Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Photo, photo on the wall

New goal:

Learn how to properly use Photoshop.

Lately I've been wanting to do bigger and better things with this blog (a natural feeling) but of course I needed to start small and work my way up. Baby steps, baby steps. I talked with my friend Celeste about Photoshop just the other night and how much both of us reaaaaaalllyy want to have it and use it to create amazing pictures like those that we see on other people's sites *jealous monster peeks his head out of cave*. Today I decided to take it a step further and actually try it out for myself before I invested in such a thing. Luckily for me, my school owns a few Macs with all of the programs on them that are free for anyone to use. Jackpot!

I got on the computer, pulled up the program, got all ready to go... and just stared at it. How in the world was I supposed to figure this out?! It all looked like gibberish to me. Fortunately, my quote-unquote sister Sydney, the author of an amazing AMAZING (did I say amaaazing?) blog that everyone and their mother follows, does some amazing things with Photoshop and photography in general and was kind enough to post a tutorial on an example of how to use Photoshop. Thanks Syd!* It was really fun just playing around with things. Well shall we see how I did? Don't judge too harshly.

I mean it.

Before and Afters:

*Happen to have a way to use Photoshop and you have no idea what you are doing and want to give it a try? check out Syd's original post here.

Welllll? What do you think?

Still could use some tinkering? I think so too.

I work on it and get back to you.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"There should be a need for books such as this"


I finally finished Les Miserables! It took me about a month but I mastered the book and loved every minute of it. If you haven't already, READ IT!

It was amazing for me because I've seen the movie and know how it ends but the ending still takes me by surprise and leaves me on the edge of this huge abyss along with Jean Valjean, only to bring me back to the safety and peace of the beautifully poetic ending. Reading the novel from front to back you can really see the transition or metamorphosis from dark to light, from evil to good. Jean Valjean is a man who made some mistakes in the past, some not-so-small mistakes, that are not readily accepted in the eyes of the law of the land, even after he turns his life around, attempting to be a man of God.

In fact, to me this novel was ALL about the difference of perspective between God and Man and how far apart, sometimes, those perspectives can be.

"A cannonball travels only two thousand miles an hour; light travels two hundred thousand miles a second. Such is the superiority of Jesus Christ over Napoleon."(p. 1197)

What are the convulsions of a city compared to the émeutes [uprising, emotion] of the soul? (p. 1148)

Men do not always see the acts of other men. But the Lord does. He sees everything, down to the deepest desires of our hearts. "With eyes closed is the best way to look at the soul. (p. 1010)" says Hugo. That's is part of the key in becoming more like our Heavenly Father I think, "...Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7)"

Though Valjean stole, lied, hurt, and many other things at times, in the end he always came back to the Lord and tried to undo the wrong he had committed. And that's what the Savior wants for us. To come unto Him so that He can heal us.

And I have no doubt that when "[Jean Valjean] was dead," what Hugo said was true-

"The night was starless and extremely dark. No doubt, in the gloom, some immense angel stood erect with wings outspread, awaiting that soul. (Volume V, Book 9, Chapter 5)"

Saturday, November 13, 2010

What can I do?

You know how we look on television, and see all those commercials for kids in Africa or some other third-world country and they ask us to donate something, but we all roll our eyes and say how on earth will that help? How will my $1 donation help some poor child clear across the world?

And we don't do it.

Don't let this be one of those times.

My good friend Katelyn, author of Nothing More Beautiful, recently posted a story about a young boy who has suffered more than any 11-year-old should endure. His name is Marius and he's from Romania. Katelyn relates that:
One night a boiler exploded in his house, killing his parents and leaving him with third and fourth-degree burns over seventy-five percent of his body. Thanks to some skilled surgeons, a couple of BYU students and their families as well as countless others who have contributed to his recovery, Marius has made tremendous progress and is now about to be adopted into a loving family here in the United States.
Katelyn's friend Mark is creating a documentary about Marius's story and needs funds to do so. The mother of the family wanting to adopt Marius has just found out she has cancer, something that has obviously added to the stress of the situation and stretches the financial difficulties. I'll let you read more about the cause here,where Katelyn outlines the problems in a better detail. Here is the actual website for Marius with a small clip about his story.

It will tear your heart out.

Now before you say, Oh sad! But someone else will donate, I'm sure of it. Pause and take a second to think. How often are we given these opportunities to follow the example of Jesus Christ, who gave of Himself selflessly to all who came to Him. Who was a mender of broken things. And how often do we take those opportunities? I can honestly say for myself, not a whole lot. So can we take just a little bit of ourselves and give it to a boy who has lost so much, who remains happy and positive, even in the face of all he has been through? I will give what I can. And that's all the Lord asks. Is to give what you can. So please do.

Finishing off with a poem quoted in a talk that Katelyn references in her post, a talk given by Elder Jeffery R. Holland in the LDS General Conference of April 2006:
In Nazareth, the narrow road,
That tires the feet and steals the breath,
Passes the place where once abode
The Carpenter of Nazareth.
And up and down the dusty way
The village folk would often wend;
And on the bench, beside Him, lay
Their broken things for Him to mend.
The maiden with the doll she broke,
The woman with the broken chair,
The man with broken plough, or yoke,
Said, "Can you mend it, Carpenter?"
And each received the thing he sought,
In yoke, or plough, or chair, or doll;
The broken thing which each had brought
Returned again a perfect whole.
So, up the hill the long years through,
With heavy step and wistful eye,
The burdened souls their way pursue,
Uttering each the plaintive cry:
"O Carpenter of Nazareth,
This heart, that's broken past repair,
This life, that's shattered nigh to death,
Oh, can You mend them, Carpenter?"
And by His kind and ready hand,
His own sweet life is woven through
Our broken lives, until they stand
A New Creation—"all things new."
"The shattered [substance] of [the] heart,
Desire, ambition, hope, and faith,
Mould Thou into the perfect part,
O, Carpenter of Nazareth!"1

We can do this guys!

you say it best when you say nothing at all

I'm having a hard time deciding what to write about cause I'm having serious writers block right now and I don't know why because I usually have a lot to say but I'm not sure what I want to say today because maybe there's so much to say and if I don't say something then nothing will ever be said and my blog would be sad and I don't want it to be sad because I've come to like my blog and when it's sad I am sad and everything is just sad.

If you're wondering what all this gibberish is, that would be attempt to come up with something to write about today (don't judge). And know you say, Joey, it can't be THAT hard to come up with something to write about on your silly little blog. Well my friends, I have news that will shock and awe you.

It is.

Not all the time, but sometimes.

Like today.

And today I think I just have too much to talk about, so I don't really know where to start. I'm sure none of you have ever had that happen, right? Right. I'm unique. Let me keep thinking that.

But sometimes, I postulate that saying nothing at all can be saying everything at the same time. WHOA! Slow down there buckaroo! Getting too deep for this early in the morn for my taste.

Sorry sorry... apparently I'm too chipper this morning for my own good. But I think that it's a true statement. Often times when we're trying to get something across or send a message, the best thing that we can do is not say anything. When are those moments? Well, I can't really say I'm an expert. Actually, I would say that I'm the farthest thing from it. I'm one of those foot-in-the-mouth people.

Let's just say viewer discretion advised.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

oh the weather outside

dictionary states: a precipitation in the form of ice crystals, mainly of intricately branched, hexagonal form and often agglomerated into flakes, formed directly from the freezing of the water vapor in the air.

any guesses?

you're so smart!

that's right people it is SNOWING!

am i allowed to say i'm excited?

i think a few people my consider killing me as i sleep if i do, but i'll say it anyway. i'm super excited about this precipitation coming down from the grey expanse of the sky. cold is no fun unless there is snow involved. it's actually quite funny. as i sit here in the library right next to a wall of windows, you can see everyone sneaking peeks at the flurries outside. yep, that's right. i can SEE you! there's just something about watching it fall i think...

a couple things that snow gets me in the mood for:

-hot chocolate
-raging fires
-Christmas music
-sitting by windows
-seeing fur EVERYWHERE
-did i mention Christmas?

just to name a few.


Monday, November 8, 2010


I find that sometimes I have these questions. I may know all, part, or not any of the answer, or it's impossible. But they're fun to have and think about.


Fun to have questions? I thought we're supposed to have all the answers.

*wrong answer buzzer noise* That's God's field. Not quite there yet. But learning.

Previously mentioned questions:

what is it about music that takes me to a different place and time?

why is a rainy, cloudy day sometimes better than a sunny one?

why do i want to live in a different century but still enjoy the conveniences of our modern one? is that possible?

why are books always sooo much better than movies?

why do i get a feeling of completeness when i see yellow, red and orange trees?

when can i marry colbie caillat?

how can life be so wonderful and awful?

what do i need to be doing differently to make it more wonderful than awful?

why can't i be a music major?

how is it so hard to write sometimes, even when i really want to?

what would it be like to be a Bob?

will i be late to class?



Monday, November 1, 2010


It's November! Halloween has come and passed. I hope each of you had a great one, I know that I sure did.(The one in the middle, with President Thomas S. Monson's face on it? Yep I helped carve that)

November. That means two months left in the year. Two months.

NaNoWriMo. Another word for November. Don't know what that means? Look like a bunch of letters to you? Stands for National Novel Writing Month. And guess who's taking part in it. Yep, that would be myself.

30 days. 50,000 words. One novel. That is the challenge. It's kind of frightening and invigorating at the same time. I'm pretty sure I can make it happen. It'll require some later nights and less free time, but hey that's all good with me. Just saying that I wrote a novel in 30 days would be a pretty cool accomplishment.

So I'll keep you updated, okay? Okay.


Julie picks her head up off my chest.

“What are we doing Sammy?”

Sunlight streams through the window. It’s noon.

“Hey Sammy, order up!” Raul yelled at me passing by his counter full of orders needed to be taken out. I was running behind. Was it my fault that I was just having an off day? I seemed to be having more and more of those lately. My life was a juggling act of fire torches and I seemed destined to go down in a blazing inferno. I picked up the trays of food and walked out into the dining room.

Full house that night.

As I sat in the back for a breather and tried to get the baby throw-up off my shirt, I contemplated just walking out. It would be so easy. Just taking the apron off and walking out those doors.

I walked out the doors. Up to another table.

“How are you tonight?”

A woman looked up, alone at the table.

“Just peachy. How ‘bout you bucko?”

“I’m doing just wonderful. I’m Sammy and I’ll be serving you this evening. Can I start you off with something to drink?”

“Well, let me see Sam-I-am. How ‘bout a nice glass of ‘get the heck outta my face while I try and decide what to order’? You serve that don’t you?”

“Are we expecting anyone else to join you tonight?”

“Don’t see anyone else in the booth. I guess a girl can’t just go get a nice dinner by herself, has to have someone to eat dinner with.”

“Excuse me a moment.”

“Be my guest.”

I walked away, thoroughly attracted.

She ordered chicken, dry, nothing on it and water to drink.

She lay down on the booth and took a nap.

She cursed me in French.

Her name was Julie. I asked her out.

Julie pours herself some of her cereal that tastes like cardboard. She sloshes milk everywhere and sweeps it back into her bowl. “I don’t want this to be cliché.”

“How can this not be cliché, Julie? We’re breaking up. That’s cliché in itself.”

“Well no, actually, if we stayed together, that would be cliché. We’re against the grain on this one.”

“No, because statistics are showing that—“

“No more statistics.”


“Because I hate when you start getting all those numbers out and I feel the drool start down the side—“

“I meant why are we breaking up?”

“Oh that’s an easy one. We just don’t work Sammy. We’re broken. We were broken when we started.”

One of Julie’s favorite places to visit was antique stores. I think it was because she hated anything new. Julie was an old world spirit. Antique stores may have many different types of objects from different time periods, but they had the same air about them.

We went to this one store. Browsed around for a bit. Julie came up to me, holding something behind her back.

Tears were in her eyes.

“What’s wrong?”

She held out a picture in a dusty old frame. A woman stared out at me from the black-and-white photo.

“Isn’t she beautiful?”

“Sure, I guess. Who is she?”

“My mother.”


“Yep, she’s yours too.”

“What? No she’s not.”

“She’s everyone’s mother. Everyone who didn’t have one.”

“I had one.”

“Fine, she’ll just be mine then.”

I’m sitting on the bed, watching Julie dress. She always starts from the top and works her way to the bottom. It’s some kind of good luck thing she picked up from one of her crazy religions. She walks over to me.

Kisses me on the forehead.

Turns and walks towards the door, opens it.

Turns back around to look at me.

“I don’t like fixing things Sammy.”

“You’ll get fixed though.”

“You think?”

“Yep. Some blonde bimbo will come right along after me and swoop you up.”

“I just want you to stay.”

“You want to stay like this?”

“If it means that you stay, then yes.”

The door shuts.

©Joseph Whitaker 2010