Thursday, November 18, 2010

It Has Been Forever

Man it has been forever since I posted on here! I have been crazy busy since August when I started my MBA program, and I haven't really done much to warrant a blog post.

No, I take it back. I've been able to keep life somewhat interesting. The MBA is kicking my butt harder than I ever though it could get kicked. Its pretty humbling, but I can still kick most people's butts on a mountain bike! I went out to Vernal over Fall Break and checked out the desert riding there. It was pretty sweet! There is a loop just west of town about 12 miles long that was so fun I rode it twice! And my last ride of the season was at Mueller Park in Bountiful. It was a bust though, I got three flat tires on the way down and had to walk off the mountain in the dark (sun went down) for two and a half hours. Not fun, but definitely memorable.

Sienna and Tamara are doing great! I love my girls! They keep me going and motivate me so much. I'd be a complete and total mess without them. Sienna is so much fun to talk to and play with, even with her limited vocabulary. But hey, she's at the point where I can tell her to say something and she'll repeat it, so I guess she has an unlimited vocabulary, actually. And Tamara is infinitely supportive even though I neglect her sometimes when I am so caught up in homework and the only time we spend together is sleeping. She makes me dinner, does my laundry, packs my lunch (sometimes) and does so many other things I don't even notice or appreciate (until now). Thanks Honey! You are #1! I love you!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Narrows Pictures

Ok, so if you haven't seen my pictures on Facebook already, here are some of the better pictures I took on my recent camping trip to Southern Utah and the Zion Narrows.
We camped somewhere on top of Smith Mesa near Zion National Park. My friend Adam showed it to us. This is the kind of place you'd have to be a local to know about. I'm lucky to have him as a friend down there.
We ate kabobs that I grilled over the campfire on top of this rock, and sat here chatting until around 11:00 PM. I love camping, especially in remote areas where you can see the stars clearly. There wasn't so much as a headlight to spoil our view of the night, and the Watchman, the Gateway To Zion, had a spectacular silhouette against the night sky.
Chamberlain's Ranch. Pretty much everyone hiking the Narrows top-down starts here. Its about 1.5 hours away from Zion Canyon by car along a long, bumpy dirt road that seems to go on forever. Adam dropped us off. What a stud! The river in the picture is the North Fork of the Virgin River, which will eventually dig out the Narrows of Zion Canyon, as well as Zion Canyon itself. Such a little stream now, it gets much, much more powerful by journey's end. Believe it or not, this is HIGH water, almost as high as the National Park Service will allow for permits to be issued to hikers wanting to make the trip.
About five miles into the hike, the stream is only slightly deeper, but we can't walk along the bank anymore because there are rock walls on either side, or very rough terrain. The cliffs aren't particularly high yet, just straight up out of the water. We could still make pretty good time though, which was good because its a 16.5 mile trip! Getting stuck in the Narrows after dark was not an experience we were interested in having, so we had to move pretty fast. As small tributaries come in, the river has been gaining strength bit by bit until there is a pretty good amount of flow. This waterfall was at mile 6. There is a way around, but Gary jumped off and into the pool below. Gorgeous! The canyon walls are getting higher and higher, but they haven't really closed in on us yet for a long period of time. Without advanced equipment, there is no way out except back the way we came or continuing into Zion Canyon. This is a wide section of the canyon, but its about to get really narrow. Also, we had to cross the river on foot at least 30 times. While it was only about calf-deep at first, it is now at least as high as our waist in the middle of the river, and sometimes higher than that, even in fast-moving water. We really slowed down at this point because fatigue was setting in and every single step was precarious. We took a welcome break at this spring. It was truly spectacular, with the water flowing directly out of the rock. The ferns added some color, and the grotto made for a perfect swimming spot. Entering the famous Wall Street. This is the part that everyone wants to see. We took about three hours to get through this section because the water was so high and we spent a good amount of time swimming because it got deep, and there is no ground to walk on for most of it. The floor of the canyon is water, with straight cliffs coming out of both sides. The rangers warned us when issuing our permit to check the sky and the time before entering this section, because once inside we would be "committed." If there was a flash flood or it got dark, there is no high ground and no suitable place to spend a night, and navigating the Narrows in the dark would be almost suicidal. We were tired (we'd been hiking in the most relentless, unforgiving terrain for almost 8 hours at this point), but we were determined to make it! See what I mean? No high ground. Nowhere to run from a flash flood, no where to sit and wait out the night. And its getting dark in the Narrows at 5:00 PM! One of several swimming sections. I managed to find some high ground, but it was really treacherous and I would have preferred the swimming once I got up there. Navigating the boulders in spots like this was really fun, but kind of scary at the same time.
Ready, set, jump! I walked across this rock as far as I could before I had to jump into this channel and swim for it. After taking this picture, I just didn't have the energy to dig out my camera anymore (I kept it sealed in a dry-bag). We were so tired and sore! My problem on this hike actually was not energy. I had plenty of energy to spare by day's end. My body was just beat up, though! My ankles had been absolutely punished by picking my way constantly through the river, stepping on huge, slippery rocks that relentlessly twisted and strained the tendons in my ankle until they were enflamed and swollen. Better shoes would have helped with this. Also, wearing low socks was a mistake. They allowed pebbles to get into my shoes much easier. It wasn't practical to stop every five minutes and take off my shoes and socks to empty out pebbles, so I just had to deal with it, which of course, resulted in blisters. Constant strain on my knees also generated a lot of pain there, and my swimsuit caused some painful chafing on the inside of my upper thighs. I guess my swimsuit isn't meant for hiking in... But despite my lack of proper preparation for this adventure, this was one of the most rewarding, thrilling, and fun hikes of my life. I will always remember the experience, and honestly I look forward to going back, a little better prepared.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Latest Action: Inception & Zion Narrows

I'm just going to touch on the Zion trip for now. My friend Gary and I went to Zion last week and camped in the most beautiful spot I have ever camped in (and it was free, as opposed to the $20+ or -/night fee to camp in the park's lousy campground). We hiked the Narrows top-down and it was the most difficult physical experience of my life, as well as the most fun and exciting. I'll be giving a more detailed write-up with pictures later on though. More recently though, Tamara and I went and saw the movie Inception last night. The director and writers created my favorite movie ever, The Dark Knight, so I was really pumped up and excited to see this movie. Inception grabs you from the very beginning, and as soon as the first scene opens with Leonardo DiCaprio lying passed out on a beach in the surf, you are confused. The dialogue is intense and loaded, and you have to hang on every word. Even then, a lot of it goes right over your head until you see what they are talking about play out in front of you and then it comes together. DiCaprio plays a family man torn away from his family by circumstances beyond his control. The movie is about the task he must perform in order to be re-united with his family, which all takes place inside layer after layer after layer of dreams. The dream worlds created by Christopher Nolan (director) are simply incredible. There is a lot of buildup and explanation that happens before the characters enter the dream world, which had things fairly slow for a while, but very, very interesting. Then, inside the dream world, the intense action sequences are influenced by the events taking place outside the dream world, which makes for some incredible scenes like you have seriously never seen before. It is extremely heady stuff, very deep, very intense, and it moves very, very fast once they enter the dream world so you have to commit yourself to keeping up or you will get lost. The cast was fantastic. I never really liked Leonardo DiCaprio but he won me over in this movie. Joseph Gordon-Leavitt is always fun to watch, but he plays a different character here than any other. His role in The Lookout may have had some similarities, and his work there is probably what got Christopher Nolan's attention. He is just brilliant in this though, although there was a bit of a lack of character development for all but DiCaprio's character. The movie really was about him and only him. Everyone else is just there for support. Ellen Page earned my respect as an actress, and Cillian Murphy was also fantastic in his role. Michael Caine only had about five minutes of screen time, but he is always a pleasure and he is always in Christopher Nolan films. Seriously though, they went all out with the cast. There were faces I recognized popping up everywhere, even for the most insignificant roles. Keep your eyes open. This was one of the most interesting, entertaining, brilliant movies I have ever seen. Go see it. Plan on seeing it two or three times, because you will need to in order to get it.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Biking Videos

We've got some great videos of our biking trips on Have a look for some fun videos, courtesy of my Dad's helmet camera.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Anybody There?

I haven't blogged in forever. It seems like there is less of a point to it nowadays because my blog used to be intended for an out-of-state group (family and friends mainly in Utah). Now I see most of them regularly but not all, and I have some people in California that just might still be interested in what I am up to, but I'm not going to count on that.

As far as a quick update goes, I'll be starting my MBA program up at University of Utah in August. Meanwhile we are living at Tamara's parents' house trying to save as much money as we can while I work as a server at a not-to-be-named restaurant (due to certain internet monitoring software) that has a "lobster" as its "red" logo. Sienna's first birthday was last week and we had a big family party at the Scera Park. Unfortunately I don't have pictures on the computer I am using just now, but I'll try to put some up later.

I was in Moab yesterday to ride the Slickrock Trail but we didn't get as far as I wanted to. We had some technical problems with some of the bikes my group was riding and I had a major wreck. I could have kept going, but combined with the bad bikes, we turned back. I am extremely sore today, with whiplash in my neck and an absence of skin on my right knee, right hip, and both elbows and forearms. In 10 years of mountain biking, it was easily my most epic and damaging fall though. Slickrock is rough like sandpaper, and I slid/tumbled about 15 feet due to the high-speed nature of my wreck. I would have gone further if I hadn't lucked into a sandpit that absorbed my momentum. But the rock had sanded off skin from every contact point and yes, there was much blood. Ouch. I'll post pics of that later too. Meanwhile, if you still follow my blog let me know, and perhaps I will keep it alive. If nobody does anymore, it will probably fade into oblivion.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Turns out... a 20-point gain on my GMAT score was, as a matter of fact, enough to persuade admissions staff to give me a chance. I have been accepted to the David Eccles School of Business' Master's of Business Administration program at University of Utah!! I start in August 2010. After months of struggling to lay out a plan for the future, we finally have something solid to work towards.

Looks like I will have to remove the BYU Football sticker from my car.

Friday, January 15, 2010

... Failure

Yeah, so I don't know what happened yesterday on the GMAT, but it certainly did not go as planned. My first score was 560. My goal was to get 600 or better the second time around. I did everything I could think to possibly do in order to get it. After exceeding my goal in practice simulations I was pretty confident going in. I knew what was on the test and I had a good strategy. I had gone over and over and over again the questions I had missed on the practice tests, and I felt really good...

The first four or five math questions were brutal -- I don't think I got any of them right. I don't even know where they came from. The subject matter, as I remember it, was not covered by any of my study guides or touched on by my practice tests. If you know about the GMAT, then you know that the first ten questions are the most important -- if you miss even one of them you are stuck below a certain scoring threshold. I spent a lot of time on them (getting them wrong) and fell behind on time. So in order to make up that time I had to rush through several questions that I could have gotten right if I'd left time for myself.

My score on the math section was worse than the first time I took the test. Bad news, since that is the part that most college admissions scrutinize most. So much for getting college algebra waived... On the other hand, I almost aced the written section of the test. I dramatically improved on my first score, enough to bring my total GMAT score up to 580, a 20-point overall improvement. Strange it worked out that way. I spent over 60 hours studying this math over the past few weeks (may not sound like that much, but I'm working full-time, Christmas is mixed in there, and I'm taking classes at UVU too) and I didn't even look at the written material. Where is the logic in my math scores dropping and my written scores improving? Doesn't make any sense.

So that was a blow. I don't think a 20-point improvement due to better performance in the written section will get me a better chance than my first score would have gotten me. Still, I sent U of U the results and I am in contact with the director of admissions. Hopefully I can talk him into taking a chance on me. If they don't... Looks like we'll be living with Tamara's parents for a long time. I'm trying hard to figure out what the Lord wants us to do. Going back for an MBA makes a lot of sense, and I am trying SO hard to make it happen, but when I have done everything I can possibly conceive to do, including praying my hardest and trying my best to live right, and I end up failing like this... It is tough. All I can do though is keeping trying to live like I am supposed to do and trust the Lord. Eventually maybe He will send me a signal that I can read.