Thursday, January 31, 2008


10 Years Ago
I was the fat new kid in town with braces and a tooth in the middle of my mouth. I was generally pessimistic, cynical, but wanted to always follow the rules and do my best in school. I wore clothes from DI, read Louis L' Amour books (or anything else I could get my hands on), and was just realizing that I was never going to make it to the NBA.

5 Things On My To Do List Today
1) Finish my lyric essay
2)Figure out how to do better in technical writing
4)--->Try to plan date and (maybe) attend mardi gras party? Wanna watch Hotel Rwanda later on in the evening....hmmm...still don't quite know yet.
5)Work at TRG in SLC. Train Yvette, finish Pheasant Run project draws, and work on Ironwood banking items.

5 Snacks I Enjoy
1) Tortilla chips and cottage cheese
2)Flavor blasted goldfish crackers
3)Baby carrots
4)Celery, peanut butter, and raisins
5)Banana (but not too ripe-no brown spots is preferred)

What would I do with a billion dollars?
Study. Invest. Philanthropize. Buy a truck, tour Europe, build a cabin, support a school.

5 Places I have Lived
1) Cockaroach infested Yamanoue cho
2)Rupert, Idaho aka Christmas City, USA
3)Heber Valley
4)Valley of the Sun
5)Nara, Japan

5 Jobs I have had
1)toilet scrubbing janitor
2)sandwich artist
3)printing pressman
4)grocery bagger

5 Things People Don't Know About Me
1) I had chickens, sheep, dogs, and a steer as a kid
2) I was in 4H (even won a red ribbon in cooking at the Minico County Fair)
3) I was on the swim team as a kid, and won the Rupert Swim Team high points award as a ten year old
4) I don't like peaches, pears, or strawberry shortcake.
5) I wrestled for three months in Idaho. The only reason I quit was because...ok...well, there were two:
a) I'm a pansy
b) and a wimp.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Rusesabagina in the House

Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things,
To yield with a grace to reason,
And bow and accept the end
Of a love or a season?
--Robert Frost

The General Manager of the hotel in Hotel Rwanda, Paul Rusesabagina spoke at a forum at the Marriot Center today. He told his story, and mentioned a few things that I thought inspirational. He said that no matter what happens, no matter what circumstances occur, there is always hope--God will provide a way. This idea echoed the pretense of Elder Eyering's talk in the Marriott Center two weeks ago about God's power of deliverance.

Mr. Rusesabagina said that bad leadership created the problem in Rwanda; he challenged us to rise up and help some one, to stand up and make a difference. An excellent forum, I thought--I want to watch Hotel Rwanda now (I've seen parts, but never the whole thing all the way through).

Some of the members of the red team at American Gladiator night.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Hinckley Daikancho

For most of my years in primary, I learned and sang the "prophet song" with Ezra Taft Benson as the final prophet. I still remember the feeling of peace that I had when I saw pictures of President Benson. I didn't fully understand a prophets role, or why exactly we needed a prophet, but I felt that he was somebody important, somebody to respect; not so much like a grandfather (although he liked like he could be anybody's grandpa to me), but a figure that I knew my parents trusted and followed.

I remember when Howard W. Hunter died, and Gordan B. Hinckley was announced as the prophet. I felt the same feeling of respect and admiration for President Hinckley, but this time it was coupled with a better knowledge of a prophets role and importance.

My first real confirmation that President Hinckley was a prophet of God came when he was giving his "Six B's" devotional. I felt his love as he prayed for us. I tested the message he delivered, and tried to develop those B's. That was one of the things that helped change my attitude during high school.

The same feeling came during a temple rededication that President Hinckley presided over. I was at a national FBLA competition in Nashville, Tennessee. The day prior to the evening dedication, I had the chance to talk with a large group of students of different faiths from across the country about religion in a hall of the hotel. Almost all of the non-deonominational and Babtist/JW/evangelical students ganged up on the few Mormons that were there and went into attack mode. This was one of the first times I had my beliefs really (almost professionally) attacked. That night, I went into the bathroom so the other guys in our room could sleep, and read from my litle paperback copy of the Book of Mormon. I read for a couple hours, then prayed about it, not really getting any immediate answer. The next day, a few of us were able to go to the dedication (or, rededication...) of the Nauvoo temple. As President Hinckley spoke, and then as the congregation did the Hosanna shout, I felt another answer to my prayers about the truth of the Book of Mormon, and the calling and mantle of the prophet.

This testimony was only solidified as a missionary. When I testified of gospel truths, especially of the fact that there was a living prophet on the earth, I felt the same confirming feelings--peace, confidence, comfort. I read as many of President Hinckley's, Monson's, and Maxwell's talks that I could get my hands on. President Hinckley's optimism and enthusiasm (netsui!) was inspirational.

I think the best way to sum up my experience in Japan with the faith of the Japanese saints, and their love for the prophet, is by recounting a scene from a movie clip that I love. The church put out a Japanese film that showed the process of selecting the site, constructing the building, and then dedicating the Tokyo temple. This was when President Kimball was the prophet. The film showed a meeting that was held when President Kimball came to announce the temple. During the meeting, President Kimball stood on the podium and began to announce the site and location of the temple, and then he asked for the sustaining vote of the members. When general authorities speak at Japanese meetings, the translators are always a few sentences behind because they need to wait until the speaker finishes his sentence before they can start translating (because Japanese takes the verb of a sentence and puts it at the very end). Well, this time was no different--the translator was behind, but despite this delay, as soon as President Kimball raised his hand to sustain the action, the camera panned out and showed all of the congregation raising their hands, following the prophet's action. The translator was way behind, so they didn't know exactly what they were sustainin, but they trusted President Kimball and had faith in their prophet. They saw their prophet raise his hand to sustain, and they followed suit.

Every time I saw that video, I felt the spirit of faithfulness and sacrifice of the Japanese people (and all saints who follow the prophet). I hope I can have the same obedience and faithfulness.

Friday, January 25, 2008

4 O'Clock and All Is Well

It's four in the morning and I can't sleep. I've been coughing all night (you know...that nagging, persistent cough that won't go away--like a piece of gum stuck to your shoe) and I finally found some cough medicine after 40 minutes of searching.

I've thought of just going to work, because I'm leaving to Salt Lake at 6:00 in the morning anyways. But then I realized I need to email my professor about meeting today to work on a thesis project. And then I looked on And now I'm here. Doing nothing productive with my life.

Just a note, after rereading my "Eyes Tired in California" poem, I decided to write another one about our Oceanside reunion--this one in a more enthusiastic, positive light. I, personally, like reading poems that are more humorous, or encouraging, or inspiring.

Well, Sal's in the brothel, Pat's in the Jail, and I'm the one to tell the tale. I don't have much else to say, except that the cough syrup label lied and said I would be drowsy and/or dizzy (it'll probably kick in as i'm halfway down I-15).

I've been reading Alma 5 (slower than I'd like to be reading it because last night I one chapter more than my daily allotment of a memior by Clarence Thomas), which has led me to think more about change and hope. Hopefully I will be able to flesh out my feelings on the subject into thoughts and readable prose in the next few days (weeks).

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Eyes Tired In California

I need to write poems for my creative writing class. I was looking for ideas, and I came across part of I poem I wrote this summer in California at the reunion. Still a work in progress...I must have wrote it during a lonely day. The reunions are not as fun without Jake there, that's for sure.

Eyes Tired in California

Under the sun with no one
Alone among thousands
Stares, glares, glances.
My shy lips mumble greetings
“Hi mister, bye ma’m”

Go to hell says the silence.

Beer and shorts— men gather.
White erased by tan, they
Complain of immigration,
Wetbacks invading their beach
Even the sand looks darker.

Spanish speakers fish the peer,
Scrape guts and blood across the railing
Knife in hand, they
Laugh at the smell of perfume
On a teenage bikini.

She and a friend wear nothing
But thong bras and low-self esteem;
Faster, they pass the fishermen
Scared by stares, glares, glances.

This…is vacation?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Semester of Strength

In our Elders quorum this semester, we have a theme "Semester of Strength," with the goal to better ourselves in our academics, social, spiritual, and temporal endeavors. Here are principles we are trying to follow with our goals.

1-Daily check off, weekly evaluation.
2-Consistency, consistency. "The secret of success is constancy to purpose" (Benjamin Disraeli)
3-Be specific with your goals. "When performance is measured, performance improves" (Pres. Monson).
4-"For if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them" (Ether 12:27)
5-We must not fail.
6-"Heorism is endurance for one moment more"(George Kennan).
7-"What small potatoes we all are, compared to what we might be!" (Charles Warner).
8-Be excited about this year! NETSUI! "Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm" (R.W. Emerson)
9-Make goals that will stretch you. "Not failure, but low aim is crime" (James Russell Lowe)

As the Disney movie Meet the Robinson's teaches, Keep Moving Forward.

Henry W. Longfellow said:
Look not mournfully into the Past. It comes not back again. Wisely improve the present. It is thine. Go forth to meet the Shadowy future, without fear, and with a manly heart.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Simpson Choro

When I think of hope, I remember my time with Elder Simpson.

On Hope

Robert Bridges said two things on hope that I've been thinking about:

I live on hope and I think do all
Who come into the world.

To me, hope is a motivator and promise of change for the better. In this context I'm not thinking about "Ultimate Hope" (as defined by Elder Maxwell)--the hope that Moroni writes about, the hope that is rooted in the Atonement. I am thinking about the hope that brings us to change, the hope that causes excitement, that helps us look forward to the sun rising of a new day. If I have time tonight, I will try to explain how I think Ultimate Hope is connected to the lesser hope, but I have work early tomorrow so I doubt that I will have time.

Hope can be simple, like the the shortened breath that comes when you see a girl out of the corner of your eye and think that, maybe, maybe, she'll notice you. Or hope can be complex, the vision of what you may become in one year (or ten) if you stick to such and such plan, and accomplish this or that goal. Hope is short term and long term; it races with the minutes and glides with the hours.

Sometimes I hope for things that I know will not come true. Why is that? Is hope the prelude of dreams? Not the "met up with some friends in high school, turned into a root beer popsicle and melted all over Kiera Knightly's Oscar dress" crazy dreams we have at night. I mean the dreams that I had when I was thirteen, staring out the foggy bus window, watching field after field go past, thinking about foreign lands and adventures and the excitments of adult life. The dreams that you are too afraid to write down, because if your little sister ever found them, she would tease you until you were forty, and if your mom ever found them, she would beam to all the relief society that her son, that ambitous little guy, wanted to do such and such and gab gab gab gab gab gab gab.......

And now on to R. Bridges second quote:

Our hope is ever livelier than despair, our joy
Livelier and more abiding than our sorrows are.

I just realized it's almost 11. I have to work early tomorrow, so I will think more on the subject, fix all these thoughts (because I have been typing away without thinking), and continue on some later day.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Kisses are like Rold Gold Pretzels

On dating: My sister is right about #2. It's not me. And, I fear if I adopted the attitude, I wouldn't treat girls as they should. Reminds me of a quote from a Bernard Shaw play:

The greatest secret, Eliza, is not having bad manners or good manners or any other particular sort of manners, but having the same manner for all human souls; in short, behaving as if you were in Heaven, where there are not third class carriages, and one soul is as good as another.
-George Bernard Shaw

No girl deserves the "third class carriage," make-out-and-don't let-the-door-hit-you-on-the-way-out" designation. Kissing isn't bad, of course, but the "kiss as many as possible" attitude probably is.

One day now, mark my words, I'll have this:

She smiled, and the shadows departed;
She shone, and the snows were rain;
And he who was frozen-hearted
Bloomed up into love again.

-John Addington Symonds

I got accepted to England study abroad. Now I just need to decide if that's what I want to do for summer term.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Big Interview

i'm gonna make this quick because my eyes are bloodshot and I'm more tired than a Les Schwab dealership (har!).

On dating: I think the principles I might resort to are from my friends Jon and Kevin in Cedar.
1) Just have fun. Don't worry too much about things. Relax and have fun.
2) Kiss as many girls as I possibly can before I find "the one."

Ok, cousins. Whatya say? Number 2 is definitely not me. I'm slower than molosses with affection. But, Jon and Kevin swear by it. (and speaking of affection, Kristen, do you remember T.J? And Frenchie? Tiff...Do you remember John Carpenter?? Course ya do!!!!)

I have an interview tomorrow with a few professors and the director of the study abroad program. I'm thinking about going to England for the summer semester. Wish me luck. Do you think I'll impress them by wearing an argyle sweater and knee-high socks (under my pants, of course)?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

A half-hearted post

Aberration, abstemious, abstinent, abstract, abstruse, accolade, accrete, acquiesce, acute, aesthetic, alacrity....

Does that sound like a word list? It is. For my Debate and Argumentation class. We are working to improve our speech by expanding our vocabulary.

I think confidence in speech is more than just knowing vocabulary, though. If one has confidence in his (or her) self, then he (or she) tends to be confident speakers, regardless of education or "$5 word" knowledge. I have friends from Heber that fit that bill.

Different topic: Dating. OK. Where to begin? Actually, I think I need time to think about this and post later. But Amy, Lyndee, Kristen...I'm gonna need some comments. Stay tuned.

I'm exhausted tonight. Almost feel as tired as I was on my mission, so I'm going to go to bed, refresh, and write when I'm in a more spirited mood.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

It's Not That I Kant Understand...Ok. It Is.

My English Lit class curriculum includes a selection from Immanuel Kant's Critique Of Judgement. I don't know if I'm just a moron, or am too used to accounting text books, my cats! I can't understand this guy!

He uses the terms "concept" and "object" and "a priori" and "subsumes" so often I'm starting to doubt whether I really know what those words mean. Can a philosopher just do that, throw in a couple of broad words like concept or object into a run on sentence and sound smart just because nobody really understands exactly what he (or she) is saying? This rant is definitely moreof frustration now; I am showing my bias. I am sure that some people understand these philosophers. I'm sure that after I go to class tomorrow and listen to my professor, I'll understand. But...Kant could make his prose a little more accessible to us dumb guys from Heber.

A quote for the night from my reading in Bartlett's Anthology (I finally finished over the Christmas break, highlighting all my favorites and then typing them into OneNote).

In dreams begin responsibility.
--Delmore Schwartz


I walked a mile with Pleasure
She chattered all the way,
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say
I walked a mile with sorrow,
And ne'er a word said she;
But, oh the things I learned from her
When sorrow walked with me!

--Robert Browning Hamilton

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Other Other White Meat

I’ve never smoked nor drank, but I know addiction. As a freshman, I almost destroyed my life thanks to Bumble Bee and a can opener. Every night for dinner, without fail, I ate a tuna taco. I couldn’t stop eating them. I think my body developed a reliance on the Omega 3 acids and the succulent smell of Chicken of the Sea. Other typical dorm room foods didn’t compare. Top Ramen? Macaroni and cheese? Spaghetti? Matchsticks compared to the torch of tuna tacos.

Now, don’t think that I was eating uncivilized canned filth. Au contraire. Picture a freshly squeezed canned fish wrapped into a golden brown tortilla treat, laced with lettuce, and slathered with a special spicy mayonnaise sauce (mayo, Tabasco, and a hint of lemon juice). Succulence.

The first bite into a well prepared tuna taco slaps the taste buds into attention. “What, Sergeant Dave?” they ask, “Can this meal really be healthy?” Yet, it is. All the food groups are represented—meat, grain, vegetables, dairy, and fruit (the lemon juice).

Dinner was my favorite hour of the day. I came home and raced for the can opener. At least, until…the addiction set in. Addictions are never a good thing. Even addictions to seemingly good things are never a good thing. Ever heard of an old lady who was addicted to love? Neither have I, because she died years ago.

My addiction to the tuna taco led me up a path of insanity. I would constantly parlance the grocery store ads, looking for deals on cans of tuna. I was a nutcase, nitpicking over the cost-taste benefit of abalone tuna vs. “that other kind.” I stopped caring whether the tuna was in water or artery clogging oil. Heck, it could be in dish soap. I’d still eat it. I stopped caring about expiration dates and brand names. I even stopped caring about whether tuna was dolphin safe or not. In fact, I started to prefer not. Flipper tastes oh so good with a hint of lemon juice.

How did I ever come out of my hysterical state and face reality with my addiction? I owe it all to my roommate. He said I was making our place smell like an aquarium. At first, I thought it was a compliment. But he wasn’t smiling. He said that he was going to throw away all of my tuna. Oh how I hated him! He didn’t understand me! He didn’t understand tuna!

I guess I was so high on Omega 3 and mercury that I didn’t fully appreciate his act of pure love. I didn’t understand that he really only wanted to help. All I could think about was how to make him end up swimming with the…well…tunas.

It’s been a few years now, and I am almost to Step 8 of overcoming my addiction. I started a program of the three-times-a-week tuna sandwich, and then graduated over to the once-in-a-while Tuna Helper. Now instead of tuna tacos, I eat spaghetti or chicken-and-rice. Perhaps sometime in the future I’ll mix in a bean burrito. I’m open to new things now. Something really caught my attention last week at the grocery store. I saw a can of oysters that I just have to try. I hear that they’re great with lemon juice.

Monday, January 7, 2008

I Bless the Rains Down In Africa

For my creative writing class, I have to write poems and I have to write 30 mins a day. Here's my first day of work. Not much today, but I did it quick (29 minutes--stickin' it to the man). I waited in line for half an hour at the Maeser Building today. Here's the result.

I’m from Ghana, she answered.
And you?

I know that much, silly. Where?
Is that your lunch? Just that?
Might as well eat while I’m waiting.
You don’t suck the salt?
I don’t like it.
That’s the best part.
You have to spit the shells if you suck on it.
It makes you feel like a first basemen.
I like basketball. Not baseball.
Is it because you’re…

(a new poem)
Wanna Chat?
I met a girl from Oregon, I met a girl from Ghana;
One looked sweet and innocent; the other, a piranha.
The African girl talked and talked—a conversation sauna;
But the Northwest Miss (you know the type) Hollister Prima Donna.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Don't Try Casting Your Lovespell On Me

If you’ve never been making your own secret blend of mustard-barbecue fry sauce only to be overcome by the titillating smell of cucumber melon, then perhaps you’ve never had a date accompany you to The Malt Shop. For that is what nearly always happens to the enterprising Yours Truly as he basks in a basket of french-fried potatoes.

For some strange reason that he wouldn’t bet a quarter-pounder on even pretending to understand, Girlof the Week doesn’t find salty fries or aerosolized grease especially conducive to the health of her epidermis. Any number of environmental factors might damage the skin, or so she claims as she spends an approximate eighth of her life applying various kinds of lotions to her body.

Girls, what’s up?

Have you ever seen a guy fret and frump over the condition of his skin, treating it like it was more important than salary cap negotiations in the National Basketball Association? Of course not. You’re too busy squeezing another drop of lotion onto your hand to notice that you’re even with a guy.

I, for one, am sick of playing second fiddle in the battle for a female’s attention. Sometimes it’s even third banjo I must play if the girl also has a fetish for chapstick. It’s embarrassing and disheartening to be less important than an artificially scented bottle of anything—perfume, frankincense, root beer extract. But lotion? If I can’t even steal your attention away from lotion, I might as well invest in that Xbox that always seems to find my eye when I open the Best Buy ads. You can have all the peach melon you want as long as I can be with the dudes blowing off the skin of alien warriors.

While I’m actually doing something productive, you girls can have a lotion party with all of your well-lubricated girlfriends. Maybe compare brands or something. Have a lotion slip-n-slide, a guess the fruit/fruit/vegetable and fruit/herb/fruit combination game. I bet there’s a lot of things you could do to make it fun. You'd better think of something. Because Lotion Girl, you sure ain’t getting any more of my attention!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Ad Captandum Vulgus

Roommates and I watched the Republican Party New Hampshire debates this evening.

A few observations...

*Didn't it seem like it was Mitt Romney vs. everyone?
*What is that "Senate Smirk" that John McCain and Fred Thompson share together? They seemed like snickering schoolboys trying to one-up each other, like Zach Morris and Slater watching a Bayside beauty pageant.
*Facebook is now sponsoring Presidential debates, huh. What next...we rename worldwide organizations to the YouTube U.N. Peace Summit? The MySpace Presidential Press Conference?
*Apparently, Mitt Romney doesn't like personal attacks.
*Who do you think uses more hair gel? Mitt Romney or Hillary Clinton?
*Mitt Romney believes in free markets. A lot. He might even be married to them.
*Huckabee seemed to enjoy sitting silent while everyone else punched kidney shots at each other.
*Mitt--we pay a thousand dollars at a hospital to get "some sort of a repair?" What hospitals are you going to. Mitt...Jiffy Lube?
Yes Mr. Romney, we'll be finished with your grandson in about 20 minutes. We just need to test for streptococcus and then perhaps order in some antibiotics for repairs.

Friday, January 4, 2008

No Disputin'--It's Putin

Thanks to an old roommate, our apartment gets TIME magazine. This week, TIME released it's "Person of the Year" award. The winner? Russian president Vladimir"ly a flesh wound" Putin.

I was reading his interview with the TIME editor-and-chief (and they make sure we know it) John Huey, and one of Putin's answers caught my eye. Here's the question:

Has your KGB training helped you as President? There's an old saying, "Once a spy, always a spy."
And the answer,
"Well, those are lies. Naturally, some of the background can be of heklp. they taught me to think independently. They taught me to gather objective information, first and foremost. The second thing, from working in intelligence, is learning the skill of working with people.

Whoa, whoa, woah. Putin...a people person? I don't see it. At all.
A few reasons why:
1) He hasn't smiled since 1961, when his babushka told him that he had to strike a grin if he wanted her to make his cousins leave him solo with his game of Risk--so he could work out conquering the world. Alone.
2) The KGB doesn't teach people skills. The KGB teaches that people kill.
3) Putin read the book "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People." He tore out all of the chapters except one. Sharpen the Saw.
4) Back in his KGB days, Putin walked into the room and all talking stopped. "Way to kill the conversation," someone said. And she meant it. Literally.
5) Isn't charisma a Russian word meaning, "Our president bought his personality off of eBay for 50 rubles and a glass of vodka."
6)Wasn't the eBay seller a power-hungry gerbil?

Ok, enough about Putin. Let's talk about the second place runner up, Al Gore. Now wait a second, before I even mention Al Gore, I've gotta ask--Who is picking these people of the year? Do they find any famous person with no personality, plaster the names on a dart board, and then moller someone up with Vodka and turn them loose? What is their selection meetings like?

Time Writer 1: know...I think it should probably come down to Putin and Gore for the top two.
Time Writer 2: Oh, I agree. These gentlemen are my heroes. When I was studying feminist comparative literature at Brown, I did my thesis on "The Influences of Post-Communist Gerbils and KGB Politicos on Global Climate Change and I Love Love Love Hillary Clinton."
Time Writer 1: Get out of the city! Me too!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Wish I may, Wish I might

Saw Stardust tonight.

Wouldn't it be great if girls really did glow when they were falling in love? I know it would help me out a bit. I seem to always misinterpret things.

What is it about swords and princesses, kings and castles, that makes me enjoy watching a movie? I remember watching Princess Bride over and over and over again when I was little. There's something about the fairy tale midevil concept that captures my imagination. I was a sucker for A Kid In King Arthur's Court when I was a juvi, and that show was cheesy as all get out (with the kid from Rookie of the Year posing as a hero, to boot). First Knight? Liked it. My favorite books in elementary school were the Chronicles of Narnia series. Maybe that was some of the impetus for my king/princess/prince/sword fighting/archer/adventure story enjoyment.

Some funny comments from Ryan today:

Ryan: Your driver's license says that you're 5-11. How come you didn't put 6-0?
Me: Because I am 5-11. Why would I put 6-0?
Ryan: Sounds better.

Ryan: (as we're pulling out after playing bball from an empty church parking lot) Let's spin donuts.
Me: car's (a five speed manual transmission VW Jetta) too old. It's officially ten years in '08. I don't think she could take it.
Ryan: may be old, but it's clutch. (har!)

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The Lips That Touch Liquor Shall Never Touch Mine

It's 3:36 on the first day of 2008. Late enough to not worry about what time I end up going to bed.

As I was stoppped at a check point for DUI drivers in Springville after attending a New Year's Party, I realized something. You can have fun without drinking. All it takes is a little creativity, a deck of cards, a pair of socks, fun people, and a vegetable tray. (Don't ask me why happenin' parties always seem to have vegetable trays. Maybe it's the snap peas) .

From my lifetime observations, let me tell you a few do's and don'ts for a good New Years celebration. Trust me, I speak from experience on these:

Do: Attend a party mixed with guys and girls.
Don't: Watch the New Years ball drop at your Grandma's house by yourself on a 10" television with a six pack of diet caffeine free coke.

Do: Kiss a cute girl/guy
Don't: Kiss ANY girl/guy

Do: Ring in the New Years with a general tumult of excitement--shouting, banging pots, singing, applause
Don't: Ring in the New Years with cousins blowing incessently for hours on those kazoo-sounding devil whistles.

Do: Stay up til midnight and watch the new year march forward.
Don't: Go to bed at 10:30 because the MTC rules say you should, and, as a missionary, it's better to follow the rules hyaku percento. A little bit lame, young missionary Dave.

Well, that should give you a general idea. I keep learning new rules every year. Who knows what 2008 holds?