Sunday, March 29, 2009

Early Spring Adventures

I love the Spring weather. I have had many outdoor adventures now that the weather is happy. I think that I should list a few of adventures I have had in the past couple of weeks.

  • Full Moon Hike up Dry Canyon
  • Pi Night at Jeff's house
  • Hike to Battle Creek Falls on a beautiful afternoon
  • Camping with my cousin Jon in Johnston's Hole
  • I saw the Utah State Ballroom Dance Team's concert in Logan with a good friend
  • I put up sheet rock at my parent's house at Bear Lake
  • Lots of sweet dance parties and chillin with good friends
  • Horseback riding with Zack on the face of Timp
  • Festival of Colors
I think that I will talk about the last two because those are the most recent and possibly the most awesome.

My friend Zack and I get together almost every week to swap stories (usually about girls) and to discuss life (also usually about girls). This has become an important part of my life because Zack can give me a good perspective on things and he is always such a good friend. It came time that we needed to get together for a good quality adventure. We decided to take two of his horses up into the mountains and enjoy nice morning ride. So yesterday morning we got up early (8;30 am is early for me okay) and got the horses ready for the ride, which involved me getting bitten on the shoulder by a horse.

We decided to start at Canyon Glen Park in Provo Canyon and go up the mountain from there. We spent a little while saddling the horses (I saddled my own horse for the first time). We then rode up the steep hill into Johnston's Hole. It was a beautiful day for a ride, the sun was shining and the mountain was beautiful. I found that it is easier to enjoy the scenery when you don't have to focus on where your next step will be. We had fun telling each other about our lives and our adventures. It was great riding up.

However we all know that what goes up must go down. As we started to head down I noticed that my saddle was a little loose, so I got off and tightened it. The snow was melting and causing the mud to be especially slick. Zack decided that it was important for us to leave the trail and go straight down the mountain. This is when things really got dicey. My horse, who apparently had a loose shoe, decided that the slope was two steep. She started to walk to the side instead of straight down. This would have been okay if my saddle stayed in the same position, but no such luck. So as my horse was sliding down the slope sideways my saddle was sliding off the side of the horse. It became quickly apparent to me that I no longer wanted to be on the horse. As I was falling off I yelled to Zack that I was falling and he told me to jump off the horse. Those of you who have ridden horses may understand that it is not always that easy to 'jump off the horse.' It sometimes takes some skill to get your feet out of the stirrups. I didn't have much skill, but I think I made up for it in determination. I somehow managed to get off the horse and get out of its way before anything tragic happened. I decided to walk my horse for a minute until I could find flat ground to tighten the saddle. It was a great trip with Zack and I hope we spend many more adventures in the mountains solving our girl problems and discussing life.

Saturday afternoon Zack and I and a few other friends decided we needed to go to the Festival of Colors in Spanish Fork. We tried to go a little early but the traffic was horrible getting there. After a few of Zack's 'short-cuts' we made it there just in time to join the fray. We were right in the middle of thousands of people when everyone threw brightly colored chalk into the air. It was an amazing sight, and it was hard to breath. It was a festival to welcome Spring. I can't think of a better way to welcome in spring than getting covered in colors and dancing to religious rock music. It was possibly the craziest festival that I have ever attended. There were several people crowd surfing, there were many lost cell phones and the crowd was so packed that at times we could only move with the crowd. It was crazy but it was great.

After we decided that we have breathed enough chalk dust and we were ready to go we went to somoneone's friend's inlaw's house (or something like that). We went swimming in their indoor pool (after we had showered, of course). The house was on the mountain and there was a beautiful view of the valley. It was my first time swimming since Aug 28, 2008, and I loved it. It felt so resfreshing after the chalk dust and the swimming of laps helped my muscles relax after the horseback riding of that morning. We had a great time and we were all glad that we had swimming as our post chalk dust activity.

Yesterday was a great day. I did fun things, I spent the day with good friends, all seems right in my life. I am excited to see what this next week brings because there are many more adventures to be had. I have met several great people recently and I am excited to get to know them better and I am always excited to meet new people. It has been a long time since the universe has seemed this in order. I the laws of entropy and enthropy must not be working in my life. Things and great and I am excited about life.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Parking in Provo

Last night I got a parking ticket south of BYU campus in Provo. Let me first say that I was clearly parked in a red zone and I deserved the ticket. I was dropping a girl off at her apartment and there was no parking within a half a mile that I could park legally, so I parked in a red zone and during the course of us saying our goodbyes I got a ticket. My frustration is not with the police officer, nor with the laws--there are red zones for a reason (of course at 3 am I didn't think I was a traffic hazard). My real concern is with the lack of parking altogether.

When you go to park in Provo you really have three forces that you need to watch out for: BYU parking enforcement, Provo Police, and all the booting/towing companies. It is well known that when you go into a hostile territory you need to evaluate your threats. I have been parking in Provo for a long time and so I will give my threat assesment.

Most dangerous: booting and towing companies. If you park in a parking lot of an apartment or a business that enforces its parking then there is a 98% chance that you will be booted if you are parked for over an hour past midnight. The fee for this is about $60, of course they are raising it all the time, so it may be higher now. As a general rule if I am visiting someone at their apartment I try and park on the street. That has worked well for me thus far.

Second most dangerous: BYU Parking Eforcement. When you are parked on BYU Campus don't think that you will get away with parking in an 'A' lot for a few minutes, because you won't. Also when the sign says 30 minute parking it doesn't mean 50 minute parking--don't think it doesn't get checked, because it does. The bright side is that the ticket is only $20 and if you appeal it then BYU will often wave it or cut the fee in half.

Third most dangerous: Provo Police. If you have a choice between a 'No Parking Zone' on a city street and an eforced parking lot after midnight--go with the city street. While there is a parking eforcement guy that patrols south of campus all day, at night it is just the regular cops. So during the day park in a parking lot, but at night the street is your best bet. The ticket for parking in a red zone is $25. I don't think I stand a chance of fighting it, so I will just pay it. I don't think I will change my parking habits either. Sometimes I drive around for 10 minutes to find a place and then walk 5 minutes to get to where I am going. Other times I take a chance that while I am dropping a girl off or picking her up I will be safe. I get a parking ticket in Provo every couple years. I figure that $12 dollars a year is well worth being able to park on random city streets at night. My one caution is that just because Provo Police is the third most dangerous for parking does not mean that they are not dangerous, as I found out last night.

I hope this guide helps people park in Provo. I have been parking in Provo for 5 years now and I have paid over $150 in parking fines. I have learned some lessons the hard way, but I feel I have gotten much better at navigating the jungle. I realize that sometimes there is just no place to park anywhere near the place that I am going. Sometimes I just walk, and sometimes, well, you know...

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Jared W makes a rash decision...

I haven’t written for a while, that is not because I haven’t had any good stories, but rather it is because I have been out living life and gaining great stories. A quick list of some things that I have done since I have last written seems in order here.
  • I repelled down the huge cliff that we tried before but didn’t have a long enough rope
  • I went running in the mountains
  • I danced the Salsa
  • Had a dance party almost every day, most of which were with myself
  • Played in the park with my niece and nephew while we were all wearing capes
  • Went to Vegas (details to follow)
The big adventure that I feel the need to write about involves my trip to Vegas, but that isn’t the whole story. Let’s go back to three weeks ago…

I was sitting in a hot tub with my friend Zack discussing life. We try to get together a couple times a month to sit in a hot tub and discuss our lives. As we were discussing my life he made a suggestion that I had heard many times before from many people. He said, “Why don’t you go to grad school?” I had been asked some form of that question a thousand times previous to that fateful night. I thought about it and we discussed it some more. I went home that night thinking that I needed to gather more information.

The next day I did some research with my friend Google and I discovered that the University of Utah had a Masters of Finance program that only lasts two semesters. I decided that that program would be right for me. I then started down the road to meet the application deadline on March 1. I needed to take the GMAT so I got some books and started studying. I have done some serious studying since then. My sister Amy told me that she didn’t think I have ever studied this much for anything before. I think she is probably right. I studied so much that I thought my brains would fall out.

Along with all the studying I had to jump through all the other hoops for the application process. I needed to find someone to write letters of recommendation. I couldn’t think of any professors who like me, so I tried to think if any of my Econ professors would even remember me. There was one class were I made jokes in class all day. So I called that teacher and not only did he remember me, but he was excited to write me a letter of recommendation. I don’t get to read the letter, but I am curious if it is payback for disrupting his class. I guess most teachers don’t get that good of opportunity to give payback to disruptive students.

So this last week my friend Mary and I went to Las Vegas to have fun and take the GMAT. I had studied as much as I was going to get in. I felt as ready as I ever was going to be. I went in there full throttle, I figured that oughtta keep those fighters off my back. I tried hard and I came out conqueror. I got a 640, which isn’t bad and isn’t great. I was hoping for a better score, but this score is good enough to get into the program, and might be good enough for a scholarship. After the test Mary and I had dinner and walked up and down the strip to see what there is to see. The fountains at the Bellagio were pretty great, that was probably our favorite part.

The rest of this weekend has been spent getting my essays ready to submit and finishing everything else that needed to be done. I submitted my application today. I am now planning to go to graduate school. I must be crazy. I haven’t done something this rash in a long time. But I feel good about it and I guess that there’s only one way to find out…