Friday, June 24, 2011

Teaching Chinese High Schoolers and more HDRs

Well I taught for the first time and it was pretty fun, it's as close to Chinese EFY as I could get.  Here are some pics taking by and student who's English name is Sid.  We have the same camera, so we're friends.

I wanted to just goof off and make them laugh like I did at EFY, but they called me Mr. Hales and I had to be a bit more professional, not that my clothes helped me with that or anything.  Meh.

Willy, the guy in the red was wearing a polo shirt.  I told him in America it's cool to not button up the top button.  He then unbuttoned it.  Can you believe that I would EVER give fashion tips?  I'm turning from being a geologist into my sister Christy.

I actually sent the girl in the middle (green shirt) on an internship to teach English at a High School in Taiwan (my job on campus is to send BYU students to China/Taiwan to do internships).  So she helped them come here for a Summer and now I'm teaching them.  Funny how things work out.
This is Sid, the student with the same camera as me.

The trail I run on goes under all the roads, so I get to see stuff like this a lot.

The trail I run on goes over the river a few times.  It really is a nice run with people always on it walking their dogs, biking, running, etc.  That is Y Mountain on the right.

It was 1:00am when I edited this, I think it's too bright.  This is behind a strip mall in downtown Provo.

This was literally taken ten feet to the right of where I took the above picture.  I had the f-stop too low on this, so my depth of field has more blur than I'd like.  I think this one is way too saturated and once again too bright.  The building is the Nu Skin building in Provo.

This is the hang out of Provo for college students.  Sammy's in Provo.

This is the Provo Tabernacle which burnt down several months ago.  They are in the process of rebuilding it.  (update:  It is being built into another temple in provo.  This was taken before that was announced) 

The Provo City Library

This is some student house that I walk past a lot.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer At Last

Well, Summer is here at last.  I'm taking one class, CS 240, it's the mother of all CS classes, though I don't think it will be that tough, just very very time consuming.  they said it's the equivalent of having a 40 hour a week job, so we'll see how it goes.

I went to Yuya's birthday party, we ate cake, played video games, went swimming, and played more video games.  It was pretty fun.

Ryo, he is hilarious.

Yuya is the one standing.  I saw him today as I walked back from campus.
For FHE we were going to have a picture scavenger hunt, but four of the girls were late because they were at the mall, so we ended up waiting forever and then ended up just getting food.  I told the girls they owe those of us that waited cookies and/or brownies.  I wasn't joking.
This is The Malt Shop, a place kept alive by students.  It's pretty old and has a 50s theme to it, kinda like Burger Stop back home in Layton, only this place probably was around in the 50s.
I had my nice camera because of the original plan to go on a picture scavenger hunt, but since they were late we just took a group picture and then left to the Malt Shop.

Melanie and Emily had to leave early and play Ultimate with some people, so they're not in this pic.

While we were outside taking pictures, Kurt drove by because he had just gotten of work.  He is also in our family, but can't go most of the time because of work, so we were all happy to see him.  Not that we wouldn't be happy to see him otherwise or anything.
 Well, I have a program to write now.  It's a pretty easy program, but it's in a language that I've never used before, C++, so it's taking a really long time to teach myself how to do simple things that I already know how to do in Java, but I love it!  I definitely chose the right major.  I'm gonna go to the temple on Saturday.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Finals Are Over!

Wow, Spring Term has ended!  I feel pretty good about it.  I took my last final this morning, it was for my New Testament class that I really really enjoyed.  I'm guessing I got an A- in the class, but we'll see I guess.
    So I have a meal plan on campus.  It's this thing that allows me to put money on my card and use it to buy things at vending machines, the food court on campus, the grocery store on campus "The Creamery on 9th", or the BYU cafeteria "The Canon Center" which is a pretty cool place.  Since it's the end of the term my money on my card needs to be spent or else it vanishes away.  I could have spent it at the grocery store, but I thought I'd treat my friends to lunch so that we could eat with each other, after all, we had literally just finished finals.  Kei taught us how to sign "celebrate" in sign language (he is deaf).  It seems to be our new favorite sign next to all of the risque signs Kei taught us.
Me, Kei Ikeda, Preston Purnell, Dalton Purnell, Zach Romney
Preston had just learned the alphabet in ASL, so he must have been spelling something out here.  Kei teaches at the MTC, so that's why he's dressed as such.
    Since I'm an FHE Dad I have to go to FHE.  Who would have thought?  Once every certain-time-period-that-I-don't-know, each family gets to go to a member of the Bishopric's house to have FHE.  We went to Brother Washburn's house and ate dinner and roasted marshmallows.  My family is pretty cool and I'm actually glad I'm forced to go.  I mean, it was the week of finals, why have an extra lengthy FHE the week of finals?  Well, it was OK after all.
I would list their names, but you don't care.
So I'm currently in my room in Provo typing this.  Kurt is in the front room atm with Dalton watching a movie and I just heard Kurt yell, "She's so ugly!  I can't handle it! (laugher)".

So there are lots of foreigners where I live, particularly Asians, because I literally live across the street from the English Learning Center.  Well, I've made friends with the Japanese people that live here.  It's weird, I speak Chinese, but the majority of my Asian friends are Japanese.  I've had four Japanese roommates such as Yohei, Pra, Shun, and Fuku, and now I've been hanging out with Kei, and sometimes I hang out with Ryo, Airi, and Yuya.  Not to mention Nozomi is one of my best friends down here.  Meh.  Anyways, last Friday I was invited to a Japanese video game party.  Everyone spoke Japanese but me.  Kei, though deaf, can read their lips if they speak Japanese and they understand him when he speaks Japanese, so I really was the only one who didn't understand.  It was fun.  Tomorrow night we're having a Party for Yuya, the guy with long hair in the pic, because it's his birthday.
(Airi, Ryo, dude, dude, me, Yuya, dude)  I think Airi is really cute and Yuya is hilarious.
Towards the beginning of my BYU life I met a fun group of Chinese people.  Among that group is a girl named Jiang Jing.  We went on a date at a place called China Town.  The food is pretty good there.

Spring was a really fun semester.  I hope Summer is the same.  I'm taking a really hard class during Summer, and since it's Summer it's going to be twice as intense/fast, so we'll see how it goes.  I am, however, only taking one class, so it shouldn't be too bad.

Oh yeah, I have a new Summer job.  I got an email from someone who I have no idea how they got my email.  They were looking for an English teacher to teach High School Taiwanese students who are coming here on some Summer program thing.  I emailed them back my info and I got the job.  Below are a few pics of me and High School aged youth.  I love the youth, probably because I still feel like a teenager.  I'm pretty sure I get that from my Mom.  Just yesterday I walked past my friend Jaewon Song and he said that I looked like a 17 year old boy.

Here are some pictures of me with the youth previously.
EFY.  We weren't ready for this picture to be taken I think.

Taiwanese Jr. High School


Taiwanese High School

EFY Pizza night.  I made my boys eat their pizza with chopsticks.
EFY.  It poured on us as we ditched the girls and ran back to our dorms.

EFY.  This was a totally stellar group.  I still miss them.

I was walking down the street in China and I was near a High School that just got our of class or something.
I will always love the youth.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Attacked By Birds

The email to my Bio teacher:

Hello Sister Jeffries,
My name is James Hales and I took your Bio 100 class last Fall and loved it.  I have a question for you.  First of all, I served my mission in Melbourne Australia and become well acquainted with the Australian Magpie because they like to swoop and hit people on the head.  Well at the location  40°16'11.64"N 111°39'25.70"W here in Provo I have been attacked by swooping birds more than once and they seem to be getting more aggressive.  If you copy and paste the coordinates on the search bar at you can see the exact location where this occurs, it's on University Parkway in Provo.
Anyways, I go running about three times a week and seriously get scared every time I run this little stretch.  There are about six mid - small sized black birds that swoop me.  Do you know what kind of birds they are?  I did a google search for swooping birds in Utah and wasn't able to find anything.  I know you're busy and so if you completely disregard this email than I understand.  Thanks for reading!

Her Response:

Hey James!!!

Good to hear from you!

When you described your dive-bombing black bird I though immedately of the crow, Corvus brachyrhyncos, one of the larger members of the family Passeriformes .   I've seen them around Provo.  After a quick search of the internet, I found several sites that talk about crows attacking people.  Here's a link to such an event in Everett, Washington:    -
This next link is an article about crows.  Down at the bottom is a place to click that will let you hear their raucous call:
Let me know if this is the culprit that's been attacking you.  I wonder what is making them aggressive?  Maybe you are passing too near their nestlings?  Maybe they are just grouchy, aggressive birds?  The place they attack you is near a huge golf course that surrounds Provo River... good habitat for crows to nest.  I've heard that crows are mischievous and they like to make up games.  If you have time, watch them and see where they go when they are through bothering you.

I'm not so busy anymore.  I just finished my last BIO 100 class and am waiting for a senior couples mission call which may come tomorrow... or maybe next week.  You know how it is to wait for a mission call, right?


Sister Jefferies

After finals I might go take a video of them attacking me.  We'll see I guess. 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Spring, Friends, Computer Science Theory, New Testament, Sign Language, & Tracting for Wives

So I'm going to try to be cool and make certain words big and such like my sister Christy does on her blog.

Well, this Spring semester has been pretty dang good.  I am going to school, but one of the classes I'm taking I'm actually retaking, so it's been really really easy.  I haven't studied for it once.  In my New Testament class I am learning so much it's awesome!  Seriously though, I've always disliked all of my previously taken religion courses, but this Semester I love mine.  I have a solid 90% in it right now and who knows how well I'll do on this paper I'm currently writing and the final.  I always get A-s in my religion courses, so I hope I can at least get that this time around.

Here is the last midterm I took for my Computer Science 252 Theory class.

I mentioned my friend Kei in an earlier post.  We had a class together last semester, but he's also in my CS 252 class this semester and will be in my CS 240 class next semester.  Since it's Spring term our classes are small.  We only have 12 people in our class, so we know each other pretty well and class is a pretty good social experience.  I always sit on the front row in my classes to help me stay focused, but so do the deaf students because their interpreters sit across from them and interpret everything.  I often watch the interpreter for Kei so that I might improve my ASL skills.  It seems to be working.
Kei is hilarious and everyone loves him.  I was eating lunch on campus this day when I suddenly saw this.

A while ago Kei proposed that we go on a double date.  One night he and I went "tracting for wives" as we called it.  This all began when one night Kurt and I visited him and brought him some cookies because we were bored.  Kei then wanted to introduce me to some girl from Japan.  We went there to bring her some cookies, but her roommate said she was gone and that she is engaged.  Awesome.  Some other girl walked up the stairs near to where we were standing outside the girl's apartment.  I thought she was cute.  Kei did not.  We chatted for a bit and then another girl came up the stares, girl #2.  Girl #2 saw us signing and grabbed Kei and immediately started pulling him awkwardly to somewhere.  We followed.  Kei look very confused.  I was very confused.  We ended up still on the third level of apartments, but on the far south end.  The pulling girl opened the door and in we went.  There were several girls there.  Two of them knew about as much ASL as me and we had a grand ole' time as Kei proceeded to entertain them with his hilarious promiscuous humor.  The girls gave us some yummy sweet bread and we ended up giving them the cookies.  We left.

A few nights later Kei and I went looking for one of the girls, but had no idea where she lived or even what her name was.  We decided to go knocking on all the girls' apartments in that particular building and ask for some random girl who's name we would then think up just so it looked like we were legit, hence our tracting commenced.  Hardly anyone was home.

A few days later Kei said two girls were asking about me....yeah.  He arranged a double date.  Our dates were the two girls who knew sign from the week before when we got pulled into the random girls' apartment.  The date was really fun.  Kei made Japanese food, the girls made hamburgers and some dessert that I don't know the name of, and I ate the food they all prepared.

So I have a calling, in fact I now have two callings as of this past Sunday.  I was just called as Elders Quorum Secretary.  It's actually the first time I've been in the Elder's Quorum Presidency, but I have the easy job so I'm happy.  I'm also an FHE group leader, or in other words, I'm an FHE Dad
I asked Kurt to give the spiritual thought despite him also being in charge of the activity, making crepes.  FHE wasn't thrown together the last minute or anything.  We also had a second movie premiere for the movie Kurt and I made recently.

One of the eggs Kurt used for his crepes was partially frozen.  
My FHE wife needed a male model.  She asked me and I made up some excuse.  But she quickly said that it's alright because I could also go on Wednesday or Thursday to her class thing and be a model then.  I let her know I did not want to participate and that I HATE wearing makeup.  She gave me the guilt trip thing saying, "...I just expected more out of my FHE husband".  Of course she was being funny, but she seriously needed someone.  Way later that night she asked again, which means she still hasn't found anyone and had probably been asking everyone she knew, so I felt bad and begrudgingly agreed to help her.

This is the only picture I took, right before she did anything to me.  She took some pictures after, but I shan't ask her for them.
Lucia is back from Korea!!!!  She is so awesome!  Kurt and I both love hanging with her, but since Kurt and I have both deactivated our facebook accounts she didn't know how to contact us, for her phone was dead because of her recent return from Korea, so she sent me an email.  Haha, who uses email anymore?  I got the message and didn't see Kurt that day, so I went to her birthday party by myself.

My sister Christy was with me when I purchased the clothes I am wearing in this picture.

In the US she turned 21, but in Korea she turned 22, hence the numbers on the cake.  I help the balloons for the picture to make it look more exciting haha!
So my camera broke, my awesome Canon 550D T2i.  There was a hot dead pixel in every picture and video that it took.  There was a spot that was always red and it was SOOOOO annoying.  I bought it on July 1 2010 and it has a one year warranty, so I sent it in and they are fixing it.  They said I'll get it back sometime later this week.  I feel so restrained without it.

Kurt and I went shopping
This was our fridge two days ago
This is our fridge today

It's late and I should sleep.  I have class in the morning at 8:00AM.

Today I updated My Blog

Yesterday I told my sister Christy that I would update my blog today.  Word.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Kei's First Marshmallow

So the past few days I've had a little bug, nothing big. It makes me feel tired all of the time and my throat has been dry but not sore, thank goodness.  I went to bed every night expecting to wake up with a bad sore throat because my roommate Yejezkel has been sick and I'm pretty sure I got it from him and he has had a bad sore throat for a while.  He never sleeps though, he's always out at night dancing somewhere, so his body doesn't have time to recover I think.

Earlier today Dalton and Preston suggested we go make a campfire somewhere.  I didn't feel terrible, but didn't feel great either, so I didn't commit to anything.  I wasn't in the mood to find firewood, marshmallows, and place to have a campfire, girls to come, etc, so I passed.  Well, they arranged everything and night came. I was playing Gran Turismo 5 with my friend Kei at my place when they all walked into my apartment.  I was feeling alright by then and asked Kei if he wanted to go with them to the fire and he said sure.

Kei is from Japan and is also a Computer Science major.  We're the same age and so we have had and currently have classes together, so naturally we have become friends.  Kei is hilarious and everyone loves him.  Kei is also deaf, so he speaks sign language.  He not only speak understandable Japanese, but he reads lips, speaks Japanese Sign Language, has learned English very well, and knows American Sign Language.  He is very smart and very humble about that fact.

My sign language sucks and Kei is very patient with my pathetic attempt to speak to him.  Dalton has put forth some effort to learn some basic signs to talk to Kei which I think is cool.  I have always wanted to learn Sign Language, but after high school never saw any of my deaf friends again, but now I have reason enough to continue my study of it.

Kei and Preston.  That is the first marshmallow Kei has every roasted

Our fire was nice and small

I'm too skinny

Thursday, June 2, 2011

My Roommate Yejezkel from Mexico

Yejezkel is from Mexico and moved into our apartment a few weeks ago.  He fits it perfectly with our group of friends.  He has a hilarious sense of humor that makes us all laugh all the time.  I altered the sign in this picture a little with Photoshop to make it hmorous, though at the time he had no idea why we were all shouting at him to go over to the sign and pretend like he was farting when the sign really said "no parking...".  I'm excited to see his reaction when he finds himself tagged in the picture on facebook.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Large Bug

We're not sure how this massive bug got inside.  The window is shut so we're kinda worried.  As far as we know it's chillin' behind the couch as I type this.

Didn't Know The Answer

I didn't know the answer to #3.