Monday, October 10, 2011

Turning a Rock into a Car

So, you’ve all heard of the game Bigger or Better? Perhaps you’ve even heard of One Red Paperclip, where a guy traded up from a paperclip until he got a house? Our entrepreneur lecture class is playing a massive game of Bigger or Better with goals just as outrageous as a house from a paperclip.

We’ve got a rock. It’s a cool rock. Jennifer found it while she was running this week.

We want a car. It doesn’t have to be super nice or anything, just as long as it runs decently well and isn’t totally beaten up. You know, a typical college student car is acceptable. A really nice, new car would be even better! Or a sports car! When you’ve got a rock, you can dream anything.

In class, Clarissa (me), Michelle, and Jennifer joined forces in our goal to turn a rock into a car in two weeks. That’s right, we have a deadline – the last trade must be completed by October 22 at noon.

This blog - - will chronicle our trades for the next two weeks. Tonight Michelle and Jennifer are going to trade our rock for at least three new items so that tomorrow we can branch out and make multiple trades at once.

The blog will also be a place for people in the Provo, Utah area to offer trades. We are limited to the Utah Valley because we aren’t allowed to pay for anything other than gas (including no shipping). Please comment and offer anything you’re willing to trade. Most importantly – let us know if you’d be willing to trade a car and what you would be willing to trade for it.

Keep posted over these next two weeks – I’ll be updating daily at the least this week and hopefully over the weekend as well. It’s gonna get crazy!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Change of Mind

Hmmm... Well, this is tricky. My adventure this week was entirely unexpected and yet I cannot share it. Not because I don't want to, but I'm not allowed to.

Yes, that's right, I am legally bound to not blog about this adventure. Legally bound isn't quite the right term. But if I told you what happened, I wouldn't be able to do what I was planning.

See, I've come up with idea for a product to patent. And I'm super excited because my team and I think we actually could sell it and change an industry with it! And it was my idea originally! The team added some great ideas, but the essential product was my idea!

What is super cool about this is that I never thought of myself as the idea-generator. I'm the entrepreneur who likes another person's idea, teams with them, and makes their business successful. I'm not the entrepreneur who comes up with game-changing ideas. Or I wasn't. Apparently I am now!

Wish me luck! And once I have a patent in place, I'll tell you all what it is! The more excitement we can create for this, the better chance of success we will have. I really hope we can make it work!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My Favorite Spot of Time

You wonder how these things begin. Well, this begins with a glen. It begins with a season which for want of a better word we might as well call September. 
It begins with a forest where woodchucks woo and leaves wax green and vines entwine like lovers. Try to see it. Not with your eyes for they are wise, but see it with your ears: the cool green breathing of the leaves. And hear it with the inside of your hand: the soundless sound of shadows flicking light.
Celebrate sensation! Recall that secret place, you’ve been there, you remember. That special place where once, just once, in your crowded sunlit lifetime you hid away in the shadows from the tyranny of time. That spot beside the clover where someone’s hand held your hand and love was sweeter than the berries, or the honey, or the stinging taste of mint.
-The Fantasticks

Autumn is a wonderful time of year. I used to say summer was my favorite because I could play outside and get tan, but that’s not really a love of the season, just a love of the activities. Since coming to college especially, I’ve realized what autumn means to me. For some unknown reason, I experience typically “spring” emotions and ideas in autumn: romance, rebirth, and hope.

Romance is always the first to come up in the fall. As soon as the air turns chilly in the mornings, a mounting excitement blossoms. It grows stronger each day until that day when the evenings too are chilly. And then the excitement becomes a wish: I wish to wander in the chilly evening with someone special. It doesn’t matter if I have a specific someone in mind – no, that is unimportant. What matters is that autumn evenings are perfect for long walks. Feel the rustling of the leaves, taste the chill in the air, breathe in the exhilaration of walking at night.

Rebirth may actually show itself in the spring, but autumn is even more so a time of new beginnings. The school year, for one thing, begins in the fall. But more important, now is when the full splendor of the leaves is seen. This is the culmination of their life here – once this is done, they leave and make way for the new growth. Seeds will fall now that make spring possible. So much potential is seen in the fall. This is when the patterns are created that will lead to our spring.

Associated with this cleaning of the slate that autumn brings is the feeling of hope I get. No matter how bad the year was, no matter the relationships formed or lost, no matter what I feel I messed up on, and no matter what I planned on doing, autumn is when I feel most hopeful to improve. The good things from the past year will either stick or disappear throughout the autumn. The bad things can fall with the leaves and I can forget them.

This hope is the most powerful feeling autumn brings me. Over the past few days as autumn as crept down from the mountains to the valley floor, I have reconsidered my career, dedicated myself to new goals, and discovered new faith within myself. I have the hope that my career plans will work out, no matter how unsure I feel today. I have hope that with the good start I’ve made on my goals that I can progress and fulfill them. And I have hope that my new faith will make me a better child of God and bring me closer to His presence.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Series of Little Adventures

Unfortunately, none of my adventures this week really had any photo opportunities. But I'll tell you anyways!

First, I applied to Marriott International, Inc. for the management training program. I'm really hoping to get a position and start working with them. I'll be applying to other jobs this coming week, but Marriott is my number one choice at this time. I talked to the recruiters at the career fair, and emailed the head of college recruiting. The program is very instructive and would help me really understand the Marriott culture as a member of it before moving into a management position.

My second adventure was to apply for graduation. I filled out the form online, talked to my advisement center, planned next semester's classes, and got my application approved! April 2012, here I come!

Finally, at the football game this Friday, I hugged a random stranger. This happened with 11 seconds or so left on the clock, after Riley threw that magical pass that was beautifully caught right in the endzone! My excitement spilled forth, I began hugging all those around me, including the nice boy to my right who I'd only met at the beginning of the quarter. Who knows if I'll ever see him again, but that doesn't matter. The play was so wonderful, hugs had to be shared with everyone!

Well, that's it for this week, I hope to have something more exciting next week. Let me know if you have any suggestions!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hare Krishna!

Last week's adventure became eclipsed by my amazing visit home! While there my brother and sister encouraged me past a fear of heights to reach the top of a rock wall for the first time in my life! Here's a picture of me 30 feet in the air. I was super proud of myself. :)

Now, this week I had a super fun adventure in Spanish Fork. At the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple to be specific. My roommate Cassie and my friend Zach came to India Fest with me!

I'm currently taking Survey of World Religions from Roger Keller. He encourages us to attend worship services with various religions to help us understand them better. The Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork - probably best known for their Holi Festival of Colors celebration each spring - was hosting India Fest today. India Fest is how the Hare Krishna community in Utah celebrates the Ramayana Festival.
The Ramayana is the story of Rama - an incarnation of the god Vishnu - and his wife Sita - Vishnu's consort Lakshmi - and their adventures during a fourteen year exile. Rama is the heir to the throne, but his half-brother's mother conspired to have her son on the throne. When he learns that his brother has been exiled, the new king vows to rule only in Rama's name for the fourteen years.

The portion that was performed tells the story of Sita's kidnapping by the demon Ravana. In his clutches, Sita remains faithful and refuses his advances. Rama faithfully seeks her until his ally, Hanuman the monkey king finds the land of Lanka where Ravana rules. After praying for help, Rama builds a bridge out of stones across the ocean and confronts the demon.

The play ended with the triumphant burning of the giant figure of Ravana over the temple lake. We all cheered and celebrated with the actors when Rama defeated the demon. Sita came up and joined Rama joyfully and the play ended with fireworks going off.

I've been to a few of the festivals at the Krishna Temple, but this was the first time I've been to India Fest. It is also the first time I've actually had some context for understanding the festival before arriving. I really enjoyed understanding why this festival is important and the context behind the play.

Rama as an incarnation as Vishnu is therefore equitable to Krishna. The Hare Krishna sect of Hinduism considers Krishna (another form of Vishnu) as the one true god. A good way to understand the importance of Krishna is to compare him to Christ. He is God Incarnate to the Hindus of Hare Krishna communities. Therefore, Rama was another form of Krishna's time on earth. The Ramayana shows his virtue, power, honesty, and divine strength. It also illustrates the beauty, devotion, and chaste nature of a good Hindu woman in the form of Sita. Rama's two devoted brothers and Hanuman show the proper way to be completely devoted to Vishnu.

I forgot my camera in the car, so I added some pictures here from performances of the Ramayana that have been performed around the world.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Imageless Adventure

So last week I managed to miss recording TWO adventures. Not just miss uploading, but I didn’t even get pictures! Now, there is a very good explanation for this that you will find if you continue reading. Please forgive my negligence. I hope to have a good adventure – with pictures – for you this week.

Last week, I made sourdough bread. I have wanted to try doing this before, but haven’t ever gotten around to it. So the day I arrived back in Provo, I put my start together. It was pretty runny and weird looking, but my record with yeast meant that I was ecstatically proud of seeing it rise each day. I keep it in an old glass salsa jar, and those first few days were pretty fun.

Now, the day I planned on making my bread – Tuesday – I went out and looked at the recipe. Turned out I needed to turn the start into a sponge and let it sit all night. I have never had patience with this sort of thing, but I’m very obedient to recipes. So I made my sponge and put it on the fridge overnight.

Next morning I got up and began to knead in the other ingredients; mostly this consisted of flour. Three pounds of flour. That is about five cups. Ish.  I used my kitchen scale. After two more rises that day, I finally had my four large loaves in the oven. Within five minutes of closing the oven door, all my roommates walked by and told me how good it smelled. That did not help my patience.

When I pulled the bread out, it was delicious. However, slight burning, and the sheer amount of dough meant that it wasn’t pretty. Combine that with the fact that I was too focused on hoping it tasted good to think about my blog meant that I didn’t take any photos. I’ll get some when I make my next (half-size) batch and put those up for everyone to see.

My second adventure was boating. Now, I’ve been boating before, but not often. This alone would count as an adventure therefore, but I also learned something new: how to drive the boat! Scott borrowed his grandpa’s boat for the afternoon and invited a bunch of friends to come out. Unfortunately everyone except me dropped out. Scott and I convinced Sam to come with us, and we headed out to Utah Lake.

Once there, it was quickly established that I didn’t really want to tube, and they both did. Since we needed one flagger and one driver in the boat at all times, I requested permission to be the driver. Scott said that was fine and his uncle taught me how to work it. At first I was pretty cautious, but it wasn’t too long before I was doing my best to throw Scott or Sam off the tube.

My proudest moment was definitely when I had been towing Scott for a while and decided that he needed to come off. Four turns later he was in the water. This was especially impressive since he’d already proven quite capable of staying on even when the tube was nearly vertical in the wake.

No pictures exist of this adventure since the Narrows effectively drowned the only camera I am willing to take to water activities. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Road Less Traveled Was Pretty Fun

All those past “adventures” have just been put to shame. I hiked the Narrows. That alone would qualify as an adventure – I’d never done that before. But we weren’t going to do this halfway.

Samantha, Don, and Stephanie came down to pick me up before school, and we wanted to spend a day hiking. Originally, this meant a few hours going up the narrows in the morning, and then stopping by Weeping Rock and Emerald pools on the way back. After dinner we would hike to Observation Point for the sunset. This would have been exhausting and exciting, but I personally think our major change of plan was much superior.

We got into the river around 10:30 or 11:00 Thursday morning. Those first few steps were absolutely freezing. We took a group picture before starting – Michelle came with us and you can see her peeking through.  Then we took some shots from across the first ford.

Sam, Michelle, Rissa, Don, Steph
Not far up the river, it gets probably 4 feet deep. I’d decided to wear a swimsuit top instead of a shirt and this was the first time I was glad of that choice. Steph’s purple shirt went super dark when it was wet, and she had a severe line across her back. All the hikers behind us were looking at it before they went into the water.

There were lots of families and foreign tourists at first, but the farther we went, the fewer we saw. Much of the hike was fighting across the swift river in foot deep water. A foot doesn’t seem like much, but when the ground is slippery, unstable, and rocky, it is more than enough to make crossing the current difficult. It was much easier to walk along the shores, and we were rarely wet above the knees. Sam’s attempt to swim around a big boulder proved that we couldn’t fight against the current, so we didn’t even try a “more adventurous” route.

Eventually we arrived at the junction. At that point, the canyon splits into two: Wall Street and Orderville. Wall Street is a popular destination for Narrows hikers. If you hiked down from the top of the canyon, you would come through Wall Street. But we decided Orderville looked more fun because no one was going that way. So of course, that was the way we went.

We were very serious about this hike.
Now, I know of Orderville gulch because many people start on our property to rappel down the canyon and then go into the Narrows. It was beautiful, but not long after the first curve, we met a pair of hikers coming down who told me that not far up was a deep pool with no way up the rocks beyond. I figured our adventure would be done at that point and we would go look at Wall Street then go back down.

Apparently “no way up” is a subjective term.  After splashing in the water, that was no more than five feet at the deepest part, Steph suggested using the floating log we were playing with as a make-shift ledge to climb to the rocks from. Happily, Michelle wedged it into a crack and scrambled up. Not much later, we all had made it to the next level and were happily continuing up the slot canyon.

We climbed probably four more little ledges, all of which were easier than the first. Around 3 pm we voted once more on whether to continue. This time we turned around. We knew it wouldn’t take nearly as long to get back to the base of the canyon, now that the water was helping us along. In fact, once we were out of Orderville Gulch, we began floating along with very little effort. We had planned on doing this, but I suddenly realized I didn’t really know how to deal with my backpack. Luckily I quickly discovered that my two water bottles did an excellent job keeping it on the surface.

Up Orderville, right before we turned around.
After the first little bit, we came to a section of rapids. Although they aren’t exactly white water, the current rushes through these rocky sections swift and strong. Samantha continued merrily along and went straight through the rocks. The rest of us hesitated, and decided to walk around. At the next rapids patch, we gave into curiosity and joined Sam. The current was so strong; Don couldn’t even keep his feet under him.

All of us were larger and heavier than Sam, so we had significantly more trouble going through the rapids. Every rock left a bruise. But it was so fun, we continued through the rough patches whenever there was enough water to carry us. Shallow patches forced us to walk, but we would get right back down when we had a foot of water. I discovered the hazards of the shallow when my foot caught on a rock, whipping me around in water too fast to stop. I managed to regain control before I slammed into the boulder I was swiftly approaching. My feet were the only thing to hit and I steered myself clear.

When we finally arrived at the bottom, we were cold, bruised, and happy. We had lost the car keys and the ziplock bag with our cameras in it hadn’t survived the last quarter mile since we’d checked it. Every little trouble simply made things more exciting. We found Don’s spare key and on later inspection my SD card at least survived – allowing us to see some of the pictures!

So, yes, my adventures are definitely worth the attempt at adding interest to my life. I’m glad to be back at BYU and have such a great memory to end the summer!