Dang, I was doing so good! Got caught up on my summer and was ready to dive into fall... and then I didn't get to it. I think alot about my blog and the lack of time I have to write meaningful things anymore. I've sort of settled into a routine, which is fast-paced, but not without time to relax (so it's not like I'm back in college), but it doesn't leave much time for substantial things such as my blog (we're not even going to talk about my neglected journal). I'm hoping that will get shaken up soon... so I can get back to this.

I *FINALLY* got the pictures I was waiting for! So expect an edit to Summer T-log 1 for the addition of those...

Other than that, know that I am alive, and, for the most part, pretty happy. :)

DISCLAIMER: Ditto.

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August 20th, 2009 - Thursday
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Scout-camp and two kid-dominated days were behind me. That meant it was time to be on the road again for another summer road trip and adventure. This particular adventure introduced us to a new friend, J (hereafter NFJ). We were initially going up for BillyBob's wedding in Boise, but NFJ was going on to Seattle after, and I couldn't turn that down. We got hooked up with him because he was BillyBob's MTC companion; he loved having me and Turtle along for the adventure. We promptly scandalized him I'm pretty sure in the first two minutes by grilling him on kissing, techniques, attributes, and yeah, pretty much everything we could think of about kissing. Quite the lip-locking conversation. Bwahahaha

We made it to Boise in the early evening, and the goal was to meet up with some old friends. But nothing ever goes as planned, does it? Erynn and Sarah formerly P. I don't know the city of Meridian very well, so I voted Erynn would pick the place and we'd just meet up. She gave us a list of options listed in the area, and we picked one: Goodwood BBQ. Because let's be honest. Goodwood BBQ = GOOD EATS. Well, when we got there, we couldn’t find the place, and Sarah was calling me. In the middle of telling her we were arriving at the conclusion that said Goodwood didn't actually exist, my phone DIED. X.x Really? Of all the times. So then I said well here’s Good Thyme, it was also on the list, so let’s go in there. Only when I got closer I realized it wasn’t even open yet. So we went next door to the nail salon where we begged to use an outlet. Only it didn’t work. My phone wouldn’t charge or turn on. Argh. So we tried the strip plug on the floor. Nothing! A third outlet further down the wall. Still nothing. I sent Turtle to the car for her charger, in case it was mine that wasn’t working. Still nothing. Do you feel the urgency of the situation? I haven't seen Sarah in 8+ years, and she thinks I hung up on her, not to mention we have no idea where Erynn is or how to get ahold of her! AHHHHHH.

I wasn't ready to give up, so we walked further along the stripmall. Closed, not open yet, empty, closed, ah! An outlet on the wall. I plugged in both chargers and tried again... NOTHING. Sigh. How is this happening? I grab Turtle's phone and dial my pops and have him start logging into my Facebook to re-look-up their numbers in the hopes I can find them before this is all disaster. Turtle opens the next door and goes in. It’s an AT&T store. Wait, what?! My phone IS AT&T! I dash in after her. The outlets in this store work! It’s not my phone that’s broken! I tell my pops we got it and hang up. He just wasn’t fast enough. I get Sarah on the speakerphone since the AT&T guy is between my phone and where it’s plugged into the wall, and I can’t quite get it to my ear. Awkward? Totally. So while I talk to her, I’m texting Erynn, who comes back to rescue us so we don’t have to get directions from Sarah. Finally, about 20 minutes late, and with the crisis over, we find a different Goodwood for dinner.

Turns out NFJ knew Erynn’s hubby, and boy, did they chat it up! Catching up with Sarah's life is phenom, since I've missed like a decade. We have a wonderful, wonderful meal of bbq with the best conversation I could ask for. This is what “dinner outing” is supposed to mean. Ah yes. Bliss.

Later that night, after getting into my pajamas, I was showing off my HBLL t-shirt to NFJ. When I turned around to show him the back, I realized that I’d forgotten about my pajama bottoms. O.O! See, they have a hole in the left butt check, about the size of a volleyball. And my buttocks was totally hanging out! Talk about MORTIFICATION!!! I don’t know if I’ve ever been redder! ZOMG I just flashed him! It was completely unintentional and I was so incredibly embarrassed. Check out my shirt, but don’t be distracted by my lil' butt cheek there, it’s just for show. EEK!

August 21st, 2009 - Friday
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We were early to the temple and got to see Billy and Hallie arriving. Billy ran out a second later because he left his marriage license in the car. We took some pictures and then were just hanging out when Billy’s Mom realized she’d forgotten her recommend. We searched her purse, but to no avail, and couldn’t get ahold of anyone where she was staying... so we offered to go after it. Only problem was that her house was like 30 minutes one-way and the sealing started in 22 MINUTES. [Insert despairing swear here] Billy’s mom was freaking out the whole time about not being able to find it, or get back on time.

Poor woman had not been in the temple in over 20 years, and got her recommend back just for this event... and then forgot it! Turtle was great reassuring her while I drove like a crazy (but safe) man. She suggested saying a prayer, to which we were all for, and she offered it, thanking the lord for the day and the opportunity to see her son. She asked him to please bless us to get the recommend with no accidents, tickets (yes!), and get back on time. Let’s go faith! Haha.

When we got to the house she just grabbed the whole suitcase and brought it back out since we were so completely out of time. Good thing she did too, because the recommend was not where she thought it was. It was in a totally different part of the suitcase. On the way back to the temple time was running out, and I kept going faster and faster. The adrenaline was definintely pumping. They told me if a cop came and put its lights on to not stop until I got to the temple doors. Billy’s mom told me she’d pay my ticket AND do my driving school. Well! In that case... I was honestly driving 100mph in a 55mph zone in the middle of the capital city of the state of Idaho!! That’s completely reckless driving. I would’ve gotten my license suspended if I got pulled over. We dropped her off at the doors at 10am sharp. Just in time. Pulling into the parking lot there was another car in front of us, going slow, so I just zipped around and kept going and looked at me like I was insane.

No sooner had we dropped her and parked, and were walking up to the temple doors, I smelled blood. Not good! Cue bloody nose 3,435,987. Sometimes I hate my life. I leaned forward so that I would be sure not to get any on my bright blue shirt. No dice. Somehow I STILL managed to get some on me. Curse it all. So we walked over the mission office and borrowed a stain stick they luckily had (they didn’t have any peroxide, dang-it-all). So now I had faded bloodstains AND giant wet spots all over me, ugh. Once the sealing was all over, and my blood was under control, the bride and groom came out and we did pictures. Then it was off to the luncheon. Billy’s Mission President and wife decided to follow us because we (supposedly) knew the way (I didn’t completely). So the crossroad I was looking for happened to be under construction and had ZERO identifications aka street signs, so I passed it. I was feeling like I went too far, so I called my mom for a google map. When she confirmed my suspicions I accidentally swore into the phone! TO MY MOM! OOPS! I was so embarrassed because she got so mad at me. I had Turtle text her and say she’s working on helping me be better (partially true :P).

When I agreed to be Best Man I didn’t realize I was getting myself into a wedding line, or I might have reconsidered (just kidding BillyBob!) but I got to stand next to Frankie (BillyBob’s Best friend since childhood) and Jarom (Hallie’s little brother) and we made it super entertaining. Jarom was getting ready to go to college and we convinced him that every time someone asked him when he was leaving for school to answer one day later. “Sept 9th.” “Sept. 10th” “Sept. 11th.” Etc. Frankie and I mixed it up by saying something different every time. “Former roommate” (true) “Lifelong friend.” “Brother.” “From Karate Class.” “He just gave me the suit and $20 to stand here.”

Another highlight was razzing the “kidlets.” There was a group of cute little 18-year olds who thought they were old and cool, and took offense at being called little. Except they were. One of them was 16, making him SEVEN when I graduated from High School. We were teasing one of the girls who was insistent that she was not a player because she just flirted. Wait, what? Bwahaha. Some of them were going to BYU-I, and so we made fun of them for having a Wal-mart that closed at 9pm. It was pretty much one of the funnest nights ever.

The best part of the night was definitely decorating the car. We got silly string and sprayed it all over, put handcuffs on the rearview mirror, attached streamers and TP, wrote in bright, bright red lipstick all over the windows. And of course, what wedding vehicle is complete without condoms. Everywhere. We also even got the photographer to come out and take pictures of a bunch of us pretending to (ahem ahem cough cough) you know (wink wink) in the front seat. Those are going to be a riot when they are going through the wedding photos – because they totally don’t know we took them. Are we evil? Possibly yes. But let me tell you that wedding was FUN, FUN, FUN.



Public Pics - Billy's Wedding (WARNING: Some of the Car pics are closer to NC-17)

August 22nd, 2009 - Saturday
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The morning started off with rafting. We weren't even in the water prolly five minutes before Turtle and I were trying to push each other in. I finally succeeded in getting her in, but only for about 5 seconds before Tobias pushed me in. It’s okay though because about a minute later, we got NFJ to push HIM in. Bwahaha.

Turtle asked Tobias if there were any rapids we could float down in person, and he said, oh yeah, any of ‘em, these rapids aren’t bad. So we decided to float one together. I swam over to her, we had our feet out, could see the rapid up ahead, and were having a lovely little conversation to ourselves about should we hold hands, why not, they did when they were little, when we suddenly heard Tobias and NFJ frantically at us to get back in the boat. They sounded pretty freaked so we turned tail and swam to the boat as they got there as fast as they could. Soon as we were in the boat, we saw the rapid ahead of us. Holy bleep! That was NOT a class 1 rapid! We would have died! Well, because of the rush to get us back in the boat we didn’t get positioned very well, so when we went down the first rapid was insane. By the time we crested the second, Tobias was underwater, and under the raft. He fell out for the first time in 12 years rafting this river.

I, too, being on the same side as Tobias, also landed in the water, facing the wrong way, and knowing that there was still much more rapid to get through. I struggled to turn myself around, and my ankle smashed hard on a rock. Then I was swallowing water because my head went under the next rapid. I came up spitting, trying not to lose my hat or sunglasses, and as soon as I could breathe, my mouth was full of water again.

This happened 3 consecutive times. I was so scared! I thought I was going to die. Like, really. Tobias told us once we were all safely back in the boat, and I’d scraped my other leg on a rock, that that rapid was definitely a class 4. And we almost went over it WITHOUT A RAFT?!?! Zounds.

But the rest of the trip was nice, relaxing, and enjoyable. There are even some pictures (I'm the one in the orange hat :P).

In the afternoon we went to my Aunt's house to drop off Turtle. My Aunt was headed down to SLC that weekend and Turtle was catching a plane to Cali on Monday. Then NFJ and I headed to Seattle. On the way there my phone died again. Just cut out with no prior warning. I tried to plug it in at a gas station, but nothing. Just like the time before! I think my phone is broken! So I went next door to a casino where I had to show I.D. just to get inside and unplug a lamp, and have my phone still not work.

NFJ’s phone was dying also, so it was a frantic few minutes to get directions to my brother’s house before we were completely dead in the water with no way to get ahold of anyone. But we made it okay.

NFJ dropped me off, and then I found my bro who had been across the street listening to people signing. After my stuff was safe in the apt., we went to the mall where they were having board game night and wiled away the hours playing Pandemic (a team game racing against an infection) and Puerto Rico (a building/trading game). There also happened to be a library in his mall, so we stopped in and I checked out a couple of Comic books. Hee.

August 23rd, 2009 - Sunday
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Went to church, slept, ate and read. More sleep, more eating, some time playing on the internet, with a game of RoboRally to cap off the evening. Nice and restful day.

August 24th, 2009 - Monday
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Went to work with BigBro, nothing crazy. Got to have lunch with Troy and Chris (and baby Sam). We couldn’t find the Indian place, so we just had Chinese, where the cool owner gave us free sushi. Score! But Troy wouldn’t eat it because he’s scared of the word RAW. It’s all mental, my good man, all mental. After that we went to Marymoor park where we played on the playground with the little man, and I helped him swing. It was so good to hang out with them! They are so fun! Then Bigbro came and we got a cache, said bye to TnC, then went caching some more while I ate blackberries off the vine. Yummmm! They were delicious! And everywhere in Seattle. A weed to the people there, a repository of delicious juiciness for me.

Then I was invited to go to a surprise birthday party. The person who invited me was a little late, so I just socialized it up with the people who were there, no worries. Since I’m not afraid to wear shorts, the subject of my leg came up and I told the story, as I always do. SIGH. Then the real surprise was on me when I found that I *DID* know the birthday boy. From my freshman ward at BYU like 8 years ago. And two of his friends I also know, from Utah. So I ended up knowing at least 25% of the attendees. The world is simply too small. And I love it. Wholeheartedly and unabashedly.

August 25th, 2009 - Tuesday
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Woke up at 6:30 because we were going to go wakeboarding, only it ended up being too windy to go, so I tried to go back to sleep. Didn’t wholly work out, but I cuddled with a kitty while drifting in and out, so meh. Then I got bored once we were at work, so I walked 5 blocks to get some food. But Applebee’s wasn’t open yet! Oops. Good thing there was a Safeway. I just got some food.

Walked back and spent most of the workday playing on the internet. Hee. And even worked on my novel some. Applied for a bunch of jobs too.

Once the workday was done, we went out caching again, because I love caching with my bro. He's the one who got me into it in the first place. Once we got back we went over to their friend's house where we played another game of Puerto Rico (I'd horribly lost the first game... we'd run out of time so I felt my strategy simply hadn't had enough time to adequately pan out, I wanted a re-try). It was pretty fun, but I again got completely trounced. At this point I gave up all desire to ever play the game again, simply accepting that I didn't understand it enough, and therefore, would lose in subsequent attempts. Bah.

August 26th, 2009 - Wednesday
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This time we got up again at 6:30 and actually went out on the water. Bigbro's business partner's lil bro was going back to school, and he wanted one more time on the lake with him. Well, turns out that I know his little bro, because he dated one of my friends for a time, and went with us on some of our summer adventures in 2006. Holy smallest world ever, Batman! Loves it. So wakeboarding was a tough learning experience for me. The other 4 people were all SO good at it! They did flips, and spins, and twists, and try as I might (and I did) I couldn't even get standing up. I was utterly crushed by my inability. :/

Ready to go!


Almost... :(


We did that super early, so we could still get Bro on time to work. Then I played online for the majority of the workday. There was a party going on downstairs for one of the dentists and we got invited to go get drinks of some variety... that were flavored... but I don't remember what kind, oops.

That night I was going to read one more big graphic novel anthology, but wakeboarding (attempting) and the rest of my whirlwind trip must have taken alot out of me, and I crashed at like 7pm and didn't wake up until it was time to go to the airport.

Yup, I said airport. When NFJ and I were driving to Seattle from Boise his car had been having some unexpected problems. When he took it into the shop, they pretty told him it was a goner. He tried to get a new car in time, but he couldn't so I ended up flying back to Utah.

In a matter of 7 measly weeks I'd managed to travel over 6,700 MILES without even owning a car (and I didn't hitchhike once). I'd spent quality time in 9 states, and seen so many people! And done so many amazing things! What a SUMMER!!!

But my summer didn't end with my glorious trips. There was more excitement ahead of me, though now it would mainly take place in Utah. But that'll be next time...

Terie Garrison's WinterMaejic (DragonSpawn Cycle: Book 2, sequel to AutumnQuest) - Grade: B+. As previously stated, I'm nervous about these because all 3 came out at the same time. In Terie's defense, this book wasn't bad. It didn't have quite the appeal as the first, and the plot dragged in places, but it held my interest. I read it in one sitting without putting it down (except to eat breakfast, and I was annoyed to do so). The main character, Donavah is bound by a spell and finds herself unable to speak or use her hands early on. Any of you who are familiar with my less-than-advertised writings will know I have a character I'm wrestling with in similar fashion, though my idea takes this one a bit farther. Still a good read, not a waste of time, and I'm excited to read the others.

Philip Pullman's The Subtle Knife (Dark Materials: Book 2, sequel to The Golden Compass) - Grade: A-. If it's possible, I enjoyed this book more than the first. I had no trouble with accents, and found the descriptions lovely and wonderful, much more prevalently apparent than I guess I saw in Book 1. Also the Godless/Anti-Christian arguments are becoming a bit clearer, though I'm going to have to read Book 3 before I can come down on either side of the argument (war? *snicker*) But I breezed through this in a sitting as well, it had no trouble holding my interest at all.

Todd DeZago and Mike Wieringo's TELLOS: Reluctant Heroes and TELLOS: Kindred Spirits: Grade: A+. Ok, so technically it's a cheat, because these are graphic novels and not book books. But I reviewed a graphic novel previously. These comics are sheer beauty and brilliance, and I'd read them before, but got them because I wanted Turtle to read them. I remembered them being amazing, but not the reason why. The ending is the answer to the mystery. Some of the plot feels rushed, but it's a comic, so I let it slide. But the ending is the charm that brings the whole story together and makes the read worth it. Go and read NOW! :)

Terie Garrison's SpringFire (DragonSpawn Cycle: Book 3) - Grade: C. Eh. That's how I really felt about this book. I have trouble getting through it honestly. So much of the plot was unnecessary, and confusing... this book just really let the series fall apart. I'm hoping that the 4th book will bring it all back together and redeem the shortcoming of the third, but I'm nervous it won't.

Terie Garrison's SummerDanse (DragonSpawn Cycle: Book 4) - Grade: C-. I really don't know what to say. The plot in this book seemed the same as the others... let's have the main character get separated from the others, go through some terrible ordeal, then be saved miraculously at the end. *shakes head* I would have cut books 2 and 3 entirely, and most of Book 4. The saddest thing for me is seeing (from my authorial eyes) the potential this series had. Maybe Terie accomplished her goals, and painted her version of the story she wanted told, in which I commend her. But I'm pained because I see it being so much more. And it wasn't. Is this due to the last three being cranked out all at once? Or something else? I can only speculate...but in the end I was disappointed. Terribly.

Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's Dragons of Autumn Twilight - Grade: A+. I find it funny that this (well, these, because it's a series) never makes it into my Top Ten Favorites list. But really, it is. I LOVE THESE BOOKS to no end. And in many, many ways, they are my inspiration for writing. If you look closely at my characters and my plot, you can detect the similarities. There are many; more than I care to admit... If you have not experienced this series (and the Death Gate Cycle, you absolutely should. They are amazing stories! Love me some DragonLance!!!

Philip Pullman's The Amber Spyglass (Dark Materials: Book 3) - Grade: A. Wow! This book was a whopper! So long! But I didn't have too bad of a time with it. For the sake of brevity, I won't go into what could easily be a full post on the idea of God and Godlessness in this book. I will simply say I can see where some people find the argument having merit. I disagree. I think Pullman has a unique perspective on life, one that I very much appreciate and resonate with. The end was so heart-wrenching and made my heart ache so desperately... because there love was so real and so genuine, and then they had to... incredible. I didn't really understand/or feel that the more engaged parts of the war sequences were explained adequately, or fully, but I thought the end was marvelous, and brilliant, and I didn't feel there were gaping chapters full of unnecessary drivel. I think this trilogy stands well, each book individually, and the three collectively. It's a shame to think that his popularity may have been tainted by his "un-christian-ness" because he's thought intensely and deeply about his plot, much more than I can say for a great deal of people that I know. 'Nuff said.

Erik Larson's Devil in the White City - Grade: A. This book was pretty intense, especially since it's non-fiction. The level of research (and notes in the back) was very reminiscent to me of Water for Elephants, maybe even moreso with the depth of research and work put into the book. Larson is a witty writer too, whose small embellishments really added a flair to the novel, and sometimes made me laugh out loud. Quite a compelling read for history buff and fiction devourer alike, especially if you have any inclination toward the psychotic and psychopathic.

Deborah Davis' Not Like You - Grade: B. This is relatively new YA Fiction, and after having read it, I wasn't sure why I even ever picked it. But I did. Saw a review or a teaser somewhere, and decided, what the hecks, why not? It's about a 16-year old girl trying to come to grips with life, love, and herself, all while trying to deal with a-continually-attempting-to-recover alcoholic mother. It's kinda gritty (ie, there's sex), but ends up being very real. The ending left me dissatisfied, and ultimately, I don't know that I'd recommend it to anyone, but I didn't hate the book.

Carole Wilkinson's Dragon Keeper - Grade: C. Someone recommended this to me... and I got it. And it's won a whole ton of awards. But it was Chinese... and I definitely grew up with my nose in all of Laurence Yep's books. So anything Chinese-related is going to be inevitably compared. And I don't care how many awards Wilkinson won, she is not, and never will be, Yep. The story of the slave girl befriending the dragon, and their journey to escape was okay in its own right. But I couldn't help thinking over and over and over that Yep would have done this, or written it that way, and the story ended up marred by what it could have been... if only Yep had written it. I don't think (sorry whoever recommended it) that I'm going to bother with the rest of the award-laden trilogy. Again, I didn't hate it. If you've never read Laurence Yep, you might enjoy it. :/

Eldridge Cleaver's Soul on Ice - Grade: B. I'm hesitant about the grade on this one, because this book is so important to society, and a gut-wrenching look at the evolution of Blacks in America. In this regard, it should be marked as a quintessential looking-glass for the dissemination of cultural, political, national, and yes, even racial identity in the 60's and 70's. Cleaver's insights, understandings, and revelations are poignant assessments of the revolutionary period where Blacks found themselves finally in a position to shed (and fight back against the injustice of) the previous defining 400 years of their American Experience (and place in History). In this essence, I applaud, as well as laud, this book for its practicality, brutal honesty, and copious acknowledgment of the problems and trials faced by the people - some of which are still prevalent today. It should be give the most resplendent of A's. However, the one thorn in my side this book insists on pressing firmly into my skin is the skewed and unjustified (though not at the time) view of homosexuality Cleaver brings to the table, and outlines in explicit, exquisite detail. I wish I could simply ignore the posits of homosexuality contained within; nevertheless, sex and sexuality are such a grounded principle twining through the bursting pages of these memoirs, that it demands to be confronted, digested, and heard. Aside from the fraught accouterments of gay people strapped judiciously at the side of the armored warrior struggling for place and acceptance, I would proudly march alongside him; indeed, many of the essays and commentaries incited in me a desire to be more politically active, to be more of a force in what I see to be a STILL-changing America, one in which I can play a pivotal, influential role. Cleaver evokes this without being flat-footed or patronizing, without asking directly or urging the reader to action. The underlying tension simply touches the spirit and awakens a sense of duty, of necessity, in aiding the cause of change, and ultimately, equality, making it (considered wholly, thorn aside) a resounding success requisite in anyone's diet for cultural, racial, etc, etc, etc, equality and equanimity.

DISCLAIMER: Still stands from part I.

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After a world-wind vacation covering 4 states, it was time to settle in for some Summer Relaxation. NOT A CHANCE! I had one night to wash clothes and watch Dance, then Turtle and I were off on another adventure.

We stopped off in Provo for Cherie and Chris' wedding. We'd received the wrong invitation so we showed up an hour early, and to the wrong place. Oops. Then once we got there, the ceremony started like an hour later than it was supposed to. There was stress (including a dropped cake! O.o) so we understand, but it added to us not being able to stay for the whole thing.



I, as usual, looked smokin' hot. This was the Official World Premiere of the paisley on paisley.



It was great seeing old friends, and celebrating the happy couple, but we needed to be on the road! So we pretty much changed in the car, and then hit the road headed for Tempe, Arizona!

The purpose of the trip was to visit my Cousin Todd, who I hadn't seen in a number of years! And to meet his boyfriend Austin. We drove pretty much all night, and arrived at Todd's house around 3:30am. The drive was pocked with lightning storms, a little rain, quality phone time with BillyBob, and us making fun or Arizona's deer signs. Because they had one that was supposed to indicate Elk, but which we interpreted to mean "deer on steroids." Here's the usual Bambi sign. Now here's the "you-hit-me-I-am-taking-your-car-DOWN deer sign." ELK. Who knew?

Another incident happened en route. We were somewhere near the Utah/Arizona border (I still don't know what side we were on) and I saw a cop. I hoped in time as I slowed down a little. Nope, he started to follow me. Cer-zap. He followed along behind, and I knew the inevitable was coming. But he wasn't turning on his lights! I was annoyed that he wouldn't just get it over with! Finally. Flashing lights, I pulled over. The cop revved his engine and zoomed past, leaving us in the dust. Wait, what? What the heck just happened? We started speculating that maybe he was out of his jurisdiction and couldn't pull us over? So most likely he called the right cop to come and get us. Bah. Not 5 minutes later, here comes another cop! I knew it! Cop pulls up right behind us, and I'm waiting for the lights. I knew we were getting a ticket. Agh. Then the flashers. I pull over. The cop revs his engine and zooms past. WHAT THE HECK??? Do cops in Arizona have nothing better to do than mess with drivers late at night? And who gets cop lights TWICE in one 10 minutes, and ISN'T getting pulled over? I mean, I'm not complaining... but honestly.

After crashing we got up hecka early to go to church, where I bet Turtle $5 I'd know someone (like always). Heh. Up walks my old roomie, now attending grad school. I win. Sucker. Not long after church we went to get in line for the local production of BARE, a musical about a gay teenager struggling in private Catholic School. After getting our tickets, we had some time to kill so we went across the street to visit one of Todd's Theatre friends working at the box office. The musical itself is pretty incredible and some of the songs are hilarious AND heart-wrenching. The lead in this production was SO, SO, SO terrible, but the rest of the cast was pretty darn good. We enjoyed the show then went out to Applebee's afterwords with the cast members, many of whom were Todd's good friends. The playwright came too, and was an...intense...conversationalist. We spent the evening relaxing.

Monday morning we slept in then watched some Firefly, before going out to a Mexican Joint for lunch.Turtle's friend Little Rach came and pretty much rudely kidnapped her while Austin and I went swimming before going to pick up Todd from work. That night instead of going out we stayed in and had a friend over. We played Scum (card game) and had pizza and it was so much fun. The neighbors downstairs kept banging like we were being raucously loud, but we weren't. And it was only like 9:30pm... in the summertime.

Tuesday was more relaxing and swimming, then we all went out for pitas. Night brought chilling at the outdoor mall and having smoothies. We did a stint at Target, bought a giant ball, and then had a nighttime pool party where we met more of Todd and Austin's friends. One of them received a phone call informing him that his adopted brother and brother's family had been in a terrible, terrible accident, most of them dying, including the boy's father. His mother had already died two years earlier. Needless to say he was very distraught to hear this about his adopted brother and family. He immediately started to figure out how to get up to Salt Lake so he could be with his adopted brother. Saving him the stress of plane tickets and money, we offered him a ride since we were going back anyway. I love being a good Samaritan in the most unexpected of ways.

We left at 6am Wednesday morning, stopping only for gas and breakfast. We got to know our friend/rider and his family and story, which was all exciting, interesting, and intriguing. Sure made the car ride not boring! He was the one who actually explained to us about the Elk signs. Heh. We dropped him off in Carson City, and continued on home, having no other incidents. Overall the trip was relaxing, exhilarating and so much fun! Love my cousin and his boyfriend, they are great people.





After that trip, things didn't settle down either. I was up early the next day to accompany Sp to Scout Camp since they needed extra help. Hanging out with four 11-year olds can be pretty fun, and it was. They were such kids. The immaturity was unending. We did First Aid, and Knot Tying, and did swim tests. My nose of course started bleeding, so they said I couldn't be in the water. I switched to backstroke to keep the blood out, and then they yelled at me to get out altogether. Alright. I still passed. Punks. In the afternoon we went canoeing, and there was a group of boys who had all female leaders and no one to go on the lake with, so I agreed to chaperone them. We even got a picture afterward, well when one of the three got splashed. It was really funny because he was tiny and when he was rowing he kept pulling the oar out and soaking the kid behind him. So we made him switch seats. Then they tried splashing other boats, and he got wet which was greatly upsetting to him and he wanted to stop. But me and the other two went back out on the water.



Don't I make the greatest little kid? That night we went Goth dancing, so I was okay when I found out I didn't have to go back for the whole next day. But I did go up with Sp's dad that night for dinner and a camp-out. They assured us they had cleared all the rocks before setting up the leader tent, but it proved to be untrue. Oh, the rocks in my back! Not to mention that both of the other leaders fell asleep before me and snored raucously. Probably scared the wildlife for a mile around at least. I didn't get much sleep. But breakfast the next morning wasn't terrible.



We left not long after that as we had to prepare for a party at the Nicholsons. Which was fun, as usual. After that I finally had a few days to relax. To breathe. To look for jobs, again. Heh. I'd pretty much decided that I wanted summer to be about my friends. And living. And just enjoying every moment of every day. Job wasn't the highest thing on my list, which maybe in retrospect wasn't the BEST idea. But whatever. Summer. Fun. Me. That was my dream and I had it by the throat.

I did another Provo visit to see the friends and x-professors, Wednesday one of my friends I'd baptized (who happens to be the only member in his whole family) returned from serving a mission. He invited me and some other X-Elders to meet him in Salt Lake for the day. Watched the Joseph Smith movie and spent time in the Vistor's Center, then we all went out for burgers. It was so good to see him! That was a great, great day. Watched the Dance finale (of course! This is a staple of my life - but I'm still waiting for it to be good like Season 2!) and used a whole day of my life watching Avatar: The Last Airbender. For which I will never repent. Because that show is great. Then we went out dancing with a whole group of friends - on a friday instead of the usual thursday. It was a smashing good time. In light of going out, I penned the following gem: "When all the choices (what to wear, what to wear) lead to the same destination (me =ing regulation hottie), then the part where I find joy in the journey becomes a little bit of a crisis..." Haha. I <3 me just a little bit.

The next day I went down to Provo again to attend one of my mission buddies Wedding, where I got to catch up with a bunch of other mission buddies. Plus, I went with Brock, and what could be more fun? It's Brockolee, my MTC companion. No one is cooler than him.

Two days later my Aunt and Uncle were down from Idaho so we had them over for dinner and they got to meet all the Nicholsons. I cooked :) The next few days involved lunch out with numerous friends, which was completely refreshing and enjoyable to me. See? Summer is about my friends and the ones I love! (sorry if I didn't get to see you, this does not mean I love you any less :P) While Turtle was off in Texas, I opted to go with the Nicholsons up to their cabin where I disconnected for two days. It was very relaxing and peaceful. I intended to write letters, but got distracted by the beauty and serenity of the place. I watched lightning for probably 5 hours, even though it was kind of cold outside. In the morning I went caching with the kids, and then we just hung out with a bunch of friends and had great convo and good food. The weekend was so relaxing, restful, enjoyable, and above all, insightful.

Once the weekend was over, I got a chance to play Dadders. S&S went away for their anniversary and I parented the 4 Kidlets. We had so much fun together; I had a blast hanging out with them... I mean, being their Dad. :P I especially loved introducing them to the joys of Mac & Cheese + Franks (Kosher only! No weird parts, yech) and Ground Beef Stroganoff.

After two kid-filled days, I took one day to recover (and pack) and then I was off on my next summer adventure across the country! But that will have to be next time...

DISCLAIMER: I'm a little behind in my blogging... so these next entries will be what most of you will consider L O N G. Ultra, uber longer. Oh, and because of the length, it's not super edited either, which means you are free to skip them. But you'll be missing out on fun, entertainment, anecdotes, and classic David Moments.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To get the full summer experience, we have to rewind all the [expletive] way back to JUNE. Yes, I do know that was 5 months ago. I had fun, gimme a break! :P

I won't cover WIFYR, because let's be honest, that would take WEEKS. So we'll start with the 2009 Hulet Family Reunion. I have a ridiculously huge family. And every two years we get together to party, hang out, and just spend time. Because we love each other. Well I have apprehensions about such events, but usually go (when I can). My parents were host family this year, so I was doubly expected to attend.

The first night is always just a kind of gather and relax while everyone gets here. The evening culminated in the Family FHE, which was put on by the Daly Family. Love my cousins Ter and Kelz, but let's be honest. Our family IS WEIRD. The games we played... are used in Single's Wards and are awkward THERE. Here... they just shouldn't even happen. Pass the orange with your neck? Pass the lifesaver on a toothpick? Use your feet to pass a banana? No, no, no. This violates every law of family non-togetherness ever established in the history of the world. Here's a prime example of how I felt about the evening:


SO. AWKWARD.

[insert missing pictures here]

Day 2 - We decided to hike Tony Grove and try and reach Mount Naomi which would provide a stellar view of the whole place. BigBro and I brought our GPS' to grab caches on the way, of course. Some of the cousins and one of my aunts got interested, so we taught them what it was all about. We ended up getting stopped by massive amounts of snow when we were about halfway so we just ate lunch. But I hiked. I climbed (and got yelled at by my mom for having Ry and 'Stas follow me up cliff faces... I can't control your kids!) But I did it. I refuse to let my accident like a mark on my life. When we got back down there was one more cache we wanted to grab, which led us much further than we were expecting... back up. LOL Everyone else almost gave up, but I kept going, and then they came because it was close. Good times.

[insert missing pictures here]

On all our down-times many of the younger cousins (and I) enjoy playing Frisbee, Ultimate style. I played even though running was not an option. I couldn't. Leg hurt too bad, which frustrated and annoyed me. But I played anyway. Saying we had a mosquito infestation up at the lodge would have been a gross understatement. Those things were like ants on crumbs! It was absurd. We practically bathed in repellent and still got eaten.

[insert missing pictures here]

There was also intermittent cards. Hearts with the sibs, euchre with the aunts and uncles, etc. Those are always fun and relaxing moments. But it wasn't all perfect. There are relatives that make me nervous, and I won't put anyone on blast, but there were people I avoided because I was angry with the way they marginalize some of their very own children. I don't want to get into that here.

Wednesday we organized a service project. The little kids stayed at the lodge and made puppets for the Logan Head Start, while the rest of us went to clean us some decommissioned campgrounds being converted into wilderness protection. We were assigned into groups and then set off. SEVEN people KNEW I was in their group. Well, we got trash bags and went about it. I was having a great time, acting like I was finding treasure, and jamming out. After a while things got quiet, and I just enjoyed the peace of the forest and surrounding area. Eventually I made my way back to the cars wondering where everyone was... oh wait! There were NO CARS.

EVERYONE HAD LEFT.

Yes, you read that right. I was FORGOTTEN by my entire family! Everyone regrouped and my own father (who was in charge) asked "Is everyone here?" And not one person in my group said ANYTHING. Not to mention the part where I'd ridden UP with my father!!! Please tell me why'd I go in a different vehicle? So I was naturally wounded, hurt, and pissed. I mean, it's my own family!

Eventually a car came rolling back and I was taken back. No one offered me any consolation. No, in fact, they tried to make it MY FAULT! "Well, you didn't stay with your group." "We thought you went in a different car." "Why didn't you pay more attention when everyone was leaving?" This only increased my sense of distraught indignation. My own family treating me like this. I went back to my room and broke down crying. The family was going into town for lunch and then on to Minnetonka Cave for the rest of the day's activities. My mom came in and asked if I would please come with them, to which I, feeling defensive as I always do when hurt or attacked, rebuffed her. I didn't feel like doing anything but crying. I didn't even want to be at the reunion anymore. Instead of stopping and saying something conciliatory or affirming, my mom simply harumphed, "Fine, have it your way" and stormed out.

This didn't make me feel any better. My thoughts instantly went back to the Family Reunion 2 years earlier in Seattle when I'd gotten in a fight with my brother, then was screamed at by my parents, at which point I withdrew entirely. I was invited to join them in a tour of Seattle and the day's activities, but I opted not to go. Which only made me feel worse once they actually left and I was all alone and they had fun without me. They didn't care if I wasn't there and a part of the family, they went on their merry way. I've never felt entirely included, and the present was no different. So there I was faced with a choice. I could repeat Seattle (at least this time I had internet and FB as a small consolation), or I could go. So I threw on a jacket, grabbed my ipod, shoved the 'phones in my ears, turned it all the way up, and got in the car. This didn't entirely absolve the situation, but I was there at least. When we got into town, we got in line to order lunch. I spied a convenience store and was badly in need of some cough drops and a giant Dr. Pepper to help me feel better. So I went to get some. When I got back, my mom exasperatedly said, "See? This is why you get left places! You can't just disappear like that!"

Wow. I walked 20 feet away. They WATCHED me the WHOLE TIME, and then I'm "disappeared." I don't know if even therapy can save this shambles-of-a-relationship. I was just stunned, and ate my lunch in silence.

The cave was pretty, but I mainly shuffled along in the back and pretended not to care about anything - because I didn't. That night I took refuge in my room and watched So You Think You Can Dance as a way to forget where I was and who I was with.

[insert missing pictures here]

Thursday we went to Bear Lake. The family rented a boat and 3 jetskis, and let me tell you that out there on that lake, wake-jumping and going as fast as humanly possible, all by my lonesome, I found peace once again. It was an amazing day, and I loved every minute of it.

[insert missing pictures here]

That night they had a bonfire, but I missed it... I think I was playing cards? I don't remember. Maybe I was watching dance again, yeah, I think that was it. And finally, they had a slide show of the reunion which I enjoyed, though there were still wounds that I knew weren't going to be resolved. And the next morning the reunion broke up and we went home. I was glad it was over. The highlight for me was being alone on a jetski enjoying the wind in my face. The rest... well, I don't really ever want to talk about it. Again.

July hit pretty quick after that, though of course, we hit the club. That's pretty much become a staple, but I don't know if I've ever talked about it, so I'll blurb quick. Basically every Thursday (we can), we go Goth Clubbing in Downtown SLC. We dress up, do the eye make-up and then dance the night away. It's so non-judgmental and the music is so conducive to freedom that it's really therapeutic and a great time is had by all.

Then it was July VNV Nation and Boys Like Girls in concert. Sleepovers, parties, BBQs, hot-tubbing, went to the movies, watched Dance, spent time with friends, and of course, applied for jobs. I wasn't always diligent about it, but I didn't ever completely not do it. There just sometimes wasn't much in the way of availability. I think this is also around the time I started playing Twilight Princess.

And then, on a whim, I joined Pink for the first road trip of my summer (but nowhere near my last!) out to Cali for Hottie's wedding. This was interesting since Hottie and I had not spoken in quite a while (long story, and personal, sorry no details here!). But I decided that it was her day, and all our differences aside, I wanted to be there to celebrate her. Pink and I had a blast in the car looking at the sights, chatting it up, and of course, listening to good ol' Goth music. We got in late Thursday, then spent the majority of Friday in San Francisco where I showed Pink the awesomeness that is Rasputin's. We went to Chinatown and really just enjoyed our day in the city. The next day was the wedding, and I realized to my incredible dismay that I forgot MY PANTS!! X.x Of all the things. MY PANTS. God bless the fact that Pink's in-laws had a son who happened to have suit pants that fit me. So what if he's only like 17? If it fits, it fits! The wedding was grand. And I won't lie, I looked amazing.



The reception after was just as fun. Hottie was super excited to see me and I was glad I could make the day for her. We danced the night away, ate candy, and I even got a tie out of it (the orange paisley tie! Because let's be honest, I needed that tie to go with my paisley shirt!). Don't you agree?



The next day we headed back to Utah, since Pink had to work on Monday. But it was a fun, fast trip, and Hottie got married! Celebrate!!!

Then I had four days of relaxing, Zelda, job hunting, cooking, a dinner party, and playing with friends in Provo before it was time to gear up for the next trip. The Nicholsons invited me to go on Family Vacation with them. I debated staying behind, but in the end couldn't pass up the fun that would surely ensue.

We piled in the van and drove to Wyoming, stopping at the Cheese Factory for lunch where I got my first taste of what S calls "Squeaky Cheese." It wasn't that bad! For most of the ride I watched movies and/or helped the kids, and did crossword puzzles or read (though I have no clue what book I was reading at the time, lol. Maybe Epoch?

The first night we went to Yellowstone and watched Old Faithful, took pictures by a waterfall, and walked around the park a bit. I won't post all the pics here because there are too many, but I'll give links to the photos on my Facebook you can check out (even if you don't have Facebook, you can look at these).

Old Faithful

Public Pics - Yellowstone

While we were at Yellowstone, we got ice creams and apparently the people working there don't pay much attention. Sp was enjoying his cone and then suddenly found himself eating paper! The paper holder had come off the previous cone, and girl behind the counter didn't notice and just ice cream'ed over it. Pretty funny. That night we stayed at a hotel in Cody, WY. I was hungry so S let me take the van to Wendy's where I had a very fun phone convo with Turtle. :P

The next day was more driving. We stopped off at Devil's Tower, which was pretty cool. For a rock. Hahaha

Devil's Tower

Public Pics - Devil's Tower

After some quality time at the DT (hahaha) and playing in the Gift Shop we got on the road again. Ended the day all the way over in Rapid City, South Dakota where I could now proudly claim I'd been to that state! Ha!

Third day we decided to visit Crazy Horse cuz people tell me it's awesome and I should see it. But no. It's like 4% completed. AND they wanted to charge us like $27 just to drive closer. Yeah, no. We took a brochure and went on. That's not to say that when it's done (if that ever happens) it won't be freaking extraordinary. But right now? 4% isn't very impressive, sorry! Next stop was Rushmore! Yeah. Had a great time running around with the kids and taking pictures. After we did Rushmore, we wandered over to Keystone, home of the Thunder Mountain Gold Mine where we had a tour and then the kids panned for gold.

Mt. Rushmore


Public Pics - Rushmore and Thunder Mountain


Then it was back to the hotel to relax, have dinner, and spend the evening swimming. Good times were had by all!

Next day we were able to visit the Badlands (which I was so EXCITED ABOUT!) and it was gorgeous!!! We drove around, took pictures, visited a couple of trails, and on our way back we stopped at Wall Drug. Here's the thing about Wall Drug. The whole time we were driving to Devil's Tower (and South Dakota) we kept seeing these completely RANDOM off-the-wall signs for this place Wall Drug.

"Wall Drug has free ice water."
"Wall Drug now has an expanded backyard."
"The picture of Health - Wall Drug."
"T-REX. Wall Drug."
"Homemade Pie. Wall Drug."

We saw probably 20 more, but I don't remember any others, sadly. After a while, we were really beginning to wonder. What the HECK IS this place? Well, turns out it's pretty much a sprawling shopping center disguised as a city. And we aren't the only ones to "see the signs."

Purportedly, Wall Drug has over 500 miles (800 km) of billboards on Interstate 90, stretching from Minnesota to Billings, Montana. Likewise, Wall Drug spends an estimated $400,000 on billboard signs every year. Holy Bajeeze! Anyway, we stopped in so I could get a deck of cards for Erynn and S&S went jewelry hunting. All the kids were pretty much asleep, so they waited in the car while we made the quick stop. Oh, Wall Drug. There's even a reference to Wall Drug on the Apples to Apples card for Billboard. Now THAT's advertising.

After our stint in Wall, we arrived at Jewel Cave National Monument and took a tour. It was much more exciting that Minnetonka had been (sorry family!) and I had so much with lil' Si. After the cave, we took the scenic route through Black Hills National Forest with the plan of seeing Mt. Rushmore at night. The road was long and winding. And there were so. many. deer. Like 75? I think that's how many we counted before we got bored. At one point at the top there were wild donkeys going right up to all the cars, and we had to be careful driving. They came RIGHT to the windows, wow!

On the way down Sp started to get carsick. He'd been that way before, so I didn't think much of it. But he commented that he was going to write a letter to the President petitioning him to take out all curves in the roads so everyone can only drive straight. I said I fully supported him in this measure and wanted to see the letter when he wrote it. Sarah giggled in the front seat and told Sp that he was too funny and needed to start a blog to document all his hilarity.

The 8-year old wasted NO time in chiming in on the matter: "Yeah, Sp, start a blog. So we can put it on FAIL BLOG!" Now that? Funny.

We were busy laughing when the inevitable happened and Sp lost it. Poor kid. I was trying to help him with the plastic bag which wasn't functioning too well - most of it ended up on his shirt - but then I was getting it on my fingers and *I* almost lost my dinner, so I had to stop. The poor kid probably blocked it from his memory, but what a trump-all embarrassing moment story! He was mortified.

Well we finally made it to Rushmore,but there were like 8000 people, so we had no place to sit and watch their cool show. So we piddled around til they turned on the lights and we could get pics, then get out of there. Back to the hotel to pack, and get everything together for the drive home the next day.

Badlands


Jewel Cave


Night Rushmore

Public Pics - Badlands, Jewel Cave, and Night Rushmore

Not much to tell about the drive home. It was long, lol We did stop at Martin's Cove and Independence Rock, in honor of Pioneer day. At Independence Rock there was a sign outside that had atrocious grammar. I got so incensed that in my complaining and wild hand-gesturing I didn't realize how close I was to the barbed wire fence... until a piece of my arm was on it and I was staring in amazement at the resulting gash. Wow, blood. I still have a scar on my wrist from it. Stupid fence. Stupid people who can't write properly causing me to lose control of my faculties!!!

I wasn't home very long from that vacation. Pretty much one night. Enough time to catch up on laundry and some So You Think You Can Dance, before I was off on the road again.

But that will have to be next time. Much more summer fun is in store...

Well, this draft has been sitting here for almost two months. But I don't know that the humor is diminished any. Back in September, Turtle, the Nicholsons and I went to see our friend Dallon perform at an improv comedy show out in Magna - Jesters Royale.

More than anything it made me wish *I* was down on the stage acting, because I could have been much funnier (sorry actors!); however, there were some incredibly funny moments over the course of the evening. Here are probably the top 3, all said by or involving Dallon.

[Dallon runs out of the room] Moderator: "There he goes. Eager and barefoot... just like the women at BYU."

Dallon: *trying to make sense of a charades game* "Well, maybe they are Japanese so they are eating the dead bunnies raw or something."

Dallon (when asked why he hit the other guy in the jaw): "I was trying to take the swelling down by punching it back into your face."

Bah. I'm so far behind, I feel like a failure at blogging. I've been so busy! Which is a lame excuse. (And I'm still waiting on summer pictures... >.> Worst. Excuse. Ever. But it's true! <.<)

Hopefully I can get some time to post brilliance soon.


 

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