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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Double Dream Hands

I only hope someday to be half the dancer this man is. I love the music, especially when they begin to list all the planets.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Always a Believer

I entered into the classroom at the University of Utah's Bountiful extension last night like every other Tuesday night. That's where I have my State and Local government class. I really enjoy that class - my professor is very pleasant and she makes the subjects interesting.

Last night was different. My two younger sisters, Tawni and Brittany, had a voice concert at a library. I enjoy watching them and usually make time to see them, but I couldn't miss class. There was something else afoot, however. Something far away.

The Jazz started their eastern road trip last night against the most hyped team in the league, the Miami Heat. (I think it would be inaccurate to say the most feared team in the league.) It started at 5:30 p.m. MST, so as I waltzed into class the game was already underway. A quick check of the score before started brought no surprise to my eyes: the Jazz were trailing by double digits. ESPN's GameCast showed the Jazz getting handled early in the game, and I assumed the beating would continue. I turned my computer off and participated in a discussion on Health Policy.

My class is three hours long, so naturally my attention span wanes before the end. "Time to check out my Jazz," I eventually thought to myself. My boys in blue were still down by double digits. I casually checked the score over the next few minutes. Suddenly I found myself completely enveloped in the GameCast as the Heat's lead slowly diminished to single digits. When the game was tied with mere minutes left I had forgotten where I was. An actual video feed would have been nice, but I kinda liked the intensity of waiting for the next play to be broadcast.

Jazz up by two points. Minutes left. I wanted to believe they could pull it out, but after years of watching the Jazz give up leads, I just couldn't. My doubts became reality when the Heat easily regained the lead and took the game over. Cue the magic.

Ronnie Price: 3-pointer. Deron Williams: 3-pointer. But nothing compares to the performance of my long-time Jazz love, Paul Millsap. 3-pointer, 3-pointer, 3-pointer. When these plays popped up
on my screen I almost gasped loudly. Millsap? Really? Never have I seen him make a 3 in a game. At the Leapin' Leaners charity dinner every year, yes, but shooting around the ESA in dress clothes is different. That isn't a real game. In Miami. Against LeBron, Wade, and Bosh. With people in his grill. The best part was that he wasn't getting lucky. The ball graced only net on all three shots. He topped it off with a last second put back to force the game into overtime, totaling 11 points in 30 seconds. THE JAZZ WERE DOWN BY 8 WITH 30 SECONDS LEFT! Amazing.

Jazz clinched the win in overtime with help from Anrdre's trey and two deafening free throws by veteran Francisco Elson. A huge win by any standard, but it was that much sweeter against the Heat.

To all those sudden-Millsap fans out there, I want to say "shame on you." I have been a Millsap proponent since I first saw him play in Utah. All through the Boozer years I pleaded with Jerry (through mind bullets) to play Paul over Carlos. A consistent player, Paul has always impressed me with his game. I saw a scrambler in the post develop an outside shot that was smooth as lotion on a baby's bottom. Playing "backup" to Boozer, Millsap amazed me with his ability to play against the bigger man. (He's listed as 6'8'', but he's got to be shorter...6'6" maybe.) Always a love of mine, I am glad to see that Utah is finally appreciating Paul Millsap: the man who dethroned the king.

After the game I watched the video of Tawni and Britt singing at their recital. They did excellent, and they are so gorgeous.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ragnar Revisited

My first experience with the Ragnar Relay was in June when I ran the Wasatch Back with 11 good friends. The whole idea seemed pretty stupid to me: run, don't sleep much, run again, don't sleep much again, run a third time, suffer the pains of sore legs and headaches. I couldn't quite get a grasp on what the draw to these relays was, but I (somewhat reluctantly) joined a team.

Well, you can read a blurb about that experience here. It was truly amazing, yet I wasn't quite satisfied with my performance.


Enter Kari and Genevieve: two good friends who also caught the Ragnar bug. They had a team who registered for the Ragnar Las Vegas Relay with a single vacancy and somehow decided to invite me to fill it. I blindly joined, not knowing any of the other 9 runners. I took the training only slightly more serious this time, consistently running about 4 times a week.

The week of the race came not soon enough. It was in the back of my mind for so long and, based on the extremely sore legs I had from the Wasatch Back, I couldn't wait for this race to be behind me. Our team, Baby Got Swack (don't ask) had a start time of 10 a.m. Being in Van 2, we left Farmington, Utah around 8 a.m. on Friday morning.

After a pleasant 7+ hour drive to Lake Mead, we went through safety training and anxiously waited at the exchange point for Runner #6. He finally came and we were officially a part of the race. As runner #11, I didn't run my first leg until about 7 that night. An easy 2.5 miles, slightly uphill the whole way. My second leg was 7.2 miles, mostly uphill and flat. It's so fun to run in the middle of the night (at this time it was between 2 and 4 a.m.). I love looking ahead of me to see hundreds of flashing lights bouncing up and down as runners span miles of desert. The weather was perfect – in the 50's or 60's with a gentle breeze. I was happy that my first two legs were run in the dark.

My third leg started around 1:45 p.m. on Saturday. The sun was high, the temperature was hot, and I had 4.8 miles ahead of me. I had two goals when I began this last run: 1. Pass as many people as you can; 2. Don't stop. I had stopped several times during the Wasatch Back and always regretted it, failing to push myself harder. Not this time. I ran at a steady pace, trying not to overexert my already worn leg muscles. "Downhill?" you think. Downhill isn't as easy as you think. My legs feel just as tired going downhill as going uphill, especially after miles of pounding the hard asphalt.

I finished my three legs without ever stopping. Mission accomplished. I was shooting for 7 minute miles for my last leg and ended up running 6.48 minute miles, so that was pleasing.

We finished in less than 29 hours, even after a half-hour mishap by the other van. We showered, hit the buffet at the Red Rock Hotel, and relaxed the rest of the night. It was a great experience, and I definitely have Ragnar fever. I'm looking for people to join me on my next Ragnar adventure, whenever it may be. Let me know if you're interested. You won't regret it.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Hot Days and Conference

Yesterday, October 1, 2010, was the hottest October day ever in the history of Utah. Not surprisingly my dad convinced Ben and I to go swimming with him in our doughboy pool to celebrate this feat. To seal its significance in history, Dad grabbed an empty pizza box and a marker to make a sign. Here is a photo of Ben and I modeling in front of the pool to commemorate this day:


Today, October 2, was another special day in my life. I came upon some conference tickets on Thursday for the Saturday AM session for General Conference. I, of course, decided to go on a triple man date with Nate and Shawn. I hadn't been to a session of Conference for a long time, so I was anxious to go and sit in the marvelous Conference Center. We sat on the far east side, looking almost completely sideways at the speakers. We were by the "red carpet" of the Conference Center where all the General Authorities enter.

I very much enjoyed the talks given in the first session, but I have to admit my mind was elsewhere. My mind was here:




My beautiful Portugal is soon going to have a temple! Tears came to my eyes when President Monson announced the construction of a temple in Lisbon, Portugal. I never imagined that I would see the building of a temple in my mission land so soon. I am so grateful to have served in Portugal and am so happy that those people will no longer have to travel to Spain or England to attend the temple.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Lion King

Last night my little sister Tawni and I had the opportunity to go to Capitol Theatre in downtown SLC. The tickets landed in my lap through a friend who unfortunately (or fortunately, for us) couldn't go.



It was opening night and a full house. We had excellent seats, actually. The show stayed pretty true to the Disney cartoon. It included a few new songs, a couple of which I really enjoyed. Simba's "Endless Night" and "They Live in You" were great. I could almost quote the entire show because the writer's didn't change the script that much. Rafiki, to my surprise, was a woman. A sassy monkey woman. She was hilarious and a superb singer. Mufasa, Pumbaa, and Timon had voices that were very similar to the cartoon characters.

The symbolism in the show was neat and unique. The scenery was incredible along with the costumes. I wonder how they came up with everything the way they did.

Overall, the show was deluxe, and I'm so glad I was able to go. I'm also glad I could go with the prettiest girl in the whole theater: my little sister, Tawni. Heck, we even saw Kyle Korver there with some girl and she wasn't half as pretty as Tawni...

BCHM 2010

On July 17, I ran (and completed) my first half marathon. It was in Bryce Canyon, which is absolutely gorgeous. Those running the race were my dad, Brandon, Michelle, Kim (Michelle's sister) Tawni, and myself. Brittany, my cute little sister, was registered but pulled out due to a stress fracture on her right leg. So literally days before the race my dad, who had not planned on running at all, decided he would take her spot. I was so proud when he came across the line in awesome time.




We stayed in Fosters Motel, a quaint place that was so perfect for the occasion. (Did I mention that yiddle Ben joined us? He took video/photos at the finish line for us.)


Here's Britt with her monster Frankenstein boot. Dang stress fractures. Tawni finished in great time and actually took 2nd place overall in her age group!



Thanks to Brandon and Michelle for motivating us to run this fabulous race! I think it should be a Barrett summer tradition!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Long time coming...

A couple years ago I first heard about the Wasatch Back, put on by the relay racing company Ragnar. It sounded fun and tedious, and I was excited. My running hopes were trampled when I made Footloose at Rodger's Memorial Theatre. The rehearsals were very time consuming and in the end I had to withdraw from the race.



Last year I was also invited, but for some reason the race didn't sound as appealing. So I didn't do it.



This year, however, I was determined to do it. And I did. Finally.








I love the middle picture because I look dead...and that was during my first leg.


It was a blast. My van consisted of myself, Jessie, Mary, Emiliy, Spencer, and Ryan. We slept at the wrong exchange station on the ground and it was freezing! But ending in Park City with some free stuff and a massage made everything totally worth it.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Return to Reality

Yes, it's been awhile since my last post. Maybe if anything exciting ever happened I would write more. Life was just as I left it when I returned home from DC. Same bedroom, same clothes, same job, same school, same family, same car, and pretty much everything else. I had to wonder if the monotony would be disrupted.

Then change happened. On my second Sunday back the stake presidency announced the division and reorganization of the 32nd and 13th wards. This came as a pleasant surprise, because I was actually seriously considering changing wards anyway. It turned out that a small section of the 32nd ward was combined with the majority of the 13th ward to create the new and improved 32nd ward. Same bishopric - mostly different congregation. Of course it is sad to be apart from my ward friends. But DC taught me that meeting new people isn't such a bad thing. I met some phenomenal people back east and thought I should do the same here.

After missing more than half of the Jazz's season, I was so excited when my dad handed me some playoff tickets. Jazz vs. Lakers. (I love how everyone treats it as a rivalry, though it completely isn't.) I went with the younger version of myself. Ben is my 12 year old brother who is absolutely hilarious. We were super excited for the game and even wore the fuzzy Jazz-hair hats. Well, that excitement balloon burst before half time and we ended up leaving with 2 minutes left because the slaughter was too much for us to take.








ROAD TRIP:
A large group from my ward had plans to go to St. George to stay in some condos and enjoy the perfect weather. At the last minute I joined them for a mind-blowing weekend. We arrived Thursday night. Friday was chill-around-the-pool day. Saturday was go-on-a-terrifying-hike day. We decided to hike to Angel's Landing, one of the most popular (and most deadly) hikes in Zion National Park. It was a great hike. My already-bad knees were destroyed by the end, but it was worth it. As the hike ensued I kept thinking that we were the first group of people to ever hike to the top. I can't believe the park lets anyone do this! They have a chain - A CHAIN - for people to hold onto. No chain = 10+ seconds of thoughtful freefall until a splattering death. Children younger than my chest hair were going on this hike. It was insanity at its best. We ended the day with some Cafe Rio and an impromptu trip to Snow Canyon to see the stars. Southern Utah is one of the most beautiful places in the world. We also played some wicked Ninja Destruction.

Other than that, I'm back at the U this summer taking a full schedule. I have about 4 days of being 23 left. 24 doesn't sound half as great. I'm entering "weird guy" zone.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Great Falls, Great Fun.

Just minutes away from DC is a great place called Great Falls National Park. It's located in Virginia. I find it interesting how the East is so compact with small states, whereas the West has monsterly-huge states. If I remember correctly, we passed crossed a few state borders just in few minutes it took to get to this park. Shannon was nice enough to drive and accompany me out there for a great picnic and hike.

Here are a few pictures from our adventure:


This is a certain Shannon Crowley standing in what is called a "pothole." Apparently it took 500 years for this hole in the rock to form. Notice the skirt and flip-flops Shannon sported for our excruciating hike.


This is a certain Brady Barrett posing on a rock overlooking the Potomac River. There isn't much more to say about this picture than that.


This is the most impressive view of the Great Falls. Right next to my left elbow was a little spot where kayakers liked to spend their time. They would paddle in there and ride the "never ending wave."

Needless to say, it was an excellent afternoon. It was highly enjoyable, and I know the mosquitos had a great time as well. Shannon and I have the bites to prove it!


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Winding down in Washington

It's 10:58 p.m. on April 21, 2010. Coming up with something entertaining to say is actually quite a task. The only reason for this post is for a change of scenery. I'm afraid that the 3 people who actually read my blog will lose a bit more respect for me every time they see a picture of Barbie and the Rockers. Although those memories are dear to my heart, I don't think they should be the welcoming face to my blog.

Thinking about my time in DC is interesting. It feels like I have been here for so long sometimes. I've finally started feeling pretty comfortable at the office (handling angry constituents has become a pleasure, really). I guess the main reason this journey has seemed so lengthy is because of the relationships I've made here. I've reached the point that it's hard to understand how I had a life before knowing some friends I've made. People in the office, in the ward, and in my home have been a huge influence on my life - and mostly good influences.

One of my all-time pet peeves used to be when people would say, "I've learned so much about myself," or something similar. I now know what people mean when they say that and why they say it. I have learned some good things about myself - surprising and reassuring. Other things aren't so good, again surprising but certainly not reassuring.

Coming home will be, as the saying goes, bitter-sweet. I'll miss the eye-popping buildings and mind-boggling history this city has. It will be nice to have a car, though (I don't feel bad at all for missing the Metro cars jam-packed with summer tourists who get in the way and sweat too much). I'll miss most the relationships I made that will be left here, especially those I wish could have been stronger.

Anyway, I hope those are enough words to push Barbie to the bottom of the screen.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Brooke, Brandon, Brady, and Barbie...


Yes, Brooke speaks the truth. Barbie and the Rockers were a big part of our lives growing up. That cassette tape was the best. Looky looky, a little keepsake for you guys...


Barbie and the Rockers:

The other song I remember so well is "Dressin' Up:"



I really think we should do a remake of our "Barbie and the Rockers" dances. Of course, we'd have to remake our "See Me Run" days too. If we broke Tom's arm and really ticked off Mom, we'd be set!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Man from Snowy River

No, you didn’t misread the title. Last night, I watched “The Man from Snowy River,” and I did it voluntarily. Not only voluntarily, but eagerly. The film brought back a long lost yet treasured childhood memory. Simply the title of this movie makes me think of two people: Ginger and Brandon.

I must admit that the plot of the film was almost completely foreign to me. I guess growing up I never paid attention to the story, for it is one of love, growth, and courage (as so many films today are). The movie lacks those elements that catch the youthful eye like Ninja Turtles or Gummy Bears. This story, instead, is about Jim Craig, an older boy who witnesses the accidental death of his father. The accident requires Jim to man-up, now the last living member of his family (I didn’t not catch the details of his mother’s death.) He begins to work at Harrison’s cattle ranch doing such menial tasks as shoveling manure and throwing hay. Not surprisingly, Jim falls in love with Jessica.

The funny thing about this movie is the mob of horses that cause the people to fear. They refer to the mob as the “Brumbies,” and talk as if the horses were the mafia. Anyway, the story is easy to follow and culminates with the phrase, “He’s a man. The man from Snowy River.” Classic.

The best scene in the movie comes when a large number of men are chasing the Brumbies to reclaim the uber-valuable horse that was let loose by a couple brutes who then blamed the escape on Jim. As the chase ensues, the Brumbies go charging down a super steep side of the mountain. All the men stop, not willing to follow in such a dangerous situation. Suddenly, from behind, Jim and his mountain horse charge through and leap from the hillside. They then follow right behind the horses. Music stops, leaving only the sound of heavy breathing and falling rocks. The scene is truly stunning and very inspiring: jump off cliffs that scare most.

So why do I think of Ginger and Brandon? Well, Ginger, my mother, introduced me to the film long ago. As if the movie itself isn’t good enough, the music is brilliant. We had the soundtrack on cassette tape and I remember listening to it frequently. The memory of music is inseparably connected with Brandon, my older brother. We would play and act out scenes to the music. Pretending to be horses, we’d prance around quickly to the up-tempo part and go in slow motion during the intense parts. It was hilarious.

I’m glad I was able to see this film in my adulthood, and I’m confident it won’t be the last. The show is so romantic that I can’t imagine myself going through marriage without a good woman cuddled up to me watching “The Man from Snowy River.”

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Madeira

I've been thinking a lot about Madeira lately, mainly due to the devastating floods it has been experiencing lately. I find it ironic that I find this article on CNN today. I have flown into this airport:

http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/the-worlds-scariest-runways/5

Friday, February 19, 2010

Old Spice

I am definitely never buying any other body was than this. This commercial changed my life.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGGy6qz5hXg&feature=related

And this is the cherry on top.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYvQ9jgXzIk

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Tenho saudades de Portugal...

video

Nothing like a pastey white, flabby missionary sliding on his belly to cheer you up in the winter!

Long awaited photos...some, anyway.


Original Wright Brothers plane.


Little Jimmy and I watching a man fly a kite.


Model pose in front of model plane.


Who needs a background with this foreground?


The Wright Brothers and I.

In front of some cool painting of a WWII plane.


In front of the White House.


Really in front of the White House.


This has the Washington Monument in the background.

Cars in front of our building.

More snow.


The Jefferson Memorial. (I'd put up more pics of this, but my camera takes horrible photos at night.)

Some chicks we love to hang out with.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Washington, DC: The Blizzard Continues...

Last weekend DC received a record amount of snowfall which basically shut the city down. The Metro wasn't running, the stores were bare of food, and cars disappeared underneath a thick blanket of snow. Church on Sunday was canceled. We did, however, hear of a mini sacrament meeting being held at the Barlow Center (where all of the BYU interns live). My roommates and other U interns hopped on the Metro to head to Foggy Bottoms for the service. The ride was extremely slow and long. When the train stopped at Farragut North, several of us decided we had had enough. We left the station and hit the surface. The sun was shining but the roads and sidewalks were still plastered with compact slush and ice. People were walking down the middle of busy streets to avoid getting completely soaked up to their knees. The walk to the Barlow was actually quicker than the Metro ride. Before we arrived we helped a man shovel and push his BMW out of an intersection at which he was stuck. We were all in suits, and its a pity we didn't have missionary tags on because there was a man who began recording us with a large video camera characteristic of those used by news stations. Were we on the news? I'm not sure, but I like to think that I was.

Monday, work was canceled. Tuesday, work was canceled. Both because of the weekend's storm. Now today, Wednesday, I sit at this computer at 2:45 pm to tell you that once again, work is canceled. Why? Because it is snowing. Again. This time it is super windy, so it really looks like a blizzard outside. So I am willing to bet that tomorrow will bring another canceled work day, which leads me to wonder if the federal government would make everyone come in for the first time on a Friday. It will definitely be pleasing to find out. It is pretty neat that I am able to be here to experience "The Blizzard of 2010," the record breaking storm that shut down the nation's headquarters.

To avoid getting cabin fever, we tried to visit some museums, though most were closed. We were able to enter into the National Air and Space Museum.

Here's a view from this morning, the second round of snow:

video

Don't worry...I really will get some pictures up here soon. But until then, enjoy the new videos I put on youtube.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Washington, DC: Blizzard of 2010

Here's a video or two of the snow...

video

It snowed for over 24 hours straight!

Here's a view from the ground level:



video



I guess there was a big organized snowball fight at DuPont Cirlce. We didn't get over there, but from what I hear it was a blast.

People were cross-country skiing down the middle of the road. Here's a little view of downtown DC, right next the the National Treasury and the White House:


video

I have more, but I'll have to put those up later...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Washington, DC: Post 3

What a week here in DC. I was a bit sick for a few days, mostly, I think, due to my lack of sleep. I'm mostly over that now, which is so nice because being sick at the workplace is really miserable.

The week commenced wonderfully with a lunch at the JW Marriott. Kirk Smith, my uncle, and his wife, Joan, were in town for some conferences (Uncle Kirk is the Sheriff of Washington County). We met at the hotel and they treated me to lunch, which was completely undeserved. ate lunch. Fortunately my cousin Kenny, his wife Kristin, and his two kids, Bailey and Corbin were able to join us. It was such a treat. I haven't seen them for years and it was so good to be able to talk to them about life and reminisce about the past. What a wonderful family and what a great experience to see them here.

The State of the Union address was given this week by President Obama. I never had realized just how colossal this thing was to the nation. It was bigger than General Conference to Mormons! The metro was desolate as we hurried home to see the President speak. Needless to say, there were some pretty colorful calls the next day at work with frustrated Americans looking for someone to do something. For some reason people from all corners of the country call our office expecting huge results, and I do my best to act like I'm interested in what they are saying. And I always seal their satisfaction by saying, "I'll be sure to pass that on." And I do...sometimes.

I gave my first tour this week to two gentlemen from Utah. Even though I realized half way to the Capitol that I had forgotten some keys notes I had made on my desk, I didn't flinch with nervousness. I punched that tour right in the face as I explained that the Statue of Liberty could fit inside the Rotunda without touching the top and that an empty tomb lay underneath the midpoint of the city. No sweat.

On Friday the 26th I was privileged to go to the White House again. I had gone the week before with some friends from the U, so I knew what was offered there. This time was through my work, so Natalia (the other intern) and I went and stood in the freezing cold. Shortly after going through two security checkpoints, we were in the entrance of the east wing looking at pictures. We were told that President Obama would be taking off in Marine One, and he had invited us on the back lawn to see him take off. So that's what we did! It was bitter cold, and the hurricane-level winds from the helicopter made things even worse. Sure enough, 10 minutes later the President came walking out. He gave a few waves to the crowd of 50 or so, hopped on the plane and took off. It was pretty neat and I'm glad I didn't turn down my second opportunity in one week to go to the White House.

Yesterday it snowed for a few hours, leaving about 3 to 4 inches of white powder on the ground. That somewhat discouraged us from going out to see some sites, so it was a lazy day to say the least. We eventually did decide to go see the National Archives, and along the way we found a truly enjoyable squirrel burrowing in the snow. He made threats against Ricky, but eventually they became friends. The following video is the evidence of the encounter:

video

It was awe-inspiring to see the super-old documents at the National Archives. The Magna Carta was there. The Magna Carta. I wasn't aware of that. That thing was written way before the Constitution or The Declaration of Independence, both of which were there. The rotunda, as the call it, where they keep the documents looked remarkably familiar to me. I then realized that I recognized the location from the movie National Treasure. I wanted to say, "I'm going to steal The Declaration of Independence," but thought better after catching the suspecting guards eye.

Last night there was a little bbq/party at Apt. 610. Amazing brawts.

Did I mention church was canceled today because of the snow? Living in Utah my entire life has never gifted me with a snow day, and my first month in DC does after a week snowstorm. Pitiful. Weak members in DC...(just kidding. Kinda...)

Here's a few pictures from the week. I'll get Obama up later. I promise that the last photo was not planned. It was not intentional in any way. We came home from work, talking about the day while changing, and when I emerged from the closet and he from the room, Ricky looked at me and said, "You did that on purpose, didn't you?" And I again promise, I had no idea. Picture perfect moment.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Washington, DC: Post 2

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, meaning that I have the day off (federal holiday). The last 10 plus days have been superb, and I feel like I'm learning so much about so many different things: politics, myself, the Spirit, and others. I knew this was going to be a great experience, but just how great I didn't know.

I do many things as an intern in a congressional office. Natalia (the other intern) and I sit at two desks in the front. We answer phone calls, respond to mail, schedule tours, and a number of other things. Eventually we will be giving tours of the Capitol Building to Congressman Chaffetz's constituents, but we haven't been trained on that yet.

Of all these tasks, I must admit that answering phones is my least favorite. I normally enjoy talking to people, but every call contains an unknown conversation for which I always feel uneasy. People call about every issue, ranging from healthcare to gay rights. Occasionally a we'll receive a pleasant caller who simply wants to share their appreciation and leave a good message. The reason these phone calls are so nerve-racking at times is because I feel unprepared. I'm trying so hard to keep up with issues and bills, and just when I think I have a hold on something someone else will call in about something I've never heard of. That opens up a whole new session of worry and study. It's actually quite fun, in the end, but pure panic fills my being when someone throws an unfamiliar issue my way. Working in the office has been surprisingly swell overall. Working with a former Viewmont Viking, Alisia Abegg Essig, helps a lot. I feel a little more at ease and she treats me very well. Many times I have felt like an infant learning how to walk, but Alisia makes me feel very welcome and capable. She's given me tasks that keep me occupied and that give me a sense of accomplishment.

So, famous people I've met? Well, obviously I have met Congressman Jason Chaffetz. He invited Natalia and I into his office and spoke with us for about 15 minutes just about life. He expressed his appreciation for us coming to work for him and invited us to have an enjoyable time in DC.

Jason, being a very politically savvy man, had an interview earlier this week with Dan Rather. WHAT? Dan Rather. You read right. It was awesome! Mr. Rather walked in and shook my hand. By the time he left he had shaken my hand three times. That is my nose in the picture of him signing the guest book. I was that close.

I have many more pictures but no way to upload them onto a computer, so until I figure something out, you can enjoy the videos I've put on YouTube. If you can't find them from this site, type in bradybarrett7 in YouTube and you'll get my videos. I hope you find them entertaining. They show a variety of things, including my first day here and getting mixed up on the Metro.

This week I have seen the White House, the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Memorial, the WWII Memorial, the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, the Smithsonian Castle, and the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum of Art. Yesterday (Sunday) after church my roommate Ricky and I went to the Washington, DC Temple Visitors Center for a fireside. A few recent converts gave testimony, and the main speaker was Brother Larry EchoHawk, the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs. It was a great meeting, plus we were sitting right outside the temple. It was raining (more like misting) and the way the mists shrouded the brilliant temple was a beautiful symbol to me of what this life is all about. It has been a blast here, and I am really enjoying myself. I've been blessed with good roommates and good people all around me.

Although Washington, DC is fun and all that, I still have to say that the Jazz gave me the best moment of the week...

Friday, January 8, 2010

Washinton D.C.: Post 1


Eating at Texas Roadhouse was the best thing a man can do right before boarding an all-night flight. With food in his stomach, a man can sleep. A man can think. A man can dream...which is exactly what I would have done if I didn't have two stops with long layovers on my way to Washington. Flying to Denver was not so horrible because it was so short. The worst came with the flight to Houston, in the which I got no sleep and no respect. Baldy, as we will gently call him, was moving around so much in his chair that I couldn't help but think he was about to wet himself. The woman next to me stole my armrest, so my left armpit was sweating more than my right, which I absolutely detest. All that in addition to the impossible task of sleeping while sitting straight up with no leg room.
The flight from Atlanta to the Reagan International Airport was superb. I remember trying to finish a Sudoku while taxing around the runway, then landing. Nothing to fill the void. I slept so well.

Day one was simple. I arrived at my apartment, unpacked my bags, and "hit the town," which was actually just testing the metro and grabbing a Subway (sandwich, not public transportation.) I spent the night alone in the apartment which was actually somewhat fun.

The next morning was my first day on the job at Congressman Jason Chaffetz office. I got very excited very quickly. How many people get an intimate tour of the Capitol Building on Day One of employment? I did. I helped escort a couple around the Capitol which is fascinating and definitely a good way to start.

Yesterday and today were filled with things I mostly expected to be doing: phone calls, desk work, computer files, mail, etc. Surprisingly, doing such things was quite fun. Phone calls, for example, keep me on my toes, and it is rather uplifting to feel like you made someone's day just by being upbeat with them. Even just today brought many such moments after I excitedly asked people how their day was going. The tone from the initial "Congressman So-and-So's office" to "Great! How is yours?" is as different as Dennis Rodman and Gandhi. Yes, that different.

No need to tell me that the excitement and shine will wear off after a few days. No need to tell me not to get my hopes up. My hopes are up. And they'll probably stay up. I have no intentions of getting bored or frustrated, because 4 months really isn't that much time in the end. I've been whole just over two days and I already feel like I'm running out of time.

Friday, January 1, 2010

The Voyage of 2010

2010.  Already.  Times appears to be picking up speed, like a semi coming down a mountain pass with no brakes.  The Jazz were playing the Bulls in the Finals yesterday.  Y2K had was driving everyone to madness last month, and I celebrated the year 2000 last week.  I got home from my mission yesterday.  Now all the sudden it's 2010 and I wonder what I've accomplished in life.

I've lived through some of the 80's, all of the 90's, all of the 00's, and now I begin the 10's.  How is that possible?  1986 orignally seemed to be so recent.  I'm having a mid-life crisis at the ripe old age of 23.  I wish I had a stellar car to go with it.

2009 was a great year, starting with the Sugar Bowl and ending with a quick trip to San Fransico and spending time with family.  2010 begins with an internship in Washington, DC, and then heads into the great unknown.

I've never been one to make New Year's resolutions, but I think the new decade requires me to do so.  Thanks, 2000's...you gave me some facial hair and a few inches.  2010...you got big shoes to fill.