Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Favorite Pictures (that aren't ranger related)

Yellowstone rocks. That's probably why we go every year. Here are a few other of my favorite pictures. I do love pictures.

Yellowstone: Revisited

As I was looking through my pictures from Yellowstone I realized that I didn't put the best ones in my facebook album. So, here are a few more I thought were net-worthy and a few stories that make them so.

No, I don't stalk rangers. To spice up the Yellowstone experience a few years before my mission, we decided to see how many pictures we could take with rangers. In the years since, I have realized that rangers are actually vain creatures and taking pictures with them is not a challenge. So, this last year we upped the stakes and different point values were assigned to different physical contact achieved during the picture. We were a little afraid at the beginning, but as you can see as the weekend went on, we warmed up to the rangers.

So these last two were the winners. With the old man, if you look closely you can see my hand on his left shoulder (5 points) and the younger dude he was obviously pretty excited and actually initiated contact (100 points). That was pretty funny - he was waiting outside to lead a hike or something and when I walked up to him and asked him if I could take a picture with him he said, and I quote, "He## yeah! Call me Ranger Rick!" He then proceeded to grab my shoulders and make a really weird face.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

props to the sisters

So I always knew that I came from a pretty talented family, but this proves it. My sister Louisa has proven her photoshop supremacy by taking this picture of my niece and myself

and turning it into the sweet header on my blog. Ten points. She has a few other really cool edits too, like this one of the entire family at Jackson Lake Lodge -

And to top it off - Maria created the only online personal dating ad that I've ever had. Props to both of them.

Monday, July 7, 2008

no matter what

So finally my quest for a blog has ended. The only real thing that was holding me back was a title worth putting by my name and something that would point me in the right direction whenever I sat down to pen some thoughts.

Here's the story - One of my new favorite things is to watch different people in different situations, or different people in the same situation, or the same people in different situations etc. and just see how they act. In my current line of work, it's my great pleasure to have the exact same conversation with hundreds of people a day (such is the joy of retail) and the dialog is pretty pointless. A little small talk, some good probing questions, and a good bye. But then the other day, someone said something pretty profound. We had said our goodbyes and she said, "You have a good day," and without breaking eye contact added, "No matter what." It was kind of an epiphany that day because I was hating life (badly) and it helped me put things into perspective. Happiness is a choice (as is success, physical and spiritual well-being, etc.) and I decided that I was going to achieve all those things, no matter what.

One of my favorite quotes of all time from a speech given by Martin Luther King (no one really knows who said it first, but they argue pretty convincingly here) kind of illustrates this state of mind -

We need more people who are competent in all areas and always remember that
the important thing is to do a goodjob. No matter what it is. Whatever you are
doing consider it as something having cosmic significance, as it is a part of
the uplifting of humanity. No matter what it is, no matter how small you think
it is, do it right. As someone said, do it so well that the living, dead, or the
unborn could do it no better. If your son grows up to be a street cleaner, sweep
streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote
poetry, sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have
to pause and say, 'here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well'. If
you can’t be a pine on the top of the hill be a shrub on the side, but be the
best shrub on the side of the hill. Be a bush if you can't be a tree, if you
can't be a highway be a trail, if you can't be the sun be a star. It isn't by
size that you win or fail. Be the best of whatever you are...

He speaks of conscious choices to be great. Decisions define us. So that's what this blog will be dedicated to - my own experiences and those of others with the 'no matter whats' in life.