Friday, August 26, 2011

Back to School - Fall 2011 Edition

Well, it's been another first week of school.

I don't really feel the need to establish that The University of Utah and BYU are very different places. I think most people already know that. But I'm still going to go over some of the more interesting things that have happened. I think this might just come out in a list form, because there's just too much.

I've gone to Salt Lake City every day this week and have only put 6 miles on my car thanks to public transportation. Yeeeeeah!

Before-mentioned public transportation is free! (It was $90 a year at BYU, which paid for itself very quickly, but they don't offer it anymore.)

I'm registered for four classes and all of them seem like they'll be good. One of them is literally called "Intro to Video Games." Ha! The professor's degree is in English, however, so there will be much writing of papers (about video games).

The art class I need for my program had a few more sections opened up, so I was able to get into that!

The scheduling on my program is pretty strict, so I have a lot of the same people in my classes. Most of them seem really nice, and I've already made a few buddies.

I've made a pretty sweet website for my programming class, which is where we post all our assignments. Check it for updates! I'll be putting a Paypal donation button on there soon, feel free to give!

The campus here is much bigger and has lots of green areas between the buildings. You almost never see a dense crowd, even by the student building where they keep all the food.

There are a lot of cool looking restaurants on and just off campus. There's more than just Taco Bell and Scoreboard.

The library here is very cool. The whole bottom floor is mostly study areas and a cafe.

They totally have Starcraft 2 on the lab computers here. Woo!

I spend three to four hours on the bus/train every day. Yuck. This is sort of convenient for reading, but most of my reading assignments are online, which means I need to read it all on my little iPod screen (I ain't truckin' my laptop here and back every day). This is would be a lot easier if I had iPad. Wink. Wink. Wink.....

Apparently, Aubrey's sister Martina is the only Mormon girl that attends this school, because all the other ones either just don't value clothing or have lots of tattoos. (This isn't really as prevalent as I make it sound. But it is swift and obvious change from BYU and American Fork. When we saw Martina on Tuesday, she made the same comment.)

I ended up having to drop the "Gender & Social Change" class I was enrolled in. I was actually pretty excited about that class, but it turns out the professor liked to swear a lot and he warned us right out of the gate that he's going to be using racy (or in his words "definitely not PG") material to get concepts across. So....that was the end of that.

Funny story about that gender class: I got to the classroom pretty early because I didn't have anything else going on. But by the time that there were only about five minutes until the bell (actually, they don't do bells here, but you know what I mean) the entire classroom had filled up with only women. I didn't remember if the professor was a guy or a girl so I started to worry what it might be like to be the only man (particularly a married, Mormon, one) in a gender class. Fortunately, a few guys came in just before class started. I let out an audible sigh of relief and the 6 or so girl closest to me all started laughing. I was getting pretty nervous!

I'm taking Calculus....again....

Still haven't been able to find a job. Hopefully when I do find one it'll work with my school schedule.

Well, I think that's about everything. It's been a pretty crazy week. More updates soon.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Oh I went I went a fishin'...

...On a hot summer day. I went fishing outside of Alaska for the first time a couple Saturdays ago. I have mixed feelings about the event overall (spoiler: I got sunburned all to crap, again) but it was a lot of fun. Actually, we did more than just fish. We also rode horses.

This is Milo showing obvious signs of inattention.
Apparently it's a "horse thing" that they need to be retaught to be good little obedient horses on their first ride every year after the long winter break. Unfortunately, winter lasted until August with the horses that we were riding. It was a pretty short trip once Aubrey found out about this. Also, I'm pretty sure Milo was so excited that he forgot to eat breakfast, because he would keep stopping to eat at whatever plants were around. At one point he pulled up an entire plant that was about two feet tall and was carrying it around with us.He then stopped in the middle of the road while we were crossing it and stopped responding to any and all commands/nudges. We didn't get hit by any cars though, as the car that came speeding around the corner saw us in time to slow down and stop.

My first Utah catch. I named him "Butch" (not really).
 But anyway, after I almost died thanks to a horse (which, based on my past experience means I'm maintaining an average of 66% for my life to be seriously threatened any time I get on a horse) we went fishing. We were up in the Uintas, so we went to this giant reservoir named "Starvation" of all things. Rumor has it there's some serious fishes up there, but we sure didn't see any. I don't want to overstate the obvious, but fishing for widdle fishes is a lot different than fishing for salmon. The biggest difference between salmon and these little perch was that I couldn't ever really tell if they were hooked or not. Many, many times I would see my bobber bobbing around, I'd give it a yank, it would continue to move around...yank...still moving...and I'd reel it in only to find that most of my bait was gone. Two of those many times, this very same thing would happen but a very tiny fish happened to be on the end of my line, looking confused. Silly fish, not even enough sense to fight it (or enough weight to be noticeable, which would have been nice).

But we did have a great time. We've certainly got a little bit of the fishing bug. we wanted to go again this past weekend of it didn't work out. We'll definitely get back out there before school starts. 

Aubrey's grandpa Larry. A mountain man if there ever was one.
Aubrey's dad and grandma Patsy.
 Note: The presence of cowboy hats in some pictures does not mean that Aubrey or I ever wore cowboy hats. I feel like this needs to be stated somewhere.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Official Annoucement

You know how I post about a major life change about every six months? I didn't want to let the tradition die, so today we'll be discussing my transfer from BYU to the University of Utah.

When I decided to go into Computer Science, it was because I wanted to go into video game programming. It's just an added bonus that there are about a thousand tech companies that need programmers in this area. So I figured if things didn't work out, I could always just go for one of those other "less awesome" jobs.

Shortly thereafter, I found out about the University of Utah had its own Computer Science program with a game-making emphasis. Oooooh. Then I found out it was ranked #2 in the nation for such undergrad programs. Hmmm..... However, I was hesitant to make such a big change. Having already made one university transfer, I knew that bad things happened to your hard-earned generals and such. When I started my first couple computer classes, I really liked them! But there was a problem: someone put a flyer for the U's game program up in the computer building near the labs. So every time I walked to the lab (which was most days) I saw the flyer.

For a while (like three days), this was okay. Then the thoughts about how I'd rather be there started creeping in. After a few weeks, the longing started. When the semester was close to the end, I started to stop and read that dumb poster from top to bottom once a day and wish I was going there instead. Coupled with my job getting weird and becoming very tired of BYU and Provo in general, I decided to get brave.

Due to the fact that I have a very, very wonderful, sweet, and accommodating wife, she was actually very supportive. We made up an outline and thought about it for a few weeks. Then we took the plunge and I applied to the University of Utah. It took a couple weeks to get the kinks worked out, but I'm all ready to go for the fall. I'm actually excited for school to start. Can you believe that? I know it'll be tough, but I'm very motivated to make things work with school this time. I've even managed to make a few industry contacts (all of which are active Mormons, so there goes that stereotype) that have been very helpful.

To finish off, CoolWife and I decided we should go check out the campus and figure out where my classes are. Here's a couple pictures of me looking like a freshman at the U last week.

The campus is big. Really big. I'll need to get a map of my own eventually.

But hey, one of my classes had a dinosaur on the name plate! How cool is that?

Here's Aubrey with the full-sized version of the dino skull. She was even more excited than I was.