Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Okay, I know what you're thinking. Bulldogs are disgusting pets who only chew on leather shoes and slobber everywhere. Though this may be true, bulldogs are probably the funniest looking and acting pets. If you don't believe me, go to www.hulu.com, search for the show Rob and Big, and watch a few episodes to be introduced to their pet bulldog 'Meaty'. I don't think I have ever laughed so hard in my life seeing some of the things that Meaty does.
As previously mentioned, I do have a love for pitbulls. I also have a love for bulldogs, courtesy of the show Rob and Big where they have a pet bulldog named Meaty. The dog is hilarious.
For the longest time I have wanted to own my very own dog. One that will grow up and prove to be a legit man dog. Yes, pitbulls are known to be fierce animals who are dangerous to be around. But, what they don't realize is that it depends on how the dog is trained. If you train it correctly, all the dog will want to do is play with a kong and run around. Yes, they are powerful creatures that can knock a full grown man, such as myself, to the ground. But once again, it depends on how you train that particular dog.

This is a picture of a puppy pitbull asleep on the couch, a picture that I found on the internet when I simply did a Google image search for "pitbull puppy". Once this dog gets to be 1-2 years, any man walking this kind of a dog will feel proud to be of the male gender, out walking his bad pitbull terrier.
Pitbull Puppy #2. I will eventually own one of these someday and it will be trained extremely well, much like Dolly Brown's pitbull JAKE.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

And yet another from the same article. Good stuff.

“Those who humble themselves before the Lord, and wait upon him with a perfect heart and willing mind, will receive little by little, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little, ‘now and again,’ as [Brother] John Taylor says, until they receive a certain amount. Then they have to nourish and cherish what they receive, and make it their constant companion, encouraging every good thought, doctrine and principle, and doing every good work they can perform, until by and bye the Lord is in them a well of water springing up unto everlasting life.”
So I read an awesome quote today that Brigham Young said regarding the importance of maintaining a pure heart and having the Spirit in your life. How true is this quote below though? How many times in your life have you noticed the absence of the Spirit and the difference that it makes? In my own personal life, as I lead others, give talks, conduct business, etc... I've noticed that I am able to do so more effectively and clearly when my heart is pure and when I am close to the Spirit. Yet, the natural man gets everyone of us and we slip and fall. That's the beauty though of the Gospel. It's a Gospel of forgiveness and growth.

In addressing a congregation, though the speaker be unable to say more than half a dozen sentences, and those awkwardly constructed, if his heart is pure before God, those few broken sentences are of more value than the greatest eloquence without the Spirit of the Lord and of more real worth in the sight of God, angels, and all good men. In praying, though a person’s words be few and awkwardly expressed, if the heart is pure before God, that prayer will avail more than the eloquence of a Cicero [a first century b.c. Roman orator]. What does the Lord, the Father of us all, care about our mode of expression? The simple, honest heart is of more avail with the Lord than all the pomp, pride, splendor, and eloquence produced by men. When he looks upon a heart full of sincerity, integrity, and child-like simplicity, he sees a principle that will endure forever—‘That is the spirit of my own kingdom—the spirit I have given to my children.’ ”

Friday, January 8, 2010


After living with my relatives for six months, I had saved up enough money for a down payment on my very first new home!

I began my search in May 2009. I set forth a budget and worked with an excellent agent who found me several homes within range that we went and viewed. I searched all throughout the valley (Gilbert, Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Ahwatukee) and found several nice places that I saw myself living in. Gilbert had two homes in particular that really caught my eye. Reasoning? Not only were the places really nice, but the cost of living is much cheaper in Gilbert than in any other suburb city. Gilbert is experiencing a lot of growth right now and homes are selling for extremely cheap, so I felt very strongly about moving there. Even though I would be moving outside of the ward boundaries where I was currently living, I was ready for a change.

I placed an offer on both homes that I liked and one of them was accepted! I now had ten days to back out of the offer just in case something were to happen where I couldn't buy it. Days 1-3 come and go, all was well. Days 4-6 come, but don't go as I had planned. Due to circumstance change in my life, I had to back out of the offer that was initially accepted. I was a little bummed, but knew it was the correct decision. I later found out that the home that I had an accepted offer on dropped $15k in price the following week. OUCH! I'm still didn't regret my decision even though the place dropped SO much in price.

My search continued. I decided that I needed to stay within my ward boundaries, so this narrowed my search to very few options. Luckily, though, within a matter of 2-3 weeks, we stumbled across a place that I fell in love with. It was outside my price range, but still doable. My agent and I placed an offer and it was immediately accepted.

The place that accepted my offer is the place that you see in these pictures. It was a new build, so being the first tenant to occupy the condo/townhome was a good feeling. The smell of fresh paint, new carpet, etc... was, and still is, fun. I closed on July 31st, 2009 and moved in the following week. Let me tell you though and I'm not sure if this was a normal process or not, but getting all the paperwork ready for the day of closing was absolutely ridiculous. I don't think I had ever been so flustered before in my life. With the housing market being hit hard as of late and with all the recent foreclosures and shortsales, banks are very hesitant with giving out loans for mortgages these days. They want every nitty gritty detail explained regarding credits into your account over dollar $$$ amount. I can't tell you how many times I exchanged emails, phone calls, etc.. with my loan officer explaining to her where this money came from, where this money from, where this money came from. Caused me much fatigue and frustration, but in the end it was worth it. I understand that banks, now-a-days, are careful with who the loan money to because they want to make sure you can afford the monthly mortgage payments. So I appreciated the fact that they were genuinely concerned for me being able to afford mortgage payments, but the process in getting to the final closing date was absurd. Would I do it again? Absolutely, but only when we're not in a recession!

Master bedroom closet

Downstairs full-bathroom

Washer and dryer

Kitchen! Black dual cast iron sink

Front entry hallway into the main living room...kitchen is off to the right once you enter the room

Banister and stair case leading up to the second floor

So before my brother and his family departed for Japan for work, I traveled down to Utah for one last visit. It was difficult to say goodbye to them because I had established a very close relationship with the family over the course of three years while I was attending school in Idaho. I would come down often for visits over the weekend.

Anyhow, I flew in on July 4th and we went as a family to Provo Center Street to celebrate. While there, we played a lot of different games, ate carnival food, etc... was really fun hanging out with the kids and family.

We stumbled across this one "ride" where you swing back and forth on a trapezius. I had seen it done before and while standing there watching the other participants swing, I was fully convinced that I could do the same. There were guys swinging back and forth, doing flips and turns, the whole bit on this ride. I was pumped. So I paid the guy to try it out, climbed to the top of the ladder, and this is what happened. See video.

Vegas baby! I figure since I live only 4-hours away from Vegas, I might as well take advantage of this luxury! This is me standing in front of the infamous Bellagio Fountain during it's hourly show. It was a quick weekend trip, but worth every penny.
My long time friend Jordan and I sitting in the best Thai Food restaurant we have EVER eaten at. I have tried several Thai places through out the country (i.e., Vegas, New York, DC, Utah, Idaho) but none of these places compare to the one in this picture. The restaurant is called Lotus of Siam. Small little place off of Sunset Blvd, very easy to miss. But the food is spectacular. If the mango is in season, I highly recommend ordering the mango with coconut ice cream and sticky sweet rice for dessert. OH MY GOSH. So good.

Blue Man Group! I have been to several shows in the past in Vegas, New York, and DC, but never have I attended a show as unique as this one was! We were sitting in the front row "splash" section, meaning that we were given ponchos to wear because at several points throughout the show, the Blue Man Group beats on their drums so hard that the paint spilling out from either their mouths or shirts splashes everywhere, splashing onto the crowd. Thankfully, the paint was watercolor, so it can easily be washed out. But, the ponchos truly did save us!

At one point in the show, stage crew personnel unrolled long, industrial sized toilet paper rolls onto the crowd from above, starting in the back. The crowd was encouraged to continue to pull the toilet paper paper while the stage crew up above continue to unroll it onto us. At one point during this bizarre situation, the entire crowd was sitting underneath a huge blanket of toilet paper. All of the paper eventually ended up on the stage, but still...how many times in your life can you say you sat in a show, that you payed for, where you sat underneath toilet paper?

So my dear friend Maddie invited me to attend a Phoenix Suns tribute dinner, honoring Shaq and Steve Nash. We were sitting amongst NBA legends, both past and present. Amongst several other individuals that are not shown below, we met Steve Kerr, Tom Chambers, and many, many others who were all-stars back in the day. I was shocked as to how big some of the players really are. We watch them play on tv, but rarely get to see them in person. And when you do see them in person you think to yourself, "Holy crap, this dude is huge!"

Anyhow, we arrived about an hour before the actual 5-course, sit down meal began. Inside a very large banquet hall, we walked around a silent auction of Phoenix Suns paraphernalia that was to be auctioned off. Things such as an autographed sized 17 shoe that Shaq wore in one game, or a basketball signed by Steve Nash, or a life-sized cardboard cut out of Grant Hill, etc... The place was full of cool things! Walking amongst us, as well, were several of the players greeting us and talking with coaches and other players. We all felt like a million bucks standing amidst some of the NBA's greatest players.

No, I did not photoshop into this picture a photo of Shaq, how absurd.

The dude is HUGE. He ate 3 tables away from where we were dining, so we subtly walked up to him and asked, "Excuse, umm...sir, I mean Shaq, would you mind if we, umm...you know, kind of took a quick, small picture with you, umm...if you wouldn't mind??" He complied. His head is the size of a oversized watermelon, kid you not. I even complimented him on the shine of his head and said, "I like your haircut". It's a bald thing.
Grant Hill baby! I remember oh so long ago watching Grant play at Duke back in the 90s! Nicest guy ever, too. After this picture was taken we spoke for a good 1-2 minutes about who we were, our affiliation with the team, how life is, etc... Very cordial and kind.
That's right, Steve Nash. #1 point guard in the NBA and team captain/leader of the Phoenix Suns. Stud.
Left to right: Me, Dan Majerle (former PHX Suns basketball player, current assistant coach), Maddie Nielsen.

One of the many luxuries of living in Phoenix is that you are very close to the Mexican border. Since I moved to Arizona, I was befriended by several great people who introduced me well into the ward and their social get-togethers. One of my friend's parents own a beautiful home down in Mexico, where we travel to often to get away from the busy city and professional life that we lead. The drive down to this part of Mexico is roughly 4-hours, but it is so worth it.

The first time we went down, we hired two little Mexican ladies to come to our home and cook an authentic Mexican meal. For a couple of hours, they were preparing a feast. Carne Asada, fresh and legit guacamole dip, freshly diced and prepared Pico de Gallo salsa, homemade tortillas, etc... A Mexican Thanksgiving one might say?! Indeed it was. Not only did they make enough food for 15 individuals that evening, but we had so much leftovers that we were fed for the entire weekend! Such a wonderful thing.

How I LOVE four-wheelers, especially on a secluded beach driving through flocks of birds who are so peacefully resting and walking around, hoping not to be bothered by some large, white male on an obnoxious motorized vehicle.

Part of the crew that often travels down to Mexico, 4-hour drive from Phoenix. Not bad at all.

This is me jumping, gaining some serious ground. It is roughly a 3-4 feet drop from the top of the platform to the sand. When you run and jump off the platform, you literally feel like you are flying for a split second. Major adrenaline rush! I think I won the contest this time around, having jumped 13-14 feet. Landing is the funnest part because it sometimes hurts. If you don't position your feet and body correctly while landing, be prepared to eat Mexican sand.

One of many fun activities to do while down in Mexico...long jump competition, which in essence is really a way to impress the girls sitting further down the beach. A true way to show off our manliness.

I am second from the right.

Sitting on a cement landing outside the house in Santo Thomas, Mexico on the beach. 85 degrees outside. Gorgeous.
Ahhhhhhh yes! Upon my arrival in Arizona, my Uncle Chris (whom I was named after BTW -- coolest guy ever) presented me with a Christmas gift...Fiesta Bowl tickets! Texas vs Ohio State. THE most exciting football game I had ever been to! We arrived at the game about 2-hours before kickoff to enjoy the pre-game festivities. After purchasing our Texas gear as you see in this picture, we made out way to the all you can eat bbq, corn bread, and baked beans tent where we treated ourselves to pure gluttony! It is moments like these where my New Year's resolutions regarding dieting are pushed aside and my true Cobb/Clason side come alive. We were bottomless pits, eating everything in sight in!

Quick story: once we finished eating, we exited from the pre-game eating and games and started to make our way over to University of Phoenix Stadium where the game was to be played. I was with Chris, his boys, and their friends as we were making our way through the parking lot, walking amongst drunk, Ohio State tailgaters who had been drinking several hours prior. Now keep in mind that we were wearing Texas gear, the opposing team.

As we continued walking, a pair of Ohio State fans step out into the street from their tailgating party, set down their freshly opened, cold beers on the ground and proceed to play catch with a football. As we approached the duo playing catch, my young, 13-year old cousin and his friend decide that it would be funny to walk up to the can and kick it. What they DIDN'T realize is that that can belonged to the drunken Ohio State fan 10 feet away to our left playing catch. As the two kicked the can together, they yelled out, "Beer sucks! Go Texas!"

It was at this point in time where everything seemed to freeze while our heart rates rapidly increased. It was like we were in a movie where something bad is about to happen and the actors move very slowly making their way out of the potential life threatening situation with absolute fear in their eyes.

Chris and I turned bright red, grabbed the boys by their wrists, made a hard right 90 degree turn, and cut through the next row of cars as quickly as possible. Laughing, yet serious and stern at the same time, we asked, "What were you THINKING?!" Their response was, "We didn't know the cans were full and that they belonged to the two playing catch." HELLLLLOOOOOOOOOOO! Earth to McFly!

Good times. We laugh about it all the time now. Good memories.

I'm pretty sure this picture made it onto Sportscenter later on that evening on ESPN. This guy was sitting right in front of us, so I had to take a picture with him! The game was absolutely ridiculous. Texas won the game, but I had never screamed and yelled as loudly as I did. By the end of the game, my voice box was completely trashed. I sounded like a 13-year old kid going through puberty. Quite embarrassing, yet so much fun!
Inside University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona about to watch Texas play Ohio State in the 2009 BCS Fiesta Bowl! This picture obviously portrays the singing of the National Anthem. Biggest flag I had ever seen!

This is a very unique picture of me driving, taken from my iPhone. Pretty cool how the sun rays are coming through the window with a neat glare bouncing off my aviator sunglasses! I should be a professional photographer.

But yes, this is me driving. The significance of this picture isn't the amazing photography, but the fact that I am driving to my new home in Arizona. Yep, that's right. After graduating from school and spending a few weeks at home in Maryland, I decided to move to Phoenix, Arizona where my extended family lives. Outside of the Utah/Idaho LDS bubble, Phoenix ranks in the top 3 states that have the highest LDS Singles population. DC and Southern California rank with Phoenix as well, but I'm from DC and Southern California was too expensive. So my next best option was to settle for a bit in the Phoenix area, so I did.

My favorite picture of them all! These are my two, proud parents smiling cheerfully in the Hart Auditorium where commencement took place. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency was our keynote speaker, where he spoke of the road ahead of us in turbulent economic times. His words were very inspiring and motivational despite the existing recession in the professional world that we all were about to enter into.

Me standing next to Thor, the BYU-Idaho mascot. I am a true college graduate holding my diploma in hand! I graduated in Business Management, having attended school from 2005-2008.

Family picture the day I graduated from BYU-Idaho! Trevor is holding Baby Dasch. T'was a cold, windy night in Rexburg when this picture was taken. As we drove out the next day, we were hit hard with a huge snow storm! A nice goodbye gift from Rexburg, Idaho as we made our departure.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

So it's been a while since I posted my last post on my blog, oops. To be exact, it has been a year so since I last posted! Anyhow, I will do my best in updating everyone with what has gone in the past year with stories, adventures, pictures, etc...