Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Back in Utah with Family

Utah!

My social media hiatus is over, for now.

This weekend was my family's annual get-together in Utah for the Salt Lake City Marathon. It's a fun tradition for us because it's a reason to get together, it's affordable, it's productive, and we're all runners and so we love it, something I totally take for granted.
Friday afternoon/evening my siblings and I began arriving in Salt Lake for Saturday's race. I was feeling a bit under the weather but it was manageable.

Once in Utah we went to the race expo. For those who don't run, big races have an expo the day before a race where you pick up your bib (paper with your race number on it that you pin to yourself during the race), race shirt, and other fun goodies. You can also buy race attire and accessories, so it's pretty fun.

Jolie's flight got in later so she wasn't there for the expo part of the adventure.



After the expo we ran to the store to get some cheap sweats to throw off at the beginning of the race. For those who are unaware, at races where it's cold, runners will come to the race bundled up in cheap warm clothes and will later throw them off right before or during the race. Afterwards the clothes are collected and donated.

Race Morning

I woke up at 4:15 AM (3:15 AM AZ time, so yeah), took a shower, got dressed, bundled up, and headed to the race. Jolie was bundled up in some hoody she inherited from some service project, and a garbage bag. We wear garbage bags to reduce the wind chill and keep heat in. Jolie looked like a pumpkin.

We arrived in downtown Salt Lake and parked in the Wells Fargo building. We got lost in the parking garage and couldn't find an exit lol, and since we had a tram to catch -- stress.



Once freed from the parking garage we went to the wrong Trax station, and gun time was approaching, so... we ran, and -- stress.



But we eventually made it to the Tram :)


We arrived at the top and instantly ran to the bathrooms because time was running out and and there's are always long lines for the porta potties. We ran to the furthest away porta potties (shorter lines) and then met up near the track to take our pre-race photo.


We took the same photo two years ago in the same spot. Dallin was on a mission, hence he's not in the photo.
Our family photo two years ago taken at the same place (2014). It wasn't as cold on this day. Utah weather in April could be anywhere from 0 - 100 degress F, like seriously. Here Christy was pregnant with Bentley!

I headed towards the starting line. Since I knew I wouldn't be as fast this year (I've put on 40 lbs) I stayed back a bit, but my sister Jolie and bro-in-law Ben went ahead of me. My sister Christy was somewhere near me, but I didn't see her.


The Salt Lake Marathon is interesting in that the gun goes off and you're instantly running up a steep hill lol! It's not too long, but the first mile has several steep hills, both up and down. Since it's the beginning of the race most runners tackle the hills swiftly only to kill their stamina later on in the race. I take them very slow. On the longer hills later in the course (mile 6) runners are always passing me at the beginning of the hill, but towards the end of the hill I'm passing them because they're dead.

Then I decided to take a mid-race selfie.

Mid-race selfie taken during one of the more boring spots of the course. That's probably why I decided to take a selfie.
Runners need to fuel up in our races. Many choose Gu, but I've never been a fan of it, though it's quick if you can stomach it and if you don't accidentally inhale it.

My choice of fuel are called Shot Bloks. I eat one just before gun time, and then one every even-numbered mile marker for the entire race. They're nice because you can bite one off, shove it in your cheek and slowly eat it. It's hard to not inhale it sometimes, but it's never been too big a problem for me.

The rest of the race was blissful (so was the entire thing really). The sun was out, but the air was cool. Perfect for running.

During the race I never saw my sister Jolie, nor did I see her as I ran past the finish line. Was she ahead of me or behind? Meh.

As I ran past the finish line I saw my mom, brother-in-law Ben, and cousin Keisha, but no sisters.

I ran past the finish line and proceeded to grab my medal and some snacks. I felt great! Then I heard my sister Christy's voice, "Hey James!" Christy was right behind me and I had no idea until then. She finished just 14 seconds behind me. Crazy. We made our way to where we saw our family cheering for us and we saw Jolie there. Apparently she was just a little bit ahead of Christy and me. We essentially ran the race right by each other yet were completely oblivious of the fact. I find that funny.

My brother Dallin hadn't trained at all for the race, so he was a little bit behind us. We watched as Dallin and my dad ran past the finish line. My sister Christy set a PR, which is awesome, especially since she ran way more conservatively than she can actually run.


The back's of our shirts have our nicknames at we give each other. My family calls me "Lands".


I love the post-race festivities, though this year there weren't and vendors. There was live music though, which was great, so we stuck around and listened to the music and danced a bit.



And of course my mom.


Afterwards we went to Chili's, but we forgot it was still early in the day despite having been awake for several hours, so Chili's wasn't open yet. We went to Paradise Bakery instead and it was fantastic.


We spent the night at my mom's house which was a lot of fun. She has this massage chair that we especially loved since we were sore from the race. Here's a picture I secretly took of my brother Dallin using the massage chair.


It's pretty amazing.

It was a pretty stellar weekend, and overall we felt good about the race. My family is amazing. 

Heading to the airport to fly back to AZ 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The (Gay) Mormon Puzzle

Too many thoughts. I've decided not to share them.




Too many unknowns.




But...




...I know one thing is for certain, and that one thing makes the other pieces fall into place. Well, the ones I have at least. There are a lot missing.



It's difficult trying to interpret the sparse image I can see from the fragmented pieces I already have. The corners might be mixed up, but I think I have those right.



But there's a piece in the middle that won't move. It was placed there by someone else. I somehow know it's in the correct place. Does everyone have a piece already laid out for them? Do they have more than one piece already laid out for them? Nobody ever get's to see each others' puzzles, so I may never know.



But one thing is for certain. Just one, and there it is, smack in the middle of the puzzle. I need to find the rest of the pieces. This is more work than I want. But after I find them I'll then have to put them in their correct places. Two very large tasks expected of me, yet nobody gets to see my puzzle to help me out.




Well, there is One. But it's kinda weird.




There is one who can see my puzzle. In fact, he knows where the pieces are and where they belong. He can even tell me where to find them and where they belong in the puzzle, which kinda blows my mind since it's such a daunting task. But there's a catch. I have to be out looking for them before he'll say a word to me.



Heck, I climbed three mountains, ran away from a raccoon (I tried to pet it and then it turned scary), and even came close to death a few times before I heard anything. And do you know what I finally heard?



"Keep looking".




And so I am.



... and I'm kind of annoyed.




I spent a day trudging through a hot desert only to hear



"You've been going the wrong way."




I ask a neighbor if they have a puzzle piece that looks like the letter 'L' like the one I just found. But I discovered that most people aren't even looking for their pieces. They've either given up or never even began their journey.




But those who are searching have told me, "There's no such thing as an 'L' shaped puzzle piece" and are quick to turn away. This, despite having never seen another's puzzle. How can they be so sure?



They can't be.



I don't know everything, but I know there are some things that others don't know, thus enabling me to disregard what others might say concerning the nature of my puzzle pieces.



This happened again when I found a puzzle piece in the shape of the letter 'T'. I've quickly learned that all I'm going to hear from other seekers are what my puzzle pieces can't be. There's never a word of advice regarding what can be, or anything constructive for that matter. Only negative.



And I thought we were on the same team.




I need help.




Sometimes I stop searching for the pieces. The voice stops too. I mean, I still look for them, but not as much. I just want those around me to help, even if my puzzle is going to look really different than theirs. It's not like they've found all of their pieces anyways.




Maybe all of our puzzles are actually the same, but everyone finds them the pieces in their own specific order. Maybe I'm just finding pieces that others won't find until way later.




This has got to be the answer.





If we told each other of the unique pieces we're finding wouldn't we would all be better at putting together our own puzzles? Yes, we would be.




Most people have the nice rounded edged pieces, at least for now. My pieces might sound foreign to them, but if they want to finish their puzzle they're going to have to face the oh-so-scary 'L' and 'T' shaped pieces sooner or later.




I've tried and tried to convince them of the reality of my unique puzzle pieces. I can see these peices. I can touch them. But I've given up hope.




Then I heard that voice again,




"I've experienced exactly what you're going through. Keep searching."





I have so many questions. Too many questions, but I'm going to up my efforts in finding the remaining pieces.




I don't care how exotic the shapes may be. I will continue telling those around me what I'm discovering, even if my words aren't received well. I'm used to it. Eventually my words will help someone, even if that time isn't now. This frustrates me more than you know, but what do I do?




So here I go. Time to go hunting. Or fishing. Or whatever the action-verb is to find these things wherever they are.




I little help?



Saturday, October 3, 2015

It's Been a While, But This is What I've Been Up To [top 10]

I've written several blog posts over the past few months but never published them. The titles of them are:
  • If I Posted to Social Media Everything in My Life -- It Might Be Like...
  • 10 Things I Do Not Regret Doing
  • Gay Mormons: The Problem
  • Just a Really Good Day
  • Gay Mormon Chinese Pop Star (my experience)
  • Where Have I Been?
Jimmy Hales, Jolie Hales Price, Tracy Cope


Should I give an update on my life? Ya know, I think I'll do that, but in gif form. I'll just cover the last three months. Here I go.


The 10 Things I've Been Doing These Past 3 Months

1. That time I was on a Chinese Idol TV Show

2. When I decided to take violin lessons

3. Pentatonix, Hozier, Andy, Brandon Flowers & Kelly Clarkson!!!

4. My nephew Bentley's birthday party

5. Playing the coin toss game to determine what rides we'd ride at Disneyland.

6. Playing the coin toss game to determine what rides we'd ride at Lagoon.

7. Roommate Bonding

8. Coworker Bonding

9. Soooo many airplanes (this one's kinda boring)

10. ETTV Top Idol Backstage Fun

I honestly can never predict where my focus will be 3 months from any moment. Life continues to be a crazy adventure, and I sure hope it doesn't slow down anytime soon.


Monday, August 17, 2015

I'm Going to the ETTV Top Idol Finals! I Need Your Votes! (Jimmy Hales)

Well, I honestly didn't think I would get this far, but here I am.

My sister has laid out the different voting methods for us, so

click here for voting :)

I could potentially win $10,000! That would be so awesome!

Thanks for voting everyone!!!!

Jimmy Hales singing on ETTV Top Idol


Jimmy Hales and Aaron Yang on ETTV Top Idol


Monday, August 3, 2015

Chinese TV Singing Competition -- I Need Your Votes! (Jimmy Hales)

That's right, voting has begun and it can be done online! My sister laid out the instructions to vote on her blog:


[I believe Instagram photos won't be up until noon today 8/3/2015]

If you do end up watching this last performance, please keep in mind I was sick :\ I'm feeling better already so this next week's performance will be much better :)


Monday, July 13, 2015

I Met My Favorite YouTuber! -- Ended Up in a Televised Singing Competition. wut?

Sooooooooo yeah. I happened to be in LA this weekend to be on a panel. A few days ago my favorite YouTuber Jason Chen mentioned there'd be a Meet & Greet on Saturday afternoon. I was so happy I'd finally get an opportunity to meet him!

Suddenly I found myself on a stage singing in front of some judges, one of them Jason, and after making it through two rounds I was set to sing again in a few weeks. My sister and I did not see this coming.

My sister was with me the entire weekend and she actually blogged about it. Her perspective of the day's events are hilarious.


We laugh because we went there straight from that morning's 10k, so I wasn't really dressed for the occasion.


Me and YouTuber Jason Chen.




Stay tuned!

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 sister 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.