Sunday, December 30, 2012

How I Almost Vehicular Manslaughtered

I think it’s time that I write down some memorable stories from my life. This particular story starts on March 24, 2008. I did not have a job. The only big plans I had were to go on my mission (check a few posts back for some stories on that) one week later. So to kill some time, I decided to visit a few friends from my college days (which I’m eternally stuck in) in Rexburg, Idaho. Tucker Davis thought this was a good idea and he had nothing better to do, so he decided to join me on the trip.

That day I had a lead foot. Well, in those days every day I had a lead foot. So they say. I was driving my dad’s Volkswagen Jetta. Most cars in the United States, whether they are foreign or domestic have governors that shut down the engine if they reach a certain speed, usually around 110 mph. Volkswagens don’t have that restriction.

We left at a decent time in the morning. Usually the drive from Castle Rock to Rexburg will take about 12 hours. We were making pretty good time. We had to stop to get Tucker’s paycheck and we got Cap’n Crunch milkshakes at Charley’s but we hit the Wyoming state line pretty quickly. Tucker had the bright idea of bringing his police scanner so that my lead foot wouldn’t get caught. It worked pretty good near Greeley (which smells like poop, and if you don’t believe me, go there) when it beeped at us to slow us down and sure enough a quarter mile down the road, there was Johnny Law speed checking.

Like I said we were making pretty good time. Actually we were making excellent time. And by excellent, I mean we hit Laramie in about 1.5 hours. Which usually takes 3-4 hours. If I remember right we had maxed out at 120 mph, which up until that moment was my personal land speed record. Then the fun started.

I-80 through Wyoming looks like this:

Yes, Wyoming is that boring. So it is best to drive as fast as you can to get out of that wretched place. And plus, it is really easy to drive fast because of how straight the freeway is. I wanted to see just how fast I could go.

I handily beat my personal land speed record. I took a picture of the max, which was 147 mph. At that speed, when there’s a bump in the road, the car catches some air, or so it seems. The steering wheel feels unstable. And other cars seem pretty slow. We went really fast for a really long time. I think we averaged 115-120. When we had to slow down to 80 for the other traffic, it felt like we were driving through a school zone. Tucker fell asleep a few times.

Then as we were coming down the pass in to Rock Springs, I saw something I dreaded behind me. It was a brown state trooper car up to no good. As I merged right from the far left lane, the cop car followed and merged as well. That was not a good sign. At that point I was only doing 80, so I thought it might be a routine thing and that I wasn’t in trouble. Then the red and blue flashing lights came on. Still, I felt slightly confident that this was a routine traffic stop. I pulled over and rolled down my window. The cop stopped behind me and stepped out of her vehicle. Yes, her. She approached my car and stopped at the trunk and said, “Driver, stop the engine and step out of the vehicle.”

This was when I thought that maybe I was caught.

I walked towards the officer and she asked, “Do you know how fast you were going?”

“I don’t know, probably 80?”

“I registered you going 120.”

“Ummm, ok.”

“You are under arrest. Turn around and place your hands behind your back.”

That was odd; I’d never heard those words before besides on the television. I didn’t feel like causing a commotion, so I did just that. She asked if I had any weapons on my person, which I didn’t and she cuffed me. I had a thick watch on that when she cuffed me started to dig pretty good into my wrist. Handcuffs aren’t comfortable at all. They make your wrists bend slightly uncomfortably outwards.

This wasn’t my first interaction with an officer of the law. Usually I felt that they felt they needed to assert some authority and move on. I thought this might be one of those moments at first. That she would cuff me, talk to me, give me a ticket and move on. Then she put me in the back of her car. Well, that was turn for the worse.

Mostly, I felt confused. I like planning events in my life, and this definitely was unplanned.

She had taken my driver’s license out of my back pocket, but she and Tucker couldn’t find the vehicle insurance. She called in to headquarters that she was on her way to the detention center to bring me in. 10-4.

On the drive I asked what was going to happen and she told me that we would go to the station, they would book me in, then Tucker, who was following us, could bail me out and/or I’d talk to the judge.
According to Wyoming state records we arrived at the Sweetwater County Detention Center at 1:53 PM. The officer pulled into a garage, then let me out of the car where she led me into the booking center. Once in there, another officer took off my handcuffs and told me to stand against the wall, to spread my legs shoulder width apart and to place my hands on the wall at the same distance apart. He cleaned out all of my pockets, took my belt, my jacket, and my pride. He put all my personal items in a Ziploc bag which he put in a slot where an officer on the other side took it. We went through a door into an office area where other inmates were shackled. They had just gotten back from their inmate work release program. They went to their cells. I was shell shocked.

They had me sit in an uncomfortable orange plastic chair. I sat in the middle of three, which were backed by three other chairs. They were planted firmly in the floor, I suppose so that the criminals won’t throw them. That is effective design.

Three officers typed away as I sat there. The officer that arrested me came in with the report she had written out and said that she had put me at 110 mph because I did not resist arrest. One of the officers told me that I should possibly be able to see the judge that afternoon and then be on my way. Every officer I met would say, “120?!?! You could’ve killed somebody.”

They took mug shots. Face forward. Turn to the right. Turn to the left.

I waited. They showed me the formal charges: 1) No proof of insurance, 2) Speed over 75, 3) something absurd like “Excessive speed with attempted vehicular manslaughter.” I don’t remember the exact words of the charge, but that was the general idea, that I was going so effing fast that I was trying to kill my passenger.

The judge turned out to be lazy and wanted to go home, so I wasn’t able to see him that day. So they gave me some prison clothes to change into and told me that in the name of habeas corpus I would see a judge within 24 hours, but that I was staying the night.

The officer that checked me for contraband when I was checked in took me to a room where he gave me my yellow jumpsuit, some socks and some shoes to wear. The jump suit felt stiffer than a board and the shoes were more flimsy than a piece of cooked spaghetti. That usually should be the opposite, but I’m not a fashion designer. I was pulled out of my shock and for the first time thought, “Ah, crap, what have I gotten myself into?” when I pulled on my socks and they ripped pretty cleanly.

They took mug shots again. Then they cuffed me again and gave me a Ziploc bag of personal items I could use – an ink cartridge, a spork, a paper cup, some soap, some shampoo, a personal razor, a towel.

They took me to cell block D. There, they uncuffed me and  I was given a cell and I was free to roam. The cell block consisted of two stories of cells opposite a one-way mirrored wall. There were 4 tables with benches attached- the kind found in an elementary school cafeteria, and about 5 tables with plastic lawn chairs scattered about the common space. The inmates seemed calm. I met my cell mate, he was an Asian guy about the same age as me, he was in for marijuana distribution.

The cell had cinderblock walls and a small window above the metal bunk about the size of a cinder block. There was a metal toilet in the cell and a sink and mirror above that.

I sat in a chair and observed the scene. One inmate with a long green mohawk paced back and forth in front of the upstairs cells. One inmate came out of his cell and yawned a large yawn, he was particularly memorable because his chest and back were even hairier than my dad’s. Had an unkempt head of hair and large beard. There was little skin visible. His cell mate had just gotten back from outdoor exercise and was particularly boisterous. They had become the best of friends.

Dinner came in on a cart around 6. We had to line up single file and we filled our cups with either water or tang. I chose water. For dinner was beef stroganoff. That meal is the reason I cringe whenever stroganoff is mentioned.

At 7:30 we had an hour long lockdown. That was routine, and they did a head count. I grabbed a Tom Clancy book from the book cart, and I read a good portion of it, but I don’t think I comprehended any sentence of it. After we were let out of our cells, I sat at a table with some more experienced inmates and we played rummy.

One was doing time for his third DUI offense, and this time he was caught drinking while operating heavy machinery at work.

Another was doing time for assault. He had a 30 day sentence that he originally was serving only Friday afternoons until Sunday afternoons, so that he could work during the week. When he missed a couple weeks of that, the judge made him stay straight through the 30 days and tacked on 5 more for good measure.

At 10:30, it was lock down time again. I climbed on my bed, which was a blanket on top of the metal slab and got under another blanket. It was cold. Not bone chilling, but enough to be uncomfortable. Other inmates yelled the whole night. Just kept on yelling and yelling and yelling. From around midnight until 2:30 there was a crew of inmates waxing the floors. I did not really sleep. I just laid there and wondered what I had gotten myself into.

When morning rolled around I sat around waiting for court to come. The more experienced inmates told me that I could go at either 10 or 11 or 12, depending on whether it was state or county or city court that I was going to. Breakfast was corn flakes in paper bowls. I don’t eat corn flakes anymore.

10 rolled around and no one came for me.

11 came and went and no one came to get me.

The clock struck 12 and 5 minutes later a guard came and called my name. She cuffed me and walked me down the hall to the booking center.

I was told that the judge was going to see me an hour from then. They put me in a holding cell and gave me a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch. I had 2 bites.

They pulled me out of the cell and had me kneel on the orange chairs. Then they proceeded to put me in shackles. When I stood up, that was a moment where I truly felt in every way like a criminal.

There was one other inmate going to court at the same time. She was my age and looked like a complete mess. She had ratty hair and mascara smeared all over. Her eyes were sunken and she looked malnourished. She wasn’t skinny, she just looked unhealthy. Her name was Seanna, and she was being charged with child endangerment and possession of a controlled substance. That substance was meth.

Please note that we have the same expression in our mug shots.

We were loaded into a van and chained to the floor. They drove us to the courthouse.

Then they led us to the courtroom on the second floor. We sat down in the criminal section. About five minutes after we arrived, Tucker showed up. When he saw me he started laughing. He couldn’t stop.

The judge came in and we rose in his honor. I was the first to go and was asked to take the defendants place. They uncuffed my right hand so I could write, pledge and use it to wipe away my tears. I didn’t cry. I had no reason to, but just in case there was a tissue box to the side of the podium.

The district attorney presented the charges. Adding on to the charges he stated that it is noted that I had a radar detector in my car, so that presented my state of mind.

The judge asked how I pled, and I said, “Guilty.” He asked if I had anything to say about it, and I said that it was a dumb choice and that I wanted to pay maximum fines/whatever to get out of jail and to go on my mission the next week. The judge asked the district attorney what kind of sentencing the state pursued and the D.A. said maximum fines and sentence. He also noted that if needed, he knew how to get a hold of my mission and M.T.C. presidents if I didn’t comply with my sentencing. The judge thought for a moment and gave a sentence of 20 days in jail with maximum fines. Having served 1 day already, that left 19 and he told me that those 19 would be served on probation, with the probation being that I couldn’t break any type of law. He also noted that maximum fines were only $200, and that the Wyoming legislature should consider raising those. I also had to show proof of insurance within 24 hours. 

I sat down with a weight off my shoulders. I felt relieved even though I was cuffed again.

Seanna took the stand and sobbed uncontrollably. She used the tissue box. It was her 7th arrest, and her third time with the child endangerment and possession of meth charges. She hasn’t been arrested again in Sweetwater County, so maybe the third time’s the charm.

We went out in to the hallway to the clerk’s desk where we could sign our documents and Tucker met me there. He had my card and was going to pay the fines so that I could be released as soon as I got back to the jail. They put us back in the van and took us back to the detention center.

I waited until all the court proceedings went through and then I was uncuffed and given my clothes and personal items. I changed and left. Tucker was waiting for me in the waiting room and I just started laughing when I saw him.

He told me that he had talked to my mom already. She had called my phone 11 times, and on the 12th he decided to finally answer. He said that when he broke the news she started laughing. She laughs about it to this day.

We went back to the courthouse to show proof of insurance, which sure enough was in the glove box.

I had Tucker drive the rest of the way to Rexburg, there was no way I was risking getting in any trouble.

I still have my ID card from the Sweetwater County Detention Center, and I have found my mug shot and all booking information online at

That is also where I found all of Seanna’s information as well. I rifled through mug shots of people booked in on the same day as me, and I recognized her almost immediately.

"I am the fortunate one, left with the blood in my skin.
You are the only thing I hope is real in a dark world.
I am the fortunate one, left with the blood in my limbs.
You are the only thing I hope is real in a dark world."
- Last Breath - O'Brother

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Ode To J.

My roommate is pretty neat but would be better if he shut the dang door and spray the febrezey after he poops.

We share music occasionally. You see, he is into hip-hop and I’m more drawn towards modern rock ‘n’ roll, which his pops refers to as “pop.” But we branch out due to each other’s influence. I listen to Watch the Throne, he listens to Daisy.

One time in March I bought him two goldfish at Wal-Mart. He wasn’t expecting it. One of them died. The other is miraculously alive. I’m not saying he is a poor fish keeper. I just have never known of a goldfish that lives for more than a week.

We share some common interests:

  • Baja Blast
  • Baseball
  • Stupid humor
  • Repo Games
  • Obama
  • Room service
  • Sports video games
  • Star Wars
  • Saying brajh

We also don’t share common interests (he loves these things):

  • Nickleback
  • Vegetables on pizza
  • Politics
  • Talking before breakfast
  • The DH
  • Interleague play
  • The Seahawks' uniforms
  • 24
  • Cranking the A/C in the middle of the night

Regardless, I appreciate Mr. Aycock. He is a business major and enjoyed his marketing class last semester. I thought I would apply the principles of marketing and some prime ad space: our front door. Every day for days I posted some guerilla advertising for him. Here goes nothing.

This is the treasure he got. I must say I am a pretty fantastic roommate.

"I'm a mountain that has been moved.
I'm a river that is all dried up.
I'm an ocean nothing floats on.
I'm a sky that nothing wants to fly in.
I'm a sun that doesn't burn hot.
I'm a mouth that doesn't smile.
I'm a word that no one ever wants to say.
I'm a mountain that has been moved.
I'm a fugitive that has no legs to run.
I'm a preacher with no pulpit,
Spewing this sermon that goes on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on."
-Daisy- Brand New

Friday, August 24, 2012

Canadian Tire

They say Canada is a wasteland.

They say summer is too short.

They say the world is increasingly violent.

They say senior citizens are senile.

They say hearts don't bleed.

They say water is contaminated.

They say success is measured by numbers.

They say history repeats itself.

They say disease is spreading.

They say families fall apart.

They say wild animals attack.

They say hockey is a lesser sport.

They say ginger ale is for sick stomachs.

They say I am a robot.

They say I am no different.

They say I am a failure.

Press play and click on the fullscreen icon in the bottom right corner for full effect.

Canada is beautiful through and through.

This summer has memories to fill a lifetime.

The people I've met are all peaceful.

Elderly have the best morals in their stories.

My heart bled.

I drink water in nature every day.

Success is in your mind.

Every day is a new experience.

Free healthcare.

My family loves me.

I stood 5 feet from a black bear.

Hockey is life.

Ginger ale goes with any meal.

I am Devon.

I am me.

I have a beautiful future.

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”

-Elizabeth Kubler Ross

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

How to be Efficient:

Nobody likes wasting time. Wasting time is for suckers. And people that have time on their hands. Some people put time on their backs with tattoos. Most of those are ridiculous and ugly. By the way time is not money. Time is "The indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future as a whole." Money is “A current medium of exchange in the form of coins and banknotes; coins and banknotes collectively.” Do you sense the difference?

Even with time and money being different, there’s several ways to highlight the benefits of efficiency.

First and foremost think about your microwave. Usually the newer models love efficiency. Press one button for however long you want to cook something. That’s awesome. But with older models, thinking is required. Thinking creates efficiency. Say I need to cook a hot pocket. The suggested cooking time for Easy Mac is three and three quarters minutes. So usually you would punch in 3-4-5 on the keypad to get that cheese soup with noodles warmed up. Try this next time: 3-3-3, which requires one button pushed instead of three buttons, plus you’re saving 12 whole seconds by doing this! Do you really think that microwaveable pasta elbows are going to be that much less cooked if they miss out on 12 seconds of sauna time?

Other useful microwave substitutions include (keep this on a sticky note on your microwave to remember):
6-0 instead of 1-0-0 for one minute. Or better yet, 5-5.
9-0 or 9-9 instead of 1-3-0 for a minute and a half.

Here is the following example of me finding an efficient to get invited to sushi the next time that happens:

Daniel learned his lesson and invited me to sushi. I think we’re back to being friends. I sure hope so, he’s a nice guy.

This is an example of me being efficient in getting energy in exchange for internet that I would’ve let him use for free anyways:

Apparently Daniel and I are good friends again. He uses my internet, I get sugary drinks. Little does he know I would’ve let him use it even if he hadn’t got me that lemonade. But he doesn’t. And now I expect one every time he comes to use my bandwidth.

For some people using one pillow instead of two is efficiency. For me, bedding-wise, I use one queen sized sheet on a twin mattress because then all you have to do is flip the mattress every two weeks and cut laundry in half!

Speaking of laundry, efficiency is why laundry chutes were created. Who wants to carry a big load down the stairs when you can just chuck all your clothes down a hole in the wall? Heck, even use your queen size sheet as a parachute to save you time.  

Now I propose the idea of making a whole room a giant mattress, this way, you never have to make it all the way to your bed before lying down because everywhere is sleep land. I can’t remember if Daniel or I thought of this, but it is pretty genius.

Need to impress a girl but you don’t have time to learn how to sing and your voice is just as horrendous as mine? Put on Frank Sinatra and lip sync to make any girl’s heart melt. Particularly effective with “Way You Look Tonight.”

Is she not impressed enough yet? Does she want a piano playing man and you don’t know how? Easy enough. Just take some wire cutters, cut all the strings in a baby grand and throw a Bluetooth speaker system in there. When you sit down to play, throw on some classical piano through your music player and “play” along. Something that takes some people a whole life to perfect only takes you about 10 minutes.

If you like wearing shoes outside but not inside, the easiest fix is Mary’s favorite fix: flip flops.   

Another idea from Mary: instead of calling it the “Engineering Computing Center in the James G. Scrugham Engineering & Mines Building on the campus of the University of Nevada – Reno,” she just calls it “nerdville.” Instead of 23 syllables, she uses 2. Wow!

Instead of emailing my little brother I just get on Gmail when he’s online because he can use the chat on Gmail. Sure it might be 2 in the morning where I am, but it is 11 AM in Mozambique and it saves me the pain of writing him a ton.

My older brother is a pretty efficient brother. This is all he’s sent me in the past month to know he’s alive:

Good laughs and letting me know his body is not chopped up and spread across Denver’s dumpsters all by sending me this. That’s efficiency for sure.

Imagine you are pumping gas and you have to pee but the stupid handle on the pump doesn’t have that piece of metal to keep it pumping on its own. If you’re smart, you’ll always keep a plastic soda bottle in your car in order to put it in the handle so you can go do your business and get a candy bar while you refuel.

Instead of plugging in thumb drives and taking them out and then plugging them in somewhere else and then unplugging them again, I just email my homework to myself to move from computer to computer. Plus the less weight you carry, the faster you can walk. Unless you weigh as much as a feather cause then the wind will blow you around. Then life just sucks and blows.

Living efficiently is not only bound to these few ideas. There is the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. Living by the spirit of the law means thinking of new efficient ideas in order to enrich your life. The more efficient you are, the smarter you will feel and the happier you will become.  

"I love how you curse when I wake you up."
-Pistol- Dustin Kensrue

Saturday, April 7, 2012

A Toast

2 years ago, on April 7, 2010, I flew from Orlando International Airport to Denver International Airport via Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. That evening, I removed my nametag identifying me as Elder Kendall of La Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Ùltimos Dìas. I can’t explain the emotions, but those that have been through it know the feeling.

Today, I am feeling nostalgic.

I am always asked the question, “Do you miss it?” That’s the worst question to ask me. Of course I miss it. Every day was an adventure.

But it’s a weird type of “miss it.” If someone called and said, “Hey, I have a plane ticket for you to go back to Florida to be a missionary again,” would I take it? Absolutely not. I am convinced that if my mission lasted 5 years, I would not care for it in the same way that I do now, but then again there have been 14 year missionaries in history, and they loved it all. All that I know, regardless of hypothetical situation, I loved those 2 years, and I am glad I was there and nowhere else.

The iconic stories of my mission, the top 3, you could coin them:

One Friday night in June 2008, Elder Farr and I were riding our bikes down Semoran Blvd at 9:00 PM on our way back to our apartment. I was riding in front, sweating like a banshee, and Elder Farr cruised on his beach cruiser, the most comfortable looking missionary in the world. There was a man stumbling down the wide sidewalk and as I pulled up to him, I pulled a pass-along card out of my pocket. He was on the phone, cursing up a storm at whoever was on the other side of the call. I went to give him the card and he hung up the phone and yelled at me, “Get out of here, or give me your bike.” I rode away, that was easy. Well as I went down the way, I looked over my shoulder and he had stepped in front of Elder Farr and grabbed the handlebars. I stopped, turned around and approached them. The guy was insistent that Elder Farr give him his bike. Elder Farr was insistent to keep his bike. That was quite the conundrum. I tried to get closer and the guy threatened to kick me in the head. The guy told us that day he had, “Put his dad in the ground, and you don’t see me f------ cryin, do ya. I’m straight hood. You don’t know where I come from, cracker (he was as white as us). I live in Crime Hills, b----. You don’t know me” (This quote is not very accurate, there was a lot more profanity used, I just don’t remember where and when he used his immense vocabulary). After five minutes of bickering, Elder Farr conceded. I think what got him off his bike was, “If you don’t give me the bike, the next time I see you there will be a mother f------ 9 mil to your head.” Later he told me, his bike was less expensive than his life. I agree. Elder Farr had a rack over the rear tire where he would put his shoulder bag and hold it on with bungee cords. He took that off and handed over his bike. The guy rode off. That was the first time I ever heard an Elder swear. Two guys pulled up. The first in a white SUV asked, “Did that guy just steal your bike?” We answered and he said, “I’m gonna go beat him,” and he sped off. Fair enough. The next guy parked and started asking us questions. He was a firefighter on a date with his wife, so he called his buddies at the police department to lend us a hand (we didn’t have a cell phone). The cop showed up and said, “So, he stole your bike.” “Yep.” The guy in the SUV pulled up and said, "Hey your bike’s down the road and the guy’s in the gas station with a gash in his head, it looks like he crashed.” So Elder Farr hopped in the police cruiser and they took off down the road to get his bike. Two minutes later he came cruising back down the road. Elder Farr said he saw his bike lying on the sidewalk and said, “Hey that’s my bike!” The cop stopped in the middle of the busy road and flipped on his lights and threw the car in reverse and they got out to inspect the damage. The bungee cords had wrapped up in the wheel, and we suppose the guy took a nice digger. We went home in peace.

Elder Romney and I did a lot of area book work together. We condensed 3 giant area books into one compact binder. It took a lot of time, and I figured something could come from it. And something great did. It never came to fruition with Elder Romney, but our work together accomplished what the Lord needed. Elder Romney and I went through a list of potentials we had created, crossing them off when they didn’t live there anymore nor had any interest. When Elder Silva was transferred into the area, we kept on doing that. The third day he was there, we went to this cluster of potential investigators in one complex. We walked from one door to the next, crossing off the names quickly. We went from one door to the last door, and we walked by the center plaza of the complex. In that moment, I felt a prompting from the Spirit in a way I never had before. I saw a man. I knew I needed to talk to him. We knocked on the door and the person didn’t live there. So we went to our car through the plaza, and I said, “Let’s talk to him.” Elder Silva later admitted he didn’t even see him when he was looking right at him. We talked to the man. His name was Ignacio Barrera and he was from Mexico, of Aztec descent. He was headed to eat with his sister’s family, so we left a Book of Mormon and a challenge to read 3 Nefì 11. He said he would and that we could return a few days later. We returned at the scheduled time and he had not read. And in a moment that changed my whole life and view on the sacredness of the Book of Mormon. Elder Silva said, “Let’s read it then.” After we finished reading, the Spirit was palpable in the room. We paused and Ignacio, a very very intelligent man, looked at us and said, “I know this is true because my grandmother told me this story when I was a kid.” It is true, not because of that fact, which is evidence that it could have happened. The reason it is true is that witness the Spirit bore to us that day. If you haven’t had that experience, search it out. Ignacio later admitted that he did not believe in Jesus Christ. He only invited us back because we were to be, “the first 2 out of 12 sacrifices” he needed to make to the Aztec gods in his life. The Book of Mormon fueled his conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ and to my last knowledge, he remained true and faithful to the Church.

Elder Rydalch and I were tired of our approach. I had been in Kissimmee for 6 months and I had nowhere that I could think of finding new investigators. We decided to change things up and start off bold and asking everyone if they would like to be baptized. Unfortunately for him, that day we were going on exchanges, and I got to stay in the area with Elder Merrill. Elder Merrill was excited to try it out. We went to an apartment complex and our appointment fell through. There was a man walking in the parking lot and we informed him that we were representatives of Jesus Christ and we asked if he’d like to be baptized. He didn’t really take, and heck, I couldn’t commit to that so quickly either. It’s a big step. But it got us in the door. He said he was busy and we could return in a few days. We did that. He turned out to be Torrebio Blacido from Perù, and his son Marcos was also there. Marcos had been taught by the missionaries before in New Jersey. It turns out he was married to a member of the church and was two days away from baptism and he decided to turn it down. Since then, he had moved to Florida and was separated from his wife. Back-tracking 9 months, I worked a little bit with his wife to come back to church. More or less we asked her if she would and she said yes, and she did. It was easy. They had a very cute daughter that was 3 years old. So we asked him if he was ready to be baptized again, a bold move I admit, and he said, “I’ll pray about it.” So he did, and we came back the next day, and he said, “You know, before I doubted it and I wasn’t sure about baptism, but I prayed about it last night and I want to be baptized.” A month and a half later, that happened. Last I heard, he and his wife and daughter were happily back together.       

So today, I raise a toast (of water in my Colorado Rockies cup).

First, to the Elders and Sisters of the Florida Orlando Mission, and to our leader President John C. Darrington and his wife Susan T. Darrington. Even after all this time, I still remember their initials.  

Next, to Elders Squires, Bernhisel, and Serra. We were never companions, but we shared the most bittersweet, nerve racking, sleepless night of all time together.

Next, to the Elders and Sisters I served around the most. To Elders Bills, Kennett, Peterson, Smith, Larmore, Wood, Henz, Lindley, Burdick, Law, Bellamy, Nelson, Rangel, Peters, Nelson, Miller, Lahaderne, Christensen, Merrill, Stears, Dahle, Hansen, Doxey, Feula, Stepp, Crowder, Langarica, Gee, Steinman. There are others that for some reason I cannot remember, to you too. Unfortunately, because of that one miserable transfer Elder Rydalch and I had to car share with you, to Sisters Jepson and Pereira.   

Next, to La Zona Hispana, where I served from June 2008 until December 2009. It was a brotherhood within a brotherhood. There are many memorable moments tied to it, such as watching Elder Feula move a trash dumpster across the parking lot. "Si fueramos memos valiente en la preexistencia, estaríamos en la obra de Ingles." or "As goes La Zona, so goes the mission."

Next, to Elder Matthew Farr, my “father,” so to speak, who trained me well. To Elder Chase Romney, you were always sweating and shaking, but you never backed down. To Elder Mark Silva, we did good work together. To Elder Chris Hoopes, we caught Zach together, who was the best lizard pet of all time. To Elder Alex Daniels, my “son,” in some weird way, you were too much like me. I have some of my best memories with you. To Elder Andrew Rydalch, my other “son,” who was as they say, a five tool prospect. To Elder Scott Hadley, we defied a lot of the thinking in Deltona II. To Elder Nick Brown, I can’t think of anyone better to “kill me off.”

Next, to the members that took care of me, the Sotos, the Cruzes, the Quispes, the Valladares, the Castillos, the Borjas, the Gomezes, the Escobars, the Dos, the Castillos, the Ortizes, and the countless others.

Last, to the Filion family, the Marin family, the Luna family, Carlos Cañas, the Almazan family, the Lopez family, Marvin Perez, Luis Rodriguez, Guillermo Martinez, the Mendez family, Marisel Diaz, Ignacio Barrera, the Agosto family, Maria Pilar Rivera, Pilar Ochoa, Jacklyn “Dimples” Aleman, the Perez Figueroa family, the Blacido family, Anacelia Soto, Ariel Hernandez, and the Gomez family. You are all very dear to my heart.      

Cheers. *Ding.

And to………

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I Don't Like Bandwagons

I was born in Mountain View, California. Point 1.

I lived from 2-6 years old in Spring, Texas. Point 2.

I lived from 6-22 years old in Castle Rock, Colorado. Point 3.

Sporadically, I lived in Rexburg, Idaho for five months for college. Point 4.

I lived in and around Orlando, Florida for two years (aged 19-21). Point 5.

I currently live in Reno, Nevada. Point 6.

I have allegiances in sports. I am loyal to the teams I support and cannot support other teams no matter how hard I try. It does not make moral sense.

Derived from point 1:
I am a fan of the San Francisco 49ers. They are my grandpa’s team. They are my team. I am the only person allowed to change the channel on my grandpa’s television because he knows if changed, it will go to sports. We watched the 49ers play on Thanksgiving Day. Sadly, I fell asleep. I was tired.
At one point, when I knew nothing else about hockey I was a fan of the San Jose Sharks and the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (well done on your marketing plan, Disney).

Derived from point 2:
 I am a fan of the Houston Astros. Baseball is a tradition that is American as much as chocolate chip cookies. In my developmental years, I grew to love everything about the Astros. If I had grown up around another team, I wouldn’t like the Astros. Especially given their recent love for sucking terribly. Dustin is loyal to the Oakland Athletics because he grew up around the A’s. He does not really care much for the Astros. I can’t blame him. That is his choice and when the Astros went to the World Series in 2005, I watched every minute of those games. He didn’t care. I respect that about my brother.
Honestly, I do not care much for basketball. I will watch. I play NBA2K12. I play fantasy basketball. I fill out my bracket. Otherwise, I could care less how many times Kobe wins the NBA Championship. Regardless I own a Clyde Drexler Rockets jersey. I loosely follow the Houston Rockets. They did win 2 championships while I lived there after all (the second was won on the day we moved (I call their lack of championships since the “Kendall Kurse”)).

Derived from point 3:
Upon moving to the metro Denver area in 1995, I found my most profound affiliation that I maintain. It just so happened that the summer I moved to Colorado, the Colorado Avalanche also moved to Colorado (formerly being the Quebec Nordiques). I knew about 2 cents worth about hockey. My dad decided to have “boys’ night out” and took us to a preseason Avalanche game versus the Mighty Ducks. As I mentioned before, I liked the Ducks. About 2 cents worth. Well more or less, the Avalanche won and I liked that, and I have been a fan since. I remember when they won their first cup in triple overtime. We were driving home from a Rockies game when Uwe Krupp netted the game winner from the point. We listened on the radio. I read the box score for every single last game that they play. I am happy when the Red Wings lose. In fact, every person wearing a red Detroit jersey I see, I automatically hate. I do not waiver in my liking of the Avalanche; I do not and cannot support any other hockey team.
Every chance I get, I go to their games. Tickets are stinking expensive and I’m in college and I don’t live in town, so there are many factors as to why I don’t go as much as Don Hotshot who has season tickets on the glass. But I support. Mary’s favorite team is the Avalanche.    
That covers the 4 major sports. Well, sixteen years is a long time to live somewhere with only one religious (sports are religion) affiliation, especially with reading the Denver Post sports section every single day for those sixteen years. *My mom told me she either had to get the newspaper or ESPN for me or she would be in jail for life for strangling me. She really does love me; I’m just unbearable to live with without sports.
The easiest choice to float to would be the Broncos. Everyone I know from Denver is a Broncos fan and I only had that small connection to the 49ers. No thank you. I think the Broncos are a joke. I think John Elway is a joke. *gasp!
So then the next logical choice would be the Nuggets, right? Well all I remember of first grade is a boy in my class that wore a Nuggets Starter jacket every day and he smelled like poop. Not up my alley. Plus, they were terrible the first few years I lived there. They had one of the worst records of all time and who do they draft to make their team better? Raef LaFrentz? Good call, good call.  
Well turns out, I started to like the Rockies a lot. They weren’t that good of a team either. But that was dispelled with my strong interest in the Avalanche. You have one good team; you can have a small amount of interest in another. Well coming from a baseball family, I read about baseball every day. And coming from a baseball family, I attended baseball games all summer. I guess that could attribute to the fact that I don’t like the Nuggets or Broncos; I’ve never been to either of their games. My parents didn’t believe in cable so the only baseball I got to watch was the World Series and the Rockies on the weekends on UPN. I guess that contributed. But I think most of all was when my dad decided to go all in and buy tickets like mad. I went to so many Rockies games, I couldn’t not love them. I know their 40 man roster up and down. And I am a fan. As much as the Astros? Slightly, no. But I am a fan of the Rockies.

Derived from point 4:
 I went clinically insane for 5 months without any good sports.

Derived from point 5:
I guess I think the Magic are cool. They have a pretty good team. Do I go out of my way to follow them? Not really. When I lived in Kissimmee I lived down the street from the spring training complex of the Astros. That was one of the coolest sights I saw every day. Unfortunately the fates didn’t align that I could go to a game. It still is a dream of mine to go see the Astros in spring training.

Derived from point 6:
 I started to really hate the San Francisco Giants when I moved to Reno. They had just won the World Series and everyone and their dog talked about how good they are. Big whoop. Did you support them before they got lucky? Not too many did. Then I found this shirt in Colorado:

Truth. I believe my love for the Rockies has grown out of spite to all the Giants bandwagoners.  
Also, I am a part of the Wolf Pack. That means I hate UNLV, Boise St. and I really don't care for any other school's sports. Yes, I don't really care what seeding BYU gets. Do I care that Nevada didn't even make the tourney despite having a great record? Yes. Do I love the Pistol? Clearly.

I hate Toms. I had a pair of shoes like Toms in prison. Oh let me shell out 54 dollars for a new set of fabric and rubber. No thank you. I can supply a kid in a starving country with a new pair of Jordans that will last him longer and ultimately cost less. It’s like sending a can of corn to every homeless person for every can of corn I buy. Oh great a can of corn will get you through the night. Then what? I suppose it’s every college student’s dream, to make that difference with a ramen sized budget. Be careful you don’t break your ankles when you jump off the Toms bandwagon.

I refuse to listen to the radio. I don’t like being told which songs are good. I know which songs are good by listening to which songs I want to listen to. Have you heard of Built to Spill? No, but all those bands you think are so cool listen to them.

One last note, Jackson if all of the sudden you jump on the heater bandwagon and decide you want the heater on all the time I will put your goldfish in your bed. I love having the heater at 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Jackson loves having the A/C on at 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Do we compromise as good roommates should?? Well if you call compromise me blasting the heater then Jackson blasts the A/C, then yes we compromise with the best of them.

The white milk dripped down with the blood,
And the boyfriend fell down dead for good."
- Carolina Drama - The Raconteurs