Sunday, June 21, 2015

Coasting Into the Arizona Summer

Blogging. Never have so many people had so much to say to hardly anyone.

I heard that before and it makes me laugh. However, if you're part of a community, blogging can be a lot of fun and people will actually read you posts.

I used to blog a lot for the gay Mormon community regarding my experience as a gay Mormon, but I'm taking a break from that for now for an unknown duration of time. For now I think of my blog posts more as a type of journal entry and a way to keep my family and friends informed on what's going on in my life on the surface.

Lately...

I've always loved the violin. As a kid I saw Lord of the Dance, a Celtic dancing production of sorts. In it there is a sweet violin duet which got my attention of the violin. Well, I impulsively bought a violin online one day and signed up for lessons. I've had three lessons so far and love it. I practice so much.

Me and my violin teacher Rebecca Urie.
Of course, having a full time job work is a huge part of my life. This month we're having a planking challenge. Everyday we're supposed to blank for a certain amount of time. Here's us doing it one day.

#buttsup
We also had a field day to celebrate one year of being in the new building. We also hired 100 college grads that same week, so it was kinda like a big party day.

Here's Maria, my fake girlfriend, getting dunked.




Maria is the cutest girl ever. She's so much fun and loves adventure.


Not too long ago none of my family lived in Arizona. Now my sister, brother and I live here. But now our fun cousin Brian joined us! He graduated from BYU and, like me, found a job down here. It's nice having family nearby.


Occasionally other family members visit us and so I'll spend the weekend with them at my Sister's place. My came came into town and so I went to church with them. My sister Christy is ward organist.


I've always loved freshly squeezed juice. Just around the corner from my work and current residence is a wonderful juice bar, Raw Organic Juice Bar. It's sooooo yum! I go there a lot. They know my usual.


Going out to eat is a favorite. Sushi and crab tend to be the most frequented choices. This is the first restaurant that I've been to that served Monster. I was so happy. The restaurant is called Blue Wasabi. Their wasabi was blue.


We ordered way too much.


I went to the lake with friends Kent and Neil. Neil was visiting from out of state and it happened to be his birthday. It was actually the first time I had ever met him, but he's cool and we were instafriends.


Kent did a flip off the boat.


I've had a strange bug that has drained my energy for a few days. It's really weird actually. I'm nearing its end, but still it tends to make me extra tired at times.

Being sick is justification to order Chinese takeout and watch a horror movie all by myself. Something I absolutely love to do.


Well, my buddy Jordon is waiting on me to play Command and Conquer Red Alert with him right now, so I best be off.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Great Wall (of China) Half Marathon -- Arriving In China [part 1]

I was so excited to go back to China! I was also excited to run a race, especially since it took place on the Great Wall of China. Having my family come along and see the country of the people I love was exciting in itself. So having all of these take place together was a bit euphoric.

And then there was the touring part of the trip. I'll admit, before arriving in China I was already dreading the buses and tours we had planned ahead. I general don't like touring, but I had already been to all of the places our tour would be taking us.

A few pictures of me taken oven the past few years at some of the sites we visited during our trip.

I guess I didn't realize how much fun it would be to see my siblings and their reactions to things that my mind had already digested. Seeing China through their eyes, even if I was stuck on a tour bus, ended up being a total blast and I absolutely loved the hilarious commentary coming from them.

I knew people were going to stare at us. :)
Here we just arrived at our hotel and this was our very first elevator ride.
Chinese people LOVE it when we give attention to them and/or their children. They are quick to shove their babies in front of our cameras.


I was a bit concerned at the possibility of our hotel being less than par. I've stayed in some pretty dank hotels while in China, and this was my siblings' first time leaving the Western world, so I was relieved when our rooms ended up being really nice.

When exposed to Chinese culture my family was anything but an ugly American, instead they were highly interested and amused by everything surrounding us. They loved it and that made me really happy.



I'll save race day for the next post, but here is Christy getting a massage just after the race. I love her face.

We have 400+ gigabytes of footage and photos, so sifting through all of them has been taking forever.

My sisters are also bloggers, with Jolie also creating some videos of our experience in China, so my motivation to blog isn't all that great. So here are the links to my sister's blogs.

Christy's first blog post about China (1 of pending-amount)

Jolie's first blog post about China (1 of pending-amount)

Sunday, May 3, 2015

A Flat Period of Life

Wow, my posting on this blog has definitely become a bit sparse. Back in college I would look for things to do while on my short study breaks, and blogging was something I could do from anywhere since I always had a backpack on, so I blogged a lot.

Now I don't have homework, and it's amazing.

And for those interested, I do vlog a bit for a different blog. Here's my latest video:


So what do I do with all of my time now that I'm not a student? I shall list a few activities:


  • Write & record music - I'm always writing music. It's my way of expressing myself. I'll write a song, record it, produce it, and then never let anyone hear it. It's probably for the better.
My little bro crashed here a few nights and recorded a song he wrote.

  • Running - I'm told it's good for you. I love running, but would I love it as much without the ability to listen to music? I hope I never find out. There have been a few instances where I've run without music, but these instances were short distances, never breaching 5 kilometers.

    Running is my time to think, vent, and motivate/inspire myself to act. Just being outside can do those things per se, and the variety of scenery is refreshing. 

  • Meeting people - I've been utilizing meetup.com and it's pretty cool. I tend to "meet up" with running groups. There are some other groups that like to meet up at restaurants which is also fun.

  • Make a game for Android and iOS - Nozomi and I are back at it, we're going to finish our game. We're using a different framework this time (libGDX) which has greatly simplified the entire process and made our game more robust. This has been where most of my time has been invested as of late.

    Nozomi and I made a 3D game for a project while we were attending BYU. We actually had a lot of fun with it and did more than was required just because we enjoyed the entire process so much. The game was very humble, but considering it was just one project during a fast tracked summer term I think we did alright lol!
The game Nozomi and I made while at BYU.



Really, this past month was pretty uneventful and might be described as dull, which makes me think of this quote I discovered years ago:

"During that drive it was brought forcibly to me that the seeming flat periods of life give us a blessed chance to reflect upon what is past as well as to be readied for some rather stirring climbs ahead. Instead of grumbling and murmuring, we should be consolidating and reflecting, which would not happen if life were an uninterrupted sequence of fantastic scenery, confrontive events, or exhilarating conversation."

"Patience" By Elder Neal A. Maxwell Of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy

I have had some time to stop, think, and reassess certain things in my life, and it's been a good thing.


Here are some coworkers I regularly go to lunch with. They're Asian. Are you surprised?
Last weekend I was sick with a throat something or other. I didn't go running once, though I did stop by a certain LGBT Mormon conference put on by All Arizona. I arrived late and stayed for maybe 30 minutes. I didn't feel well at all, and knew that if I stayed I'd probably talk to a lot of people, so I went home and slept for the next two days.



As I mentioned I've been running again, and it's been amazing. Running is pretty much the highlight of my day.
Notice the nice ramping-up of miles? December was when my gallbladder was removed, so no running then. Thereafter I slowly eased back into running so as to avoid injury. Not running far is so hard for me to do. I'd run 100 miles everyday if my body let me.

Here's my running data for the year so far (data pulled from Garmin Connect):

Aside from my family, I know you (the reader) don't care about my running. You should try it! It will be terrible at first, but eventually you'll love it.

Well, I'm going to eat something, go for a nice Sunday walk, and then probably watch Toy Story or something. Have fun running :)

Sunday, April 5, 2015

A Weekend in Utah Spent Running Around Roller Coasters (Lagoon Half Marathon/10k)

Lagoon is the small-ish theme park in Utah that I lived 10 minutes from where I grew up. I went there regularly. I even performed there as a singer and dancer.

I'm in the orange and red striped suit performing at Lagoon in 2006.

My Lagoon head shot from 9 years ago (2006).

After a very very very frustrating Saturday evening that I'm not going to talk about because it will put it in a bad mood, Saturday morning came and my sister Jolie, my dad, and I made our way to the starting line. My mom and my step dad Jeff arrived and found a place on the trail so they could cheer us on.

Just before the race started! Lagoon Half Marathon; Lagoon 10k
Here I am on the trail part of the run. My mom took this picture.

Here I am running through the finish line. It's pretty cool running through the park and underneath a roller coaster! I have to wait for them to post the pictures taken inside of the park.


There was a bit of confusion at the finish line. Someone got lost, and therefore skipped part of the race, and ended up in "1st place", so that put me in 3rd place overall, so I received a trophy for 3rd place, when I really got 2nd place overall. Oh well. They have since corrected the mistake on the results webpage. The guy who placed first passed me around the 1/2 mile marker and remained in front of me. I caught up to him and he noticed and picked up the pace a little. I couldn't catch him. (You can see him in the one of the photos above before he passed me.)

Whoever actually got 3rd place went home trophy-less because of the mix up.
 Jolie got lost and ran 1/2 miles longer than she was supposed but still placed 2nd in her age group and 9th overall, though she would have placed in the top three if she wouldn't have been led astray. Regardless, running in the park was pretty fun.

Jolie ran with her GoPro as she is starting to review races and put such reviews on YouTube. I'm really excited to see her reviews.

Jolie, my mom, and me.
After the race Jolie and I stayed and played at the park because runners can get a day pass for only $20. My mom and Jeff joined us and we had such a great time at the park. The weather was beautiful as well. We loved how peacocks would just roam around the park haha! It was very nostalgic too which was fun.

Here is a fun Google Plus auto-awesome video that pretty much summed up my day.




Here are some pics from our adventures inside the park.

Jolie and me on the Flying Aces which was actually a lot of fun. We laughed a lot.






We were trying to look scared. Jolie did a good job. I didn't.

Going up the hill on the "white" roller coaster.
 I remember riding this ride with my family ever since I was old enough to remember. It's almost a science. Actually, it is. It's all physics and which way you lean and when. The sum of our weights ended up yielding and incredible g-force filled experience. We're also experienced "leaners".

Rocking out physics skills on the Tilt-a-Whirl.
It was also LDS General Conference weekend. At night I relaxes and watched/listen to the talks that aired earlier that day. It was a great way to end a great day spent exercising and being with family.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Spring Awakening -- Sunshine, Running, Happy

Naturally, I have been running a lot. Previously my stomach issues, which only occurred while running/exercising, have come and gone in waves, though they would never actually leave completely. The last three times I've gone running I haven't thrown up. I was a bit nauseated during those runs, but this is still progress... I think. Am I getting better? I sure hope I am.

Regardless, my average pace for my races have been less than 7 minutes a mile, so I'm competitive again, just not as fast as I could be. I think my stomach issues are settling down...???. *fingers crossed*

Here I am running the Froyo 5k in Mesa, AZ on March 7th. I placed 6th overall.



Here's my sister Christy and I are waiting for the race to begin. I ran with my GoPro.


My brother Dallin moved to Arizona! He just completed his mission, which was actually in Tuscon Arizona, but now he's back here to go to school.


Sometime this past week I hit up my favorite restaurant, Angry Crab Shack, with one of my favorite people, Kristen! The food was amazing and the conversation beautiful. Kristen is so easy to talk to. You can tell she really cares about you. Here is a swivel selfie. :)


Working for a car company we tend to have our own cars on site for us to oogle over and what not. This week we had GMC and Buick come visit. Buick has definitely changed their image, which is cool because I always thought of them as grandma cars. The GMCs were pretty sweet too, but I still really want a Chevy Colorado.


While playing with my GoPro I accidentally took a picture of myself. I think it's horrifying.

There's a teddy bear on top of the fridge.
Yesterday I met up with my sibs at a place called Butterfield's Pancake House & Restaurant. It was waaaay yummy. I ate everything.
My food, S'mores Oreo Pancakes
And another swivel selfie while at the restaurant.


Then that same day we decided to run a race haha! We seriously anticipated losing our lunch since the race started at 5:30 PM.  It was a 4 mile race called the Shamrock 4 Miler. It was held in Scottsdale.

Here we are just a few minutes before the race!


The Nesquik rabbit made a cameo.


Here are my running stats from the race (I use a Garmin):
Here's a map of the race (the thin red line). It was basically an out and back along a canal, which is fun because I like running along side water.



Christy running over the finish line.




Well, that's pretty much what's been happening lately. New video next week but I still have no idea what it'll be. More running to come!