Sunday, April 26, 2009

Exclusive Footage

Here you have it folks: the actual footage from my proposal to Erin.

The fabulous Jamie Williams, in addition to arranging everything for my surprise proposal, also was our hidden camera operator.

Some explanations:

1) At the beginning of the video, before Erin and I show up, Ilarene Olausson and Aimee Woodward are talking about their mock proposal between the two of them. You can check out the picture on Erin's Facebook album, which you can get to through this blog post.

2) Jamie is hiding in the woods when Erin and I show up. She's too far away for the camera microphone to pick up our dialogue, but I'll write it out for you:

J.J.: You're perfect for me, and I want to try and be perfect for you. Will you marry me?
Erin (immediately): Yes!

3) When Erin is on the phone with her dad and then her brother Braden. Braden let Erin know that if she doesn't text her mom a picture of the engagement ring, her mom would disown her.

4) Near the end, Erin realizes that Jamie's advice earlier in the day was to prepare her for the proposal. "Is this why you told me to put on more makeup?" Erin asks Jamie. "'Cause I didn't."

5) The last second is a sneak peek of Jamie's sister's birthday party, the next event on Jamie's camera. It hooked on to the end of our video.

Monday, April 20, 2009

It's Better Just To Hold You, And Keep You Pacified

Erin is next to me soundly asleep. Snoring, in fact. Quite loudly. This is a very good sign.

It seems as though Erin has been struck with strep throat. I've never seen anyone so miserable. She hasn't had much sleep in the past couple of days, so the rumbling next to me signals progress. Despite my wide breadth of medical knowledge, I have been unable to cure her and send her on her merry way to take her final exams. Nope, we're just going to have to wait this one out. In the meantime, bring on the Jane Austen movies and the orange juice.

I guess this is what marriage will be like. Putting someone else before me. Doing whatever it takes to take care of someone else. I have to admit, it's harder than I thought! I wonder if I'm even doing a good job. But, to borrow from Nephi, "I know that [I] loveth [Erin]; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things" (1 Nephi 11:17).

As for me, I've only got one final left. I've worried all semester, but finals have been probably the easiest I've had so far. Two of them I even got done before finals week officially started, and two out of five are open-book, online tests. Lucky me. Maybe balancing a stressful job and 14 credits won't hurt my GPA as badly as I thought.

I'll be leaving for Oregon this Friday. This will be my first time really living there since January 2006, when I left for Argentina. Less than a week after returning to the United States, I left for school and have pretty much been here at BYU ever since. Every once in a while I get a weekend in Oregon. But now I get to stay for about four months. The goal is to make as much money as I can before it's me and Erin vs. the world.

I think we'll make it all right. Be it academic disappointment, demanding jobs, budgeting every last penny or strep throat, we'll make it through. I mean, this is us we're talking about. With Erin by my side, there's nothing I can't handle.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

This is my final news article that I turned in for my Communications 211 class. It's just homework, but maybe it will be published in The Daily Universe, who knows.

J.J. Despain
April 16, 2009
Section 7, Comms 211
Final Story
Students at Brigham Young University have nothing to fear when it comes to their parents joining Facebook.
While many Facebook users are afraid of their behavior away from home being discovered by their parents, BYU students are resting easy.
Facebook, the online social networking site, opened to the general public in September 2007. Since then, many Facebook users have reacted with fear and anger to older generations joining Facebook.
“This is an outrage!” said Mike Yeamans, a student at James Madison University, in a Washington Post article last year.
Facebook is seeing its greatest growth with users between the ages of 35 and 54. According to a January 2009 survey by iStrategyLabs, the number of Facebook users who fall into this age bracket has grown 276.4 percent since just six months before.
Many of Facebook’s early users who joined before Facebook expanded to off-campus users feel Facebook rightfully belongs to them and their peers. They feel allowing their parents and other older users to be on Facebook is a violation of their privacy.
Sarah Harvey, a student at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., was shocked to learn her mother was now on Facebook.
“Facebook is for my generation!” Harvey said in a feature story dated March 31 in The Trinity Tripod.
However, at BYU, many students find such restrictions unnecessary. Many are not even aware there is a problem.
Morgan Ahrens, an international relations major from Tucson, Ariz., barely notices parents are joining Facebook.
“I’ve seen it a little bit,” Ahrens said. “I guess parents can get a better idea of what their kids are up to. But I think the main reason is to stay in contact with their friends.”
Julie Wiscombe, a BYU public relations major from Austin, Texas, was a little surprised to find uncles and aunts on Facebook. Now she is grateful for another way to communicate and connect with them.
“It freaked me out at first, but it’s cool now,” Wiscombe said.
Wiscombe said parents now have another way to interact with their children, and does not see many parents using Facebook to supervise or monitor them.
“I imagine some might do that, but I don’t think it’s the real reason,” Wiscombe said. “I think it’s just because it’s there. Social media is just everywhere.”
Parents are also dismissing the notion that Facebook lets parents get too close.
Janey Berg, a mother and grandmother from Hood River, Ore., said she has never considered using Facebook to spy on her children.
“It’s never entered my mind,” Berg said.
Berg loves to keep in touch with children and friends with Facebook. Through Facebook, she even found a long-lost nephew whom she had not seen for years.
The confidence to use Facebook without fear of what parents might find is not limited to BYU.
Cara Jones, a former student at Arizona State University, is a longtime Facebook user. She joined before Facebook opened up to the general public.
Jones originally felt Facebook was meant for single college students. She was married when she joined, but because she was the same age as many college students she decided to join anyway.
“I was married, but only 19,” Jones said. “So I still considered myself ‘Facebookable.’”
Years later when Jones first noticed her mother and other older users had joined the Facebook network it was something she had to get used to.
“At first it made me not want to be on Facebook,” Jones said.
Later, Jones saw the benefit of staying connected to the adults she admired when she was younger. Now, at age 22, Jones has become one of those adults for those younger than her.
“One of my old Beehives asked me to be her friend,” Jones said, referring to a girl she taught in the young women program of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Jones admits Facebook can be used by parents to see what their children are up to. But to Jones, that may not be such a bad thing.
“I actually think it is important to know what your kids are doing and what they are involved in,” Jones said. “Since they let younger kids join Facebook that naturally opened the door for parents to join.”
Jones’ mother, Saundra Gall from Lehi, Utah, is more worried about protecting her children from those who threaten their online privacy than she is about spying on her children.
In comparison to other networking sites, such as MySpace, Gall is much more welcoming of Facebook.
“I have been on those sites and so many of them are horrible,” Gall said. “Pictures that are inappropriate, language and all sorts of things. I feel it is a much safer environment than I ever felt with MySpace,” Gall said.
Gall can understand how some college students might feel their privacy is lost when their parents join Facebook. But to Gall, safety comes first.
“As a parent I like being able to know my kids are safe,” Gall said.
Debbie McCarthy, from Odell, Ore., has children who are still younger than Facebook's target audience. But McCarthy is cautious about sharing her children's information with others online.
She has only recently posted pictures online of her children, and has many Facebook parent friends who still have not.
McCarthy is hesitant in allowing her children to join Facebook when they are older.
“I think I would let a kid on it,” McCarthy said. But, “I’m not totally open to it,” she said.
Ruth Marcus, an op-ed columnist for The Washington Post, argues children should let their parents on Facebook for their own protection.
“As I learned when I tried to friend the children of some close friends, this is considered a terrible faux pas, somewhere between intrusive and creepy,” Marcus said in a column on April 9. “But if the notion of a lurking parent makes [my daughter] or her friends think twice before posting something, well, that's all to the good.”
Experts on the family are promoting Facebook as a valuable tool for parents.
A Stanford University professor is even offering courses to educate parents about Facebook and how joining can help them protect their children. Dr. B.J. Fogg, director of the Persuasive Technology Lab at Stanford, says Facebook is crucial for parents these days.
Fogg assures parents who are worried about irritating their children that joining Facebook is different from snooping through their children’s bedrooms.
“In a bedroom, acts are not observable by hundreds of people. In contrast, what your child does on Facebook is widely observable,” Fogg said on his website,
Besides joining Facebook to guard their children from Facebook users who might be dangerous, parents should take advantage of Facebook in helping children grow and learn about the world around them. He praises Facebook for teaching leadership, identity and relationship skills to children.
“To help kids reach their full potential, parents must know about Facebook,” Fogg said.
The Auburn Plainsman, the campus newspaper of Auburn University in Auburn, Ala., reported Auburn students have mixed reactions and emotions over their parents joining Facebook. Whether they welcome or oppose parents being on Facebook, they agree that finding parents on Facebook is “weird.”
Kyle Nixon, a political science major at Auburn, told the Plainsman he resisted becoming Facebook friends with his mother.
They ‘friended’ me a bunch of times and I said no a bunch of times and then they asked me about it,” Nixon said.
Kate Blackstone, a social work major at Auburn, is a little more open to the idea.
“I think it’s fair to be open to everybody, but it’s still kind of weird,” Blackstone said.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Day in the Life

While mindlessly waiting for video files to compress, and given no compatible headphone jack for catching up on episodes of Arrested Development, I am left to entertain myself with blogging in the heavy and sagging air of the Harold B. Lee Library Multimedia Lab.

I'm putting together a DVD of this year's BYU Lu'au, hosted by the Multicultural Student Services. It was a lot like Fiesta, only the Polynesian version. Little did I know that it would take hours upon hours to upload, import, convert, re-convert, and re-import files. And all this on a campus computer, meaning no guarantee that my files and I will ever reunite. If only I were techno-savvy enough to own my own Mac...

So, this might be a good chance for some real, mundane, stream-of-consciousness blogging.

I'm almost done with this job. It's easy to complain about it, but I don't want to do that here. Suffice it to say that I am looking forward to moving on.

I am also looking forward to what awaits me job-wise this summer. Thanks to my heroic mother, I've got a number of options lined up back in The Dalles.

1) Work at the movie theater with my sister Kandis. We'll be running the place by mid-May.
2) Parks & Rec, where I can relive my high school  glory days.
3) OCDC (my favorite so far), where I can babysit in Spanish.

I think whatever options present themselves will allow me to actually practice Spanish. I've had Spanish classes at BYU since I've been back from Argentina, but they don't really give opportunities for me to speak it. I feel like I'm slipping more and more into a gringo oblivion with Spanish speaking. I hope this summer saves me.

I registered for fall semester last night. It's more like my immediate-post-mission semester schedule, which I'm realizing now I really miss. All my classes will be in the afternoon or evening. And, unlike that semester right after my mission, I'll fill up my mornings with an enjoyable job.

Next semester is the semester I wait to find out if I get admitted to the communications program. So I'm focusing on my two minors, Spanish and political science. I'm taking

1) Survey of Hispanic American Literature
2) Ibero-American Civilization
3) Introduction to International Politics
4) New Testament Part Deux
5) ...and, Marriage Enhancement

That's right, ladies and gentlemen. By next semester I will have a marriage to enhance.

It's a class that fulfills a requirement for Erin's minor. Plus, talking about marriage and relationships is interesting to me anyway. Why not get college credit for talking about it?

My life is divided into three parts, and "job" and "school" are far surpassed by "Erin." She never ceases to amaze me. She makes dreams come true that I didn't even know I had. I never expected to be with someone as perfect for me as Erin is.

This past weekend she had her first bridal shower. Even though I wasn't there, it was one more step toward us being married. August 21 feels a little closer now. (As Erin would say, "Hallelujah.")

Well, files are far from reconversion, but it's quittin' time.
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