Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Last Day of College

Today was my last day working at the Faculty Center. I've worked there for three years--the same amount of time I've been attending BYU. I also turned in my last project for college tonight.

The Faculty Center was almost the perfect college job. It was on campus, so I could go straight from work to class with very little commute time. It mostly worked around my school schedule. It was very low stress. The people were great. If I needed to take a day off work to study, my boss would support that. I didn't have to work holidays. The people were just amazing. I am so grateful for the people I got to associate and work with during my time there. It was hard not crying when I left the office today. But I kept myself composed. I learned so much working there from both the people and the projects. I really enjoyed helping Kent write his book and it was such a treat to see him finish it my second to last day. Kent is my Morrie.

After work, I proceeded to the Brimhall for the last time where I would finish my final projects for Backpack Journalism and Publication and Design. I went to print my magazine and had some problems. The first printer was out of toner and I couldn't do anything about it. The next printer wouldn't communicate with Pharos so that I could actually print. Then I went to the JSB. The kiosk there wouldn't let me log in. So I went to the JFSB mac lab. I successfully printed my project. But their printer was crap and my magazine looked so bad. So I went to the office to use the wonderful Phaser printer (it prints with wax instead of toner). I got some pretty nice printouts for the project. Then I failed at cutting them down to size but eventually finished. Walked back to the Brimhall to turn in my project and then back to the Law School parking lot where I was parked. I probably broke a record today for number of times I walked across campus and back.

My celebration for being done: I had some money left on my signature card so I bought myself a Cactus Cooler out of the vending machine. I have never had one of those. That stuff is good! It was a nice little celebration.

Tomorrow, I start my new job as a writer for BnBWebsites. I am so excited for this job. The people I will be working with seem amazing. I think I will develop a lot of skills while working there. And I am just plain excited to be helping build websites.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Translating what a source says

This is perhaps the first old-fashioned print article I've written all semester. All my classes this semester are focused on other aspects of journalism, such as video, blogging, design and web. I've kind of forgotten that under some circumstances I like being a journalist and reporter. Maybe I shouldn't rule out reporting jobs. 

While contacting sources, sometimes we as reporters run into this situation: 

What they say: "The best person to talk to about this topic is so-and-so at such-organization. and we'd be happy to talk to you and answer your questions as best we can but so-and-so will be the best to talk to."

What they mean: We are a little knowledgeable on the topic, and we're likely to give you vague PR answers to  your questions, so you should contact so-and-so.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The real honor code

The real reason we can't go in bedrooms of the opposite sex or use the bathroom is cause it would decrease our chances of getting married. Think about it. If a guy walks into your bedroom and sees how messy or smelly it is, he might think twice. Girls, has your opinion of a guy change when you see his bathroom?

As far as curfew goes, you always want what you can't have. So if you can't spend the night with someone, you are more inclined to marry them.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Trying to be better

I should have known I was going to be put through the wringer when I asked to develop greater charity. I guess I expected that I could ask for it and then suddenly be overwhelmed with a greater feeling of love toward people. But developing deep character traits like that don't just happen to us. We have to make a choice to develop them. I can ask to develop greater charity and I'll find myself in situations that propel me to go one of two directions: absolutely hating a person or loving them--it's my choice which one I choose.

I write down the things I fast for each month. I started it in November last year. Well okay technically I did it on my mission but took a two year hiatus from the habit. Today I was looking at what I've been fasting for over the past year. There are the regulars: lose weight, more dates and pass classes with sanity.

I've always struggled with the concept of fasting. I've had a few friends and home teachers help me understand how it works and why we do it. And it makes sense. For like ten minutes. Then I'm at square one and I feel like I dont know why I fast or how fasting for a particular purpose accomplishes anything. But with that said, I have a testimony of fasting. I've gotten answers to prayers through it. I've developed greater strength. And seen more direction in my life from it. Why is it some prayers/fasts are obviously answered (even if not the outcome you wanted) whereas others seem to sit on the shelf forever.

One thing I've concluded about my "regulars" is that I'm expecting God to do all the work on those ones. I want to lose weight but I dont want to do the necessary diet and exercise to make it happen. I just want to wake up one day with a lessened appetite (again, character traits dont just happen to you). I want more dates but I don't go to activities where I can meet guys. Or if I do go, I act terribly shy.

But, one example of a fast I did see manifest was with an internship. On November 6 last year, I fasted to know which internship would be right for me and to be in tune with which ones to pursue. The first week of January I sent out my first rounds of applications. None of those panned out. However I had an opportunity to apply at a magazine locally but felt it didn't jive with my school schedule. I kept searching for and applying for internships.

It was the beginning of April and it was crunch time. Given most journalism internships are lined up nine months in advance and I was down to three weeks away from summer semester with no internship, I was a little under prepared. At this point in time I had applied for a job at the Daily Universe and an internship at LDS Living magazine. While I was driving to my interview at LDS Living, I got a call from the DU. But I didn't call them back until after my interview. They were offering me an editor position at the Universe. What do I do? Do I turn it down and hold out for an internship I might not get? Yep. That's exactly what I did. The Universe needed to know that afternoon if I would take the job and so I said no.

I had the weirdest assurance that something was going to come though. And at the last minute, literally it did. I found out I'd be interning at LDS Living magazine, which turned out to be the perfect internship experience for me. And the thing is...I did the work to find that internship. I didn't just fast for it and then never apply to anything or even research where I would want to intern. So its nice to see how answers to prayers are manifest.

Back to the subject of dating. I've been reading the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People at work (it is an approved way to spend my time on the clock). I'm realizing a lot of problems I have with myself. But one in particular that I'll highlight briefly is how I go to activities/parties expecting to meet guys and then I get super shy and don't talk to anyone. There are several reasons for this. But one is that I expect others to get to know me. They'll talk to me/ask me questions if they want to know me. It's a very me-centered attitude that I have. What can you do for me? You should want to get to know me. How do you make me feel?

"On the maturity continuum, dependence is the paradigm of you--you take care of me; you come through for me; you didn't come through. I blame you for the results." -- Stephen R. Covey, 7 Habits

And in some respects, it is important to recognize how someone makes you feel. But its also important to want to get to know the other person. To wonder what you could do for them. To see how you can make them feel.

"Interdependence is the paradigm of we--we can do it; we can cooperate; we can combine our talents and abilities and create something greater together." -- Stephen R. Covey, 7 Habits

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The date you wish you had

I had the most epic date last night. So I’m doing online dating on ldssingles.com and last night I was supposed to meet this guy named Christian at the dollar theater. Well, he got there and he seemed really good looking. We go into the theater and he rips the ticket stub off for the ticket guy and says “so where’s our movie?” and it kinda rubbed me wrong how he did it. I was thinking, just let the poor kid do his job.

We go into the theater and talk for about 15 minutes before the movie started. He chose Pirates 4. I’d already seen it but because it was such a good movie I was willing to see it again. So like, he bashed on almost everything I liked in those 15 minutes. He bashed on Scion xB’s (my dream car). He bashed on iphones. He bashed on toms shoes. On the one hand, I really like someone who is opinionated and isn’t afraid to share it/argue with me. But he was just like, abrasive. Then the movie starts. Dude, this guy laughs so loud during movies. I was like, oh he’s that guy.

About an hour into the movie he was like “I’ll be right back, I need to go to the bathroom.” And I thought, this guy isn’t coming back. That’s the oldest trick in the book for bailing on a date. But I thought I’d give him the benefit of the doubt. About 15 minutes later I realized it had been about 15 minutes. I said, I’ll give him 30 minutes. Maybe he was having a rough time in the bathroom. Maybe he had an urgent phone call. I gave him 30 minutes. After the allotted time, I said, “ok, well, I have seen this movie before and I have better things to do than sit here,” so I went home.

It’s okay for one or both parties to feel like a date isn’t going anywhere. And I think its polite to suggest ending a date early. If you’re not feeling it, you shouldn’t force yourself to stay. But to sneak out with some copout excuse of going to the bathroom…is weak.  I felt sad for about five minutes. Felt like that was a major slap in the face. But then I looked at it from another person’s point of view and I was like oh that’s funny. This is going to make for a great story to tell people. I should write an article about it or something.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Live, I want to live inspired

There's that fleeting feeling in your soul when you feel pure hope and excitement. Lightness. Inspiration.

I've not always had a love for feeling inspired. It has only come in the past few years. I have always loved movies. But more recently I've gained an appreciation for those that make me think about something differently, ponder life or just feel an emotion.

I've always loved music, but again its more recently that I gravitate to music that moves me, that speaks to me, that I can connect with. I played the violin for seven years but I was never able to connect feelings into what I was playing. My music was emotionless.

My grandma was an artist. My mom is an artist. My sister is an artist. I always felt that because I couldn't draw, I was not an artist. And maybe I still am not an artist but I'm drawn more to art the older I get.

My mission trainer was on this kick when she trained me. She would ask anyone she came in contact with, "What inspires you?" She's an artist.

What inspires me? A lot of things. Movies. Music. Quotes. Paintings. Sculptures. Writing.

I have yet to feel inspired by dance. I know it is a form of expression but it doesn't yet speak to me.

Monday, June 20, 2011

First bike ride

I rode a bike in two areas on my mission. I was perhaps the only sister (or missionary for that matter) in my mission who liked biking as a form of transportation. My first day on the bikes in Liverpool, NY was terrible. We rode approximately 1.8 miles to a member's apartment and it kicked my butt. Mind you, I was in a walk area for seven or eight months prior to this, so I wasn't totally out of shape. That night I couldn't sleep because my legs hurt so bad. But I got used to it. In my last area, we'd ride anywhere from 6 to 20 miles in a day. My friend and former mission companion L can attest to this. She questioned my sanity when we rode to places like Chittenango and Delphi Falls. With that said...

That was three years ago. I decided for the summer, I want to bike into work because its only nine miles down to work and I've got the time and energy to do it. And it will save on gas. And I need exercise and I need to lose weight. It's a win/win situation.

Today I decided to see where I'm at with biking so I took my bike for a 5.5 mile ride. If it was flat, it would be a piece of cake. But I chose a hilly path. On the uphills I was averaging about 5 miles an hour and 14 mph on the flat sections.

After my dad got home he told me about a lower gear I can access on the left handle bar that I didn't know about. So maybe I could have done better on the hills had I known there was a lower gear than what I was doing. I went south just under three miles and then turned around and went back. So I had mostly three miles of downhill followed by three miles of uphill. Note to self: Don't do the downhill part first. Maybe even find a bike path that has fewer stop signs.

Stop signs suck. When stopping, lean uphill rather than downhill. You'd think because I have some experience in snowboarding on hills that I'd transfer that knowledge but I didn't. The end result was hitting that top tube in the last place one would like to be hit. I don't know what the girl-equivalent term for "nutting" is but thats basically what happened.

The other problem is I was riding my dad's road bike which is a 53 cm frame and I should be riding between a 46-50 cm frame. You might think 3 cms wouldn't make that much of a difference but I felt like riding something more my size would be more comfortable. And maybe having a women's specific bike with the top tube a little lower would help when I need to stop.

No matter where on the handlebars I had my hands, I felt a lot of weight on my palms and that was probably the most annoying part.

When I got home, I walked up the stairs and my legs felt like noodles. But I've been home an hour now and I feel fine. We'll see how sore I am in the morning.

On Thursday I think I'm going to find somewhere to rent a bike for a day. I want to try a smaller frame to see if I like that better. But if I do, that will present a problem :) Anyway, I had a goal to be riding into work by Friday this week but I think that'll be put off another week or so. I need to figure out the bike situation and then work up to being able to ride 9 miles uphill.

All in all, I enjoyed my ride today. It was a relaxing workout. Except for the part where I tripped. And the stop signs in the most inconvenient of places. For example, there is this a downhill section followed by a sharp uphill. If I could have started at the top of the hill, sped down to gain speed and then go up, that would have been ideal. But no, there is a stop sign with a cross street with fast cars so you have to stop. then start from a stand still at the bottom of the hill. It sucks. And one time I was downshifting and I think the bike got stuck between two gears and I didn't know what the heck to do about it. I guess I got it figured out cause I finished the ride.

It was like the first day snowboarding. I couldn't stay standing up very long. I fell a lot. Couldn't turn. My legs were sore from using muscles I wasn't used to using. I wouldn't call anyone's first day on the slopes real snowboarding (well except for maybe T's first day). Everyone has a sucky first day boarding but either you love it enough to persevere through the learning process or you hate it enough to never go again.

I'd prefer to keep pushing through till I can ride my bike to Salt Lake and back.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Salad of thoughts

at my internship, it's weird having to switch between the creative, magazine style to the news style for my online news stories. news stories are so much easier to do when all you're doing is working (or you have one class twice a week in the evenings). having so much time and knowing some of the tips and tricks really makes the process quicker and more efficient. 

news stories are the lifeblood of writing for me. i get excited and feel a mild rush as i begin a story. hunting down sources, figuring out the direction. some stories lend themselves to being easily discovered and told though. that same exhilirating rush i can get from going through those steps with some stories can be the very same process that leads me to downright anxiety and frustration. i guess its feeling the success in those steps is where i feel most excited. 

i love seeing how stories unfold. each story is like using a different medium. you have to kind of figure out what the stories medium is and go with that. If you have a story that functions like water color, you cant really expect it to act like oil paint. one of the hard parts of forming your story is figuring out if your story is a piece of wood to be carved, or if it is clay that is molded or pastels that are drawn with. you do have control over the creative process of what you do with the medium, but it can be insanity to the journalist to try and make a story something its not. dont just try and make your story fit into one or two cookie cutter molds and dont assume at the beginning you know how it'll all turn out. allow it to develop itself. 

writing for the daily universe or other church-owned media is like just being another branch of church pr. you have to basically just say good things about the Church.

often when people blog they feel like they have unique ideas, or ways to express them. 

people aren't always who you think they are. 

people need a purpose for their lives. not just "oh i go to work every day" but they need to be making a difference in each others lives. Or else people will be miserable. if you're not experiencing things that inspire you, you'll become depressed. if you're not involved in making things better (even if they are really small things) you wont feel that purpose or excitement for life. 

Katie's camping list for a successful campout

My ward went on an overnight campout up at the Heber Valley Camp. I didn't know what to pack. I mean come, on this isn't girls camp where they provide you with a packing list. But its a good thing this isnt girls camp cause there are boys and I can legally bring my ipod and makeup and drive my own car. So I pack what I think I'll need for an overnight excursion: foam mattress, sleeping bag, pillow, camp chairs, hoodie, change of clothes, bug repellant, pink keds, tan keds (just in case), flashlight, toothpaste, toothbrush, hair brush, qtips and a other random things like a pen, ipod, headphones, etc.

Whats missing from this list that you might want for a camping trip?

I get up there, unload my car and chill out in the pavilion with some other latecomers (the rest of the group was down the hill at a challenge course). I ask one of the leaders what the plan is for the next day. Among other things, she said some people might go hiking. Hiking boots! I didn't think to bring hiking boots! Or socks for that matter. I haven't worn socks in probably three months.

After they got back, we had a kind-of fireside thing. It became very, very cold. My feet were freezing. I wish I had socks. And a real jacket. but everyone else was in hoodies so I didn't feel so bad. But at least they all had their hiking boots to keep their feet warm. I had a thin pair of canvas keds on.

While camping, I was dying to blog. But obviously didn't have technology to do so. So I wrote my thoughts on a piece of paper with a pen. Can you imagine that? I wrote about my unpreparedness for camping and the need to blog. And boy scout juice.

So, I'm afraid of the dark. Legitimately afraid. Not just like a little nervous when its dark. I used to have to sleep with the light on when I was younger. It kind of went away when I was a teenager but now its back. Perhaps the person who knows this about me better than anyone is T. So I'm sitting on my bunk and realize my headphones are in the car. Its dark and late. And I'm afraid of the dark. And there are bears up in the mountains. And boys. I was glad to know none of those boys knew me well enough to try and scare me in the dark. T would probably have done it if he were there (note to self: reconsider going camping with T if given the opportunity). Luckily I made it back to the cabin, headphones in hand,  without being attacked by a boy or a bear.

Aside from my unpreparedness, it was a fun campout. It was fun sitting by the fire at night and hearing people tell stories or jokes. I warmed my feet up by sticking them up next to the fire. Maybe the soles of my shoes melted a little but I didn't care. I ended up bailing early on Sat morning on account that I couldn't go on the hike and I didn't want to just sit around at camp. Most the people who weren't going on the hike were also bailing out early. And I missed having cell phone reception a little bit. But while I was up at the camp I kinda liked not being able to check the internet or my phone. It was nice.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Opening my mind

But not with drugs. Unless you consider music a drug. A friend of mine, T, invited me to a concert for a band I'm not too familiar with called Manchester Orchestra. So why would I agree to attend a concert of a band I've never heard longer than 3 seconds?

Because an experience I had going to another concert. When I went to see Taking Back Sunday with my little sister, I couldnt get into the band beforehand. She burned me a cd and I just couldnt like their stuff. But I had to go to the concert because Christine was young enough at the time that my parents wouldnt let her go without me. And because I already had spent the money on a ticket. At the concert, I fell for their music. Then TBS became one of my favorite bands that summer. From that experience I concluded, some bands are just better live. And some are better when they've been doctored up in the studio (Black Eyed Peas, anyone?)

So Sunday night I say to T, "I guess I have one week to get into Manchester Orchestra." I was excited at the prospect. The first time I listened to them I was not hooked. I could appreciate a couple of songs for their musical qualities but they didn't catch my interest. Pensacola was one of the first I liked for its sound--not so much for the lyrics. T asked me what I thought of the lead's voice. It is very unique. I liked it. I also like the voice of the lead singer in Anberlin who also has a unique voice. And James Blunt. Some people are turned off by those types of voices. And trust me, there are voices of musicians out there that I simply cannot stand. Not the case this time.

I've known for awhile that it usually takes me a long time to like new stuff and I usually hate everything at the beginning. One of my most favorite bands right now, Muse, was a band I was unimpressed with at first.

I've listened to Simple Math every day (sometimes multiple times a day) this week. Monday and Tuesday, I was trying to force their style and sound into my little box. That wasn't working. I wanted to be in love with the lyrics but it just wasnt happening. T knows lyrics is one of the biggest things that drives me to particular songs. With him, not so much. He is more interested in the melodies a song has to offer. I think emotion can be strongly expressed in both ways, but one is a little more obvious than the other. Props to T for appreciating the unspoken emotion of a song. By Tuesday I felt like I was entering into an arranged marriage with Manchester Orchestra on Saturday. I was going to a concert of a band I didn't choose and I didn't want to back out. I wanted to make it work. But it was going to be a mystery as to what the band would bring to the arranged marriage. It wasn't like I felt dismay at the prospect of an arranged marriage. Just this feeling of, "ok, I'm going to make this work despite my preconceived notions."

Wednesday was a turning point for me. A couple of songs really started to stand out to me, like Pale Black Eye and Virgin. Pale Black Eye snuck up on me. It was toward the end of the song when I felt the emotion the lead singer was conveying as well as the music supporting him. As it ended I had to restart the song with this open-mindedness that I might actually like other parts and aspects of the song if only I looked for them. The song grew on me fast.  At first I didn't like Virgin because of how heavy it was and I typically gravitate to lighter styles like John Mayer or Death Cab. I could appreciate Virgin for what it was trying to do, but it didn't catch me. Kind of like how I can acknowledge Jazz music as good and talented without actually liking it. But Virgin grabbed me because of its predictable repetitiveness. Maybe it is a little too repetitive but it got stuck in my head. Then I started allowing myself to feel the emotion of it and then I loved it. I told T a few of the songs were actually starting to grow on me. I gave up on trying to be in love with the lyrics and just tried to appreciate the sound because thats what got me with Pale Black Eye. One of the reasons I had a hard time with this specific band is that I couldn't understand what they were saying half the time.

Today is when I was able to articulate the reasons I had a hard time with this album at first. I've learned from this experience that I'm pretty closed-minded about new music and thats why I usually don't like it at first.  I try and cram music into a box. I want it to sound a certain way. I want the structure of a song to follow a certain format. I have to fall in love with the lyrics. If it gets stuck in my head quickly, all the more better. I like music with predictable repetition. I've got to be able to sing along. But after listening to most of the songs several times, I've realized I have to read a little deeper into the lyrics to understand what they mean. I have to work at appreciating the message. I also did a little googling wed night to find some explanations by the band. Not every song is explained but hearing the central message of what Simple Math is about, I realize that there's a very specific context for some of these songs and its not blatantly obvious. And if you dont know what that context is, you are like a lost wanderer in a foreign land. Anyway, yesterday I accepted I couldn't expect to appreciate the songs based on lyrics alone. And today I realized these songs just dont follow a structure I'm used to. But when I started opening my mind do what they are (instead of what they aren't) I started to feel a new hope that I could maybe really like this band.

I'm still excited to see if they're awesome in concert on Saturday. Thats one question I had from the start and after this whole process this week, it still remains.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Explaining why i have to explain people

I dont understand people. I dont understand where they get their ideas. Why they get pleasure from what they do. Why they treat others the way they do.

I dont even understand myself.

I know that I judge people because its how I think I can make them make sense in my head. Or to put it another way...people dont make sense. when they dont, my first reaction is to judge them. but why is that my response? because if i judge them, i give an explanation for why they are the way they are. Or maybe I dont give an explanation, but I put them in some sort of box and then I feel like they make sense to me now. so judging people is how i fool myself into thinking they make sense to me. or explaining them.

Even though judging them is so wrong in so many ways. I cant assume I know why people are the way they are. I cant put them into a box because usually the box I choose is much worse than what reality is. But I have a hard time dealing with the fact that people are confusing to me. I have to be able to explain 85% of what I observe in my life.

The best I can come up with is that most of the time, people do things the way they do for a reason (even though that reason is not apparent to me).

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


I figured I'd join the bandwagon with my many classmates who are doing their summer internships and blog about my experience. I am interning at LDS Living in downtown Salt Lake City. So far I have helped write some articles and learned about the tone and style of the magazine. It is a smaller team than I thought it would be but I think that will give me opportunities to pick up more skills than I would if I were at a larger publication.

Our print articles are written in Chicago Style and I'm only trained in AP style. On Friday, everyone was out of the office and I got writers block. My solution was to read some of the Chicago style book. Wow. On the one hand I found it kinda interesting. On the other hand, it makes me thankful for the ability to write creatively.

As far as exploring SLC, on Tuesday and Friday I went to Blue Lemon on South Temple. Caitlin met me on Friday and we had a nice lunch. I'm excited to eat at some of the new little places in the City Creek center and just exploring downtown. We talked about our classmates interning in NYC, about how our market is SLC and mormons, about how their market isnt mormon, etc.

Today I got home from Atlanta with Professor Randle, Kayla Frandson and Paige Guthrie. We met at the airport at 6am on Saturday and got to Atlanta at 2pm. Professor Randle let us go to work that afternoon. We were like embedded journalists as we sat backstage watching the Young Ambassadors prepare for their big show that night. We had been given topics for our articles but we just weren't sure what we were doing for the first little while. Saturday was our longest day. We were up very early to be at the airport at 6am and didn't get back to the hotel till around 11pm.

Sunday we went to church in Canton, GA. It was fun to hear conversion stories and advice on how you can go to the store on fri nights to get your home teaching done cause all the members are shopping. We went to a member's house for dinner. She has lived in Georgia nearly her whole life (minus going to BYU) and she made us southern chicken courdon bleu, spinach strawberry nut salad with lemon poppyseed dressing, mashed potatoes and amazing peach cobbler. Then we went to a fireside put on by the YA's. I conducted an interview with the teacher I'm doing a profile on (watch for a link to that later). Kayla dominated on interviews that night. I think she interviewed all of the YA's.

Monday morning us journalism students went to some civil war sites including Kennesaw Mountain and a cemetery in Marietta where many war soldiers are buried. It was crazy to find out that around 3000 of the soldiers buried in that cemetery were unidentified U.S. soldiers. You cant help but feel a different kind of reverence as you walk around this site. As we drove up to Kennesaw mountain, I tried to imagine a civil war battle going on amidst all the trees. There are so many trees that it just doesnt seem possible. I think they must have chopped down a section of trees just to have the battle there. And how exactly will they see the troops coming when everywhere you look all you see are trees? It would be one thing to stand at the top of Ensign Peak in SLC and see the troops coming all the way from point of the mountain but here in the dense trees it just seemed impossible. We had an amazing lunch at this place called Sonny's in Marietta. I had baby back ribs for the first time and ate more southern food. It was fun to drive around with Professor Randle and share comms department stories and have him explain to us why the program is the way it is. We spent the evening with the YA's at FHE with a bunch of YSA. Enough acronyms there?

Some memorable things from our trip were walking into the American Girl store and explaining to the sales associate that "we're with him." "Left turn on MOLLY lane," our smoker car. People who are always "on." Hunting down a battery charger.  Giving a stranger a ride to the hospital. Observing the wallflowers.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Start of Summer

Well, I moved back to btown for the summer because I got an internship at LDS Living magazine. I have no idea what to expect. I know I'll be writing articles and doing some editing and probably some fact checking. But there were some methods to getting stories done in the journalism program and I don't know if they will work in the real world. For example, in school, interviews are done on your own time so you schedule them whenever (and whenever your sources can meet). But at my internship, I'll have set hours every day where I'm in the office. Do I set up interviews during that time? Do I always do interviews on the phone or do I leave the office? Do I lug my laptop with me as I am used to doing in school?

When I moved home a week ago, I was really nervous to leave my Provo crowd. There is a distinct culture there and I'm afraid to admit I became very accustomed to it. When I moved here I was reintroduced to the smell of cigarette smoke (dont find that at BYU) and everyone up here is Ute fans. So I wear my BYU sweatshirt with pride. I was afraid that because I am so shy, I wouldn't make friends very well. But my friend Chad has introduced me to a lot of neat people and I just feel more comfortable around them. I went to a party last night and it was so fun! I know, I hate parties but this was fun. Its so nice to be around people more my age. I'm hoping I can make a lot of new friends when I start attending my new ward.

This summer I'm going to Atlanta for a journalism trip. We will be reporting on the Young Ambassadors trip there. I have never been to the South so it should be fun and interesting. Later this summer I'm going to Portland for Jess and Laren's wedding. I'm excited to see Oregon and see this lovely couple finally get married. I am also looking forward to graduating in December. I've been working on getting my degree for what feels like forever. It seems like by now I should have a masters degree.

I've realized that I can dress like a homeless person at school and get away with it because a fourth of the student body also dress that way (either cause they like the look or cause they're poor like me) but now that I'm doing this internship, I have to dress nicely (business casual) which means I have to look a little more presentable than a homeless person. Also, I cant show up late to work like I can be five minutes late to class. On a positive note, it'll be nice to know I'm not getting graded on my articles. But they do impact my reputation and I'll never improve as a writer if I always treat articles like something to just get done.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

If I might be so arrogant...

I was talking with Brandon about how my Utah's 4th seat story made the front page of the Daily Universe (http://universe.byu.edu/node/14203) today. I was kinda excited. My first thought as I read the headline was "wait, that's something I wrote about" and then I checked the byline and realized "hey that's my article!"

I know it is just the BYU student newspaper. NBD. But what makes me excited that it was published is how competitive it is to get your article in this newspaper. Here is a link to the editorial written by the editor-in-chief about the decision-making process of what 5 articles make the front page every day: http://universe.byu.edu/node/14135 . In a nutshell, on any given day, I am competing with 70 reporters to make it into one of four or five slots on the front page. So its competitive at times. And I rely on my editor to try and "sell" my story well. Actually, my editor attempts to sell around 20 advanced reporting students's stories, so its not just me who relies on her selling skills.

Anyway, I feel grateful for the stories of mine that have been published this semester and for everyone who has helped me put my articles together. It truly involves a lot of chefs in the kitchen and they deserve more credit for their knowledge than I do for simply spreading the word through articles.

Advanced print reporting students learn more about story structure, and how to get better sources for articles. At least thats mostly what I've learned halfway through the semester in my two advanced writing courses. Lets hope I learn more the second half of the semester.

Anyway so I was sitting in the newsroom the other day and I called one of the state senators about a story I was doing. Some of the "intermediate" reporters were a little shocked that I would be so bold as to call a senator. I might be interviewing Mark Shurtleff, the state's attorney general. NBD. I guess once you've spent a semester in the program, you realize the following: your sources can be people other than students/professors, people with big titles will talk to you and there can be a logical organization to how your story is written.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Old blog

Here's the map of how I got to this blog post. friday night, danielle and i watched the social network. then we became obsessed with mark zuckerberg. i was reading the time article about him from last year. there was a mention of myspace in it and i wanted to go check out myspace. logged in and poked around for a bit. found my old blog from before the mish. I decided to put one of my posts up on this blog. It was written Sept 22 2006. Enjoy!

    reading brandon's blog about his summer got me thinking about mine. so here goes. my summer vacation has been one of the better ones i can recall. in may, it was all about spending as much time with kristina as possible before she left on her mission. i have been friends with her since 6th grade so she has always been a good friend and anchor for me. we both moved to ogden our freshman year of college so she was even there for me when i tried to get away from everything i knew. we went and hiked adams canyon with annie, craig and meredith. that was great. wish i had hiked more. well, actually, there was that hike with nick, scott and a bunch of other people when we went to elephant rock. thats a nice hike to do. i hope i do it again in the fall before i leave. oh and then there was country swing dancing with kristina, brad, scott, and nick. and that time i went "country" dancing with dallin. and kristinas 'non drinking drinking party' when she turned 21. anyone want some water?

then there were the times i'd hang out with brandon. well, we hung out more in the spring than we did summer but we can pretend. times like the coffee break and andrews big 21. heck, me and brandon went a few years without talking much at all, and then becoming tight again was pretty cool. it was fun to reconnect with eric and hang out at his apartment. the last time i had talked to eric was seriously like four years ago when we went and saw the ring in the movie theater. hanging out with brandon and his friends was fun. we should have hung out more.

in june, my mom, sister and i all took a girls trip down to cali. that was the best trip ever. i love cali and really miss it. even though i've lived in utah longer than california, being down there felt more like home, it felt more natural. even though i didnt know my way around. but thats ok. while i was in cali i got a call from dicks saying they wanted to hire me. so as soon as i got back from cali, i was filling out my paperwork there and started back up like three days after getting home from the trip.

i didnt know what to expect with working at dicks again. the only person i knew there still was cindy and everyone was in high school. but, all the employees in the front end turned out to be incredibly nice. everyone is friends there. most everyone gets along great with everyone else. it was just a fun place to be. and i met nick, the little bro i never had. fourth of july is all i have to say. good times with nick and ryan. then there were the long chats and the drives in my car, and playing at the park late at night. getting fast food late at night. staying out really late. killing the tires on my car. looking at the stars. watching movies or just tv. driving though mcdonalds backwards! more long chats.

at the end of august, jake left for his mission. that wasnt exactly the happiest time for me this summer but i was really glad that he got to finally leave. he will make such a great missionary. and me and brittany became pretty good friends through the whole experience. cali chicks do it better! oh that reminds me of the two interesting dates i had with nate... and then how he was talking about me at the sparkmans house. that was great. the world keeps getting smaller and smaller.

other random things that were great this summer, going for my first ride on a bullet bike was great. the concerts we went to, doing the ziprider at park city, going camping up in tremonton. tpb for life! getting my mission call this week was amazing. but i have another blog about that so i wont get into great detail here.

meeting dustin in the latter part of may was great. i only knew him for about 3 weeks but he was awesome. i am sad that things didnt work out with him, but i wouldnt be going on a mission if anything had happened. him and one other guy have given me a pretty good indication of the kinda guy i want to end up married to some day. but the other guy tends to think he is a jerk most of the time so he wont usually admit hes such a great guy.

anyway i think thats about all i can think of for this summer. it was a good one. thank you everyone who was apart of it!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Fast Sunday

I haven't gotten up to bear (bare?) my testimony in probably a year. Half the time, I don't have the desire to. The other half are times when I am boxed in on each side with six people to my left and six to my right. I'm serious. This happens so often. And I usually don't want to go through the process of climbing over everyone to get out. I'm sorry! I always try to sit in the middle to be considerate of others. I hate when I have to climb over other people so I try and reduce that for other people as much as possible.

But. Today I only had one person blocking me from the aisle. That was primarily what sparked my desire to get up today. Because it would be convenient. Yes. I said it. So I am waiting for my turn to go up on the front row of the chapel and thinking about what I want to say. I don't know what it is about that podium but when I get up there, I have to speed through all my thoughts as fast as possible or else I will forget everything. I don't get too nervous speaking in front of people but I do worry I'll forget everything I want to say. But, I didn't want to just get up and rush through my testimony like I always do. I wanted there to be a trace amount of conviction behind what I was saying. So I took the risk of not remembering what I would say. I didn't sound very eloquent and I stumbled over a lot of thoughts but at least I feel I was able to feel what I was saying rather than just say it.

I didn't want to adjust the microphone because they had so many technical issues with it earlier in the meeting. So I left the microphone where it was...and it was higher than my eye level. That's okay. I got the indication that people could still hear me so I proceeded to speak. Timidly. Making eye contact with the mic a few times. Anyway so I finish my testimony and sit down. Brian, a guy in my ward, stands up and I realize the mic is midway down his chest and I realize, "oh my gosh. I am so short. The mic was at my eye level when I stood there but its level with his chest." It caused me to wonder...could people even see me over the podium?

Needless to say, it was a contender for one of the best fast and testimony meetings I have experienced. The testimonies were all so strong and full of conviction and sincerity. There was such a  strong peaceful feeling. There wasn't a single person who was getting up just for the sake of getting up to check it off their list for the month. But I feel that is so often the case in testimony meetings. Anyway so usually I zone out during testimony meetings but today I was acutely listening to all the testimonies. The next thing I know, I look at the clock and its 9:55 am. Sacrament usually ends at 9:35 and I am usually the first one to notice when a meeting has gone 10 seconds over time. But today I was just so encapsulated by the testimonies that I had no thought or desire to watch the clock. It was beautiful. People are beautiful.

In Relief Society we learned about fasting. It was very appropriate. We started out talking about how two means counts as 24 hours and got into a discussion on length of time. It was mostly a positive discussion on the benefits of fasting longer. Then a friend of mine asked if there was an official statement about how long to fast. She suggested we shouldn't become like the Pharisees where we get so concerned with counting the hours that we lose the spirit of the fast and what our actual focus is on. I appreciated that.

My ethics class had a discussion about this. In the church, the leaders have to teach principles as black and white. They give us the ideals partially because if they were to teach us the grey, they would have to go through every possible shade of grey and what scenarios and conditions it is okay to not meet the ideal. And that could take a lifetime or more to spell out.

Elder Hafen gave a wonderful talk about the ambiguity that exists between what is reality and what is ideal. I feel that as christians, it is our responsibility to figure out how to deal with the fact that we are given principles in black and white and we have to find out how to apply them in grey situations.  Here is a link to the talk. It is an absolute must read.  http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=6727  

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Thankful for

I am thankful for sources who lead you to other sources. And when sources give you information you didn’t think to ask for, but prove to be very helpful to your story.

I appreciate writing. I like writing, communicating and story telling. I like what communicating does for people--not just communicating out of necessity but also for sharing knowledge.

I realize my interests are more in feature writing: topics including trends, our culture, society hobbies, interesting people and stories. I don't like having to write a story on a very short deadline so I need to stay away from newspapers. I am very thorough and try to exhaust every angle of a story before deciding which way is best to go. That often isn’t conducive to short-deadline writing.

People want to be heard. That is one of the benefits people experience with Facebook and twitter and blogging. But people who flood the news feed tend to annoy other Facebook users. So why not blog more? I know a lot of people have blogs, but a lot of people exhaust the patience of Facebook users because they use Facebook to function as a blog when they should just get a blog.

Franks sauce on a hard boiled egg. I don’t know why but it is just so delicious. I’m thankful for New York exposing me to such a sauce. New York also gave me a better appreciation for good pizza, salt potatoes, chicken riggies and wings. Soy sauce has been out of my life for far too long. And orange juice. Holy cow, orange juice is so good!

We spent 6 hours together today. We saw each other twice today and several times this week. I'm in a relationship with the library.

I was feeling really down earlier this afternoon. Down to the point where I wanted pity and attention from others. Brandon gladly obliged. Then I went and spent more time with my new boyfriend, the library. That got my mind off of things for a while. Then after I emerged from the library, I felt an overwhelming need to just get outside of myself and be more concerned for others. Thanks Eric for being sick and making me feel like I wanted to help you and causing this concern for others. So then I texted about 4 people in my phone and asked how they were doing and just let them know I was thinking about them and wanted to make sure they were okay. As I walked home, I thought about this whole process. Often times we get down. And we want empathy from others. We have an opportunity in those low circumstances to get outside ourselves and feel a genuine concern for others. If that feeling isn’t genuine, it won’t lead to you feeling more fulfilled. I suspect it also wont lead to very effective results in helping others to feel better. And don’t forget to act on that concern.

On a side note. Let me give a shout out to my home teacher Derek for spontaneously stopping by my apartment this afternoon. He showed up about a half hour after I started feeling really blue. Just the fact that he was guided to stop by at just the right time made me feel a little better. It made me feel like God was aware I felt bad and reached out to me by sending my home teacher. I was glad to know he cared enough to act on a prompting.

I just invented a word. consortment. It means a group of stuff (i.e., I just ate a consortment of foods for dinner tonight). I realize assortment would probably accomplish the same function.

I never really blogged about thoughts I had my first week of school. It is time. My Comms 420 professor is from Wales and isn’t Mormon. His wife is Mormon though. When they lived on the east coast, he attended church every week with his wife. One day the bishop of that ward came up to him and said he had better church attendance than all the other members. Professor Hughes related that story to us to indicate he has credibility. He worked for the Christian Science monitor and editor for the Deseret news when they transitioned from afternoon to morning news. I am often found walking around campus with a newspaper in hand now. My 420 class is doing a collaborative project about immigration with a bunch of other classes including my 377 class. Professor Randle told us we could partner with ourselves. 

Things I've learned as a student reporter

The way you dress has a lot to do with how your source will trust and open up to you. You need to dress professionally. Yet, you need to match the person you are interviewing. For example, if you are interviewing a corporate VP, dress in your nicest suit. If you're interviewing a forest services employee, jeans and a polo might be better. Dont wear your fancy shoes if you'll be out at a construction site. The following article really helped me shape my understanding of how to dress:


I learned by my own experience on my first story, as well as my news reporting instructor, not to procrastinate starting your story. Just because you work well under pressure and with deadlines doesnt mean you should wait till close to the deadline to start working on your story. Don't voluntarily create pressure for yourself by procrastination. My professor said as soon as you get your story, spend at least 15 minutes with making preliminary contacts and research. This can save so much time. Sources may take awhile to get back to you and scheduling interviews may be more complicated than you think. You can't assume you'll be able to contact a source hours before deadline and expect to get an interview that fits your schedule. With my first story, I thought it would be good to "mull it over" for a few hours before I started contacting. I realized if I had started early, I may have been able to set up interviews that weren't as in conflict with my schedule.

Entertainment News

I know I'm asking for this. I am willingly putting myself into the media sector by choosing to be a news reporter. I know the industry has a lot of flaws and weaknesses (aside from the obvious financial troubles news outlets are experiencing).

I hate how the time, money, energy, and other resources that are put into the news business are wasted on entertainment news. I'm not talking specifically about headlines relating to celebrities, movies, music, and tv, although I think that is a mostly pointless aspect of the news. What I am referring to are news headlines and articles that really don't impact us as a society at all. They focus on whats interesting, entertaining, and weird. Not on

"Petraeus chokes at senate hearing." I am so glad to know someone important was choking during a congressional meeting. so vital for us to know. What makes this newsworthy?

"Spanish Fork Police chief says he was going to buy pants, not steal them." thats just great. I guess its important for people to know their police chief is up to some shady stuff. It blows the whistle for people to look into some of his other practices.

I guess my definition of "newsworthy" is a lot more narrow than what is accepted in the industry. The news reports the ideas that will sell. One of the facets caters to this human emotion that wants to know about the "out-of-the-ordinary" occurances, the shocking tales of crime, abuse, and misconduct.

I wish the news would move away from simply "what's happening" and toward "this thing that is happening is a big deal because _____ (and there really should be some credibility to it) and this is how it influences you"

Who really cares if Katy Perry is a Lady Gaga fan?

I just feel like the issues that we really need to be aware of, the things happening around us that impact us, are quietly being kept undercover while we

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Post Office Irony and Oatmeal Cookies

On December 30th, I decided to go mail my resume to a news organization I am hoping to get an internship for.  The post office inside the Wilk usually services my mailing needs but on this particular day, this location was closed. You mean I actually have to go further than 2 blocks from campus to do something other than grocery shop?

Ok fine. I made it all the way down to 100 south and 100 west. The first time, I drove right past the post office without realizing it. Wondering if maybe they had relocated because of Nu Skin purchasing 100 West, I thought it must be around here somewhere. I had seen a mail delivery truck right behind me. I circled the block and realized it was just on the other corner. I only checked two of the four corners.

As I am pulling into the parking lot, I see a sign that says something to the effect of, "Fifteen minute parking for post office customers only" followed by some other words. I dwelt on that for a minute and then parked. Thursday afternoon at 2:30 couldn't be that busy. Oh but it was. For the first ten minutes, there was only one attendant working. Not surprising. My mom related to me a story of standing in line at the post office during the Christmas rush and how you'd be lucky if you could get out in under an hour. I think I had about 7 people in front of me in line. Then the second attendant came back. But, he spent about 10 minutes with one customer.

Then a man walks up to the counter with about five small packages. My theory is he was shipping bombs to all parts of the world. Whatever the case, these boxes were going to places like Canada and Brazil. He was one of those customers who did extensive market research on exactly how much he would expect to spend on his packages before stepping foot in the post office. This made it difficult for the poor attendant. He would quote the customer a price and the customer would go on about how he looked the price up online and it should be something different. He was with the attendant for about 15 minutes before it was my turn with the other attendant. I am pleased to say my postal needs were met within 60 seconds. It was a heavy, odd-shaped envelope and I just didn't know how much postage it would require. The postal man figured it out fast. I felt a sense of pride. I knew the lady standing behind me was absolutely elated because I was so fast. Most of the customers were taking 5 minutes each at the counter. I left the post office and mr international-packages was still there. I estimate he was there at least 15 minutes. He could have been there longer. I have no way of knowing because I was out of there.

As I walked out of the post office I saw the automated postage machine and wondered if that would have worked for my needs. Maybe I will check it out next time. My total time spent in the post office was 25 minutes. The irony is that the post office only allows for 15 minute parking. Go figure.

In other news,  I have been on a quest to find the best oatmeal raisin cookie recipe. A friend of mine revealed that is his favorite cookie and I am determined to impress with my domestic cooking skills. Guys like cookies, right? A few months ago I searched the internet. Found about two or three recipes I wanted to try. But then they just sat in a folder for a few months. Over the break I have decided I have time to bake. I looked the recipes over and picked the one I think sounded the best.

I could write an entire blog on the differences between the recipes but I wont. I'll simply say, I think most recipes are afraid of nutmeg. Don't fear the nutmeg. It does wonders to your oatmeal raisin cookies. (On a side note, I keep typing raising every time I attempt raisins).

The first time I made the recipe,  I used margarine. Epic mistake. I was at the grocery store looking in the butter section and saw a brand and wondered, "Why is this brand of butter so cheap? Significantly cheaper than the rest" so I grabbed it. When I got home I realized, it was margarine. The box says they are "better for baking buttery sticks" so in my defense, I was easily fooled. I made the recipe anyway. It tasted wonderful! It cooked terribly. Stupid margarine.

Today I decided to cut the recipe in half and use butter instead of margarine. After realizing I had to adjust the cook time so the cookies dont burn, I decided they are okay. The texture was good. They werent too flat. The color was alright. But  I decided this time they didn't taste right. They have less "kick" to them than the first attempt did. I think it has something to do with the nutmeg.

So, I will try this recipe one more time by following each step exactly. No substitute ingredients. No halving the recipe. We'll see how that works. If it doesn't, I will forever abandon recipe A and try an adapted version of the standard oatmeal raisin cookie recipe found on the Quaker oatmeal container. So continues the quest for the perfect oatmeal raisin cookie.