Saturday, January 30, 2010

The last time there was this much excitement about a tablet, it had some commandments written on it.

Wednesday, January 27, was an important day in the life of Brian Allred and all other Apple fans.

The iPad was announced.

We decided to have a party to celebrate the announcement. One requirement was that neither of us turn on a tv, use the internet, listen to the radio, or talk to anyone who knew all the details already. We waited until coverage of the event was posted on the Apple website and then connected the computer to the tv and watched it. It was hard, mostly for Brian. He had to turn his phone off. No one I knew said anything about it to me.

We kept busy after the announcement until it was posted, about 7 pm. Brian did his taxes. I was at work. Then we went to IKEA. Then we came home to a wonderful assortment of apple foods, prepared mostly by my mom.

We had apple-Gouda sausages, caramel apple pops, apple slices with peanut butter, and apple beer for dinner.
Brian brought some Apple decorations, namely his way old-school computer and his nametag.

The event was posted right before dinner, so we rushed through it and started watching. It was exciting at the beginning, so I had a lot of things to say, and my dad kept shushing me. Then it got kinda boring when Steve Jobs wanted to look at pictures of animals for a million years. The demo was just kind of long. But I was still excited.

An hour and a half later, it was over. But we still had two exciting events!

I made a special Apple Cheesecake (and no, I didn't make it up, I found a recipe) for the occasion. I was worried it was going to be weird but actually it was delicious.

Then we played Scrabble with a whole set of extra i's so we could do iEverything. Some of them are missing, but you get the idea. We got double points for spelling an iWord, but you had to say what it was. iMace: a self-defense tool. Etc.

Overall, it was a successful party even though no one came except Brian and my family. Plus, the iPad is sweet.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

GRILL Takes California!

So I just returned from a wonderful roadtrip with my besties and my boy. Many great things happened. I will recap some of them here.

We started with a series of people walking in on other people way awkwardly in the bathroom. Neal and Brian like to pee with the door open. Mistake #1. Also, apparently the lock in Aaron's bathroom is nonfunctional. Mistake #2.

We made it to Vegas and our gracious host also graced us with a pole dance.
The next day we transformed into a singing group called GRILL. It was because of our matching outfits, but we really worked it.
We went to Peggy Sue's.
We performed onstage.
Then we took the quintessential band photos.
We went to Calico, which is a ghost town, and every employee hated their lives, which we didn't understand, because we loved ours. Except the Mystery Shack was closed. Major downside.
We went to LA and drove around some super nice neighborhoods aimlessly to see the Hollywood sign. This grassy knoll was nice.
Then we went to Santa Monica. The weather was good, the beach was good, our packed lunches were good.
We drove to San Diego and went to Balboa Park to see a racist juggler, a sleazy "Sleeveless" magician, and a tram driver named Rick who had no idea what was going on. We drove to Coronado with just enough time to catch some beautiful views of the sunset, and with just enough time for me to follow in Ashley's footsteps, in a worshipful way.

Also, that night we went to a psychic. Ashley and I both have a smile on our face but a sadness in our heart, Ashley and Neal are both going to sign very important papers soon, Aaron is going on a long but safe journey, and Brian has two girlfriends, only one of which he really loves. She did not reveal which.

The next day we went up to La Jolla because we wanted a beach and heard it was pretty. Umm... it wasn't a feasible beach because the water was toxic and there were sealions, which I hate. Except for the one who looked like a grandpa. Also there was this long walkway with huge waves crashing over it. Scary. Wet.
We went to Old Town San Diego, where they were having the "Blessing of the Animals." That meant lots of dogs, some in costumes. Then we found these donkeys. This one was named Don Quixote. It was kind of weird. The lady tending them was really happy that she could say he was a jackass and not even be mean about it. But she was kind of mean about it.
The drive back to Vegas was kind of long. Ashley took advantage of her prime positioning in the middle next to two generous boys.
This brings us to the epic end of our trip. Ashley wanted to milk a cow. There are no such dairy farms that advertise letting strangers milk their cows, so she just started calling random ones. Mountain View Dairy in Delta, Utah was very kind and offered us a tour as well as a cow-milking session. They even understood that being city-folk, we did not have the proper clothes to be on a farm. They provided us with gloves and booties. Unfortunately, even those couldn't completely shield us from the splattering manure and strong cow smell.
But that did not matter once Ashley fulfilled her weeklong dream of milking a cow. You can see the joy in her face.
And honestly, you can see the joy in all of our faces at the conclusion of this wonderful trip. Once again, the band was back together with our matching outfits, and we couldn't have planned a better end. I can't wait until GRILL goes on tour again.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Poesia eres tu.

Yesterday I cleaned my room.

I'm preparing for a mission, so I have a lot of gospel-centered books lying around.

I also have a deep love for poetry and read it as often as possible.

As I cleaned, I noticed a very interesting trend. Every single church book was paired with one poetry book. I had these stacks of books two-deep on every available surface in my room-- nightstand, desk, floor, bookshelf, closet, on top of piles of laundry, on top of a space heater, on top of stacks of other books.

I guess if I'm called to go on a poetry mission after my mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I'll be equally prepared.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Sometimes I run, sometimes I hide.

Sometimes I dust things with my hands. Sometimes everything I own gets dusty because I don't.

Sometimes I use a lamp as a coat rack. Sometimes I use it for light.

Sometimes three months after I run a marathon, running 2.3 miles on a treadmill kills me. Sometimes I don't even try because it's too unbearable.

Sometimes I'm sick of all the music I own. Sometimes I hear a song that lights a fire in me.

Sometimes I sit around and wait for people to hang out with me. Sometimes I force them to.

Sometimes I text incessantly. Sometimes I'm bad at responding to texts.

Once, I learned how to play the song that the title of this post comes from on the piano. It's by Britney Spears; I was in fifth grade. I can't play the piano anymore.

Friday, January 8, 2010

All the men in my life have been two things: an epic and an epidemic.

Yesterday, I had an epic day.

It started when Milo and I drove up to Sandy. Also, I was only wearing long johns on my bottom half. Don't worry about it. I let him sit on the seat, even though he's not supposed to sit on the furniture, because he was very cramped on the floor.

We picked up Brian at the TRAX station (okay, the Target nearby) and drove to his parents' house where he made us an epic breakfast. An 8-egg omelet, bacon, pumpernickel rye toast and hot chocolate were on the menu. While Brian gathered warm clothing, I walked Milo around the block and he encountered about eight million barking dogs. We then stopped at my house, and while I gathered warm clothing, Brian ate lemon cake (okay not really, he helped).

Then, we went snowshoeing.

It was epic. Brian's snowshoes had dog vomit all over them, we didn't really know why. But we drove up American Fork Canyon as far as we could go, got super bundled up (too much, in hindsight) and headed up a path that was super steep at the beginning. We didn't go very far because I wanted to stop and talk every approximately three minutes. It was super super pretty though, with all the pines trees that had a little snow and for some reason rushing water and mountains. When there was nothing cool-looking in sight after about an hour we turned around and headed back down. That wasn't exhausting but I wanted to stop about as often.

We went to my house and while I showered Brian made us lunch. I was only kind of wearing a shirt when I came down to eat it but I put one on quickly, don't worry about it. We had chicken noodle soup and crackers. Then we went to Brian's house and while he showered, I played lateral thinking games and ate warm gingerbread cookies with his parents and younger brother, Jim. Jim loves when I come over.

We were planning to go to an epic furniture store (Ikea, of course, where else?) but we didn't think we'd have time. Instead we drove to Brian's apartment so he could change out of genie pants (don't worry about it) into regular pants. Then he suggested we take the TRAX to the movie instead of driving. I'm a little nervous about Salt Lake's public transportation but I accepted. We walked a mile to the stop (it was very cold but I was wearing this beautiful new red coat with gold buttons so it wasn't too bad) and rode to Sandy.

What we experienced there was epic.

We ate dinner at The Mayan, where they have these divers wearing almost nothing jumping into tiny pools from so high up. The food was good (the guacamole was epically expensive) but the atmosphere was great. And epic.

Then, we saw Avatar. In a 3D Imax experience. I wasn't really really excited about it, but it was much better than I expected. Even though it was epically long, I never got bored (okay, I fell asleep for a short while during the last 20-minute battle scene, but I always fall asleep during movies so that's actually really impressive) and the 3D was sweet and the blue people are so hot (okay, that was just the buzz in the bathroom when I left).

We rode the TRAX back to Salt Lake, took a short bus ride to Brian's apartment so we didn't have to walk, and he made me hot chocolate.

The end.

Friday, January 1, 2010

2009, Reviewed in Pictures. Because I've Barely Posted Any Previous to This.

I rang in 2009 with Tagg and red hair.

Very shortly thereafter I went to study abroad in Spain for three months. I lived with these wonderful Spanish parents (Irene and Paco) and my roommate Emmaleigh in Alcala de Henares, a town outside of Madrid.
I accomplished my lifelong dream of seeing the windmills! On the way there on the bus I read a passage from Don Quixote to the whole group and started laughing after saying the word "ass" (as in donkey) and then snorted into the microphone. Luckily it was worth it and we got some incredible pictures.
I experienced some truly Spanish things. This is Emmaleigh with the paella pan, the most delicious Spanish dish I ever ate. It's huge.
We also saw flamenco in Sevilla, which is an insane form of Spanish dancing that changed my life. Everyone was in love with this man.
I discovered my favorite city, Barcelona, and saw an architectural masterpiece: La Sagrada Familia. On a scale of one to ten, I like it about a fifty. And no, Mark does not like it more than I like it and Lara does not like it more than she likes me.
I went to Mallorca, an island in the Mediterranean Sea and had a wonderful day riding bikes.
I also went to Valencia and had an incredible festival experiences. Massive statues made of papier-mache and wood, the biggest fireworks show in the world, a bullfight, and my Spain besties.
Our last trip was to Santiago de Compostela, where I found my favorite-ever cathedral and we went on a pilgrimage. We lived in this cathedral. The bomb.

Other highlights from Spain: my best friend, Elder Kevin Nemelka, is serving his mission in Hungary and while I was in Spain our letters went back and forth so fast, we wrote all the time! That was great.
I got straight A's, including a 100% on one of my finals, while living in a beautiful country and mostly playing all the time. And I made incredible friends.
At the end of our program, Chase flew to Madrid and we went on a whirlwind tour of Europe. After some serious setbacks, we finally made it to Florence and watched the sunset on the River Arno.
We went to Rome and met up with my friends from our Spain program, Ben and Kimball! We had an awesome day and saw most of Rome in record time.
We stopped in Venice for a few hours, thent took an overnight train to Budapest to see the current country of residence of Elder Nemelka. He was far away but we saw lots of things that he loves. This is the Parliament, the quintessential monument to take a picture by.
We went to Prague and didn't see anything really picture-worthy. Same in Berlin. We missed our train to Amsterdam but we made it work via three separate train rides and a bus. When we got there we went to the van Gogh museum! It was sooooooo incredibly beautiful.
We went to Paris and it was so great! We are best friends in front of the Eiffel Tower. Also, we took the stairs up to the first level, totaling somewhere around 668. It was quite a hike. I think that's the day I decided I could run a marathon.
London was ultra beautiful! We went on the London Eye and that was the only thing we paid for the whole time we were there. Did you know Big Ben is the biggest four-faced chiming clock in the world?
Our last stop before going back to Madrid was Edinburgh and we went for a hike. It was FREEZING, even though most of our trip was blazing hot. Chase had to wear socks on his hands. I wore pretty much all of my clothes.
Eventually I made it back to the States and moved back in with these lovely girls. We love BANK.
I got a job in the Library Administrative Office and worked with these lovely girls.
I also started training for a marathon with my friend from Spain, Courtney. In this picture we had just finished the race to conclude our pre-season training, a ten-mile run. A few minutes later I passed out. I got a little tougher.
All the roommates went to Lake Powell with Amy's family and we went tubing, wakeboarding and jet skiing for a glorious weekend.
A couple weeks later my older brother McKay married an old friend, Annie. It was POURING rain and the reception was supposed to be outside so we just hung out under the tent but she still looked beautiful. More than I can say for myself.
After spring term I stopped taking classes and just worked part-time. I ran a lot and hung out with my friends a lot. The boy holding the picnic basket, Jeff Swindle, lived down the street from me and we did a lot of fun things. Picnics were just one.
I celebrated Independence Day excellently with my best friends Ashley and Aaron. Ashley and I made matching flag t-shirts and [some of us] camped out on University Avenue to watch the parade in the morning. We also spent a lot of time driving up and down University Avenue in my topless Jeep blasting "Born in the USA." It was fairly epic. Also, this picture was taken right after the bounce house started collapsing while we were inside. Scary.
We love love love Harry Potter, so we dressed up fairly realistically to go see the sixth movie at midnight when it came out. This was after a rousing game of Quidditch. Can you guess who everyone is?
I spent a good chunk of Thursday nights this summer in Salt Lake at the Gallivan Center seeing awesome bands for free! The people behind us are pretty representative of people we frequently encountered.
This amazing sparkler handcart was made on Pioneer Day and is the only picture that exists of me and my best friend from the summer, Derek. There are no pictures of us running together, or drinking big glasses of water, or sitting on the sidewalk like children, or sitting together at church, or eating Beto's at midnight, but we did a lot of that.
In August my family went on a road trip to Oregon and northern California. This is Tagg and I in Crescent City, California, which I found incredibly beautiful. We got to experience a lot of nature, which I was a huge fan of.
In the middle of August the first of our roommates, Amy, got married in Denver. This was the end of BANK, but it was a good end. I toasted at the reception and felt pretty good about it.
The last Friday night of the summer (for me), Brian and I hiked to the top of Mt. Timpanogos. We started in the middle of the night so we could see the sunrise. Obviously we succeeded. The hike up was exciting and scary and enjoyable. The hike down was looooooong and tiring and freezing cold at the beginning and freaking hot at the end. But I would definitely recommend it for anyone (once).
This is the first day of school. Dillon (one of my best friends from freshman year who returned from his mission this summer) and I had lunch on the lookout at the JFSB, an occurrence we thought might be regular but which never happened again. Well, we had lunch together a lot, just not outside. Our first day of school outfits are pretty good.
Steve came home from his mission and we had a reunion of high school besties at an outdoor Yaks show. Sunglasses = so hot.
Scott and Jameson, other friends from freshman year, also came home from their missions and came to my house for Sunday dinner. It was just like old times. The gang's all here!
On October 3, I completed the goal I'd been actively working on since April 28: I ran the St. George marathon. Tim and my dad ran it too and we all finished at the same time, which was cool. So worth it. So not doing it again anytime soon.
One fall afternoon Jameson and I drove up the Alpine Loop to see the changing leaves before they changed too much and fell off. We are best friends obviously, because we do the same poses for pictures!
The weekend before the boy on the right, Joey, left on his mission, his band, The Yaks, played their last show at Velour. I've been their biggest fan since they formed a few years ago and never missed a show except while I was in Spain. This was a big blow to my social life and my heart. Elder Brown is now in Nashville, Tennessee and I miss him with all my heart.

Speaking of missions, I turned in my papers and people guessed where I would get called and two people guessed correctly. I'm going to Antofagasta, Chile and I enter the MTC on February 10.
For the day before Halloween, Chase and I dressed up as identical twins and went to school. It was weird.
A couple weeks later my family had a dinner where each family member was required to bring a significant other (easier for some people than others) and also required to match them. There was a good showing. You'll also notice that we have an addition to our family here, a dog named Milo. We're not really pet people, but he's pretty cute.
The next of the roommates from BANK, also my best friend of several years, Nikki, got married on November 27. I am with the happy couple outside of the Boston temple, which is beautiful and very significant. They moved to Arizona a few weeks ago and I'm still trying to be okay with it, I miss them so so so much.
Along with the wedding, during my trip to Boston I got to see a bunch of old friends that I haven't seen in a long time, so we decided to all cram in a photobooth together. Good decision.
In early December, I threw a huge golden birthday party for myself (turning 21 on December 21), Dillon (not pictured, turning 22 on December 22) and Hunter (turning 23 on December 23). It was a really good, really gold party.
This is Brian and me at that party. By the way, sometime in between us hiking Timp and our Matching Sunday photo, we started dating. The last post on this blog (that I'm sure you won't get to because this is too freaking long) mentions that and has another quality picture of us.
Somehow the end of the semester came and obviously along with that, finals and library extended hours. Us three best friends spent a lot of time studying in the library, and a lot of time being really close to each other.
Eventually I made it through finals, had a wonderful Christmas, and rang in another new year, this time with Brian and not with Tagg.

This year was the happiest, most exciting, and probably best-documented year of my life. Here's to a great 2010.