Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Caribbean and Me

We booked our summer vacation about a week ago.  I'm sort of insanely excited.  We'd been discussing all sorts of different ideas for where to go this year, but we realized it was really important to go diving since we're totally Scuba certified.

So we decided to book a cruise to the Caribbean.  How cool is that?  We figured the Caribbean has such things as the second biggest reef in the world.  That should work for utilizing our scuba certification.  

Ever since we booked it, each night when we lay down for bed, the last thing I say to Robyn is, "Remember how we're going on a cruise this summer?"

Robyn is probably excited to go so that I will stop talking about the fact that we're going to go.  But I'm excited for about a million other reasons.  I've taken the liberty of travelling to the future and photographing some of the awesome things I'm excited about.

Scuba Diving

At this current moment, the only place I've ever been diving is at the Crater in Midway where I was certified.  I hope to dive a few lakes in Utah before this summer, just to practice, but then I get to dive in the real ocean!  We're thinking we'll probably go diving in Roatan, Honduras.  I hear that's an excellent place.

Climb a Mayan Pyramid
This is on my bucket list, so I'm super excited to do it.  I'll probably do this in Belize, but maybe in Mexico.  Maybe even both!  You probably couldn't tell that my head was sticking out of that little doorway at the top.  For your convenience, I have magnified it for you.

Eat Delicious Food

Our cruise last year was loaded with delicious food, and this one will be no different.

Visit a new state

This is the map of the states I have visited in the U.S.  You'll notice that Texas is white, meaning I haven't been there.  The cruise leaves out of Galveston, Texas.  We'll fly into Houston and have one night to explore a little bit.  Texas will turn green on the map!

Look how precious we'll be in Texas.
Read Lots of Books

We'll have three days at sea, which is plenty of time to catch up on some good books.  And, according to this future picture, the bed on the ship will look exactly like my bed at home.  Crazy, huh?

Spend Quality Time With People I Love in Beautiful Places

We're going on the cruise with Robyn's parents.  We've gone on trips to their house and stayed with them, and they've traveled to stay with us, but we've never actually been on a trip together.  I'm super excited for that.  And it won't hurt that there will be crystal clear water, and beautiful beaches.

Now that you've had a glimpse of my future, are you as excited as I am?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Frozen is Real

Have you seen the movie Frozen?  It's pretty much the greatest thing ever.

The adult in me (he's in there somewhere) loves that the movie mocks the idea of love at first sight.  I love that it shows that there is more than one kind of love.  I love that it shows that it's the sacrifice that you perform that has the power to alter your heart.

The kid in me (he's much more dominant) loves every second that Olaf is on the screen.  I love that he has no skull, or bones.  I love that he naively dreams of summer.  I love that the best part of the movie is actually in the credits, when it admits that not all men eat their own boogers.  It's fabulous.

But do you know the best part of the movie?  The best part is that it's real.

You probably thought it wasn't real, just because the adaptation of the true story that you saw was animated.  Kind of like how you think that Star Wars isn't real just because you've seen the actors that depicted the true story in other films.  (Duh, it happened a long time ago in a galaxy far, far, away.  Clearly George Lucas just uncovered the ancient historical documents and adapted them to the screen.  It's not like the same guy could have written Star Wars after writing THX1138.  Seriously.)

Sorry,  I got sidetracked there.  The point is that Frozen is amazing, and if you have kids that haven't seen it yet that's pretty much child abuse.

Also, it's a true story.  But, if you don't believe me I will now present undeniable evidence.  But give me a second to explain how we came upon this evidence.

Last week, Robyn and I did a little hike in Provo Canyon.  I love to see Bridal Veil Falls in the winter.  They always close the park in the winter, but that just makes it more exciting, since the paved path is covered with several inches of ice.

It's a beautiful waterfall, but I personally think it's more beautiful when it is covered in ice.

This was our first view of the falls as we approached.
Here is the waterfall from directly below.

The best part about winter might just be how cute Robyn looks all bundled up.
Okay, so I showed you some pictures of a hike I took.  But where's the evidence I promised?  Well, there's one more thing I saw on this hike that is proof that Frozen is real.

That's right, we saw Elsa.  Surrounded by ice.
Checkmate.  Just try and explain how Elsa was there, and so was lots of ice!  You can't can you?  I know it's not really that great of a picture.  I was kind of star struck, so I was doing the paparazzi thing.  I had to sneak the picture and get out of there.  Remember, this is a chick that froze her own sister's heart.  (Admittedly, on accident, but I didn't want to mess with her.)

After this experience, the only logical conclusion is that we have winter every year because Elsa deems it so.  If that wasn't the case, how else could you explain that it was cold where Elsa was, but not on the beach in Hawaii?  I bet you've never thought about that one.

Finally, the nail in the coffin:  When I backed up the Elsa photo to Google, Google added falling snow.
Coincidence?  Not likely.

Friday, January 24, 2014

The Awkward Dream Dance

I haven't written about any of my dreams in a while, but the other night I had a doozy.

It started out relatively normal.  I was in some sort of a theater prepared to watch a live performance.  As the performers came out on stage, I noticed the majority of them were women, but standing right in the center were two men.  To make it particularly strange, both of the men were guys I had known in high school but I hadn't seen either of them for at least 15 years.  (These were specific guys that I know, but I won't say their names due to the awkwardness of admitting that they randomly appeared in my dream.)

One of them was really tall and skinny, the other was a shorter more heavy set guy.  As if the two of them standing there in the middle of the stage wasn't awkward enough, their lack of congruity in body shape just made it that much of a spectacle.

All the people started dancing.  Some were leaping, some were twirling,  but the two men in the center stood immobile.  I remember thinking in the dream that it was really awkward that they weren't moving at all.  As if in response to my thoughts (because you can do that in dreams since my brain is writing the script anyway) they said in unison, "We represent awkwardness."

But they didn't just say it, they sort of sang it.

As if to illustrate the awkwardness they represented, they each lifted their outer arm into the air.  They each brought the one arm high above their head and arched it until they touched the other person's hand.  The two arms came together to form a heart shape.  It was very precious, and very awkward.

But then things got really weird.  (I know, you thought it was already plenty strange.) Suddenly, I was no longer viewing the dance from the audience, I was part of it.  I don't remember getting out of my seat and walking to the stage.  All I remember is that my view was suddenly much closer.  Then I realized my hands were in the air and I was nodding my head like "Yeah" and moving my hips like "Yeah."

Luckily, someone in the audience had a camera and captured the experience.

Then it was time to move on to our big finish.  Apparently I suddenly knew the choreography because I was totally synchronized with the group.

Since the whole dance was awkward, our big finish was as well.  We all got in a huddle, and we put our heads as close to the center as possible.  We pushed our heads in so far that our faces were squeezed between other faces.  It was true magic how our faces were squeezed but our shoulders weren't.  I don't remember any part of my body even touching another person, but my face was smashed between dozens of faces.

And then it was over.   I woke up.  Our dance was truly magical.  And awkward.  But the magic was over.

As with all my dreams that I share, I now require the people of the internet to interpret my dream.  It probably means I'm awkward, but what deeper meaning can you find?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

We Live in the Future

As many of you know, over the past year I've spent a lot of time on my treadmill.  It's the most fabulous thing ever, because I just watch movies or TV shows while walking hundreds of miles and reducing my girth in the process.

Recently I discovered a show on the Science Channel.  I don't know when it originally aired, but I was able to DVR an entire season in 1 day, and I've been enjoying it on the treadmill for the past few weeks.  It's called Prophets of Science Fiction, and it goes over various works of Science Fiction literature, and what predictions were made that eventually came true.

This show is awesome for 2 reasons.  The first is that I get to relive a large portion of my adolescence.  My teenage years were the years that I was introduced to Isaac Asimov, H.G. Wells, Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke.

This is a picture I took of the Isaac Asimov plaque in the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in Seattle.

When I was a teenager and could only grow 4 hairs in my sideburns, I grew those hairs like 4 inches long so I could be like Asimov.  Luckily, before I had too many hairs, I realized that  Isaac Asimov was not a trend setter when it came to style.
The second reason for the awesomeness of this show is that it made me realize that we live in the future.  We may not have robots that follow the three laws of robotics, but this show made me realize how much of science fiction's predictions have come true.  We have orbiting satellites (predicted by Arthur C. Clarke), we have prosthetic limbs (predicted by Isaac Asimov), and even the stories about colonizing space are coming true.

As I thought about this, I started thinking about the things that weren't predicted, at least not exactly the way they were implemented.  One particular thing that comes to mind is the iPhone.  A few months ago, I was with my brother in Brigham City, Utah.  We stopped at a Burger King and my brother bought me something to eat.  I wanted to remind myself to pay him back, so I pulled out my phone and said, "Remind me when I get home that I owe Zack 2 dollars."

My phone that responded, "Okay, I'll remind you."

I didn't think anything of it, but the girl working the cash register was flabbergasted, "Your phone just talked back to you."

It hadn't occurred to me that this would be a spectacle that others would be excited to view.  I told her that I chat with Siri all the time.  She looked at me like I was some sort of sorcerer.  It didn't even occur to her that the sorcery extended beyond a device that talks.  It's a device that knows where I live, and can tell when I arrive at my home.

We totally live in the future.  To people living in the ancient past (or in Brigham City) the technology we have today is indistinguishable from magic.

I'm a tech geek.  This realization has caused me to geek out to no end.  To think that we can track blood sugar by putting something in our eyes, or have a pizza delivered by a robotic drone is mind blowing.

We live in the future, and the future is awesome.  I can't wait to see what tomorrow (the double future) brings.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Truly Awesome: Homemade Pizza

Throughout the annals of history, there has been one constant.  There has been one food that has withstood the test of time, permeating all cultures and all people.  That food is pizza.  (I don't want to hear any garbage about how there are plenty of cultures that don't eat pizza.  They would if they knew how delicious it is, so just go ahead and try to dispute that impeccable logic.)

If pizza is amazing (and it is), and homemade food is amazing (and it is) what if the two came together?  Could there be any greater joy?  I say unto you, nay.

Last night, we put that joy to the test.  We had some friends over and made homemade pizzas.  It was truly awesome.

We learned a few important things, the two main ones being that homemade pizza is awesome, and that I'm a terrible photographer.

Look at the joy that homemade pizza brings to David.  This picture is undeniable proof that homemade pizza is awesome.
Here is David presenting his completed pizza.  His face isn't that blurry in real life, that was courtesy of the photographer.

Here is Robyn rolling the dough.  But don't worry, the photographer made sure that you can't see what she's rolling.

Here is Wendy, posing with her completed masterpiece.  The photographer made sure that the pizza was behind a roll of paper towels.
So there you have it.  I have proven my case.  Homemade pizza is truly awesome, and I'm a truly terrible photographer.  Your argument is invalid.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Outstanding Citizen 2014 of the United States of America

President Obama emailed me.  I'm cool like that.

Here's the email:

Jeff Stockett,

You have been nominated as an Outstanding Citizen 2014 of the United States of America.

This award recognizes your efforts as a blogger and book reviewer. We have personally gone through all of your posts and your reviews and have enjoyed them immensely.

We will be holding an awards ceremony and banquet at the White House which you are cordially invited to.

The event will take place on February 8th at 6:00pm. Please rsvp to this email as soon as possible to reserve your spot and ensure that you make this momentous event.

Please note that this is a free event and there will be no charge for you to attend. However in the spirit of our illustrious government you will have to pay for your travel to and from the White House, a $500 fee for entrance to the event and your meal per plate, and an extra $3000 fee is you want to be in the room when I, the best president ever, arrive. Photos and handshakes are extra.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Your gracious president,

Barack Obama

Okay, I have a secret to tell you. I'm pretty sure that was not actually an email from Barack Obama.  One clue is that the sender was from and one google search shows that that particular domain is spam central, but more importantly, I know our President is really into himself, but I think he's able to mask it just a little better than this writer.  Also, he may not know how to pronounce the word "corps" but he can structure his sentences well enough to not say something like, "Outstanding Citizen 2014 of the United States of America" or to write an email as if he, an individual, were some sort of collective.  (Is this email from the Borg?)

The question I have for you is, why did I receive the weirdest spam ever?  They're not asking for me to send any information.  I don't understand the scam that they're trying to put together.  Do they think I'll reply and then send them all the money they talked about?

Well, whatever the scam is, I won't be replying to that email.  However, I would like to publicly accept the nomination.  I hope you'll vote for me.  (If this is something people vote for.)
Also, feel free to print out this flyer and distribute it to your friends.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A Fever, Jammies and True Love

I don't get sick very often, and when I do, it's usually Robyn's fault.

That may sound harsh, but it's the truth.  I can count on getting sick once a year, and it's always in September, right after the beginning of school.  Robyn meets her new class, and they always introduce her to brand new diseases.  Robyn has some sort of heroic immune system that allows her to not actually get sick, while still keeping the diseases strong enough to come home and infest me.

This past week was an exception to the rule of all diseases being Robyn's fault.  I'm not really sure whose fault it was, but they should definitely be punished.

The symptoms started out pretty basic.  First, I just got really cold.  I really don't get cold very often, but this sickness came with some serious chills.

At first I thought that part of it was kind of fun.  I got to put on warm, snuggly jammies.  I've always been jealous of the idea of jammies, because being all snuggly sounds fabulous.  But, in actual practice, jammies make me much too hot and smuffed.

Robyn was so excited that I was wearing jammies that she had to take a picture.  If you can't tell, my fists are clenched because I'm shivering.

Robyn also really enjoyed this phase because it meant I cranked up the heat.  Basically, when I get sick my body functions just like Robyn's does normally.  (At least when it comes to its ability to stay warm.)

But then the less fun parts came.  The swollen sinuses, the cough that never ends and feels like it's tearing apart my insides, the achey muscles, the fever that feels like it's frying my brain and my eyeballs.  Basically, it's not awesome.

Yesterday, Robyn even convinced me to stay home from work.  I don't usually stay home when I'm sick.  I figure my job consists of sitting at a computer, it doesn't require that much physical exertion.  But this one really had me wiped out.  And I think the extra rest really helped me recover faster.

Then it snowed.  I figured I'd had a full day of rest.  I could totally handle shoveling the sidewalk.  Normally, it's a task that takes me 20 minutes tops.  But I got out there and was able to take about 2 scoops before needing to rest.  Plus, my cough was getting worse being out in the cold.  But Robyn got home from work while I was out there giving it my best shot.  She sent me inside and said she would do it.  That is true love.

But don't worry, even in my weakened state, I still thought to make an animated gif of her shoveling prowess.
Well, now comes the part where we receive proof that she didn't give this disease to me.  This morning she was complaining of not feeling well, and now she can't even get out of bed.  That means not only did she not infect me in the first place, but I infected her.  Now I'm the one who should be punished.

Remember how it made me super cold, even though I never get cold?  Remember how Robyn is always cold?  What do you think this disease that gives major chills does to someone who is always cold?

It's my turn to show true love.

Take a good long look, because my thermostat will never look like this again.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Awkward and Old

I'm awkward and old.  That's nothing new to you.  But, I'll get to that in a minute.  First, a story.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.  Wait, strike that.  It was in this galaxy, in the state of Wyoming.  But it was a long time ago, just under 13 years ago, in early 2001.  (Sorry, I had to do the galaxy far away thing.  Star Wars is playing on the TV right now.)

I was serving as a missionary for my church.  We were visiting a young family.  We were having some sort of gospel discussion.  I don't really remember the details of the discussion.  What I do remember is that this gospel discussion had way more nudity than most discussions on my mission.  As we were talking, the wife inexplicably lifted up her shirt and took off her bra.

I was really confused by this behavior.  You always hear stories from others about the strange things missionaries experience in other cultures.  But these stories usually come from people who went to places like Africa or South America.  I was in Wyoming.  As in, a state that borders my home state.

Nevertheless, there she was, removing her bra.  She was still wearing a shirt.  But since she had lifted the shirt above the bra area, the only function that shirt was serving was to cover her shoulders.  I don't think that shoulders are the primary body part that shirts are supposed to cover, particularly for women.

I looked at my companion.  He looked at me.

We had one of those conversations you have with your eyes.

Me:  I don't understand what's happening right now.

Companion:  My understanding is that she is removing her clothing.

Me:  I don't get it.

Companion:  She's doing what the kids call "letting it all hang out."

Me:  I'm confused.

Companion:  It's quite simple.  We're visiting with this nice couple, and the wife is topless.


This exchange continued for several seconds in much the same manner.  My companion was not able to help me better understand the situation, at least not through eye language.  I'm sure the husband caught the whole eye conversation because our eyes were definitely not whispering.  The wife, however, clearly did not catch any of it.  She was too busy removing her clothing.

Actual photo from that day
Note: This is before feet were invented
Once she made sure that everyone had seen what there was to see, the woman picked up her baby and began breast feeding.

The eye conversation continued.

Companion:  I knew that's what was happening the whole time.

Me:  I now understand what was happening.  However, I think she could have provided nutrition for her baby with a little less nudity.

So, that's my story.  But why do I share it now, nearly 13 years later?  And what does it have to do with me being old and awkward?

Well, today we met our new Sunday School class.  They're a bunch of cute kids.  But when I met them today, I was pondering how old they are.  They are all 12 turning 13 this year.  That means they were all born in 2001.

When I thought about that, I came to a terrible realization.  These kids are all the same age as the baby that was breast feeding in my story.  In fact, many of them are younger than that baby.

And that's when I felt old.  The baby in that story has remained a baby in my memory for nearly 13 years.  But then these preteens were sitting in front me and I was made very aware of the passage of time.  Then I was pondering my oldness, and this story couldn't leave my mind.  And then I felt really awkward, thinking about this story while I was in front of all our little precious 12 year olds.

And so you see, I'm awkward and old.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Best Post of 2014

This joke never gets old.  It's the best post of 2014 because it's the only post of 2014 so far.  You get it?  It's funny because it's not that good of a post.  Hilarious.  amirite?

It's become a tradition on my blog for the first post in a new year to chronicle a few of the highlights of the previous year.  2013 was a pretty fabulous year.  Here are a few reasons why.

1. Became Scuba certified.
We totally have cards to prove it.

2. Saw a moose in the wild.  At least as wild as Park City, Utah is.  But the moose was wild, so it totally counts.

3. Voted for the Hugo award  The Hugo award is essentially the reader's choice award in science fiction and fantasy.  It's been a goal of mine for a long time to read every work that was nominated, and cast my vote.

4. Saw a whale in the wild  How wild Park City is (above) is debatable, but this was in the ocean in Alaska.  It's legit.

Robyn took this photo
5. Went on a cruise.  I had never been on a cruise before.  We went to Alaska, and it was amazing.
Remember how cute we were on the cruise?
6. Went ghost hunting
7.  Lost 65 pounds  At least that was the count before Thanksgiving.  After Thanksgiving and Christmas it was more like 60 pounds, but I did lose 65 pounds at one point in 2013.  I also gained about 5.  The good news is that the end of holiday treats has come and I'm back on the wagon.

Me in January 2013
Me in December 2013 (With a statue of a pelican)

8.  Walked 519.5 miles  That's just the walking that I tracked during my exercise.  That doesn't count just walking around the house.

9.  Lifted 5.7 million pounds.  That's the sum total of all the reps I did at the gym.

10.  Read 68 individual works (some were novellas or short stories) totaling 17,735 pages

11.  Travelled 19,994 miles.  I'm an avid Foursquare user.  This is the sum total of the distances between my check-ins.

12.  Went inside 2 new temples
Reno Nevada Temple

Seattle Washington Temple
13.  Was diagnosed diabetic, and successfully reduced my blood sugar to non diabetic levels.  For those of you who understand these numbers, I was diagnosed diabetic in January with an A1C of 10.7.  My last test was in August with an A1C of 5.7.

14.  Got approved for adoption  We've been trying to adopt for a while, but this year we completed our home study and got through the approval process.  Help us spread the word to find birth parents who are looking to place.

15.  Travelled to 2 new states  I had never been to Alaska or North Carolina before this year.  Alaska was way more awesome, but North Carolina was on a business trip so it may not be a fair comparison.

16.  Celebrated 5 years of marriage  It's hard to believe I've been with the love of my life for 5 years.  In some ways it seems like it's been longer than that, because I can hardly remember what life was like without her.  In some ways it seems like it's been shorter than that because it's gone by so quickly.

As you can see, 2013 was a good year.  The biggest changes were probably in my health, but there were plenty of other fun things as well.

In 2014 I hope to continue to improve my health.  I also hope to utilitize my Scuba certification a few times.  I plan to read lots of books, travel some more, spend time with great people and have lots and lots of fun.

Here's to a great new year!

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