Sunday, December 9, 2018

The Best Part Of Court-Side Jazz Tickets...

I post a picture on social media every single day and have done so for almost eight years. Thursday night I posted a picture of my feet and the floor at the Vivint Smart Home Arena where the Utah Jazz play. From where I sat the only thing separating me from the incredibly talented multi-millionaires was about ten feet.

I was treated like royalty.

This is not the way I'm treated normally when the Jazz pay home games. In fact, when I watch them play it's on my TV at home. The court-side tickets are not mine, but Jeff's, my friend. He and I met almost thirty-three years ago in Provo, Utah as we left our families behind and embarked on an adventure that would change our lives. There were six of us, Jeff, Brian, Mark, Mike, Linda, and me. Six excited and scared people who have been bound by our friendships ever since.

We've kept in touch through the years. We all married, had kids, and now many of those kids are marrying and having kids of their own. Jeff's had season Jazz tickets for years and every once in a while, he invites me and others to spend a night with him, being well-fed, and (if the Jazz win...) well-entertained.

Naturally, I'd love to sit every game in those seats, but I know that's not the point. Jeff is the kind of person who gives up seats he's spent good money on for others to enjoy, and because he's such an amazing person, he's got a lot of friends.

After the game ended (the Jazz smoked the Rockets, by the way...) I thought about the experience I had that night. Yes, the game was fun and the way people treated us was beyond exceptional, but what I enjoyed the most wasn't the pre-game meal with amazing food, or sitting next to Jerry Sloan's party in the lounge, or being so close to the players during the game that I could have had a conversation with them or tell the referees what I really thought of that Rudy Gobert's technical foul call.

No, the best part of the night was spending time with Jeff and two other friends we met in a small Scandinavian country all those years ago. And we don't need court-side ticket for that.

But, boy are they fun!

Saturday, December 8, 2018

A New Way To Teach...A New Way To Learn

In our church the leaders gather twice a year to give instruction and inspiration through the spoken word and music. They also use that time to announce church-wide changes. The meetings are held the first weekends each April and October. This last October they announced some major changes and some that--on the surface--didn't seem that big, but upon closer examination, are going to shake things up.

Changes in the way we teach each other are coming.

I am part of the Sunday School leadership in our congregation so it's up to us to help roll out the new plan. Tomorrow we meet with the teachers to instruct and answer questions they may have. The biggest change in our new system is this: the teachers will no longer be instructing the students as the main focus of their callings. Instead, the students will need to basically learn the lessons before they arrive. Class time will be spent discussing what everyone learned as they went through the lesson on their own at home.

Currently, we meet for three hours on Sundays. The big announcement we received last October is that our total church time will be cut down from three hours to two. Because of the reduced time, Sunday School classes will no longer meet weekly, but every other week. Because of this, the emphasis on learning will shift form the teacher to the student.

I've been a member of this church my entire life. I've had callings where I was an instructor. Shifting the responsibility from the teacher to the student is huge. I know some will get more out of their studying time than others--that's just life. I am looking forward to see how this big change works out.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Modern-Day Miracles Are All Around Us...Even In Appliances

I saw an advertisement months ago for a new car--I can't remember the brand. The set-up was this: you get people to ride around in a new car and record them gushing about how wonderful it is.

Pretty effective, right?

Of course, we're not going to be buying a new car anytime soon, but I thought about how I would react if it were me in that new car. I know I'd do the same exact thing. I'd react that way because the car would be so much more advanced than anything I'm used to. Even a car that's ten years newer than my car (say, something built in 2014...) would have options and features much more impressive.

That's why I've got to mention one incredible feature on our new dishwasher--the bottle-washing jets.

They're awesome!!

My wife makes kombucha at home. It's a simple process, but the biggest pain for us was washing the bottles we re-use each time. We had to hand wash them which seemed to take forever. I looked into buying something that might save us some time. There were things we could attach to our sink faucet, but we don't have the right kind of faucet, so those wouldn't work. When our old dishwasher died, my wife went shopping. When the salesperson mentioned the bottle jets, that's all he needed to say. He made the sale.

We've had everything in place for a few weeks and used the jets several times. It has literally saved us hours. I'm not sure, but had we known about that particular feature, we might have swapped out the working dishwasher we had years ago. I guess things are especially impressive when you're not used to the new stuff.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

So I've Tweeted 5000...Now What?

It's one of those things I hardly notice, but as it approached, I did. It's not a big thing. In fact, in the vast configuration of things, it's no larger than a spec of dust. But still, because it's a "milestone," it's something.

I finally sent out my 5000th tweet.

See? I told you is was nothing.

I've blogged about Twitter before. It's one of the more interesting social media platforms out there. The immediacy is unparalleled. My "wow" moment for how amazing Twitter is (or can be...) came when I was following a neighborhood fire a few years ago. The fire started in a backyard and spread. I followed the tweets as witnesses tracked the fire and told people which houses were in danger and which were not. Even the local fire department used Twitter to spread information to nervous and panicked neighbors.

I thought of all the good Twitter could do.

One of the truths by which I live, is this: "There is opposition in all things." That can definitely be said of Twitter. Anyone using the social network knows the other side of Twitter, the not good side, especially if you're even casually interested in politics, religion, or other social issues. Twitter can be terrible, or better stated, the people on Twitter can be both wonderful and awful.

I don't spend a lot of time on Twitter. I'm only at 5000 tweets (now 5001 when I post the link to this blog post...). I'm a lightweight compared to some. I find it mind-blowing that there are people out there who have hundreds and hundreds of tweets and likes and re-tweets. That's so much time. No, I like sticking in my toe. Swimming with the sharks in that tank is too much for me.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Re-Watched "Notting Hill" Today...A Really Good Rom-Com

I listened to a podcast today from Malcolm Gladwell where he interviewed three country western songwriters. 

It was fascinating.

In the interview, one played a little song he wrote and I recognized it from the film, Notting Hill. The song, When You Say Nothing at All is a classic. I love that song--in fact, there's a lot of songs I like from that film. After listening to the podcast, I found and dusted off our DVD edition of the film and watched it.

I had forgotten just what a fantastic romantic comedy it is.

It's Christmastime which means, there will be a lot of Hallmark movies being watched on TV at our house. Other networks's Christmas movies (Lifetime, Up) are being watched, too. Now, these TV movies do not have the budget Notting Hill had, nor do they have the writers, cinematographers, directors. The TV movies are--for the most part--pretty good.

They can't hold a candle to Notting Hill

The talent is spectacular. The writing is crisp and wonderful. The situation is predictable, but the characters and even soundtrack add so much. It's a funny show as well (hence, the "romantic" portion of the rom-com...). And sure, there's one line in Julia Robert's plea near the movie's end that gets a lot of eye rolls, one bad line don't spoil the whole bunch of movie.

Notting Hill is a movie that's on cable all the time. It's a film I might stop and watch for even a few minutes when I'm channel surfing. It's just a really good rom-com.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

I Wonder...Just How Cold Is It Going To Get?

I got the news last summer--my employer allowed me to work from home. The only space available in our house was the unfinished basement. An unfinished basement is wonderful in the summer--it's cool down there so you don't have to be close to an air conditioner vent.

We anticipated it getting cooler and cooler as autumn approached and the temperatures dropped outside. We bought a space heater and I didn't really need to turn it on until last month. When I worked in an office, the building's temperature controls had a tough time adjusting from spring to summer and from summer to fall. Because of that, I bought a little thermometer to see just how cold it got.

I brought the thermometer home with me.

It's on my desk and I check it often to see just how cold it is.

This morning, it registered around 54º. The heater I use works well so my work space warmed up quickly. I had no complaints. But something happened today. It seemed when I got just outside of my work space, it felt cold, colder than it normally felt.

When I checked the temperature again in the afternoon the thermometer showed 63º--it usually warms up to 70º. It was cold today. We usually don't get this cold until January, so it's nice to know my little heater can do it's job.

It's a year of firsts. I experienced my first winter storm where I didn't have to drive to work. I'm going through my first winter working at home. In a few months spring will arrive and we'll see how that goes. Then, later, I'll know how work will be in the basement once summer rolls around.

Telecommuting--so far, so good (even if it's a little cold...).

Monday, December 3, 2018

A Tale Of Two Dance Performances...

Last weekend I went with my daughter to a dance performance at Brigham Young University. My daughter needs to attend several dance performances and report on them for her dance class. Others have attended different performances with her. Friday night was my turn.

For some reason, I didn't expect BYU's performance to be so well-attended. The place was packed, and for good reason. Their show was amazing. It was a showcase of different cultures and how they express themselves through dance. 

A few weeks ago my wife and I attended a modern dance performance at Weber State University, a show in which my daughter was a participant. The two performances shared a couple of things. They were both dance-centric, and both were put on by universities. Other than that, there were a lot of differences. 

BYU's dance program is HUGE! My daughter and I were discussing the show at intermission. She said there were over two-hundred dancers in then BYU show. She didn't think Weber State didn't have even one-hundred dancers in their entire school. BYU's program was mostly folk dancing and some amazing tap numbers. Weber State's was modern.

Had my daughter not decided to attend college and taken dance classes, I would not have experienced these events. I'm glad she did and I'm glad I got to go see these talented dancers, musicians, and performers. It's been fun.