Sunday, September 28, 2014

A Busy Week!

Lots of stuff has happened in the last week or so, and here forth is a record of mine adventures.
So, I probably wrote months ago about my plans to go to Disneyland in September with my best friends. Well, as things go, that plan fell through, even though we'd been planning it for about 9 months. That sucked, but recently I moved, both of my friends moved, and money was a little more tight than usual, so Disneyland was a little impractical at the time. Anyway, to make up for it, we decided to go to Lagoon for a day instead. Only two of us went, which was a little sad, but we still had so much fun!
But let me back up a tad. On Friday, the day before Lagoon, I saw a sign that advertised auditions for a musical nearby - auditions that were the next morning - so I called my bestie Sheena, and let her know since she's a great singer and stuff. She was pretty into it, so we made plans to find a song for her to sing, and that evening and late into the night we went through tons of my sheet music and had lots of fun but couldn't really find something that seemed perfect. She eventually decided to sing an excerpt from Prima Donna from Phantom of the Opera because it's fun and she knew the words. So then after that was decided we called it a night so we could be ready to go in the morning to auditions and then to Lagoon.
We also grabbed a fork each and ate a key lime pie like heathens.

Then Saturday morning we went on down to the theater for Sheena to amaze the judges. She totally did. When she hit the high notes I saw one of the people in charge mouth "wow" to another person. Success!
Right after that we drove on up to Lagoon and spent the whole day there. We were really fortunate and the lines for the rides were practically nonexistent. It was awesome! I honestly don't think we waited more than 5 minutes for any ride. We got pretty exhausted by about 4:00 so we took a break and went to take a nap to rejuvenate for part two of our Lagoon day.
After nap time, and a much needed Jamba Juice run, we returned to Lagoon and continued to ride tons of rides and try to keep away from the monsters that roamed the park as part of "Frightmares".

My Carousel Pig was a mighty steed.

And they say diet pills don't work!

This was a very roomy coffin.

Me and my BFF!

My noble Pig-Steed smiling for his close up.

Probably my best picture ever.

I was so pooped by the end of the day. When I got home I fell asleep quickly and slept till 10am. Good thing my Sunday activities were later too!
The LDS temple in Ogden, Utah, was rededicated and all members in Utah were invited to attend a broadcast of the event. I went to the 1pm session, and it was really nice. I'm very glad I went. The speakers had some really uplifting things to say. The whole thing was inspiring and I'm so glad that I was able to watch it.
After the weekend was complete and I was back to work, I saw that Sheena was invited to callbacks for the play, and I went with her for fun/support/whatever and when I got there I saw that there were only about 5 guys who auditioned for the show at all, and like 23 girls. The play was a musical of "A Christmas Carol" which has mainly a male cast. I got feeling sorry for not helping out so I asked if they wanted me to try out, even though auditions were over. They said I could still try out, but after the night's activities. Yeah, they wanted me to take part in callbacks and sing and read parts, then audition after. Anyway, I did what they wanted and I felt super awkward and uncomfortable but I sucked it up and did it.
I climbed so far out of my bubble that I discovered for myself that earth is round.
Anyway, afterwards, they had me sing a song for them and sent me on my way. Okay, so I must say, I think that I did alright in the audition, which surprised me since I basically only ever sing in the car.
Later that night, at home, I was seriously having major second thoughts about being in the show. What's more is that Sheena was too. Mainly because the rehearsal and show schedule was really going to pose a problem around Thanksgiving. They have dress rehearsals everyday right before Thanksgiving and the the opening night of the show was the Friday afterward. Neither Sheena nor I have family up here, and the show would not allow us to see our families at all for the holiday. That's a really big deal to me. So the next morning, before any further callback choices could continue, I sent a message to the contact person explaining that I was very sorry and would not be able to commit to the production due to the schedule. I felt much relieved after I backed out. Sheena did the same. The theater people called her though, and begged her to stay. She explained further her situation. Long story short, neither of us are going to be in the show this season, but we hope to be in something soon.
Okay, so lastly, finally, for this happy little post, I wanted to say that last night I slept for like 14 hours. It was awesome. I went to sleep accidentally at 9pm or so, and awoke at midnight. I was annoyed at myself but went back to bed because what else was I supposed to do?
Then, because I didn't have church till 1:30, I was in NO hurry to get up. It was awesome!
I hope you have a nice week, all you readers. Do something fun!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

No More Debt!

I paid off my student loans!
Fortunately I didn't have very much to pay off compared to most people, but even still, I'm debt free!
I had paid off a huge chunk when I returned from Korea, so my monthly amount due was zero, which was nice, except for the part about interest. (Boo, interest!) So because the statement that arrives every month doesn't tell me what interest has accumulated, I decided to call them and find out my actual total. A very polite robot helped me through the process and eventually told me what I wanted. I then wrote a check and sealed it in an envelope and graced it with the Voldemort stamp I've been saving for a special occasion.
Ha! Proof!
Voldemort stamp - That'll show 'em!

I was supposed to be in Disneyland this week, and would have much rather spent that money on a vacation, but since that fell through, I guess being a responsible adult and taking care of debt is a good - though terribly less fun - alternative.
I'm going to go to Lagoon, an amusement park in Utah, this weekend with my best friend. It's a cheaper and more convenient option than Disneyland right now, and it's gonna be SO fun; they better be ready for us! I'll try to get some pictures to post on my precious little blog.
Ciao for now!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

I Survived My First Week

Well, it's Saturday, which means that my work week is over! Every day this week has been full of new information. Seriously, I spent about 2 hours (at least) with every department at the library to learn about what they do. I won't necessarily be using some of that knowledge, except that I now know my coworkers better and can direct people or questions to them if the need arises.
My specific job has a number of elements, but the main thing is that I manage the incoming library materials and get them back on the shelves or into the on-hold section. Sounds easy enough, but there are like thousands of materials coming in every day. Luckily, I have 10 pages (people who shelve materials) that do the most of that. I have to create their schedules and time cards and also help them with paging, but I think I'll be able to do the job well.
Working full-time is great! I worked full time in Korea, and I'm glad to again have a job that will help me save up a little money for the future. I will say, though, that after working basically the last 5 years (minus Korea) as a part-timer, the switch to full time is exhausting! I also think that the huge overload of information has pushed my little brain to its edge. Next week I'll really be getting into the usual flow of doing my job, so I'm looking forward to that.

Okay, so I've been treating these last few posts like a diary, sorry for that. Here is some deep insight into my life:
I get distracted SO easily. I'm starting to realize it more and more, too. For example, I can be in the middle of actively doing something important and necessary - such as packing up my room so I can move - when I'll suddenly think something totally out of nowhere and have to go check that out - like making sure the bread hasn't expired or looking up the approximate burn time of a particular candle or checking my bank account or an old email account "just in case" or looking up how to get rid of a wasp nest or pondering the historical significance of a specific star constellation and then reading all about it online or remembering a book that I liked in second grade and finding out that it's out of print so I then see if there's an ebook of it online and then trying to find it and get it on my Kindle which reminds me that I didn't update my iPod like I meant to and then finding out that it wants to update a bunch of apps and stuff that I have to ignore that so I can just get it done so that I can finally get back to packing because I have to have everything boxed up and ready to load into the truck in 45 minutes.
Another thing about my packing-up-to-move (and unpacking in my new room) experience was that I'd be working on one thing, like putting my clothes away, when I'd see a book on the floor that was supposed to go on the bookshelf, so then I'd completely abandon my clothes and spend time on the bookshelf. This happened enough that I actually realized that I was being crazy and that some stuff could wait. I think that if someone could have observed me during those times, they might actually think I was not right in the head. And maybe they're right.....?

Well, I've lived in my new town for a whole week, I'm trying to get an idea of the lay of the land (is "lay of the land" a real saying that people use? I'ma Google it....and yep! It's legit!) and so far, as long as I know where the interstate is, I'm pretty okay. I visited my friend in her new place the other day and I had to stray far from my normal freeway and use a completely different one, and finding my way back home was a little tricksy. I made it without incident, but it was dark and there were many lanes and cars everywhere and I should've had a "Student Driver" sticker on my bumper so that other drivers wouldn't think I was as retarded as I maybe seemed. I'm just going to have to get used to driving in heavy traffic. This Big City is a lot bigger than my previous Poor, Provincial Town.
Anyway, I'm here to stay, so I'm going to make the best of it!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

First Day of New Job: Success!

Alright, so I've had a few days to get moved in and to adjust to living in my new place before heading off to my new job, and I think that those few days really helped me to relax and actually be ready to get to work.
I've had a pretty good long weekend, full of meeting new people, getting together with my super cool cousin and one of my BFFs, and though I've been busy with all that stuff, I was fully ready to start at my new job today. I arrived early because I didn't know what to expect with traffic (thankfully there was little) and I got to meet a lot of the staff at the library before I had to settle in and get to work.
Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork! I had to fill out so much stuff, but I actually did that over the weekend - I just had to go over it all today.
I met the city council and department heads, met with the very helpful HR guy, who helped me SO much to understand which benefits were available to me. Let me just say, having benefits is SO COOL! I feel almost like I'm in a dream when I think about how fortunate everything is right now. I've not had a full-time job with benefits since I was teaching in Korea, and back then I didn't know enough about my benefits to take advantage of them (not that I needed to, thankfully).
I learned about retirement plans in good detail, and how premiums and deductibles work with/against certain plans, about accidental death or dismemberment issues, and orthodontia, among many other things. And all that was before 10 AM.
After that, I had more training from the library director about my schedule and stuff, and after lunch I had extensive training on the circulation program. I also helped organize the checked-in items (there were millions!) and before I knew it, my day as finished.
Tomorrow I'm supposed to have my whole day filled with training directly related to my position, so I'm looking forward to that.
Everyone in the library and at the city office has been SO nice to me, it really makes me feel good about my choice to relocate and pursue this career path.
Everyday this week I'll be training on something new, so wish me luck!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

I moved!

If you read my previous post, you'll know that I got a new job, and that I was looking for a place to live.
Well, I can now confidently tell you, while sitting in my new bedroom, that I did indeed find a place to live! The way everything worked out was pretty smooth. Gather 'round:
Whilst dredging through Craigslist and KSL, I found a number of suitable living quarters, but each one had several other housemates. Because I wanted something a little more private, I kept searching, but even when I decided housemates would have to be an option, still the rent prices were a little higher than I wanted.
After deciding that I couldn't really have the perfect room I desired for anything less than $550/month, I started considering paying a touch more (like $750-800) for an apartment of my very own. It was just about this time that a dear friend called me for a nice long chat.
We hadn't really spoken since our fun adventures in South Korea 2 years ago, so our conversation was full of reminiscing and nostalgia. When the topic of my move came up, she said she'd ask around for any leads on a good deal.
By this time, I'd been searching vigorously - several hours a day - for a place to live. I'd contacted a dozen or so people who posted ads, but only two got back to me, and even then they didn't respond to any follow up questions. It was really frustrating. But lo! My friend called me back to tell me that her friend lived in a house with a room available! I contacted the homeowner, and plans were made for me to come see the house and the room.
Everything went well, and I moved in 6 days later! My dad and brother helped me do it all.
I have three other housemates, but everyone is finished with school and seems pretty normal. Rent is good, the house is fully furnished, my room can fit all my stuff (which is impressive), and my shared bathroom is clean. AND all the housemates are the same religion as I am! That might not be a big deal to some, but to me, that means that I won't have to worry about drunken parties, drugs, or anything too wild happening in my new home.
I'm about 6 miles from my workplace, so the drive shouldn't ever be too bad. I start work on Tuesday, so I don't have anything to say about work yet, except that everyone on the staff and in HR has been immensely helpful and friendly.

Alright, so although everything is fine, I have to admit that after all my stuff was piled into my new room and my dad and brother left, I had a "What have I done...." moment as I stood alone amid all my earthly belongings. That was yesterday. Today I finished organizing my room, had lunch with my super awesome cousin, set up my piano, and even bought colorful pens from the store. I'm pretty sure everything's gonna be alright. Tomorrow I have church, so I'll meet like 170 new people, so I'm excited to start making friends here too.
I had a similar "what-have-I-done" feeling when I sat in my seat on the airplane headed to South Korea. Funny enough, it's because I went to Korea that I ended up in the house I'm in now. Actually, if I really go back, it's because I finished my LDS mission a few weeks early that basically every life event has happened since.
Along with my mission president, I decided to finish my mission about 3 weeks early so that I could make it back to school on time, rather than be offset a whole semester by arriving 2 weeks late. So, I got home and like 4 days later sat in my first major-oriented English class. Because of the way my classes were scheduled, I was able to go on a study abroad trip to London to earn my Shakespeare credit over the summer of 2010 rather than take it during a traditional semester. In turn, that summer program helped me to graduate in May of 2011, which then allowed me to go teach English in South Korea for a year, where I met lots of great people. Because of the people I met in Korea and through study abroad, I have been to New York, London again, and now I have a place to live while I start my grown-up career.
Funny how things work out, right?

Well, I'll call this post complete and I'll write again next week after I have more to say. Toodles!






















Saturday, August 16, 2014

10 points to Gryffindor! Brandon went on a date!

Okay, so I don't date much. I just haven't felt like it. To some people, like parents and church leaders, that's not a good thing. While I understand their concerns, I feel NO guilt about it. It's my life, and ah do wut ah want! (Just say that last sentence out loud if you don't get it.)
Anyway, I'm going to be moving in a week or so because I GOT A NEW JOB!!!!! I have a nice friend and she and I have been friends since high school. I rather suddenly decided a date would be fun before I leave town, so I asked her to dinner, and she accepted. How nice of her, right? We went to Pizza Factory (which all Utahns know about and we got their super good pasta and those fat bread sticks.
Anyway, it was fun and simple and totally not stressful. She even gave me a couple cinnamon rolls and cookies when I took her home. I love cinnamon rolls! They are the Great Harvest kind that are HUGE and so good. It was just a fun night out.
So, you read that I got a new job, and I'm so excited for it! It's a library job in Utah County, and it's full-time and everything! I'm practically a grown-up now! I only have to find a place to live.... That part is not fun at all. I want my own room, and will not settle for anything else. I also want a room big enough to someday have a queen-sized bed so I can sleep in any sprawled way that I want. I also want my own place altogether, but that's a little bit too much money for now. There are several places near my workplace, but nothing is really standing out to me. If you know me personally, though I'm a psycho and an outgoing dork around friends, I like to keep to myself and be able to just go home after work and relax and not do anything if I like in my quiet apartment. With 5-6 other housemates, I have no idea what I could be getting into. I mean, I'm way out of college, in my upper-20s (shudder), and don't want to be a part of the college scene anymore, at all.
Like I said, I want a place of my own. Since that won't happen right away, I'm being pretty selective. Wish me luck.
Oh, and I AM a Gryffindor - Pottermore told me so.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Mix-Tapes

You guys, I'm seriously so good at making mix-tapes. I mean, they're actually CDs, but the term from 30 years ago is way better.
Here are the reasons why you should hope to someday receive a CD from me at least once in your life:
- I personalize EVERYTHING.
- I use Sharpies to decorate the CD and make it super awesome. I am a crappy drawing-artist, so I usually go for abstract shapes and lots of color and fancy writing.
- I pick each song carefully and the order in which the songs so is also a big deal.
- I choose songs that you already know and love, as well as a couple new songs that I think you would also like a lot. And I usually throw in a random funny track, just to keep things interesting
- I fill that CD up! I bet that 99% of all CDs I've ever made had more that 78 minutes of music. 
- You can be sure that there will be songs that mean something to our friendship too, so there is sentimental value.
- If you are really lucky, I sometimes even make a CD holder/case and decorate it too.

Because CDs aren't used much these days, I've even made a digital mix-tape on a flash drive and it was awesome too.
As a final point, I had like 36 hours notice a few months ago that I needed to provide the music for a wedding reception. I was a little unsure about it all, but I guess I was the only hope/last [minute] resort, so I acquiesced and got to it. I made sure that there was plenty of family-appropriate dance music from many genres and artists, and hoped for the best. Might I humbly say: it was so freakin' perfect! Every song was a good match and people were dancing the WHOLE time. I even got a direct compliment from the bride's uncle, which meant a lot to me. 
Maybe I should abandon all my responsibilities and goals and be a DJ for weddings or church dances and stuff. I could probably do just fine in that line of work. 
Anyway, If you happen to have a mix-tape from me, besides just loving the CD and stuff, know that I made it just for you because you are super cool!



(I should not blog at 2:30 am.)