Thursday, April 28, 2011

Uncle Tom's Cabin and the Bible

Today I finished listening to Uncle Tom's Cabin on Audiobook.  It was a very interesting listen.

I don't consider it to be a great book, I think of it more as an important book, and I'm glad to have listened to it and know what it is all about.  Admittedly it is not a very happy book, but I enjoyed the experience of listening to it, the style of 19th century literature is very different from our own and it was equal parts surprising and refreshing.

The biggest aspect of the writing that struck me was how transparent and obvious Harriet Beecher Stowe made her intentions throughout the novel (which by the way, is to condemn slavery in case you hadn't heard).  Kortney and I are currently listening to State of Fear by Michael Crichton and even though he is obviously condemning the fear mongering that the threat of global warming has led to but still, the narrative never cuts to "at this point dear readers, we reflect upon the tragic nature of governments, that seek to perpetually keep their citizens in a state of fear..."  Stowe pulls no punches and though the book is exploding with characters and feels a little manipulative as every possible variant of slavery (kind master who negligently fails to free his slaves, hard cruel master, passive master, etc. etc.) is juxtaposed one on top of the other, despite its flaws it led to a powerful conclusion.

What I enjoyed most was the window that it created. enabling the reader to get a glimpse of every day life back then.  There were two things that I noticed more than others.  One was that people played backgammon a lot back then.  I've only played backgammon once and I daresay that I did not grasp the games possible nuances.  It seems like you just roll the dice and hope to roll higher.

The second and more significant aspect of the 19th century mindset was the part the Bible played in people's discussions about slavery.  I consider myself fairly familiar with the Bible and I was so surprised to hear people quoting certain passages that seem to support the idea of slavery, and other people quoting passages that condemn slavery.  Not that that phenomenon is rare by any means, as someone who served as a Mormon missionary, I know very well how the Bible could be used to support what I taught to people, and to contradict it, and that virtually anyone who takes the time to acquaint themselves with the Bible's contents will be able to use it in some way to support their views.  What was interesting to me was the fact that they were quoting the most arcane and esoteric passages as if they were the Bible's main points.  Little stories that we completely overlook in our modern course of Biblical study.  If you asked anyone today to give up a passage in the Bible to support slavery, no one could do it offhand.  But in the book, people are casually comparing the passage where the angel tells Hagar to return to her master with other such dark and dusty passages in the most casual manner.

Today, people are able to do this with gay marriage, which is the hot social issue of our day.  That's what I dealt with as a missionary.  "Gay marriage is condemned in the Bible!"  "What?  Condemnation of gay marriage is condemned in the Bible."  The issue of slavery has come and passed and the passages about Hagar and some servant girl who came to the apostles seeking freedom are now obscure and irrelevant.  It is so interesting to me, that no matter when and no matter about what, the Bible will be used as a double-edged sword slicing on both sides of any issue.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Lendingclub Milestones

We all learned about compound interest in elementary school, unfortunately they always got those future billions by using very high interest rates.  Today our Chase bank savings account offers 0.01% and our U.S. Bank savings account weighs in at a whopping 0.05%, essentially $.11 a month.  So yea, in this economy, traditional savings is no longer a get rich quick option.

So, I was very thrilled to find out about a new concept made possible by the internet called peer-to-peer lending.  Essentially you can become the bank and fund the loans of various applicants through the website's platform.

You can make as small a contribution as $25 dollars and can choose notes with varying degrees of interest rates based on lender creditworthiness.  Low is 7% high is 22%, either way, its better than savings.  I was thrilled to learn about this new financial option because it allows you to be perfectly diversified and it doesn't cost any per transaction fee like eTrade and the likes do.  It allows you to start small, try your hand at it a little bit, and learn some lessons without having to risk much.  I endorse Lendingclub 100% and encourage you all to sign up for a free account and start lending.

Kortney and I are coming up on our 1 year anniversary with Lendingclub next month.  Lendingclub is taking us out to a really nice restaurant and then we have reservations at this super cute bed and breakfast up in Cache County.  We are excited!!

But this month, We hit some very important lendingclub milestones.  First off, Kortney and I both have accounts because at the time we signed up, they were offering a $60 registration bonus and what can we say, we both wanted 60 free dollars.  So, we have joint accounts and we have funded them gradually, month by month, putting in enough to invest in one new note every month.  Every once in a while when we get a minor windfall, we have put in $100 or so.  It has been very fun to watch our investment grow.

So, this month, we accomplished two very important goals.

1. Both our accounts reach $25 in interest earned.  That's right, that means that one of our notes is pure interest.  Our combined accounts as of today have brought in $58.76 in interest in less than a year with less than $1000 invested.  You've got to admit, that is pretty good.

2. We both reached 15% interest earned.  We both started out very conservatively with 11% notes and the like, but as we studied the success rates of the different notes, and saw our own results as we invested, we got bolder and more aggressive and have been watching our percentage continually rise.  15% is in the top 10% of all lendingclub investors so, Warren Buffet eat your heart out, we are hot on your tail.

If you have been looking for a good way to put your money to work in this lame economy, don't go to a bank, become a bank, with Lendingclub.

Compare Your Investment

Your Investment in Numbers

YouInvestors Like You
InvestmentNet Annualized ReturnNotes Invested InAverage Note Amount
> $1,0007.06%10$21

Your Investor Percentile

Your Net Annualized Rate to date:
Higher than 90% and lower than 10% of all investors.

   You  15.29% 
 Average 9.65%

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Dave and Pete

This is my buddy Dave.  Dave Crosby.  He has been my friend since the 8th grade, but he has been a top-tier friend (known as a pillar) since my freshman year.  Dave has always been a perfect compliment to me, I feel very confident when I am with him.  After our first semesters at BYU, he moved in with me in DT.  I know that many of you will not fully understand what this meant at the time, but in our circles, this was considered to be nothing short of a shocking decision.  This was like Jerry Sloan retiring mid-season, plus Deron Williams being traded without warning combined!  That shocking.  I was thrilled.

That semester was what dreams are made of and we still look back on those times as the glory days.  After our missions Dave and I and our other two top-tier friends all moved in together.  After one semester we realized that some friends are better friends when they have their own addresses and it seemed like everyone wanted to move out of the Riv except for me.  At the last moment, Dave had a change of heart and decided to stay and keep living with me.  This was like the ending to every wonderful chick-flick you've ever seen.  And did we live happily ever after?  You bet we did.  That next semester was a revival of the freshman year days only this time we got to experience it while dating the girls we would both go on to marry.

After that semester we moved into Arcadia together for the summer and both went through long-distance relationships at the same time.  Afterwards, he got married and so I forgave him for not wanting to live with me anymore.  While I have several best friends, Dave is by far my most loyal friend.

Recently we have been talking about performing together as a unique duo.  Dave has been a top-notch performer since Jr. High.  Not only is he a great guitarist and singer but he belongs to rare class of songwriters that manage to explore new territory through song.  I have often been downright amazed with Dave's lyrics (I consider myself a lyric snob).  Some of my favorites are:

"Upon a shelf, I saw myself,
And I look myself in the eyes
You know I tried to start a conversation
But all I ever told myself were lies"

"I hear them saying, sometimes son you've got to let it go
And hear I sit,
 I'm thinking maybe, it something I ought to let you know
That I'll never last, time moves too fast and we move to slow"

"You can stare me down, but you will never see
Just who I am, when noone's watching me
Cuz only virtue sees inside the culture of thieves"

For more on Dave check out his band page on facebook:
Or check out his former band's page to stream their full debut CD:

Anyway, he is awesome.  He's a great singer, great guitarist, and great performer.  Always has been.  And when I perform with him, I become an amazing performer, something about sharing the stage with Dave infuses with me with a sort of confidence that always results in something magical.  Especially since joining Humor U in 2008, performing has become a regular part of my life, but two of my all-time favorite moments on stage were with Dave, once at a DT activity in the Morris Center where we played a guitar, recorder duet called "Dear Abby" that literally brought the house down and again when I was invited to share the stage at his farewell concert at the Rose Wagner Theater.

I have always wanted to somehow be a part of Dave's performances, and one of the major reasons I decided to learn to play drums in 2008 (other than it having been a life-long dream) was that if Dave ever formed another band, he would have the hardest time finding a drummer and I wanted to be poised and ready to go when that day came.  Sadly, I sold my drumset when I got married and that moment came about a year later and I wasn't ready.  There's a lesson in there for all you readers out there.

For a long time I was obsessed with music and I wrote a lot of lyrics and songs on the piano.  However, I was never good enough (especially at singing) for that to go anywhere and so I managed Dave's band and tried to be a big supporter of all his efforts.  When I decided to try my hand at stand-up (earnestly in July 2008) I found myself naturally succeeding at it.  Almost immediately I was unable to write songs anymore, its strange but with a new outlet to express myself, I lost the ability to write songs.  I joined Humor U and quickly became a solid and dependable cast member.  Learning to write comedy and critique others really defined my undergraduate experience.  Guess who became my biggest supporter, that's right, Dave Crosby.  He came to all my shows, gave me great feedback and encouragement, and talked me up to those around him.  More than anyone else, he made me feel like I could really be a great stand-up comedian.

Well, we have progressed a lot in our own mediums.  Dave is heading into the studio this weekend to record a new batch of original songs and I recently recorded a stand-up DVD with The Left Field that will be distributed by Excel Films nationwide.  It will be released in August.  If you want to see a few samples of my stand-up, here are some examples.  These are all over a year old and I don't feel the same connection to the material that I did then but regardless, I'm proud of my work:
And for more info on The Left Field go here:

OK, so here is the big news.  Dave and I have decided to try out a new experiment this summer by performing shows together as a duo.  A musician and a comic teaming up to bring to you an awesome, unique, memorable, and always entertaining show.  We aren't exactly sure how the format will work exactly but we imagine that we will switch off twice over the course of a show and in the transition times, perform together, whether its one of our recorder/guitar duets, a freestyle battle, or any other thing we happen to come up with, I can guarantee you one thing.  Dave + Pete = MAGIC!

We are really excited to start performing together, as I already mentioned, its always been a dream of mine, and as a musician I would have always felt like a second class citizen next to Dave, but as a comedian, I feel like we are going to be great partners and be able to really blow audiences away with the quality of the entertainment they are going to see.

Our first show will be this Saturday for a fundraiser  for a cystic fibrosis foundation called Orion's Army.  Here is the information for the event.  There will be entertainment going on all day but we will be performing around 3 or 4.
If you'd like to come out, you will be supporting a really good cause and you might just be witnessing history in the making.

We are calling our duo, Dave and Pete.

If you are looking for entertainment for any event, corporate parties, family reunions, birthdays, FHE's, bachelorette parties, we are available for hire.

Monday, April 25, 2011

My issues with Glee

Kortney and I have watched every episode of Glee together.  I do not consider myself a Gleek however, and I would be willing to wager that she does not either...hold on ("KOOOOORTNEY???? ARE YOU A GLEEK???"   "NOOOOOOOOOO")  Yea, she definitely doesn't.  But, for some reason, we keep on watching it.  Obviously, the music is pretty good, sometimes, it is even amazing.  Sometimes, I love it, and once, ONLY once, was I actually brought to tears by the show.  For the most part however, I find Glee riddled with continuity problems, issues with their tone (its supposed to be a comedy right?), and really uncomfortable attempts at pushing the line.  So, despite Glee's positive aspects, this post is all about my issues with Glee.

1. Are they losers or not?

This is seriously my biggest beef with this show.  Half the time the Glee club is sitting around crying about how they are the joke of the school and are persecuted on every side by the jocks and the cheerleaders.  Then, they turn right around and remind us that half of them are football players and cheerleaders, including the quaterback and the head cheerleader.   Not exactly the typical outcasts.

Next, they talk constantly about how they are at the bottom of the high school pecking order and how even (insert interchangeable stereotypically nerdy club) looks down on them.  And then we see them perform at assemblies/pep rallies/football games where they either receive raucous standing ovations, unite a fractured student body through song and dance, or deliver a message so profound and powerful that every student's life is forever changed.  Lame clubs are clubs that lack exposure, The New Directions (name of the Glee club) has given us zero reasons to believe them when they complain about their loserdom except for the slushies that are constantly being thrown in their faces, which admittedly, is a comedic high-point of the show for me. 

Furthermore, for a lame, loser-filled, ignored club, they seem to have a TON of clout around McKinley High School.  First off, they have a band that is at their beck and call 100% of the time.  Sure the band is there for their daily rehearsals, but anytime that Finn and Rachel want to go practice a duet, the band is there ready to accompany them, if a wistful Rachel wanders through the auditorium that ubiquitous piano player is there to play anything, and play it perfectly.  So, apparently, the band doesn't think that TND is lame enough not to serve as their exclusive backing band.  Apparently its not even a requirement for a glee club to have a band since not a single other club that has competed with TND has had a band in any of the regional or sectional competitions.  Two more things that bother me about their permanent backing band that apparently has nothing else to do in the entire world than play music in the band room for the glee club: 1. Finn just has to play drums at the beginning of his songs.  The actor who plays Finn, Cory Monteith, is a drummer, and apparently this is enough of a reason for him to start of his songs on the drums, singing and playing, and then, once the energetic chorus kicks up and he is needed to start circling around whichever girl is singing with him, he tosses the sticks to the official drummer of the band (strangely, the beat itself doesn't stop) and the drummer happily takes Finn's spot and carries on with this song.  WHO IS THIS SELF-LOATHING, NO-CONFIDENCE, BACKSEAT-TAKING, PUSHOVER OF A DRUMMER???  Who would just be like "oh, so its not enough for you to sing you want to play on my drumset while you do it too?  OK, here are my sticks"  "yea, you know, I actually do have to practice this song with the band because I'm gonna be the one who plays the drums at the competition you so desperately want to win and this is in fact our designated practice time, and after all, don't you have choreography you should be working on instead of sitting on my stool and indulging your own sense of self-worth, oh just for the first verse?  Fine."  2. This is the greatest band of all time!!  They know every song, they can pick up on every cue, and most importantly, they have someone to play every single instrument on call.  "Oh, does Mercedes need a harp for this number?  No problem, I'll give Stacie a call, she's been chilling in the teacher's lounge all day just hoping for this to happen." "Oh did Mr. Schuester decide that this was big band week? Well, even though none of these songs are going to be in the competition and this is only serving to teach the twelve kids he is in charge of some very attenuated lesson about morals mixed with music history I better call in that favor with the brass section from the Ohio Philharmonic, now if only I had more than 60 seconds of notice beforehand, this would be so much easier."  Think I am exaggerating?  TND has not once, but TWICE, used an entire gospel choir to sing back-up vocals for Madonna and Aretha Franklin songs.  Once to an auditorium with six people in it (which was admittedly a fund-raiser) and once to an EMPTY AUDITORIUM, after school, as part of "something I've been working on" according to Finn.  This is all done as favors to a loser, do-nothing, ignored, and ridiculed club?  Sorry Glee, but that makes absolutely no sense.  Either be losers, or don't, but just remember that harpists have to lug their instruments around in big vans and are unlikely to do it for a bunch of whiny losers.

Lastly, when the Glee club is not bemoaning their loserdom, they are plotting on how to claw their way to the top of the social food chain.  Apparently Finn and Quinn are up for prom king and queen.  These aren't losers.  Sam is constantly threatening Finn that it may be time for someone new at the top.  Uh...the top of the bottom?  or what?  So, Finn is the most popular kid in school now?  Wait, now if Sam and Quinn get together, they'll become the new power couple?  These are not the machinations of regular losers.  These are the kind of things that the popular kids plot about according to network television (I was never a popular kid but I don't remember seeing any rankings published in my high school newspaper telling me who I was supposed to bow down to either).  Glee talks about popularity like its a Billboard music chart, and with a little bit of luck, they might move up a couple notches.  Those are not your concerns if you really are losers, so, Glee, that is by far my biggest issue with you.

2. Does anybody remember what they were doing two episodes ago?

For me, continuity is a big must for a TV show, and Glee lacks this in abundance.  Ever since it moved away from its efforts to have a story arc that lasted for more than two episodes (remember all that pregnancy drama?) and shifted into its new theme-of-the-week format, nothing anyone does seems to have any lasting effect.

In one episode we see an unlikely bond between Puck and Artie, the next episode, they don't share a single word, and two episodes later, Puck is making fun of him like the good old days.  Rachel swears off boys to focus on her stardom, and...she wants Finn again.  Emma is neurotic, now Carl has fixed her and she is fine doing a hands-on rendition of Toucha Toucha Toucha Me with Will, oh now she's neurotic again.  These characters never grow.  Its like the writers only created them with one attribute and if they ever learned to overcome that one defining flaw of theirs, the show would lose all relevance.

I don't know if this bothered anyone else, but I was so refreshed at Glee's boldness in shutting the door on the Will-Emma thing by marrying her off to Carl.  It seems to me like every TV show with the exception of 30 Rock that established at one point a will-they-won't-they dynamic/tension between two characters could never, no matter how high the odds were stacked against them, keep them from getting together eventually.  Jim and Pam (it wasn't so obvious back in Season 2), Michael Scott and Holly (they dragged that one out for a looooong time), Sidney Bristow and Michael Vaughn, April and Andy, etc. etc.  So when Emma married Carl, I applauded Glee for finally doing something bold and different.  Will would simply have to realize that his actions had caused him to lose Emma forever, which is what happens in REAL LIFE! Now, I'm expected to buy into the idea that Emma and Carl went four months without consummating the marriage, have now annulled the marriage, and Emma is back on the market for Will.  Puh-lease.  That is the worst story I have ever ever heard of.  I though The Office was cold in the way they wrote AJ out of the picture to clear the way for Michael, but this just takes the cake.

The Warblers are the worst example of this ever, and until recently didn't even acknowledge it.  How dare Blaine tell Kurt that the reason the Warblers all wear matching suits is because none of them are supposed to stand-out and then have the audacity to sing the only solos in every single performance.  Even when Kurt pointed this out to him (finally) the solution was "Duet then?  You and me?"

3.  What happened to the music?

First off, enough with the single artist tribute episodes.  I will admit, the power of Madonna episode was brilliant and is still my favorite episode to date.  Glee had been on a mid-season hiatus and had just wrapped up the disastrous fake-pregnancy subplot and came back strong with memorable number after memorable number.  But now, they are just grasping at straws trying to recreate that magic.  I can just see creators sitting around "OK, I know we're all thinking it, I'm just gonna say it, when are we doing a Ke$ha episode?" (kill me now)  There was a very lackluster Britney Spears episode, and an absolutely horrendous Lady Gaga tribute episode ("Its great to know you're my real mother Idina Menzel, and I understand that you feel like its too late for you to take an active part in my life, but before you go, would you just sing a mother-daughter duet with me?  You will?  Great.  I was thinking Poker Face might be nice.")

Even when Glee doesn't limit its choices to a single artist's music catalogue, recently it has limited itself each week to a specific genre: Funk, neglected artists, guilty pleasures, etc.  What this has done is made it so that the songs no longer forward the plot anymore.  In the first few episodes, without any restraints on its song choice, the show could burst into song and dance at any moment, often just in the imaginations of the singer ("I bust the windows out your car" by Mercedes would be a good example).  The words and tone of that song furthered the plot.  Now, the song choices are all disjointed.  The Warblers wanted to up their game in the episode "Sexy" and decided they needed to sing a decidedly sexy song to the girls of their sister school.  Their choice? "Animal" by Neon Trees.  A great song not universally known for being sexy.  Was that meant to be ironic?  Enter Holly Holiday to help two confused girls explore their sexual feelings through songs, what to sing?  "Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac.  Obvious choice right?

Furthermore, to serve their week-by-week theme, Glee has started performing songs that they obviously want to include in the episode's list of songs, but doesn't apparently want to commit to all the way.  How about just a verse and a chorus?  This, to me, is horrible.  In the early Glee days, they picked a song and they sang the whole thing, and they made it work.  "Now, Kurt wants to try and be manly, how about a low-voiced, slow performance of 'Little Pink Houses'?  You're right this would take forever, make that one verse.  Really Will?  You're gonna try doing 'Ice Ice Baby'?  Bet you $10 bucks you can't pull it off.  Oh you didn't tell me you weren't going to do the last two verses.  No girls wearing less than bikinis for you?  Suit yourself."  My feelings are, if you don't want to sing the whole song, leave it alone.  Don't introduce it into the show and do a half-baked, wimpy job of it.  In your misguided attempt to include more and more numbers, you are only going to dilute the power and appeal of your musical numbers.

While we're on this, at first, when Glee wanted to do some elaborate scene, it was mostly as a dream sequence or in the character's collective imaginations.  Now, the excuses they come up with for these elaborate show stopping numbers are more and more far fetched and ludicrous.  For good examples of these see "The Rocky Horror Glee Show" in which the Glee club, IN ONE WEEK, decides to put on the Rocky Horror Picture Show for the school, gets it banned for its inappropriate content, and then decides to perform it anyway, to themselves.  Who in their right minds would agree to that.  Probably the creators of a show that wants to see their characters dressed up as the iconic freaks of the original.  Then we have the Glee clubbers volunteering to do remakes of classic music videos like Vogue and Physical?  Really?  Daily rehearsals and take home assignments isn't enough of a commitment to the club?  You want to go and pointlessly create a "multimedia presentation" to honor Madonna.  Ridiculous.  

  4. Tone down the messages.

With the start of Season 2 came a huge increase in the number of "message episodes" where the creators obviously had a point to get their viewers to see.  Although these did exist in Season 1, they were no more overt than the average teen sitcom.  But man, Season 2 has been rife with episodes dealing with religion, sexuality, homosexuality, and the like.  Diana Argon once gave an interview where she said the show was great because it was able to talk about these sensitive issues without preaching.  Well, you might want to look up the definition of preaching again.  My goodness, "Grilled Cheesus" was the schlockiest, most awkward exploration of religion I have ever witnessed on TV.  It was almost enough to stop watching Glee.  And Kurt coming out of the closet and dealing with that is one thing (please keep that to a maximum of 25% of an episode from now on) but now this whole Britney/Santana nonsense is so unbelievable and far-fetched that I hope they never bring it up again.  The show needs to be about the music first, the comedy second, and the "issues" third.  It's really slimy to lure in young viewers with the promise of another High School Musical and then bombard them with a textbook liberal social agenda.

5. I shouldn't have to shake my head in disbelief 10 times per episode.

This is not as big a deal because I get that its a TV show, but come on, I did musical theater in high school and we were a very competitive school.  And guess what, we did not switch gears week to week to learn lessons, we picked out what we were going to do for the competitions and we worked on them constantly.  We did not abandon everything we had prepared backstage at the competition because "we're better on the fly anyway".  Come on.

My friend watched the Glee episode after the Super Bowl and later wrote on Facebook "Glee, you had your chance to win me over last night, and you failed miserably."  I never asked him about it but I imagine it is because he played football throughout high school and the episode centered around the tension between the Glee club and the football team escalating to the point where all the football players quit the team and the Glee club girls took their place until the amazing half-time musical number when the football players are so overcome with the music that they storm the field to dance with everyone else.  I can imagine him watching that episode and feeling like the depiction of high school football was so warped that it was as good as offensive.  ("They only have seven players on the field!! They couldn't even run a play if they wanted to!" admittedly I don't know enough about football to have found any concrete objections with the episode other than the ludicrous premise to begin with).  That is how I feel as an entertainer every time I watch a competition episode ("Wait, they changed their set list minutes before going on stage, how are they all doing the same choreography?  They're not even looking at each other.  And the band?  They know the songs to play?  Do they have every song memorized or something?

6.That's it.  Good job on the original songs.  They were pretty good.  You've got some good things going Glee, but no other show I regularly watch is even close to as frustrating.

Best Regards,
Peter Kern

Sunday, April 24, 2011

End of Law School Year 1

I finished my winter semester finals this week.  Next time I go to class at the law school, it will be as a 2L.  My last exam was for civil procedure and it was literally the hardest test I've ever taken in my entire life.

Law school in general is hard and it will be nice to have a break.  I have an externship this summer working for a firm in Orem called Franchise Foundry, learning all about franchise law.  I am actually really excited about it.  I want to get some real world experience and see what it is like.  People are always asking me whether or not I can see myself practicing law based on my law school experience.  I have no idea.

What we do on a day-to-day basis is not what lawyers do on a day-to-day basis, and we are constantly reminded of this by the attorneys and guest speakers who come in to give us lectures.  So, I am excited to move on to phase two of law school, where I can do something real and see what that is like, and then be able to make my own schedule and study things that I think are interesting.

I think that I would really enjoy learning about trusts and wills and estates, I also think disaster law sounds really interesting and I also plan on studying more about the Constitution, maybe 1st ammendment or 14th ammendment law.

The problem with the first year is that you don't get to choose your courses, and the courses you take are these huge broad subjects that you can barely get an overview of before the semester ends.  Torts, Contracts, Criminal Law, etc.  However, during both of the finals that I have now passed through I realized how much I really did learn and how I really do now have a certain global sense about how these things fit together.  Overall, I feel like I am where I should be at the end of my first year, but I am no closer to knowing where I want to be at the end of my third year.  I am just grateful for the chance to have access to such a quality education and I feel blessed to have a bright future.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

"That's my dream too"

Many people criticize Wikipedia as a source because its open source, but from my experience it has proven nothing but trusty. As Kortney and I have progressed through the movies in the Disney canon, we have visited Wikipedia to get some interesting background on the movies we are watching. Some articles are enlightening, some are interesting, and some are essential to understanding how the movie came to be. However, today, while reading the article on The AristoCats (number 20, making fine progress), we came across this sentence: "Snoop Dogg gave it a positive review as well.[4]"

See that little four? That's a reference fools. Did we click on it to make sure that Snoop Dogg did in fact give this a positive review? Of course we did. And though Snoop Dogg may not be as analytical as Roger Ebert, Roger Ebert has never made me laugh as hard. Enjoy:

"I think The Aristocats is tha bomb. I'd lay back and watch it every day if I wasn't so busy makin' my own hits. I'd never dis this funky video about a downtown alley cat who smooth-talks a fine feline and ends up livin' large in the land of croissants. That's my dream, too.

O'Malley the alley cat is awright — he's no Dr. Dre, but hey, that homey's got a place in my dogg pound anytime. Ya gotta give him a big bowwow for getting his boys together to off that gangsta Edgar, the butler who's after the cats' big-bucks inheritance.

And ya gotta love mama kitty Duchess — she knows how to take care of her babies, and, meoww, she's cavvy. She's got that ooh-la-la accent and her nose is high in the air, but once she gets an earful of Scat Cat — voiced by the man, the great Scatman Crothers — she loosens up and shakes it out. Talk about cool jazz cats. Tha's right.

The tunes don't leave your head. I sho' have a bone to pick with the lyrics to ''Ev'rybody Wants to Be a Cat,'' but just try to stop hummin' it. Can't do it. I got my own ideas for doin' a Disney soundtrack — maybe the live-action 101 Dalmatians? I'd do it on the spot. Ha! Call my man and let's do lunch.

Ya don't like this movie, stay outta my tilt. Ya got the wrong attitude. The kids in the hood — who know French as the language of fries under the golden arches — will have as good a time watching this fine flick as those who can dig the meaning of, ahem, ''Scales and Arpeggios.'' And mamas and daddies, including yours truly, just may find themselves tuned in to this tape even when the pups are napping.

These cats sho' age well. My homeys don't look as good at 26 as this movie does. These cats got a lot more lives to live. A

Snoop Doggy Dogg, the father of one son, Corde, is currently working on his new album, Tha Doggfather."

Thursday, April 14, 2011

In case you were wondering

In relation to the previous post:

Over 75% of our visits come from the U.S. This makes sense. Here is the breakdown for everything else.

United Kingdom-3
Dominican Republic-1
Puerto Rico-1

First country to get to double digits wins! Spread the wor(l)d.

I am a lucky man

As I have looked over my Google analytics, I have been very interested by the fact that we have been visited from 24 different countries. That seemed like a lot to me for a blog that is not very internationally themed at all.

We have a suspicion that many of our oversea visitors are LDS missionaries who at some point were romantically interested in Kortney and obviously have not gotten over her. To the point of online stalking!

The rest of this post is for them.

I am a lucky man.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Goals for 2011

As I cleaned up the apartment on Conference weekend I came across the goals Kortney and I set for the year. I had been trying to find them to remember what goals we had set for ourselves and so I was very happy to find them. We decided for 2011 that we would set 11 goals. We found that we are well on our way to some and were happy to remember and rededicate ourselves to the rest.

1. Visit six capitols.

This is a bite-size chunk of our overall goal to visit all 50 state capitols eventually. We visited six last year (Jefferson City, MO; Springfield, IL; Topeka, KS; Denver, CO; Salt Lake City, UT; and Frankfort, KY) and figured that that was a pretty solid pace. So far this year we have been to two.
Boise, Idaho and Cheyenne, Wyoming. Thanks to the Moyers in Boise and the Thomas' in CO who helped make those trips possible!

2. End the year with absolutely no debt.

One of those grown-up goals. With Kortney's good job and the possibility I have of getting paid work after my externship with Franchise Foundry, this shouldn't be a problem.

3. Watch a season of 24 in 24 hours.

This is something I have always wanted to do. And with all the seasons of 24 coming to Netflix instant play, it is more possible than ever. At the beginning of the year there were only two seasons of 24 I hadn't seen. Season 6 and Season 7. Kortney had never seen an episode. We figured we could leisurely watch Season 6 together and then set a day when we would watch Season 7 in real time. The idea is that we would start the season at the same time the day starts (8am for season 7) and then end at the same time. Pausing during commercial breaks to let time catch up and starting again once the real time matched the time on the 24 clock. We have only two episodes left of season 6 so we only have 24:Redemption left to watch before our 24 day is upon us.

4. Visit a National Park

The only National Park I've ever been to is Yellowstone. I've lived in Utah for over a decade and haven't been to Zion's, Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, OR Bryce's. I wanted to set the goal at three national parks so that we could really take a chunk out of that horrid underappreciation of Utah's natural beauty, but Kortney talked me down to one. We may see Hot Springs, AR, in May (America's first national Park), or Yellowstone this summer, or one of Utah's. Either way, this one is a must.

5. Start our State Scrapbook and finish at least three states.

Kortney comes from a long line of accomplished scrapbookers and has wanted to chronicle our adventures in that medium. We decided a fun way to tell our story would be to have a section for each state and so instead of seeing what we have done in chronological order, we would instead have a Chapter for each time we have been through a state, full of pictures, mementos, souvenirs, etc. But, it won't happen if we don't get started, so this year, we begin. So far we have been to 16 states, so, we've got work to do.

6. Read the Book of Mormon

Though we both have read this book of scripture, we have never read it together. That's on the docket for this year. So far, we are in Mosiah.

7. Go hanggliding

This is something we have talked about doing since we were dating and have never done. We were going to go as a graduation present to me last April but the weather didn't permit. The point of the mountain is world reknown for its wind conditions and we would be remiss not to take advantage of this while we live so close.

8. Run in some kind of a race

We originally registered for the Red Rock Relay last year but had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts with Humor U. This year, we would like to complete some kind of a race and see how that goes.

9. Improve Sundays

With our busy schedules it is easy to let certain important but non-urgent things slip between the cracks and this is most often the case with spiritual things. We figured we could start the process of improving ourselves by improving our use of Sundays as days of spiritual growth. This was a goal we had forgotten about until we found the'll let you know how that goes from here.

10. Watch all the movies in the Disney Animated Canon.

There are 50. From Snow White to Tangled. We have a trip planned at the end of the year to go to DisneyWorld and we hope to finish this by then. The last one we watched was Sleeping Beauty (15) and the next will be 101 Dalmatians (16)

11.Throw an awesome President's Day Party.

Done and Done! See the post about it for pictures and a beautiful poem describing the event.

Monday, April 4, 2011

For the very first time today

I swam an entire mile.

I started swimming semi-regularly about a month ago in an attempt to get into better shape. I figured swimming would be a good way to get a full body work-out and would come in handy if I ever fell overboard or competed on Wipeout.

My first time at the pool I swam 6 laps and was completely exhausted. I did two laps of front crawl and barely kept from drowning, then switched to two laps backstroke and then decided to do one more of each before retiring, completely draining.

I decided that swimming a mile would be a fine goal and looked up how many laps were in a mile. The internet told me that a mile in an Olympic-size swimming pool is 16 laps. That was encouraging news! I was already swimming a third of my goal on my first day out.

I held this belief because the RB (BYU's athletic facilities) 's website stated that their facilities included two Olympic-size swimming pools. I wish I had read this excerpt from Wikipedia before shouting for joy. "Pools claimed to be "Olympic pools" do not always meet [Olympic regulations], as FINA cannot police use of the term."

As it turns out, BYU is going around claiming they have Olympic pools when really their pools are HALF THE SIZE of official Olympic pools. I was shocked. And discouraged. A mile in a BYU pool was actually 33 laps. Shocking, I know.

That seemed like an impossible amount of laps. A lap is two lenghts. There and back. I had done six. And I had nearly died.

I kept going though. I swam 10, then 12, then 14.

Before I knew it, it was getting easier and I had swam 22 laps. Two thirds of a mile. The problem was that it was taking me longer and longer and I had trouble finding time since the pool only holds open swims in the early morning and in the evening.

Finally tonight, I did it. It took me nearly 70 minutes, and the last third took me nearly half of that time, but I swam a mile. I did it! And it feels great. I think I would like to complete a triathlon someday in the near future. Anyone out there done that and can share any pointers?