Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas, Family, and My Mad Photography Skillz

      I guess I owe an apology to the regular readers of this blog.  Yes, it has been a while, but you know how it is with the holidays.  Mine have been choc full of excellent food, good music, relaxing afternoons, gifts, late nights, family parties, school work (that was a joke ;), shooting retired Russian sniper rifles (that wasn't), and The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker.  All in all, it was a fantastic Christmas.  But that's skipping ahead.

      First off: my mad photography skillz.  I was recently bragging to some family of my great skills with a camera and these awesome pictures I took of winter scenes.  Megan asked why I hadn't posted them on my blog.  Well, actually, I have posted one of them.  It's the background of my blog!  Yes, that is an original photograph taken by my own digital camera.  For the benefit of those reading this after I change the background image I will include the photo below.  And now, my fantastic photographs.

Trees of Stillness.

Holly Berries of... Love.

Oregon Grape With Frost.
Okay, thank you for humoring me.  Taking background photos is a bit of a hobby for me (strange I know).

There was so much that happened during the break that I can only highlight a few, so I guess I will just put in the pictures and you can follow the captions.  Picts below:

This is at the ward Christmas program/party.  Dad was asked to dress up as Peter and read lines from the podium.
This was when my uncle, Richard, came to visit with his boys.  I still love building LEGOs.
Yours Truly with Uncle Richard.
Getting our Christmas tree very late this year.
On Christmas Eve, in addition to eating Indian food, we put on our own little pageant.  It was a lot of fun.
Christmas morning breakfast.
And more breakfast.  Mmmm.  So delicious.
I was under the impression that Santa didn't allow anyone into the front room until Christmas morning, but I found this picture on my dad's computer.  Mom?  Are we getting coal next year?
A little nephew carrying on the age-old tradition of peeking at presents on Christmas morning.
The excitement of opening stalkings for the first time.

And my present?

A fantastic pair of skis from the parents,
A season pass to Sundance from Janssen, Bart, Heather, Spencer, Bron, Ron, Mom, and Dad,
A gift certificate for a pair of ski boots from the parents,
An awesome pair of bindings and poles to match the skis from Meg and Roger.
And an astronomical laser from Doug and Gina!

I'm stoked!!  Thank you so much everybody.  I will for sure enjoy those!  What fun!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

New Mexican Thanksgiving

     Ahhh, so much to tell-and so much space to do it in... wait a minute... that's perfect!  Well, the title says it.  I spent Thanksgiving in New Mexico.  I seem destined to spend Thanksgiving abroad (last Thanksgiving was spent in Venice).  In fact I went out for gelato with my parents and Beno Seely to commemorate that great event.  I have to say that my Thanksgiving break from school wasn't the most relaxing as I was suffering from a deep lung infection and a serious cough :(  On the bright side I was able to watch all three LOTR movies in one day which was so epic that I had to pause them on several occasions and take a 30 minute nap to recover my strength so that I could continue watching.  After finishing all three movies I found my emotions totally drained and laid on the couch in a dull stupor for a long time afterwards.  And then I slept. 
     After a few days of wonderful antibiotics I was feeling ready to make the trip to Los Alamos where my brother and his family currently live.  I always love this particular road trip because southern Utah has some absolutely amazing scenery.

I had a fantastic time:
Reading to my nieces.
Clobbering everyone while playing Mario Kart Wii.

Discussing jobs, science, business, and other matters of importance over the Ping Pong table.
Cooking in the kitchen.
("Andrew," you say, "is there something wrong with your hair?" well no actually, I'm simply wearing an improvised hair net.  I'm a Dapper Dan man ;)
Puzzling over frustratingly hard mind games at the Science Museum (this one we never solved).
And practicing particle acceleration (again at the Science Museum).
Here is all of us including the newest addition whose blessing we were fortunate enough to attend.
What an amazing week!  If I hadn't started throwing up the night before we left it would have been perfect but, even considering that misfortune it was pretty near the mark.

On a side note:
Remember that southern Utah scenery?  This photo is from an amazing art/photography exhibit at the Los Alamos local library.

My driveway looks beautiful in autumn.  As you are walking up it and as the dappled sunlight dances on your face sometimes you can hear distant bells...

And doesn't Timpanogas look gorgeous with a fresh cloak of glittering snow?  What a beautiful place Provo is.
And now that you've been duly informed and inspired, auf Wiedersehen and goodnight.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pan Fishin' With Sadie Hawkins

     Most of my many hours spent fishing, I have spent in the pursuit of trout.  Yes my friends, I, like most in Utah, am a trout fisherman.  Last week however, I made the decision to deviate from this path and go pan fishing in Utah Lake with Matthew Clark, Pat Houston, and Elijah Urquiaga.  And what a good decision it was.  It turns out that a double tailed Mr. Twister grub impaled on a jig, reeled in at just the right speed, close by the reeds makes the black crappie, large-mouth bass, bluegill, and perch go crazy.  We ended up with 26 black crappie, 10 yellow perch, 2 large-mouth bass, 1 white bass, and a bunch of bluegill (which we threw back).  It turns out that the high water levels in Utah Lake this year allowed lots of little fish to hide which in turn fed the big fish and made them even bigger fish.  All in all, a sweet afternoon!  Picts Below:

Our catch arrayed out on the boat.
So who's Sadie Hawkins?

     Sadie Hawkins' is one of the two girls' choice dances at Timpview High School.  Unlike conventional dates, Sadies' is a date where the girls provide transportation, tickets, and fun activities to boot.  In other words: it's awesome!  I was asked by Megan Cook, who happens to be extremely awesome as well.  Imagine my surprise on finding my side porch covered with a story written in chalk and underlined words which I had to decode to find the secret message.  Needless to say, it was a great night.  Our group met at Megan's house in the afternoon to play games and eat dinner.  Dinner turned out to be a 6 foot long sub with Lemonade which was utterly delicious.  Next we all piled into the car and headed to the Dance which was lots of fun as well.  After a quick stop at Days for some ice cream we returned to the house to make brownies, ice cream sundaes, and play Apples to Apples (one of my top favorites ;) late into the night.  Picts below:

The school's banner ad.

My shirt, handiwork of Megan.

Our excellent group (or most of it; one couple took a while to arrive).

We took our pictures on a tandem bike.

The six foot sandwich (we were all pretty excited :).
     That was pretty awesome.  

     On a side note (I promise you're near the end), I just finished reading Inheritance, the fourth book in the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini.

Spoiler Alert!!! (highlight the text below only if you have read the book!!!)
     What an amazing book!  I can't believe that it's actually over.  Done!  It makes me so sad to think that there aren't going to be anymore about Eragon, Saphira, Arya, and Firnen!  I just knew it would be Arya.  I am unashamed to say that I shed a few tears along with Eragon at the end when he was forced to part from Arya after they are finally happy and together.  Ah, the beauty of bitter-sweet endings.  Parting is such sweet sorrow!  Ha! you didn't know that Yours Truly was a romanticist, now did you!  Well yes, I am.  And what an amazing book it was!  The problem with great fantasy books is that they are like the Mirror of Erisid in that you could almost get lost in them and wish to be in the imaginary world created by the author because your world, in comparison, seems dull and uninviting.  I certainly do.  Perhaps that is part of what makes great fantasy: a world worth fantasizing about.

     If you hadn't read the book and you highlighted the above text anyways, shame on you.  You have committed a grave crime and must read the book immediately!

Atra esterní ono thelduin. Mor'ranr lífa unin hjarta onr. Un du evarínya ono varda. 


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Leather Jackets, Dances, and Harleys

     Today I'm writing to document an awesome Halloween Dance and an even more awesome Halloween costume.  This was a dance with three stakes, Oak Hills, Provo, and Provo East, all full of great people and imaginative costumes.  Music? great.  Decorations? super spooky.  Treats? excellent.  Andrew's improv. dance moves? not so much.  Before the dance a friend and I hit a haunted house set up by some of our friends (and I thought I was big on Halloween :) which was awesome and very professionally done.  My costume this year consisted of a pink and white shirt, a sweet hair-do, a leather belt, a pair of leather boots, a black leather jacket, and a pair of classy aviators to complete the effect.  Yes my friends, this year I dressed up as a Harley-rider.  Only one question remains: how to get a Harley to ride...  Pix below:
The full costume, boots and all.

And with the aviators on.
Amazing Costume: Anne (couldn't a done it without her)
Amazingly Attractive Hair-Do: Awesome Big Sister
Spooky Haunted House: Hannah and Friends

Stay tuned for:  Wallace, Stripey, and Lisa the Halloween Spiders.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Squaw Peak, Autumn Leaves, Good Times

On Saturday morning some friends and I hiked up Squaw Peak to listen to the morning session of General Conference.  Spencer Cook had talked about hiking the peak to listen to conference as something that he and Heather had done and it sounded like a great idea.  It was a great idea.  What a way to start off the weekend!  We left at about 8:00 am equipped with a pocket radio, lots of water, and a large Hershey bar.  The leaves are just starting to turn to their fall colors and it was a beautiful hike through vibrant trees.  It's only going to get prettier so get out there and enjoy it!  Picts below:

Starting out before the sunrise.
Sunrise through the trees.  Utah's a beautiful place no?
Stopping for a slight respite and a picture.

The Happy Valley from the top of Squaw.
Yours Truly has been on top of Squaw Peak.  It's official.
And there is Timp.  Looking back on it, it's a little funny that I took a picture of Timp from the top of Squaw.  Setting my sights higher already?
The Provo Temple.
On the way down the leaves started to get really spectacular.


An cool butterfly.
Looking back on our triumph.
What an awesome experience!  Maybe I should do this more often :)  Until next time...