Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Sweet Potatoes in K.C.

The flight to Kansas City was normal.  I got the usual water with ice (why risk spilling juice all over yourself if there happened to be sudden turbulence?  Am I the only sane passenger?).  Sudoku,  Lord of the Rings, and The Bourne Supremacy soundtrack made for a pleasant passage, even though the guy next to me hogged the arm rest to himself the entire time.  The significance of this Thanksgiving never set in while I was on that flight, but now reflecting upon the weekend, it was significant for a few reasons.

1.  For my 23 short years upon this planet I had never once celebrated Thanksgiving with my family any place other than Utah (Portugal doesn't count because I wasn't with family).  The reason for spending this holiday in Kansas was because Brooke and Tyler live there and Brandon and Michelle live mere hours away, so it seemed like a logical location.  Above is a picture of the Barrett's (minus Tom) in Gardner, Kansas.

2.  It just so happened that the Barrett all-time favorite musical was in Kansas City.  Wicked was so great and we loved this opportunity.  You can see the excitement oozing from our faces right after the curtain call.

3.  Britain, Braden, and Kylee.  Enough said.

4.  Another first this Thanksgiving was eating out.  No, we did not cook our own bird nor mash our own potatoes.  After playing some intense family basketball and volleyball at a church, we immediately drove to the nearest Goldern Corral.  I'll be the first to admit my hesitation to eat at a restaurant, let alone a buffet-style Golden Corral.  Visions of tackiness swirled in my mind, thinking that our family would star in a "Thanksgiving Vacation" movie where everything goes wrong and everyone is miserable.  It actually was perfect.  The food was very delicious - especially the sweet potatoes!  Perfectly mashed, delectable temperature, and topped with just the right amount of marshmallows.  I'm fully converted to Golden Corral...and sweet potatoes.  The best part was leaving without having to do any dishes.

The drive home was amazingly amusing and particularly pleasurable.  There's not much to adore in Kansas nor Nebraska, but things spiced up in Colorado and Wyoming.  Those states are surprisingly fun to look at.  There were so many small towns that I found quite homey, and I wouldn't be surprised if I lived in a tiny town myself one day.  Throwing the football at rest stops was fairly entertaining as well.

I could go on and on about this Thanksgiving and this road trip, but I would neve rbe satisfied and there would always be something else to write about.  The biggest thing I realized this past weekend was how much I love my family.  Parents, siblings, niece, nephews, and in-laws alike are very dear to me.  I love them very much, and having said that, I must say one last thing:


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Chops and Piñatas: Halloween 2009

This year's Halloween costume was supposed to be epic.  After receiving so many comments about my "Wolverine" hair, I decided it was finally time to give it a go.  Things definitely did not turn out as I had hoped...

I cut my hair three weeks ago, destroying all chances of actually mimicking Wolverine's hair.  And my attempt to grow some wicked chops was about two weeks shy of any justice.  So showing up to a Halloween party as I was turned out to be distressing.  Many asked what I was supposed to be.  "Oh, Ren McCormack, I get it!" or ""Why didn't you dress up?" were my most frequent comments.  Overall, I was a costume-failure and disgrace to Hugh Jackman.

I literally walked into the pinata event.  Walking aimlessly, and alone, through Jared Bryson's home I bumped into an acquaintance who handed me a bandana and walked away.  I was soon given a stick and was being forced to spin.  I was humiliated as I swung about, trying to hit a box-shaped pinata made of duct tape.  Yes, duct tape, meaning that it was physically impossible to tear it open with a swing of a small plastic bar.  The bar literally almost left my hands several times because I was swinging so hard that my hands began to sweat.  I somewhat gave up, grabbed the string, pulled the box close, and beat it like a dirty rug...and it still didn't break open.  Public humiliation at its finest.

Halloween 2009 brought with it some good memories and gave rise to a new pet peeve: people who use this holiday as an excuse to lower dress standards.  Drives me crazy.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


So the time has finally arrived for me to do something really "big boy" - an internship. On somewhat of a whim, I decided to apply for an internship in Washington, D.C. for the spring of 2010. What I thought would be a simple "yes/no" response was really a triple-interview extravaganza that left me absolutely certain that I had no future.

Interview #1: Senator Hatch's Office
First interview I've had since applying for the job I currently have. I felt rather confident, however, because I had some connection with the interviewer. My sister-in-law's brother had been an intern for the interviewer, so I could at least mention a name. Overall, this interview went ok...probably a 7 out of 10.

Interview #2: Congressman Chaffetz's Office
Two interviewers. Unexpected questions to which my answers were probably more unexpected. I hadn't done much homework before this interview, which left me yearning to turn back time to get ready. Of the three interviews, I felt like this was my least impressive. "Well," I thought, "at least I have one more today."

Interview #3: Senator Bennett's Office
I walked into the building feeling prepared. I had used the previous two interviews as templates for the third. I asked myself questions, I read up on issues, I practiced my sweat. There was nothing impeding me from having a stellar interview.
THREE interviewers. They asked me some of the classic questions to which I gave probably classic answers. The bulk of the interview was spent listening to one man give a description of what the interns in that office do. When I began to feel like I really had made a good impression, the handed me a paper that became, I believe, the reason for my rejection. They expected me to respond to a fake letter concerning the public option in health care. After 15 minutes of stumbling my way through poor writing, I gave up. I handed in my letter and walked shamefully across campus.

After the third interview was over, I felt defeated. I couldn't believe I had blown all chances of interning in D.C. After reading my rejection letter from Senator Bennett's office, I gave up hope.

In the end, everything turned out wonderfully. Apparently the stars aligned that day and Jason Chaffetz's office accepted me for the spring. I'm going to Washington!

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Dating Chronicles: Post 2

The Blind Date: The idea of a blind date makes sense:  Person A tells Person B of their dating struggles.  Person B tries to match qualities of Person A to friends and acquaintances.  Finally, Person B finds Person C to match up with Person A.  Person A and Person C go on a "blind date," realize they are meant for each other, and continue toward marriage.

That's the idea, anyway.

Most single people cringe when they hear "blind date."  When describing a blind date experience, most singles would refer to them as "boring," "terrible," "really bad," and the like.  
I think blind dates are ideal for the most part.

  • There's no need to find someone.  Another person plans the date, and you simply show up.
  • There's no obligation.  If all goes well you've added another person to the dating pool.  A second date implies that both parties are interested.  If all ends after the first date, then you've eliminated yet another person from the "potential" list and you move on.  There's no guilt in never seeing that person again.  It's not as if you're distancing yourself from a long-time lover.  You're simply avoiding ever having to spend time with the same person you suffered with for 6 hours on a date because your friend thought you'd be the perfect couple.  No awkward break-ups.  No heartache.  No doubt.
  • You can learn a lot about what your friends think of you by the quality of the blind date they set you up with.  If upon meeting your date you think, "Are you kidding me?" then you'll realize how little your friend knows you.  If, however, you think "Wow, this is going great!" then you and your friend can enjoy an even stronger bond than before because you are both on the same page.
  • Spending valuable time and money on someone you don't care about.
  • Hating the friend who set you up.
  • Receiving stalkerish texts from a blind date who just doesn't understand that you aren't interested, even if you don't call back.
All in all, blind dates are just fine.  You just may meet your future spouse.  If not, at least you have a new funny story to share with friends.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Dating Chronicles: Post 1

The Single's Ward:

The Utah State Fair, like most other state fairs (I assume) has the livestock competition. Cattle, sheep, swine, rabbits, goats, and other animals are put on display so spectators can admire their size and appearance. After a period of a few days, new animals are brought in for the same purpose. Eventually winners are chosen and ribbons are awarded to those who have the most impressive "performance."

So it is with a singles ward. Hundreds of young people flood the chapel, each claiming their desire to be spiritually lifted, yet other motives are afoot. The first few minutes of sacrament meeting and Sunday School are spent scanning the room for the fresh "livestock." Men and women alike are drawn to church each Sunday with the hope that they'll find their blue-ribbon partner. There's no secret - single's wards perpetuate an atmosphere of competition. Your best friends are your toughest opponents.

The elephant (or in this case, the large pig) in the room is MARRIAGE. Jokes are made in every talk, lesson, and testimony, and although we all laugh, it's everyone's worry. A ward full of singles, you would think, should be a petri dish of love. Marriages should happen so much more frequently than they do. It so often seems that we enjoy walking between the pig pens trying to decide which one we like best. We're afraid to give away our blue ribbon, because we only have one. We're all awaiting the day that we finally award the ribbon and take home our prize pig.

Until then, we're confined to walk the stinky pens of dating looking for our favorite pig*.

*The word "pig" in no way represents the way I feel about women. It is simply congruent with my analogy. No ill feelings intended.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Barrett Movie Classics

Growing up with a very cultured mother has been a huge blessing in my life. Much of what I do, like, and desire comes from the way Ginger raised me. One thing, for which I am so giddy, that Gigi has given me is the love for old movies - movies I never would have seen without her encouragement.

These are some of the best movies of all time. Doris Day, John Wayne, Robert Redford, Don Knotts, James Garner, Rock Hudson, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby (what kind of a name is Bing?), Howard Keel...the list goes on and on. I love these movies. I'm painfully aware that no one reads this blog, but if you happen to be reading this and you want a Brady Barrett review of any of these films, or others of the same genre, let's talk about it over lunch. Or dinner. We'll have our own "dinner and a movie" experience.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Coming together

Life is coming together. A few thoughts: is my new internet lover. I never thought I could stray from Google, but Bing just may have stolen my heart. Bing is like Google, but a step above. It's simple - simpler than Google. It's attractive - the background changes every day. Today there's an cute sea turtle looking right at me as I do my online searches. The never-ending scroll bar as I go through pictures is genius, as is the 7-second preview of videos just by placing my pointer over the image. Just when you thought the best couldn't be beaten, Microsoft releases Bing.
The end is in sight! Feeling somewhat overwhelmed for the last couple of months, I finally visited a school advisor to see where I was academically. Turns out, I have a mere 4 semesters left. As if that wasn't good news enough, he planned everything out for me. I cannot be more pleased.
We rented waverunners a couple weeks back at Deer Creek. What a blast. My last jetskiing experience was about 2 years ago in Hawaii, where we were constrained to a big clockwise loop. There were no limits at deer creek. I managed to throw myself off 7 times in total, the best of which was when Brandon and I were riding together. We were so heavy that every little turn almost capsized us, so when we finally fell, we fell hard. The the waverunner shot about 40 yards in front of us. It was hilarious.
I failed to mention that Daniel Summit Lodge, minutes away from Strawberry Reservoir, is awesome. They had arcade games that cost only 25 cents, including Ms. Pacman and Pinball. Tawni and I about wet our pants playing this submarine game. We probably spent at least $10 on that machine alone, but it all paid off when we were able to put our initials in as the Number 1 top score. I can't wait to go back to see our victory.
Our ward is heading to Jackson Hole in a couple weeks, which should be awesome.
Dating? Blah.
Brittany comes home from Kansas after 4 weeks; my mother after 2. And it's good to see Brandon starting life with his wife and almost baby. They're taking off to Iowa next week. Sad, but good for him!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Water Balloon Toss

Bonneville Radio held their annual 4th of July BBQ at the Triad Center last week. The Carriage Cafe provided their grills for our hamburgers and hot dogs, and we all enjoyed a favorable lunch around the rushing waters of the Triad Center fountain. Tickets were dispersed and prizes were given to celebrate the birth of this nation.

The best prizes were yet to be given: satisfaction, victory, and $25 to use at the Gateway.

Yes. We had a water balloon toss.

The principles of the water balloon toss are simple. There must be one or two referees. Participants are divided into teams of two (the number of teams is limitless). Team members face each other, standing a few feet apart. Each team has one water balloon. All balloons must start in the same side. At the referees signal, the team member with the balloon must toss it to his teammate. If the catch is successful, mild cheering is allowed. Both members must take a step backward. Then repeat, each time taking a step back. The team who doesn't drop their balloon wins.

And so it was with Brandon and I. Being brothers at the same workplace, it was natural for us to be a team. As the toss progressed, I knew we'd be tough to beat. Our lobs were perfect - soft releases yet with enough force to reach each others hands. Our catches were delicate - extended arms and wide hands initially cup the balloon, then a quick step back and a swinging motion help to cradle the water-filled latex. Throw after throw I was astonished at our success, until we finally defeated the competition. With sweat running down my back, I gratefully accepted the well-deserved Gateway gift card.

Monday, June 29, 2009


I'm beginning to wonder why I even have a blog. I have about 85 views, and I'm certain at least 82 of those are from me.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


As I've thought about all the summers I've lived through, I can safely say that I've been overall pleased with only 3 of them.

Summer 2005:
I entered the MTC on June 15, 2005, in preparation for my adventure in Portugal. I grew tremendously in those 9 weeks in Provo. I had never been so entrenched in the gospel before this time. Learning to live without my siblings, friends, and parents was somewhat difficult for me, but I couldn't be more grateful for this opportunity. Some of my closest friends were made in the MTC. I think friendship is kindled there because there are thousands of young people in the same position you are in: learning new things and experiencing a different kind of life. I still remember watching the hot air balloons and fireworks on July 4 and really feeling like I was exactly where I was supposed to be at that time.

Summer 2006:
By this time I had spent about a year in Portugal. The language was no longer an issue, and I was simply loving missionary work. The summer was somewhat split between two areas. I had been on Madeira, a Portuguese island off the coast of Africa, for about 4 months, so I essentially had skipped winter. Madeira was excellent, and I really didn't want to leave. Especially for Maia. Maia is close to two other areas I had served in, and I had heard that missionary work was dead there. Reluctantly I obeyed my mission president and went to Maia. The next six months were the hardest of my mission - knocking and contacting with little to no success. Scorching heat. Sticky humidity. Tough companions. But I loved it. Even though outward success seemed to be nonexistent, I felt that I was giving a very valiant effort. Maia became my favorite area because I truly felt I was in the refiner's fire.

Summer 2009:
I had become so accustomed to relaxing during the summer (except for my mission) that even thinking about attending school was horrendous. Walking across campus in the hot sun definitely did not appeal to my vision of a terrific summer. But, feeling that I should take advantage of the opportunity to take summer classes, I enrolled. Full time. Awkward schedule. No friends in any class. I did not want to be there. But as classes have ensued, I couldn't be happier with what I am doing this summer.

School. Work. Making friends. Family. Managing time. Book of Mormon Blitz. Institute. Dating. Outside. Trampoline. Basketball twice a week. Picnics. Reading. I love the feeling of productivity. I'm glad that I don't get to sleep in. Although I cherish an occasional sleep in, I mostly consider it a waste of time. I love exercising in early morning or late night. I've made some great friends in classes, and being more involved in the ward has been super. This summer is going great.

I won't say that my other 20 summers have been wasted or unappreciated, for I definitely have great memories from each one. But it's interesting to note that my hardest, most productive summers have been my favorites.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Forgive AND Forget?

I've thought a lot about the phrase "forgive and forget" lately. I personally find it difficult to do. Forgiving is something I do not struggle with - it may take some time and some work, but eventually I reach the point of total forgiveness, and I hope I deserve the same in return. Offending anyone, for any reason, is definitely not part of my life's agenda. I don't mean to do it. And, when needed, I always apologize for the wrongs I've committed. Actually, many times, I over-apologize which usually makes things worse. Since I was born I've wanted to be a friend to everyone, and make everyone I come in contact with happy. This results in a lot of unnecessary stress that I must deal with. Even when I am not outright responsible for some occurrence or activity, I take it upon myself to make things right, even if I have done no wrong whatsoever. I've struggled with this my whole life. I am very appreciative that most people have been forgiving towards me throughout my life.
Forgetting is something apart from forgiving. I think we try to forget too much. How are we to forget when someone offends, or when something happens? Wouldn't it be nice to simple erase our mental hard drives and honestly forget that something happened? Deleted. Recycle bin. Gone. Our minds don't work this way. There is no limit to what our memories can hold. Images can stay fresh in our minds throughout our entire lives. I think there is a reason for that.
Although it is true that our bodies make us up physically, it would be nonsense to say that is "who we are." We are much more. We are made up of everything we've ever done, said, thought, seen, etc. Experience makes us who we are. If we've done something we shouldn't have done, we remember it so we don't do it again. We shouldn't delete it, or we'd probably fall back into it over and over.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that we shouldn't try to delete our memories or things that we have been a part of. I'm certainly not proud of everything I've done, but I'll always appreciate what and who has made a significant impact on my life. Those are things worth remembering.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The St. George Triathlon

Well I did it. Kind of.
About 5 months ago I committed to enter the St. George Triathlon. Brandon, my brother, and his wife, Michelle, had made plans to do the race, but Michelle got pregnant, so I took her place. I've always been a pretty consistent runner - nothing special, but I like to feel like I'm in shape. I felt like a triathlon would definitely be difficult, but a feat worth accomplishing.
I drove to Washington County with Brandon and Michelle, alone in the back seat of a Honda Civic. My legs were pretty cramped, but we had a great time on the road. We stayed at my aunt and uncle's home in Santa Clara. Brandon and I had a hard time falling asleep, he in a room with Michelle and I on the living room couch. Doesn't always seem like you can't fall asleep when you most need it? Like the night before a big test, for example...or the night before your first triathlon. I wanted all the rest I could get cause I knew in a few short hours I'd put my body through something I've never done before. It was also one of those nights just barely chilly enough for some sort of covering, but too hot for anything at the same time. So it was blanket, no blanket, blanket, no blanket...
We woke up this morning around 5:45 and arrived at the race location around 7. We racked our bikes and laid everything out so the transitions would be quick and effortless. Unfortunately, and fortunately, the 800-meter swim was cancelled due to the windy conditions. So, to compensate for the swim, the race directors added another 5K on top of the 5K we were already supposed to run.
The first 5K wasn't so bad. I could've run faster but I knew I had to save some energy. The big surprise, though, was that the entire run was on red sand. Running on sand is much harder than running on pavement, so it took some serious concentration to get through it.
We had rented road bikes in Cedar City, so I felt confident going into the bike. It was so frustrating, however, when I would be pedaling as hard as I could when a 15 yr. old boy would casually fly by. The worst part of the entire race was a hill - a mile long, steep hill in middle of the desert. I had dropped my waterbottle within the first mile of the biking, so I was dehydrated and hot.
I finished the bike and it was onto the red sand again for the last 3+ miles. I don't know how I finished. Everyone else must've felt the same because even in my condition I still passed a few people. I crossed the finish line pretty exhausted, but feeling great that I had done something new and difficult.
It's been a fun little trip to Southern Utah. I'm thankful for those who came down to support us in the desert sand. Wish you could've been there!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Egg Hunt Madness!

The day before Easter I had the opportunity to drive up to This is the Place Heritage Park to set up and work the FM100.3 Easter Egg Hunt. As the staff and I were dispersing the eggs around the old homes, the wind began to blow and rain drops were falling from the sky. I thought no sane person would want to drive up to this park to pick up a few Easter Eggs full of Tropical Lifesavers and a Tootsie Roll. For me, at least, it wouldn't be worth it. I'd rather spend $4 on a bag of assorted candy than to go "hunting" for eggs.
The rain eventually stopped and it turned out to be a pretty decent day. Hundreds of people filled Main Street, all anxious to hear the gunshot that signified the beginning of the search for the eggs. A never-ending line formed for the popcorn and hot chocolate, which I somehow was given charge to look after. After an hour of scooping hot chocolate into Styrofoam cups, I managed to relieve myself of that duty and go make sure no one was entering the egg-hunting grounds before the hunt began. I stood at the gate for the 12+ year olds.
I am amazed at how aggressive parents are in such situations. I've never had so many complaints or negative comments said to me as I did at this "family-friendly" Easter egg hunt. The children do not seem to care how many eggs they get. Normally a child would grab one and be happy for the rest of the day. When the gun sounded, however, parents stormed the fields, gathering as many of the plastic eggs as possible. It was ridiculous.
After witnessing such things, I have vowed to never participate in an Easter Egg Hunt with my future children.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Sugar Bowl to New Orleans!

The University of Utah has a rich history of college sports. In my first year attending the U, the Utes had prominent seasons both in football and in basketball. Alex Smith led the team to an undefeated season, busting the BCS with a great victory over Pitt in the 2005 Fiesta Bowl. He was drafted into the NFL as the number one overall draft pick.
While Smith was throwing the pigskin on the field, Andrew Bogut was piloting his crew to a winning season on the court. He also was drafted number one overall into the NBA.
I remember feeling proud to be a Ute as I walked around the campus that year. Although it was the hardest year of my life, feeling lost because of what was behind me (high school) and what lied ahead of me (mission), I found joy knowing that my school was great and recognized.
Fast forward to 2008. College football wasn't my main interest. I enjoy football; I like watching it; but I didn't follow. Needless to say, the Utes had an incredible year. It was win upon win upon win. There were a few close games (vs. TCU), and people can make all the claims they want about an easy schedule or terrible reffing, but when all is said and done, winning all 12 games in a season is impressive. The Utes, again, busted the BCS and were fortunate to receive a well-deserved invitation to the Sugar Bowl. It was to be played in New Orleans. In an attempt to spend time with his growing boys, my dad planned a trip and basically told us we were going. It was an awesome trip. The game was played January 2. New Orleans is a great place - fun to visit. We went throught the WWII Museum dedicated to D-Day. It was fun being with my bros and old man.
The game was amazing - the Utes jumped to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter and the game was history. It really silenced all the Alabama fans who before had been relentlessly taunting any Ute in sight.
What a trip...
Well, here I am creating a blog. I'm not exactly sure what to do with it, or what to say. I'm doing this more for the experience than everyone else's personal enjoyment. I'm sure that as I continue on my road to blog-dom, my posts will improve in quality and content.