31 May 2008

An end

We pulled into St. Louis yesterday afternoon. We were unpleasantly welcomed by stifling heat and humidity. And to make it worse, we still needed to get in our run for the day. When we finished unloading the truck we were dripping with sweat - I don't think these Utah boys are cut out for the humidity. We took the truck back to Budget, then ran back to my place. I think we were both ready to die by the time we finished the run. I have some serious adjusting to do if I intend to continue running while living in St. Louis.

After getting a bit settled, we assembled the entertainment center, rented a DVD from RedBox, and ordered Pizza from Dominos. Good times...

Now the trip is at an end. It was a glorious time, but we are both ready to be off the road and return to Salt Lake.

29 May 2008

Driving, sight-seeing, and spilled beer

We began the day with a 6-mile morning run along the Ohio River - beautiful! We cleaned up, packed up and hit the road to drive from Cincinnati to Chicago.

This has become a familiar sight on the trip - many hours have been spent in this truck!

Trent regrets bringing his Garmin GPS! He has to put up with me trying to improve the projected arrival time at our destination. Here you see me racing the Garmin.

After arriving in Chicago we parked the truck near Wrigley Field and rode the subway into downtown Chicago (the public transportation here is terrible!). Here you see me and Trent catching some sights near the Chicago River.

Lunch at Giordano's. This is the affect ESPN has on us - we are captivated.

Have you ever seen self portraits like these...

And finally...
Wrigley Field! The Mecca of baseball stadiums. Perhaps the most exciting event of the night was in the 3rd inning when Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee hit a home run right at us. The ball bounced off several hands before sneaking into the row behind us about eight feet away. Due to a missed opportunity earlier this season at a major league baseball, I was not timid to do what was necessary to come away with the prize. I dove down the bench and began jostling and groping incessantly with about 6 other guys to find and grasp the ball. Within a short moment another fan emerged holding the ball. When I came to my senses and found my way back to my seat I realized the damage that had been done. Beer now soaked my hair and back. And since it was only the third inning, all I could do was let the brew dry while I enjoyed the remainder of the game.

I did not come away with the ball, but we had a great time nonetheless. Cubs win 8-4!

28 May 2008

Some pictures

I left it to Jill, Brooke, and Amy to document the events of the past week and a half of partying in New York. Now that Trent and I are on our own, we need to step up and tell our own stories now...

We departed New York on Tuesday around Noon. We drove two hours south to Philadelphia where we checked into our hotel then quickly made our way to the world-famous South Philly cheesesteak establishments. Pat's and Geno's eateries lie on opposing corners of an intersection. They compete to create the best cheesesteak in town.

Here is a picture taken from Pat's looking back at Geno's. We first ate cheesesteaks at Geno's (along with cheese fries and a Coke). Then we walked across the street to try Pat's version. We later returned to Geno's (after the baseball game) for a one last cheesesteak before calling it a night.

Citizens Bank Park!
Nice Hats!

The rain began to fall late in the game. They delayed the game in the bottom of the 8th when lightning began to flash. Due to the heavy rains, we decided to leave. The Phillies beat the Rockies 7-4.

After spending all day in the truck, we finally arrived at GreatAmerican Ballpark in Cincinnati.

We promptly bought some bratwurst and found our seats to watch the Reds pound the Pirates 9-1.

We each came away with a small souvenir.

15 May 2008

New Yorkers

This afternoon I had my haircut. Have I ever shared that I love having someone cut my hair? It feels great! And to make it better today, the woman cutting my hair spent the last 30 seconds giving me a scalp massage - it was completely unsolicited and unexpected. But boy was it nice!

Anyways, as I sat in the barber's chair I began to think back on my day and the various people I had encountered in one way or another. Suddenly I realized how incredibly diverse this great city is.

At 11:00 this morning I met with my professor and lab colleagues for an end-of-semester lunch. This group includes the individuals I worked most closely with during my time at Columbia. The diversity amongst us is striking. The professor is ethnically Chinese and was raised in Canada. The lab members include a man from Iran, a man from Nepal, a woman from Hong Kong, a woman from Singapore, an African American woman, as well as ethnically Indian and Chinese men raised in America. I think there were twelve in our group at lunch. Only two of us were white males.

Following lunch I stopped at the Columbia bookstore where an African American woman helped me get my cap and gown for graduation.

A bit later this afternoon I took some pants to the tailor downstairs to have them hemmed a bit. The shop is run by an Asian family - I would guess Southeast Asia, maybe Laos, Cambodia, or even Indonesia. I take any clothes here that need to be dry cleaned - they always do a great job.

And then there I was in the barbershop this afternoon. I drop in there about once a month for the regular trim. Two Hispanic women work there. They know me well by now and always fit me right in. Although I sometimes find it difficult to understand everything they say to me as they cut my hair, they always treat me well.

I should also mention my favorite pizza joint just downstairs run by an Italian family. Also, there is the Eastern European family who manages the apartment building.

There is so much diversity in this city... and then I go to church. It is odd because despite the heterogeneous mixture of race and nationalities all around me, when I attend church the group is very predominantly - although not exclusively - white.

13 May 2008

I have an announcement!!!

I just completed my last paper for my final class. As of now I am officially done with all school work. Wow, it feels good! Forever gone is the perpetual pressure of papers, exams, assignments, etc. Of course, this is barring any unforeseen failure in any of my classes this semester... I will keep my fingers crossed.

09 May 2008

A quick snapshot...

Someone tagged me...

What I was doing -
10 years ago: Finishing sophomore year in high school; getting ready to spend my summer, lifting weights, playing football, wasting time at Maga and Papa's, and hiking (Brett and I summited Mt. Olympus, Twin Peaks, and Lone Peak that summer)
5 years ago: In Kiribati with less than a month left on my mission - of course I was working hard avoiding any symptoms of trunkiness ;)
5 months ago: Enjoying Christmas in New York; also ready to slit my wrists due to my partial differential equations course

5 things on my to do list today:
- Run 14 miles (in St. Louis' Forest Park)
- Buy furniture (Sofa and Chair set, dinette set, bed; I spent too much!)
- Clean kitchen
- Clean Bathroom (both rooms feel much better now)
- Shop for miscellaneous housewares (it is amazing how quickly the basics add up - i.e. mop, rags, cleaning agents, toilet brush, plunger, shower curtain, towels, etc.)

5 snacks I enjoy:
- S'mores
- Homemade oreo cookies
- Scotch-a-roos
- Chips and salsa
- Krispy Kreme donuts (original glazed or raspberry jelly filled)

5 things I would do if I were suddenly a billionaire:
- Buy the house bordering Trent & Amy's backyard; buy the house just east of Trent & Amy; tear down said house; build an underground lair connecting our two homes (heck, why not buy the whole block!)
- Buy a baseball team, relocate them to Utah, and build a new franchise stadium
- Hike Mt. Everest
- Quit my job so I could train to compete in an Ironman Triathlon
- Become a philanthropist; give money to individuals who have positively influenced me as well as organizations with worthy causes

5 of my bad habits:
- I stay up too late
- Thus, I sleep in later than I would like (this will soon change now that I am done with school and have a new job)
- Not talking
- I am stingy. I would like to be more generous with my money, but I often get too caught up in my budget (my apologies to everyone this adversely affects).
- Dating (this is not really a habit; it is just something that I regularly do which I would prefer to replace with an alternative)

5 places I have lived:
- Salt Lake City/Sandy, UT (I have also had second homes in Kaysville and Bountiful)
- Fiji
- Kiribati
- New York, NY
- St. Louis, MO

5 jobs I've had:
- Bus boy (Training Table Restaurants)
- Loan officer (Deseret First Credit Union)
- Construction (Neff & Jensen)
- Research assistant (University of Utah and Columbia University)
- Biomedical Engineer (U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs)

5 things people don't know about me:
- I kissed a girl naked in a dog house when I was 5 years old... wait, everyone knows about this because everyone in the neighborhood watched.
- I am incapable of openly getting mad at somebody. Even when people need to be yelled at, chastised, or reprimanded I cannot do it.
- I am a terrible negotiator.
- I hate to talk about myself. I am very protective of my emotions and deeper thoughts. I therefore have difficulty sharing these things with most people.
- I do not have many friends. I often get stuck in my comfort zone and fail to seek out and embrace new friendships.

Sorry for the delay

I have been getting some pressure from certain individuals that it is time to post again. I even had one e-mail from one unnamed source. She recommended several ideas for a post. Here is what she suggested:

- How much you love you little sister Brooke
- Make a list about the many reasons you love Brooke
- A list of reasons you want to be like Brooke

Great ideas! However, I must pass on writing on such topics because such a post would populate volumes.

I am writing from St. Louis this evening. I arrived Wednesday morning to make housing arrangements before my impending move at the end of the month. It is difficult to know where to begin when showing up in a new place knowing nothing about the city and its neighborhoods. I spent a fair amount of the day on Wednesday driving throughout the greater metropolitan St. Louis area trying to get some feel of where I would like to live.

Fortunately, it did not take me long to find a place I liked. I actually stumbled across the place because I missed my intended exit. I looked at the apartment Wednesday afternoon. I returned Thursday to submit an application. Then returned again today to sign the lease and get the keys. It is amazing how much easier the process was here as compared to what I went through to get an apartment in New York. It is nice to have everything in line before I leave town.