Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Between Us We Ran 189 Miles in 24-Hours #Ragnar

On Thursday I hopped in my car and drove to Vegas.

As a team we rented a house in Vegas. The rest of my team was driving there from Utah, and I just so happened to pull into the driveway at the same time as another car full of teammates. I didn't know any of them.

The house we stayed in.
After quickly unloading our vehicles the stranger teammates wanted to go to the Las Vegas strip. I have been to the strip more than enough times, but sitting at the house alone sounded boring. Off to the strip we go!

"Hey Jimmy."
"Bow if you're gay!"
The guy slams of the breaks causing me to bow forward.
"Actually, I am gay." I responded as I proceeded to watch him squirm around in awkwardness trying to find the right words to redeem himself. I then called him a "bro" to his face and continued calling him that for the rest of the trip.

For the record, the guy was pretty cool and actually did a pretty good job and redeeming himself and showing he has nothing against gay people. Still, I was going to milk this for all it's worth and bring it up time and time again throughout the race. It was good fun :)

New York or New York New York?

Waling around the Las Vegas strip.
After walking around and watching people gamble, we went back to the house only to discover the other caravans had arrived while we were gone. My friend Greg was among them; the only person I previously knew on our team. We had a big day ahead, so I went to bed.

Setting off to begin the race! With a team of size 12, we split into 2 vehicles. This was the car I was in. To be honest, I didn't really get to know the others in the other vehicle.

We drove up into the mountains and saw snow! Snow? Nevada? It was around 90 degrees where our house was, so seeing snow was kinda weird.
The starting line!
Heather was our first runner. She ran off into the mountain and we scurried into the van so we could drive a few miles ahead of her and cheer her on as she passed us. We stopped the car and waited for her to run by. We were so excited! She began passing us when suddenly she stopped and started puking. *silence overcame us*. She did her puke thing, drank some water, then ran on her merry way. It was so awkward at the time, but we look back now and laugh hysterically at the event. Seriously the BEST way to have begun the race lol! We joked about it non-stop the entire trip and even still. The following drawing became our team flag when we hit up Chili's later that day.

I drew this of us watching Heather puking.
Heather also liked saying, "Wabam!" And so for the rest of the trip we kept saying, "Wableeeehhhhh" lol! Oh man, it never got old hahaha!!

I was our second runner and began running at 1:57 PM. My first leg was 4.77 miles and very downhill. My shins killed after. My average pace was 5:53. It was a pretty plain part of the mountain, though I was surrounded by Joshua trees which I thought was really cool because I'm not used to those trees.

My second leg was 6.64 miles long and began at 12:52 AM. There were some uphill parts and I was saving energy for my last run, so my average pace was 7:22. It was located in the middle of the desert and the moon was full and beautiful! I had a headlamp which allowed me to see the road in front of me, but other than that I could only see the silhouettes of the surrounding rock structures in the moonlight. It was such in incredible experience! Wow, the atmosphere as well as the music I was listening to made for such an incredible run. I said a prayer of gratitude mid run for having a body that allows me to run like I was.

My third leg was during the late morning, but it was sunny and hot. It was 6.97 miles long and my average pace was 8:11. The graph below doesn't show how difficult it was. Everything after the fourth mile was at least as steep as a standard staircase, but constantly up and down. The downhill parts were difficult because I was trying not to fall on my face. It was hot and was one of the few times I've ever anticipated the end of a run.

Between my van's legs we would go back to the house to take a nap and eat. But while my van was still running we would drive ahead of the current runner so we could cheer them on, like we did Heather earlier. Each leg has a sign on the trail somewhere telling you that you're on your last mile. Here I am waiting for our runner Kim to run by.
Waiting at the One Mile to Go sign for our teammate to run by.
Every teammate completed their first leg here. We were headed to Chili's to eat some food.
Eventually it came time for our last runner to finish the entire race. We met up at a Casino in Vegas where a huge party awaited us. I purchased a Ragnar jacket. Once our final runner came in we took a photo and celebrated.
My team just after our last runner finished!
We eventually made it back to the house where we all went to bed because we were beat and none of us could walk normally. It was hilarious.

The next morning I woke up and drove home. But crazy thing, my order number at McDonald's was our team number that was on our bibs! Aaaaahhhhhh!!!


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Platypus - [Jimmy Hales extremely cheesy original music video...beware]

The other day I posted to various social media:

I received a bunch of replies, several of which I very well might turn into a song later. However, it must have been my mood or something, but the suggestion I decided to write a song about is my sister Jolie's who responded to my request via text message:

That's the whole story.


Monday, November 10, 2014

Glorious by David Archuleta (Jimmy Hales cover)

I get an email from my mission president's wife:
Hey, did you see the invitation by David Archuleta to submit your version of the song Glorious from meet the Mormons? I think you should submit one!! I love hearing you sing!
I had a busy weekend in front of me and there was no way.

Then the deadline to submit a cover got extended a week. I had Tuesday off of work but ended up spending it at the doctor's office for a HIDA scan. This, as well as a combination of fasting for the appointment and delaying my meds some, I wasn't feeling well for the rest of the day. I found myself trapped inside of my apartment for the rest of the day. Then I remembered the invitation(s) to cover the song and decided I would in order to help pass the time.

Me getting a HIDA scan.
David Archuleta has great vocal control and makes singing his songs sound so easy. I had sung this song, "Glorious", a number of times in the car, but now that I was standing in front of a mic I was suddenly humbled. Needless to say, I spent some time practicing it before hitting record. I almost gave up twice.

In the end, I was OK with what I was able to record. It's for a great cause anyways and am glad I can contribute in any way. I kinda think of recording this song as a free vocal lesson from David. I know my version is pretty similar to his and I wish I could have made it my own a bit more, but I'm still new to this and time was limited.

Covering this song ended up being a really fun experience and the feedback I've received has been more than motivating to continue making music. So thanks everybody for your kind and motivating words! They're very encouraging! I sure do enjoy this hobby of making music.  :)
My humble setup with the lights off.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Wearing Shorts in November

Blogging used to have such an appeal to me. Any free moment I had between assignments I would jump on the computer and blog in order to relax and keep loved ones informed on how I'm doing.

Now it feels kinda like a chore.

My Health?
I'm still vomiting. The doctor had me eat some radioactive oatmeal and drink some "special" water and then put me in a donut shaped machine (not a CAT scan) for 90 minutes while it scanned my innards.

They discovered I'm not digesting liquids normally.

I'm now on some meds that might be working, which worries me because the side effects are ridiculous and are making me tired and dizzy. During yesterday's run I didn't throw up. I'm not sure if I should be happy or not.

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk

But first I took a selfie.
Just before the #MakingStrides against #breastCancer walk.

I intended on running the walk, but I enjoyed the company of Victoria (cute girl in picture) and ended up walking and talking with her during the entire 3+ mile walk. It was a beautiful morning and the
weather couldn't have been better.

Here are some other members from our GM team.

Phoenix, Tempe Making Strides against breast cancer; team GM.

Staying Fit
Despite my minor medical issues, I have been able to do some running. While my pace isn't anything as competitive as it normally is, I've been placing top 3 at some races which has been a lot of fun.

I placed 2nd in my age group at the Oktober Fest 10K. They served beer at the finish line. Needless to say, I didn't have any.
Then at this 5K I placed 3rd overall. It took place at a fun place called Rawhide right here in Chandler.

I've been getting heavily involved at CrossFit. I won't talk about it much, but I sure do love the workouts and the friends I'm making there.

We had a Halloween party at CrossFit.

Maria and Jesus also work at GM, so we've become pretty good friends.

On this day we took turns pushing a sled on the asphalt. Everyone's legs were killing afterwards.

One month photo. You might be allowed to see this later.
A General Motors idea of a Halloween costume haha! I'm the letter "J" :)
At work we've been pretty festive for Halloween. We've set up various "haunted houses" because we had the employee's children come and go trick-or-treating throughout the building at each cubicle. Seriously the best deal for the kids. The candy to walking ratio is ridiculously high.

The Scarepoint Castle

The Pumpkin Patch

Pokemon world.
Notice my awesome dinosaur tail I'm sporting? It was a hit and everyone loved it. Thanks to my best friend's wife (who is also my friend) Rachel for making it for me!

We also recently celebrated Diwali. It was like an episode from The Office, only a lot more legit.

There was a fun program those from India put on for us. It included singing, dancing, and a type of fashion show.
They also served us some really yummy Indian food.

New video very soon.

I went shopping.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Next Time (original song/video) -- & Update

Where do I begin? What is this song about? What do you think it's about? If you wrote it, what would it be about? That's all I'm going to say about the song.

I caught a cold that's been weighing on me for the past four weeks. I've also been having some stomach issues which cause me to vomit violently on a regular basis. It's been a bit rough because I can't run, work out, and now it's been taking a toll on my voice. I recorded this song in the middle of my cold as well as my ongoing stomach issues. I'm anything but pleased with the vocal on this. In fact, I just went into my home studio to rerecord the vocals, but ended up keeping the original track because I feel it only helps tell the story of where I am right now in life, and that's why I write music.

As for the guitar, I'm just not good at it haha! I do what I can I guess :)

Now for anyone that cares, an little update on life. :)

So the health issues. They've been a bit of a set back and really have made me change how I live, but I really can't complain. I have two legs that work. I have to arms that work. My health is overall really good and I am very grateful for this.

I was just looking through my phone and discovered this video (only one frame shown here). The drugs I was on completely wiped this instance from my memory.
This is a frame taken from a video of me waking up and I literally cannot remember any of this happening one bit. Thanks to my ward (aka Mormon church group) for volunteering a hand and and thanks to my friend Tyler for coming along with me to this.

I've had an ultrasound, endoscopy, and a CT scan. We found some damage from vomiting and discovered a hernia I have in my stomach, but still can't find out why I'm vomiting. I do feel a swelling under my right rib cage though. I'm pretty sure this is all because of my gallbladder acting up. My guess is I'll be getting it out. No biggy.

Jesus and I went through a drive-thru on foot! This has seriously been something I've wanted to do my entire life. Also, my phone was on a 10 second timer, so the fact that I got this shot just as she was handing us our food made us extremely happy.
We had crazy weather! A haboob came by and right after it we had record breaking rain that flooded the entire valley. I live on the second floor and I drive a truck, so for me it was quite enjoyable.

The haboob just before it hit. Taken from my balcony.

My street.
It was my sister's birthday! She is so awesome! She is also super pregnant and is scheduled to have her baby next week! I'm going to be an uncle!

I had the opportunity to do some service at the Helping Boys Thrive conference. It was a lot of fun.

Out to eat with some coworkers. I LOVE eating outside! The weather here is celestial, I swear.
Me dancing in the fountain.
 One day at work we had a ping pong tournament. You had to pay to enter and then all proceeds went towards charity. I didn't play, but it was fun to watch.
Ping Pong tournament.
 Everyone one is saying that I look so "grown up" in this next picture. I don't get it.
It was test drive day one day. We had some really cool cars there! All of them GM vehicles of course.

 Then I got on a bus with a random Young Single Adult ward and spent a weekend in San Diego. It was a lot of fun! And so very spontaneous too.
The San Diego Temple! It is so unbelievably beautiful! I just woke up after sleeping in the bus, so I was rockin' the bed head.

The beach! The waves were HUGE because of the hurricane. 
That's pretty much it for now :)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I'm Afraid to Invite my Gay Non-LDS Friends to Church

I'm gay, so naturally I've made some gay friends since moving down here to Arizona last month. These friends all know I'm a devout Latter-day Saint and some of them have become interested in knowing more about the Church. I happily share with them my testimony about the gospel, and strongly emphasize the eternal perspective we Mormons have and the blessings that can last forever. One of my gay friends asked me if he could come to Church with me on Sunday and I'll admit, I'm afraid to bring him. I don't think my ward is ready for an openly gay investigator.

I often hear less-than-inviting comments being said regarding gay people at church, but I'm also aware that ignorance is a major reason for such things being said (I'm always trying to raise awareness.) But what about gay investigators? Are we going to tell them to simply not take offense to such remarks? They'll just make this visit to the church their last.

Moving out here into a ward that doesn't already have openly gay members in it [other than me] has reminded me how homophobic members of the Church can be (though I know there are so many who truly care about us and I appreciate that so much.) When hearing something that's hurtful I do my best to hold my tongue until I could speak to an individual in private and let them know that something(s) they said were hurtful. But now I see that such behavior among some of my fellow Mormons is directly affecting missionary work in a very negative way, and I am not OK with this.

In the past few weeks I've already heard several gay jokes said by both members and leaders of my new ward. I've been the butt of a joke far too many times already. I would have been very embarrassed if a gay non-LDS friend of mine would have present during any of these taking place. Also, the nature of some of the activities have been specifically boy-girl based, which is fine and all (it IS a singles ward), but I'm glad I didn't invite one of my gay friends to attend any of these nonetheless.

So what's the big fix? I think awareness is all we can do, so here I am writing a blog post about it. I want my gay friends to have a positive experience when they attend church with us. But until we rid ourselves of these apathetic overtones, gay people aren't going to feel invited into our congregations.

When taking part in any sort of church activity, please know that there are gay people around you. I know they're (we're) there and that there are a lot more than you realize. When am I going to be able to confidently invite my gay friends to church and to other church related activities? Soon, I hope.