alert Harris Wittels, just let him keep analyzing Phish--and if you get that reference in its entirety we need to be better friends because I just went deep). However, I have learned more about myself, some of which I think I'd like to share here and since you are reading this you might just care enough to be interested (if you don't and you're using an Apple computer just click the red circle in the upper left.  If you're not using an Apple computer, or similar computing product, click the box in the upper right whether you care or not because I'm having a party and you're not invited.) 
Here we go!

1) I will make mistakes, but I refuse to be defined my those mistakes.
This will be difficult, it will mean cutting ties with those who refuse to define me by my penance, it also means correcting mistakes and moving forward so that I don't hold myself back.

A beautiful song about moving on.... (Actually I don't know what its about, but that's what I get from it)

2) I will not praise mediocrity.
This means holding myself and those with whom I choose to associate to a much higher standard and not settling as I pursue the measure of my creation.

3) I will laugh everyday, and I'll make others do the same.
Self explanatory..... Everyone needs to laugh, and I've got lots to laugh at.

Yup, that's me.  I like to laugh.

4) I will always care enough to listen.
I know I have a lot of personality flaws, but that doesn't mean I can't be a listening ear.  Plus, I usually have no advice, so I'll never impose it on anyone.

Yeah yeah, I know this picture is the least cool one, I'm not always on my A-game...

5) I will live so that no one will question my loyalty.
Christ is my King.  See number one for clarification.

Astounding arrangement from the second Reflections of Christ CD

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Life's Great Ironies

Ironyincongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the normal or expected result.

I'd say this is my favorite definition of this word.  

And this is my favorite example of it.

Life is full of irony.  Hipsters thrive on it by wearing t-shirts advertising amusement parks they've never been to, or record stores that don't exist in any-town Indiana.  Most mustaches are ironic, and no one has genuinely worn a fedora in fifty years.  

But you don't have to think that the only good music has a lap-steel guitar and a harmonica to find irony all over your life!  This is a list of some of the great ironies I have discovered lately:

*Taking education seriously does not mean retaining knowledge and learning to apply it to better the world, it means passing a test.

*People think they can actually know what is happening in your life if they follow you on twitter.

*Coffee ice cream counts as "hot drinks."

*People buy very fancy big head phones and then listen to "Party Rock Anthem" through them, which is a song designed to be listened to on a cell phone.

*Talking about a problem makes it a problem.

*Sting describes himself as an introvert who doesn't like to draw attention to himself while he sits in a yoga pose for an interview in his dressing room that looks like a Buddhist temple.

*People who don't care about you are the ones who will smother you with "care"; this will keep you from achieving what you want to.

A haunting song with just a touch of irony.

If you can think of more things that are ironic add them to the comments for this blog, I'd love to read them!