Saturday, March 29, 2008

Jon Schmidt

Last night we went to a Jon Schmidt concert in Rexburg. Jaydn went with us because he is becoming quite the pianist. Jaydn remembers the music from his entire opera that he put on with his class, and he has plucked it all out on the piano now. So he really enjoyed Jon Schmidt's piano playing.

I used to have no appreciation for "ear players." "Why can't they just learn how to read music?" I thought. Plus, usually their music all sounds the same. Same beat, same set of chords, etc.

I'm not saying that Jon Schmidt can't read music. I'm sure he can. But when you come from a music reading background, it's hard to appreciate ear players.

But Jon Schmidt is amazing. He plays the piano with absolutely no hesitation. His music is quite fun. I hadn't heard much of his stuff before the concert, but I really enjoyed it.

He is also the ultimate entertainer. His antics on the piano add to the fun.

The coolest part of the concert was when he asked for someone in the audience to yell out the blues notes (is that what they're called??). A guy, who I'm guessing was a BYU-I student, jumped up and yelled them all out. So Jon called the guy up and told him to play blues on the piano alongside him. Totally unstaged. For the next few minutes they both rocked out on the piano. It was pretty neat.

Anyway, I'm not a pianist, so I can't explain how fun the concert was. But I have put some of Jon Schmidt's music on the blog, so check it out.

Jaydn is now plucking out on the piano the notes to "Waterfall" (see below).

Friday, March 28, 2008

A Face from the Past

I ran into Professor Marlor (my old poli-sci teacher at Ricks) today at my law firm. He was here for an Idaho Citizen's Law Academy meeting. He's still the same great guy. I thought some of you would get a kick out of that (Darcy).

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

What's in a Name?

These name changes are pretty funny.

What would you change your name to?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Kid Opera

I have to backtrack a little for this entry. Jaydn's 1st grade class put on an opera a few weeks ago. They wrote the words. They wrote the storyline. And they helped write the music. They even created the set.

1st grade.
In the opera, they are pilgrim kids that fall asleep and wake up in 2008. They go to school but are really confused, don't like the food, and can't understand their teacher. So, they figure they need to get back in time, so they get in their Delorean (oops, wrong story), I mean, they try a potion with hair and pickles but it doesn't work. So they create a time machine and, suddenly, they wake up as pilgrim kids again.

Yup, 1st grade.

Easter 2008

I enjoy Easter. Kinda just the opposite of my St. Patrick's Day entry, I know.

On Saturday we had a big Easter egg hunt in our backyard. My parents, Jessi's parents, Melissa and Logan and Chandler and Angela all came. It was really fun to be with everyone, but for goodness sakes, why was there still snow on the ground? I mean, my mom hid Easter eggs in the snow!

Logan found an egg in our window well, but he looks like he's breaking and entering.

Afterward, we went to Bajio's for lunch for my birthday.

On Sunday, we all met at Jessi's parents' home and had Easter dinner. Oh, and a carrot cake for me. I like carrot cake.

Jaydn & I played chess. Jaydn plays chess?! Yup.

The question is whether I ever let him win.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Easter Thoughts

I found this article on Mormons' view of the resurrection to be very interesting.

May all have a very special Easter holiday.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Support from the Far Left

Here's a nice article offering some support for Barack - from the Communist Party USA.

"Barack Obama’s campaign has so far generated the most excitement, attracted the most votes, most volunteers and the most money. We think the basic reason for this is that his campaign has the clearest message of unity and progressive change, while having a real possibility for victory in November."

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

El Birthday Presente

I had a birthday party today with family. By far the funniest gift I got was the Twinkie Container. Conteneur de Twinkie. Contenedor para Twinkie. Yes, his name is "Twinkie the Kid," and he "Will Hold One Twinkie." "Tiendra Une Twinkie." "Sostendra Una Twinkie."

And that's not his diaper.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

St. Patty's

This "holiday" is only two days before my big 31st. I walked out the door yesterday for work and groaned. I forgot to wear green. So I went back in and pulled a green tie off the tie rack and drove to work.

Even if my name is "Sean," I can't figure out St. Patty's Day. Honestly, I didn't even wear the tie. In fact, I think only three people in my office had green on. Of course, it was a whole lot different back in Connecticut, where it seemed everything bled Irish, Catholic, greeeen. There, you got invited to some real St. Patrick's Day parties. And some you had to turn down just to make sure you came back from the party still a Mormon.

I stayed late at work on St. Patty's Day. At about 6 pm I watched the 10-minute parade come down Park Avenue from my office window. Mostly firemen in kilts playing drums and bagpipes, and a whole bunch of people looking for a bar. A kilt in March in Idaho sounds terrible. I wouldn't mind a lava lava in March in American Samoa, however.

Jaydn enjoyed St. Patrick's Day. We totally forgot to tell him he had to wear green. He came home and said, "Mom, everyone was pinching me today." I felt pretty silly. He did get some cool cookies, though, so all was well.

No, St. Patrick's Day has never meant that much to me, unfortunately. All it means is that spring should be starting, and I will be getting older soon. But I guess that's a good enough reason to celebrate!?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Pretty Impressive

No matter what you think about him, this video is pretty impressive.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Hermit Kingdom

On my mission I had a unique opportunity to visit the 38th Parallel, the Demilitarized Zone (oddly named, because it is the MOST militarized area on the globe). We needed a special referral back then from US military personnel, and, thankfully, one was being taught the discussions.

The train had a short delay on the way north. I remember sitting in the cab and suddenly feeling a thud. Slowly, the train came to a stop. We had hit someone. Everyone was curious, and many of us hopped off the train to see what had happened. Apparently, a Korean woman had been out farming and didn't hear the horn blaring from the train. Perhaps she heard it everyday and was either deaf or just wasn't thinking. I didn't get close enough to see the dead body due to a throng of people surrounding her. But, unfortunately, I did see her as we passed.

Once we got to our stop, we took a bus ride into one of the many military bases on the DMZ. I had to get out my dictionary so I could read the signs that lined the roads that said "Danger - Landmines."

We stopped on the U.N. base where my companion and I shot a picture in front of the "World's Most Dangerous Golf Course - As Shown on Sports Illustrated." Below that it said, "Danger: Live Minefield on the Green" or something like that.

Our next stop was at an observatory. We entered a room with a huge glass wall overlooking DMZ and the North Korean side of the border. We could look through binoculars at the North, or what you could see of it. Our guide informed us that we should not make any sudden or inflammatory moves or arm gestures, as we, too, were likely being watched from the North.

The view was fascinating. The first thing I noticed was that the South Korean side and all of the DMZ line looked like typical Korea--lush and green. Immediately when you looked past the DMZ onto the North Korean side of the border, and as far as the eye could see north, it was COMPLETELY barren. Not a tree to be seen, no grass, no bushes--nothing. Our guide told us that the North had bulldozed everything for a combination of fuel and to remove any cover for a potential South Korean infiltration (as if the South really wanted to infiltrate the North). I figured that both were true, as well as possibly some sort of punishment from on high for a very evil regime. Who knows.

I could only see two cities in North Korea from my vantage point. Or, at least that's what I thought they were. They actually looked quite nice, with newer buildings. But as I looked closer and spent more time perusing the cities, I realized that nobody actually lives in them. They were just for show--to make the South think the North was a nice place.

Far into the distance I could see the closest Kim Il Sung statue. Kim Il Sung was the founding, ruthless dictator of North Korea. Massive golden and bronzed statues of Kim Il Sung are scattered across the North, to remind the people who their god is. And they do worship him as a god. You may have seen those huge Buddha statues in photographs from friends who had traveled to Asia. Well, the Kim Il Sung statues are probably just as big, but instead of being a great philosopher and religious leader of peace they portray a very wicked dictator who ruthlessly killed tens of millions of Koreans.

Perhaps the most interesting was the propaganda from both sides. The North had signs strewn all over the border that stated things like "Come to North Korea and Live Like a King!" or "You are Important in North Korea!" Kim Jong Il, King Il Sung's just-as-impressive dictator son, had billboards put up of his favorite movie star. He is, of course, a huge fan of movies from the United States--even if he won't let his people watch them.

South Korea, on the other hand, had the trademark South Korean neon crosses all over their side of the border. At Christmas, they blared Christmas music to the North. They, too, told the North how wonderful it was to live in South Korea, only they weren't lying. Both sides, apparently, thought they could lure the opposing side's soldiers with their big talk. Although I'm not sure, I would bet money that the South has had more defectors than the North (just a guess).

From the observatory, we hopped back on the bus and drove to one of several large tunnels. Apparently sometime in the '60s or '70s, North Korea started digging. I believe we were told they had probably built about 10 of these tunnels, although the South Koreans had only found about seven. These were not your ordinary tunnels, mind you. Each tunnel led from the Northern side of the border, under the DMZ (2.5 miles wide) and up onto the Southern side, just like a gopher. The tunnels were big enough to fit a North Korean jeep with four soldiers. So, you can probably picture a large-scale infiltration from the North with hundreds of these jeeps driving through the tunnels and up onto the South, only a stone's throw away from 20 million people in Seoul.

Anyway, the South had found like seven of these, and had exploded the Northern side closed. We walked down into one of the tunnels. It was amazing to see how wide these were. How could no one have seen or heard what they were doing! It was simply amazing. At the end of the tunnel was an armed South Korean soldier standing motionless and looking in our direction. He stood on our side of a small room that the South had created. Inside the room was a bird in a cage. On the other side of the room was another armed South Korean soldier looking at the exploded rock closure. Every so often, the soldiers would check the bird to see if it was still alive. If it was dead, the soldiers would need to get out fast because it meant the North was gassing the tunnel.

North Korea is an extremely odd place. A few years ago I read a fascinating book, "Aquariums of Pyongyang." This was the true story of a man thrown into a North Korean gulag (prison camp) for something like listening to outside radio. He eventually escaped and crossed into China, where he had to dodge Chinese authorities to make it to the South Korean consulate (the Chinese would send him back to North Korea if they caught him). He finally made it to South Korea, where, surprisingly, he has largely been ostracized by many South Koreans who obviously have NO idea what he has been through.

I wish I had time to talk more about this book, or other things I've learned about the North. When you learn these things, you scratch your head and say to yourself, "is this the same world we live in?" This same sentiment is expressed by a CBS News reporter in a new article.

We are SERIOUSLY blessed to live here in the United States!!

Sunday, March 09, 2008


I'm having too much fun with my Playlist that I've added to the blog. Whenever I'm on the computer I like to have the blog open so I can listen to all this great music! OK, you probably don't have the same taste as I do, but you can at least see how fun it is to get free music.

I can't believe I found "February Song" on Playlist! This song SO reminds me of Samoa. I listen to it and I am back there in a flash. I can see the beautiful mountains, smell the breeze, see the stray dogs and garbage, etc. Ahh, memories.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

You gotta love it

The lesson in Nursery tomorrow is "I Am Thankful For Water." Isn't Nursery great?

They all wanna be missionaries

It doesn't work for everybody.

Waterboarding at Work

I can't believe it. A supervisor at a motivational coaching business (whatever that means) in Provo is accused of waterboarding an employee in front of his sales team to demonstrate that they should work as hard on sales as the employee had worked to breathe.

Now THAT'S motivation!