Thursday, April 28, 2011
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
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.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
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
Sunday, April 24, 2011
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
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
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
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.
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.
Monday, April 4, 2011
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.
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.