Sunday, June 24, 2012

#67: The Brain Trust.

Back when I wuz a wee lad in middle school and high school, I was blessed to to have some incredible friends. Due to the fact that we were all, um, academically-minded (I need to be careful not to call all of my friends nerds), other kids at school frequently referred to us as the "Brain Trust". During the summer of our senior year, the males in the group even formed a Junior Jazz Brain Trust basketball team. Unfortunately, we didn't win a single game, but I guarantee that we had the highest aggregate GPA out of any team in the league. Boo-yah!
The Brain Trust: Nerds. Academically-minded young people.
We never won a game. But we looked awesome in purple.
However, far more importantly than any level of academic achievement or skills on the basketball court, my friends in the Brain Trust helped me to make good choices and stay away from the kinds of temptations that are so readily available to teenagers. Rather than getting into trouble, we would play games, go to school dances as a group, or even just sit around and talk. We felt safe and comfortable together, and I am grateful to have been part of such a great group of friends.
Brain Trust future missionaries.
In most cases, once graduation is over and yearbooks have been signed ("Have a great summer. Call me!"), high school friends tend to drift apart as each individual pursues a different path or goes off to far flung places (like Logan). Occasionally these friends may see each other in passing at Wal-Mart, at the gym, or at least at their five or ten-year high school reunion. But, typically, high school friendships do not continue on for years into the future.

Well, for whatever reason, the Brain Trust has been different. And I couldn't be more grateful. During the last 11 years, we have tried to make it a priority to get together at least two or three times a year. Additionally, many of us "hang out" (don't tell Elder Oaks) in smaller groups more frequently. Not everyone can come each time we get together, but it is always a blast to just sit and talk and laugh for a few hours. Some of my favorite memories include debating politics with Abe and Eric in my backyard, winning three straight games of Settlers of Catan (I'm a pretty big deal), or simply watching the next generation of Brain Trust kids play together.
Brain Trust: Part II.
Last night we had one of our Brain Trust get-togethers at Anna's house. It wasn't anything crazy or big, and in the end, we just spent time talking about life for a few hours. No electronics, no games, no movies--instead, just visiting and enjoying being together. And I loved it. I don't know why I have been blessed with such wonderful friends, but they mean the world to me.

Friday, June 15, 2012

#66: Death by Brazilian cheese balls.

Well, world, it's been nice knowing you. I'm on my way to the grave due to Diane's willingness to help out one of our neighbors with her son's wedding reception. How did I meet my untimely demise, you might ask? Not from a collapsed lung (THAT would be ironic), not from the swine flu, not even from getting hit in the head with a solid gold revolver. No, none of those things. It was Brazilian cheese balls. That stink. And I had to help deliver them. TWICE. Once I'm completely gone (I'm still gasping for my last few breaths), please note in my will that I leave my Star Wars toys to Jeff and my video games to Aaron. Hopefully the permeating cheese ball smell will not be entrenched too deeply. Farewell.
Yes, I would rather smell my own B.O.
Silent assassins.
My only question is, "Why couldn't we have made THESE instead?"

Sunday, June 10, 2012

#65: Draw Something 4ever.

Diane has been out of town this weekend, visiting her brother in Colorado. As a result, I took advantage of the alone time and had a "Guys' Nintendo Night" on Friday with some of my favorite people (congratulations on your victory, Jeff).  Among them, was my good friend/favorite animator Aaron "The Rabid Milkman" Ludwig. Hanging out with Aaron always gives me the itch to do some drawing. Thus, here are some more of my recent "Draw Something" drawings. Have a great Sunday!
I think "Up" is my favorite computer animated film .
I bet the life of a Bullet Bill is anti-climatic.
Once Mario passes by, there isn't much else to live for.
Good thing it isn't "Fast Sunday". 
Even though I'm a dog lover, I still like Garfield. Fat cats are funny.
Logo modern art.
I won an Oscar for this one.
"Jaws" is one of the only songs I can play on the piano.
It only requires two keys.
Space Jam!
I "kneed" you.
I'm looking forward to an exciting NBA finals. Go Thunder!!!
I made myself chuckle while drawing the minotaur.
Good memories of Disneyland.
Greatest fictional story of redemption. Ever.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

#64: Annual Ward Bowling Party.

I've said this before, but I'll say it again: I absolutely love living in the 13th ward. I don't know why Diane and I got so lucky to live among such wonderful people, but sure enough, whatever we did, it worked. There is a wonderful feeling of friendship and unity between the members of our ward. It doesn't matter if you live in one of the older, smaller, white houses or one of the newer, bigger, brown houses, everyone generally seems to get along. I don't notice any cliques or feelings of judgment, pride, or resentment between ward members. I would feel comfortable going out on a double date with any couple in our ward. It's a fantastic blessing to live where we do.

Each year for the last 15 years or so, Peggy, one of our ward members, has coordinated the annual bowling party at "Big City Bowl"  for the adults in the ward. Friday night was the first time that Diane and I have attended the bowling party (I can't remember why we missed it last year). Despite the fact that I am a horrendous bowler, we had a deliriously good time.
Thanks Peggy!
One of the many frames in which Diane beat my score.
Great friends. Great times.
Nick and I dancing after a celebratory double strike.
As I mentioned before, I am a terrible bowler.
In fact, I won the "Crunch" award for getting very last place out of all 60 bowlers from our ward.
Even roaring as a wookiee couldn't save me from getting gutter balls.
Scott, on the other hand, won the "Starburst" award for getting first place yet again.
Some guys have all the luck. :)
As one of our fellow ward members mentioned,
"Steve, your Crunch bar has one piece of chocolate for every pin you knocked down!"