June 11, 2012

Dealing with Obsoletion

Hello my few and faithful readers,

It's come to my attention the fact that I've been very negligent of this blog, enough to reconsider whether or not I want to keep on writing to it. I've considered the reasons why a blog is normally kept, as well as the possible things I could accomplish through a blog. I have come to the decision that my original intent on keeping this blog was to update public viewers on the recent events of my life. While this blog does allow me to be a little bit more verbose about what has been going on, I feel that enough is posted on my Facebook account that this blog is becoming obsolete. If you're looking for a more detailed description of things that are going on, send me a message there and I'll be happy to strike up a conversation! So for future updates on my life, I would strongly advise you look me up on Facebook: www.facebook.com/jeffr.powell

I'm a fair administrator over my resources, and have considered ways that I could keep this blog alive while avoiding its former obsolete purpose. I could talk about opinion-based topics such as religion, or just a general reaction to news reports...but I don't know how I'd feel about negative comments toward my opinion--I'm a fairly non-confrontational kinda guy. I could do experiments in cooking or craft-making and put them on display here, but I doubt I'd update the blog frequently enough--I'm just not as passionate about the hobby as would be ideal. I could take on topics and projects related to my major, computer science, showing off solutions and creating helpful user guides...but I doubt I'd get a big audience, which I feel would be ideal.
I guess in the end, I'm built for commission-type work: you ask for information, and I'll give you plenty of it!

So for now, until I fall upon an unexpected passion to share, or someone comes probing and prodding, consider this blog a silent one.

February 9, 2012

Beating the Busy Life

I apologize for being so late in posting about my Christmas break! You can be sure that I'm not turning in my school assignments this late. I have been rather busy, though, since break ended. Classes are definitely starting to push me just a little, so you have to stay on top of the game. But enough about the present, let me jump back a month and show you what's been happening.

I'm so excited about my new Canon Rebel SLR camera I got for Christmas!!!!!! Thank you parents for that one :D I spent all break practicing with it, because it's got quite a set of bells and whistles to it. Here are some of the shots I made:

The rest of the shots are from Spokane's New Years celebration called First Night Spokane.

The famous trash-sucking goat!

I was especially excited about the chance to try out some sweet fireworks shots. Here were the best two that I managed:

So yeah, I had a bunch of others, but I don't want to bore you all with my growing feddish of taking photos :P I hope to be able to get a bunch of other really cool shots in the future.

I've continued a ton of volunteer service from last semester, especially for the church. I continue to go to the Missionary Training Center to be taught by the Spanish-speaking missionaries. I've also discovered this really cool website put out by the church called Helping in the Vineyard. The actual link is http://vineyard.lds.org, and is directly tied to http://create.lds.org, which is a service that allows members to submit media and other services for the church to use in it's various productions and projects. So instead of sending a church photographer all the way to Africa to get some photos down there, they can just put a request on the site, and African photographers can just upload professional-quality photos of whatever is needed! Right now, you're able to submit photos, video, music, audio programming for Mormon Channel Radio, and you're also able to provide your services as an actor, translator, genealogical indexer, and computer programmer, with future plans of adding a graphic design element, and a writing section!!! There's a ton of stuff you can do obviously! So I've gone and started translating stuff into Spanish, and happened to find a club here at BYU that works together on the translation projects in all the languages we can. It's a lot of fun, and helps me feel like I'm accomplishing something rather useful in the world. I also put together some panoramas I took of church historic sites and the Hill Cumorah Pageant, and submitted them through the site. I'm happy to say that they were accepted by the reviewers and are stored away somewhere in the church's massive media database!

I also recently took a simple job at the MTC cafeteria, just to get an income coming in. I now have three different nametags that let me just walk into the MTC (alright, the black one is kind of expired, but the other ones do the job :P ). They just can't keep me out!

School's going pretty well. A couple of projects have kind of beaten me up recently, but I finished them all the same, and am now treading through midterm-week. It's weird, but it seems like all of your classes, regardless of major and semester, all collaborate and put all their midterm exams out at the same time. I had one at the beginning of the week, one I have to take today, another that has to be taken before the end of tomorrow, and my second Spanish midterm on Monday!!! Lots and lots of tests! I've been doing pretty well though, so I'm riding on my confidence for this one. Speaking of though, I unfortunately must go and study :P
Have a good day!

December 22, 2011

The End of Summer Break

It was brought to my attention that these past few months have been like a summer break for me, right before school starts up again. It seems like 2 seconds after that was mentioned to me, the "break" ended all of a sudden--I think it would've lasted longer had I not compared my time off to a stereotypically-short summer break!
I've been keeping up most of the same activities that I mentioned in my previous post. The only real changes have been the various end-of-semester activities our ward participated in. One of the highlights was our trip to Temple Square in Salt Lake City. Check out the pics!
 It's been a few years since I've seen these lights, so that was definitely nice to be back again.

But yeah, not too much else is going on. I'm still cooking every once in a while...

The trip home for Christmas break was rather interesting. I got to the airport on Saturday about an hour and a half before my afternoon flight to Spokane, and was waiting at the departure gate for about an hour, when all of a sudden, our flight got cancelled due to bad fog in Spokane! So I started making phone calls and getting my flight rescheduled. The first offer the guy at the Delta desk gave me was the following morning at 10:00 to Minneapolis, and then layover for a few hours there until a 5:00 flight back to Spokane. I was rather skeptical of his ability to book a reasonable flight! His next offer was the following night at 10:00 (more than 24 hour wait).......I didn't know what to say, so he confirmed me on both flights, that way I could just show up at either one. Luckily, my Grandma lives about 20 minutes from the airport, so I called her up and got a free bed for the night. As I was reclaiming my checked baggage, I got a hold of my Dad, who was skiing without me (grrr), and he remembered he had a funeral to go to tomorrow, so he suggested I go to Delta's front desk (a different one than I was originally at), and nicely beg them for a better flight to get home in time for this funeral I wasn't planning on going to! After the gal called over 3 other coworkers to fix a fairly trivial-seeming technical difficulty, they got me checked in on the 8:42 AM direct flight to Spokane!!! What was that other guy trying to do in hiding that flight?! The following morning, I checked out the departure board, and noticed that there was another direct flight at 11--what gives?! So the second flight worked out fine, and I got home. Can't wait to see what the last few remaining days of the year have in store for me!

November 5, 2011

The first 2 months back

So I have had lots of time to reflect and review over stuff in general these last couple of weeks, and the thought crossed my head: "I still have that blog, maybe I should actually update it again!" I think lots of my friends with blogs have had similar thoughts--I've seen your last posts ;)
I decided to celebrate the occasion by changing up the blog's look a little bit. Let me know if it's too annoying--this is so that others can enjoy seeing it after all.
The first 2 months being back have been nice and relaxing, more than anything. I haven't gotten back into my picture-taking frenzy yet, so I don't really have that many pictures to show what's been happening. I don't know if my poor Sony camera that I bought in Argentina could take it! But I still have just enough to give you an idea:

The homecoming was nice and simple, which is just fine for me.

...and where did I end up first?

I couldn't help but give in to the magnetic pull that our piano has on me! Drew and I had some nice rock-out sessions on it. During my mission, I actually had ideas come to my head for an arrangement of "Where can I turn for peace?" (listen to the basic melody of the original here). I wanna try and write flute and cello parts so that Jason, Drew, and I can pull a trio on it! I think it's going to be pretty cool!

We had lots of family members come up to celebrate my homecoming and Drew's farewell to Manaus, Brazil. It was so great being able to go to the temple with all of them.

About a week after Drew left, I packed up my bags, room, and everything else, and made the big drive down to Provo, Utah. I'm pretty sure that's the first roadtrip I've ever been on without having mom or dad there--I must be pretty grown up for doing that, right?! It was pretty scary crossing from Idaho to Utah though because I had to do it at roughly midnight while it was raining, and with a bunch of construction all around! Good thing mom thought ahead and got me Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol on audiobook to listen to--definitely effective at keeping you awake! It was nice stopping at friends' and family's places on the way down too.
I'm rooming in a 4-person apartment with 3 buddies of mine from freshman year. They were excited to see me because they had already been going to school for a month. I've slowly been catching up with old friends and acquaintances over the past few weeks now, but I still have lots to go.
I was fortunate enough to be here right in time for a mission reunion that President Northcutt decided to hold in Draper a few weeks ago, so I got to see a bunch of old friends there. Again, I didn't really get any pictures of the event, so you don't really see the fact that there were about 150 people at the event, and that I knew roughly half of them!

Alex Young was my trainer in the field. That was great seeing him again!
So yeah, it's been great catching up with everyone.
I've been doing some light job searching in my spare time here. Among other places, I applied at the MTC both as a Spanish teacher as well as a Spanish investigator actor. I'm kinda waiting to see what they say before I start going for other ideas. I've also been volunteering there, doing some familysearch indexing, having fun at ward events, carving a sweet pumpking...

...practicing my cooking skills...

...playing more piano, strolling down memory lane on campus, registering for winter semester classes, reading the scriptures, going over old calculus and programming notes (man, I forgot practically everything!!! It's coming back though, so there's hope), and just feeling surreal!!! The weather is finally starting to turn, threatening snow every once in awhile.

I feel like things are going pretty great though! Hope this next month will be an exciting one too! I love you all! Thanks for all your love and support.

September 19, 2011

Semana 104 - Villa Muñecas

Hola Todos!
Well, this is a really late letter, but for those that have been reading my blog, you might be curious as to what happened my final week in the mission field. Well, let me tell you!
We played more soccer on p-day--I'll miss being able to play with just about anyone down there!
I was pretty busy fitting in goodbye-visits with the members throughout the week. I got pictures and contact info from pretty much all of them though, so we're doing good!
The real highlight of the week was Daniel's baptism! We got him baptized on Saturday and confirmed him on Sunday, which also happened to be my last day!!! He's doing really great and has lots of friends in the ward, so I know he'll do just fine.
I bore my testimony in sacrament meeting, which was rather bittersweet. And then we had lunch with the Argañaraz family. What did they do? They showered me with eggs, flour, and this thing called polenta--it's basically like corn meal, or shredded corn seed! I tried to protect myself with a tshirt, but it didn't work, I was SOOO dirty! You'll have to see the photos (picasaweb.google.com/cpu3140).
I washed my head off while I was at their house, and then we took a taxi home. By the time we finished cleaning ourselves off, it was time to be back in the pension so that I could pack and Elder Rasmussen could clean. It was a crazy sensation, but it had to happen that way I guess. I left the following morning at 10:00, and got to the offices around 2:00. We hung around there with all the other missionaries until 7:30, and then we headed to President Levrino's house for a special dinner with his family. It was a special evening for sure!
We all piled into a van, and then piled into the office elders' pension to sleep. There were roughly 20 in total in that pension, but there was space--it's a pretty big place. And then we started our flights Tuesday morning at about 11:00. And then Buenos Aires, and then Miami, Florida, and then I saw the family in Texas!!!!!!!!! We flew into Spokane late night at 10:30, and then I was released the following afternoon! What an abrupt ending, but it's definitely time to move on. I'm glad I had this wonderful experience, and definitely don't regret it.
I love you all--thank you for your support and love through these two years of missionary service. Hope to be in closer contact with you now!
(as they would say in Spanish) ex-Elder Powell

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August 29, 2011

Semana 103 - Villa Muñecas

¡Hola Todos!
Well, time is quickly slipping by, just like they all say. I finished the Book of Mormon again this last week. What can I say, it's the best book that will ever be written in all history! ¡Hay que leerlo!
It's been a little tough balancing between all the last-minute things I've been wanting to get done, and this last week will be a little tough still, but I'll make it.
We had a good visit by Elder Aidukaitis, 1st counselor in the South America South area presidency. He invited us to come to a double-stake leadership meeting to talk about how the wards need to better apply the 1st presidency's rescue-less-actives plan in our units. He finished off the meeting with a nice talk about miracles and the doctrine behind them. I hope our bishop gets to work on the things that were mentioned there because I can tell what Elder Aidukaitis said was the truth.
Argentina's provincial elections happened yesterday. Voting is obligatory, and lots of people are needed to help carry out the voting process (it's not as nice and easy as it is in the states). So unfortunately, we experienced a 30% decrease in our average sacrament meeting attendance. No one was home afterwards to visit either, so it was an interesting challenge for the week. Things should be a little more normal this week, so it'll be a little easier to finish out good!
Hope to see you all soon!
-Elder Powell-

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August 22, 2011

Semana 101 y 102 - Villa Muñecas

¡Hola Todos!
Sorry about not getting last weeks letter out. I totally spaced out and didn't realize that I didn't send it until it was too late. 2 Sundays ago, our recent baptism was ordained to the office of priest in the Aaronic Priesthood! That was a little surprise because I didn't even know about the interview he had with the bishop. I gave him a white shirt and a couple ties to start working on the sacrament next week!
We were going to have another baptism this last week, but because of unforseen conflicts in our schedules, we have to wait 2 weeks to do it. That's alright though, because that puts his confirmation on my last day--going out in white! ;)
We had interviews with President Levrino 2 weeks ago. Mine was pretty quick, nothing too special.
Elder Aidukaitis, 1st counselor in the area presidency is coming this week to give a couple firesides to the priesthood leaders and the youth and young adults. The missionaries got invited to the leadership meeting, so we'll be heading there Friday night :)
Not too much different though, just starting little by little to get things ready for my departure in two weeks! I got rid of a lot of stuff in my suitcases that I won't be bringing home, and I've started getting the members to write in my (what's it called?) farewell book...where they leave their names, contact info, and a little goodbye-note. I know that the last 2 weeks will be a little hectic, trying to say goodbye and keeping up with the work, so I'm doing the little stuff early.
Love you all!
-Elder Powell-

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