Monday, July 27, 2009

sytycd commentary.

I'm sore, tired and I missed work this morning.

Why? I auditioned for sytycd (so you think you can dance) this past wknd and it's a pretty intense experience.

Ok, so first off, I have to admit that I have probably only sat down and watched 1 entire episode from beginning to end. (note: This is frowned upon when you're auditioning to be on their show). In all fairness, I have watched some of the dances on youtube.

From what I understand about the show, the first round shown is the solo round. Technically this is the third round of auditions. By this point in time you have done 2 free
style rounds and a series of interviews and other miscellaneous camera stuff.

Let me tell you the general order of things;

day one:
wait in line for hours
meet friendly dancers from all over
have producers get you excited about being in front of camera
spend lots of time doing flips & tricks on the concrete to get optimal camera time
get back to waiting
go inside and sit down with several thousand other dancers
*you're sent to the stage in groups of 10. they play a song and you go one at a time for about 10-15 seconds till they say next. then if they like you, you get a golden ticket.
get a headshot pic taken
now turn in your solo music to the audio guys
do your "signature move" for a slow-mo camera ( SO sick!)
bust-a-move for about a minute doing the stupidest dancing you can muster up
get interviewed by a producer ( my producer said my tag line would be the Mormon
breakdancing missionary who gave up dancing and his friends for a girl)

day two:
more waiting in line
run across the street looking excited for the cameras (you'll do like 7 takes)
go inside and get seated in a row of 10
interviewed more in depth by another producer
back to the stage for freestyle round 2 -- same thing as before--if they like you, you stay to do your solo
wait for everyone else to dance
dance your solo in front of nigel, mary and mia
have them critique you
get cut (this is all the expertise i can offer, as this is where I have been booted both times now)

In case you were wondering, after I finished my solo here's what the judges said;
Nigel - good tricks, but nothing they haven't seen before (No)
Mary- not enough gas to finish strong (No)
Mia- could have used more audience connection, but liked it (Yes)

Overall this wknd was a wonderful experience. I met some great dancers with amazing stories and some with even more amazing technique. I love watching all types of dance forms and this kind of competition is the biggest melting pot I've ever seen.

I do have a small problem with this past wknd; judging

Our friend Ashley (amazing dancer) got cut in the second freestyle round. She killed her freestyle set and they sent her packing. I have one suggestion. There needs to be a judge present who understands hip-hop dancing and bboying. I heard some of the most bizarre critiques on some of the bboys and hip-hop dancers.

I kept hearing them say "well we have seen that before".

Of course they have seen that before, just like they have seen dancers do arabesques, rond de jambes, fondus and countless other dance moves before. I didn't hear them tell the ballerina they had already seen all her moves before. What about the ballroom partners who did a Cha Cha that looked strikingly similar to the couple who went right in front of them.

So, my suggestion. There should be someone there who can judge the technique behind the bboy moves and hip hop movements so the judging can be a little more fair. I saw some great lockers, poppers and other bboys/bgirls get cut who were told there moves were nothing new.

That's some wack judging. Haha.

What a great experience overall though! I'm excited to watch the Salt Lake City audition episode to see if Groundhounds gets any air time.

I'm thinking it's a definite possibility.....

Saturday, July 25, 2009

owl city.

While out and about reading some other blogs (Ashley Stinochers to be exact) I came across a recent post about a song by Owl City :

Vanilla Twilight

I am a huge Owl City fan. I enjoy the music because I get a really peaceful feeling every time one of their songs is playing. It's a group I can listen to regardless of my mood.

I strongly suggest you go out and have a listen. It will be worth it.

p.s. I auditioned for So You Think You Can Dance yesterday.....

Thursday, July 23, 2009

at the open house.

We meant to goto the Oquirrh Mountain open house weeks ago but never got around to it in the midst of the breakup and other such activities..... Haha

And yet here we are, a couple weeks later happy as can be.

Who would've guessed?

I had a pretty good idea things were going to come back around once I started making some much needed changes

But I didn't realize it would happen as quickly as it did.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

migrant farm workers.....

No, this post is not about the growing number of migrant farm workers making their way into the fields of America.

It's about fun times I'm having here with grandparents Aldous.

They have an incredible garden/orchard in the backyard. We've got a little bit of everything :
tomatoes (several varieties)
green beans

and to be honest there are probably others in there that I have no idea about. Pretty much every meal involves something that came from the backyard.

I want to have this someday!

Since I've moved in I have taken an active role in the gardening. I love it. It's so peaceful out there in the back just weeding and picking fruits and vegetables. But my favorite has to be the raspberries. I feel like a "real" migrant worker when I put on this old denim jacket, thick gloves with a bucket hanging around my neck! Love it!

Kristin came to join the harvest festivities the other day.... It was nice to spend time with her out in the garden!

Friday, July 17, 2009

$1 to $10,000

According to the Consumer Awareness Institute there are 25 active Multi-Level Marketing companies in Utah County alone. In fact, Utah county has more MLM's per capita than any other county in the nation.

To be fair I don't have a good understanding of the whole MLM thing. But, from what I do know, I'm skeptical.

How does it all work? I'm not sure anyone really knows.
Is it really possible for people to make money doing this? Maybe?

Why my sudden interest in the MLM industry? my uncle is joining the ranks.

However, he is not joining up with another AmWay or Usana. Instead he has gotten together with several other experienced professionals to create their own, Milennial Elite.

(Now this isn't the first time I've had a relative get in on the business side of the MLM industry. I have another uncle who helped found and run NuSkin, Utah's most prominent MLM. The worlds largest understatement would be that he is successful. He has a keen business mind and was able to use his abilities to help NuSkin become what it is today.)

So what does this have to do with me? He wants me to get in on this whole thing.

Let's take a brief moment to observe my current employment situation:
Director of Public Relations at SchoolTipline (part-time till they can afford to pay me full-time)
Breakdance Instructor at Center Stage (2 classes/week. Come check it out, Mondays 11-1)
Collections Agent at SecurityOne (although Saturday was my last day)

While we're doing that let's also take a brief moment to observe my current financial situation:

Bleak. haha

Could I use some extra cash? Sure. I think most people would love a little extra income.

Since I know nothing about this whole industry I met with my Uncle and his colleagues last week for lunch to talk. They explained a little. Not too much though, so I'm still a little wary of things. But basically my role in all of this is to join up and blog about my experiences candidly. I love writing in this blog and it will be nice to add another topic for me to talk about. The other good thing is; I'm not being paid to do this which means I can write whatever I want to about the product, the company and my successes and failures.

During the lunch they told me to set a goal of reaching $10,000 by the end of the year. They gave me one dollar, had me sign it and told me to turn it into $10,000.


Alright, it's out of my system now.

$1 to $10,000 by the end of the year? Look, if I thought that was possible I would've jumped on that boat a long time ago.

BUT, let's be honest, I could use some extra money and I love writing. Nothing to lose.


I'm in.

Monday, July 13, 2009

the big 3.

I've made 3 big decisions in the past week.

1. I'm moving out of the Slate House. (My place of residence for the past 2 years, where I live with the guys in the crew and have more fun than I could've ever imagined)

2. I'm going to cut down on my dancing. (My biggest passion in life; a source of fun, freedom, creativity, and self confidence)

3. I'm going to quit my job at SecurityOne. (A fun place to work because of all the people.... even though the job itself sucks)

What am I hoping to accomplish with these 3 things? Hopefully I'll find myself more capable of a healthy relationship..... That's the goal at least.

So, let's start with #1 -- I moved out Saturday. I'm now living with grandparents Aldous currently. Apparently I am incapable of a relationship while living with the crew. I can't argue with that statement, so change was needed.

Oh #2 -- it breaks my heart to do this. We are talking about something that I have arranged most of my life around. I never worked late nights because I wanted to practice. I never went to FHE because I wanted to practice. I would avoid studying and schoolwork because I wanted to practice. I even based my social life around practicing, I would avoid normal dating because it usually seemed to interfere with practicing. I go to competitions both here in Utah, down in Vegas and have traveled out to LA for Freestyle Session the past 2 years. If you have never been this passionate about something then you won't understand why I was SO willing to give up anything and everything for dancing. But even now, I can't cut out dancing completely, I'm just cutting down to only 3 days of practice a week. It's the best I can do.

and finally, #3 -- Well I have to admit this was the easiest decision of them all. Working 4-8 meant that practice was 8:30-10:30 or later which really doesn't leave a lot of time for a significant other. I never really liked the job, although I love the people I work with. So, this Friday will be my last day there.

I guess the real question now is....

Will this all be worth it?

*I put a picture of my family on here because if giving up these things will allow me to someday have a family like the one I have now then the answer to the question is: yes, it will be more than worth the sacrifices.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


here's my latest attempt in photoshop, a collage of sorts.

it's a collage of Kristin and I. Yes, I'm very aware of the fact that we are not dating, let alone getting married.

but has that changed how I feel about her? no

am I trying to get my junk in order so we might be able to possibly get back together. yes

but I guess who knows. my time might have come and gone already. I've thought about texting her this past week, but decided against it. I figured it'd be best to give her some space for a little bit.

So when am I going to get back in touch with her? I have no clue.

I think part of me is worried about how it will all play out when I do.....

Friday, July 10, 2009


My latest literary conquest is a book called Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. He is also the author of The Tipping Point and Blink. Gladwell also writes for the New Yorker, so I've also been going through some of his old articles. His style of writing is fun to read and the content is engrossing.

Outliers basically is about individuals in the 99th percentile, OF LIFE! Billionaires, professional musicians, software geniuses, professional athletes. The book describes how these people reached the pinnacle of their fields.

The twist is that Gladwell shows these individuals were not just born with an overwhelming innate ability that led them to where they are now. He describes the circumstances that allowed them to develop that ability.

The success of an outlier Gladwell says, "is not exceptional or mysterious. It is grounded in a web of advantages and inheritances, some deserved, some not, some earned, some just plain lucky---- but all critical to making them who they are. The outlier, in the end, is not an outlier at all."

disclaimer : Even Gladwell says there are some people who just have such an extreme ability that they stand out and achieve greatness quickly. BUT, the majority of outliers are the result of circumstances and lucky breaks that helped them reach their potential.

I find this book so interesting because I have often wondered what it would take to be in the 99th percentile of anything, but mostly bboying. What would be necessary for me to reach that point?

According to Gladwell most professionals have logged about 10,000 hours of intense practice before reaching that level. 10,000 hours! What was the last thing you practiced for 10,000 hours?

The 10,000 theory got me wondering how many hours I've logged dancing.... so here's the math:

I began breakdancing the end of my Sophomore year of High School, which means technically I have been dancing for about a little over 9 years. Wow. Ok, so here's the hourly breakdown of the past 9 years of dancing....
Sophomore year: 10 hours
Junior year: 20 hours
Senior Year: 40 hours
BYU1: 40 hours
Mission1: 1 hour
Mission2: 1 hour
BYU2: 120 hours
BYU3: 140
BYU4: 400 hours
BYU5: (yes it took me 5 years) 400 hours

They're rough estimates... and I rounded up a little on most just to be safe. But my grand total of hours practiced comes to : 1172 hours.

Sooooo.... I'm a little short on hours. Dang. Not only am I short on hours, but I'm short on advantages. I never lived around anyone who truly knew how to breakdance until my first year at BYU. Huge disadvantage. Basically I will never be a professional bboy. I think I knew that already though. It just sucks seeing the numbers verify this truth.

Think about the thing you're most passionate about and calculate the hours.... it's amazing to see how much time you've invested into something.

Go read Outliers and you'll see that your success or lack thereof is more circumstantial than you might think....

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

i've been "let go"....

there is a lot going on right now, and I'm not quite sure where to begin.

i was "let go" Saturday morning.

and by that, I mean I am back to being single. bleh. not a good feeling. not at all. although the problem is a little more complicated than just the fact that I was deemed incapable of a relationship. The real problem is that this label is accurate of my current state of being.

It sucks when someone tells you something you don't want to hear but you know is true. Do I deserve to be with Kristin, or anyone for that matter? Obviously not.... I failed miserably to show her that she was a true priority in my life.

(I know, trust me I already feel like an idiot, so please spare me the "you're an idiot" comments)

But here's the problem : my friends.

It's not that they don't like her, or she doesn't like them. Well, at least not that I know of. The problem is that she feels that whenever I'm with her, I would rather be with them. Is this a valid concern? Yes! But only sometimes....

I've known these guys for years. I've known her for months. Will there ever be a time when I am capable of a real relationship where I actually only want to be with the girl all the time and move on from the guys? I'm beginning to think not. Scary thought.

Living in the house with the guys I dance with has led me on some crazy adventures, sometimes a little too crazy... But it's been fun. Definitely fun. Can a girl ever replace that?

Not while I'm in that "comfort zone". It's just too much fun.

So what now?

I have to move.

This is probably the hardest thing I've had to do. ( I thought leaving on my mission was pretty hard at the time... but this easily beats that) It's not that I will completely ignore the guys. But moving out will completely change the dynamics of things. I recognize I need to move though. In the short time I have been back from CA I have made NO progression at all, in fact in many ways I have just slipped back into old habits and ways of thinking which has led me to a quick downward spiral.

Will moving suddenly mean I will be capable of a real relationship? I'm not sure. But I know that I will be in a much better frame of mind to be able to properly develop a healthy relationship where I am not constantly wondering what the guys are up to and if they are having more fun than I am. (which by the way is often a thought crossing my mind....)

So where am I moving to? The grandparents. It will be a big change from the environment I am currently in. But I expect to see some pretty swift and positive changes. And once I get my head on straight I'm thinking I should find my own place somewhere....

*Just a sidenote, this is in no way meant to be derogatory towards the guys I live with. It's just that the house is NOT a good environment for progression. Not even close. It's the ultimate comfort zone that is dominated by a strong sort of "mob mentality" at times. Each of us in the house when taken aside and shaken up a bit is a really great person with huge potential. The problem is that putting us together for extended periods of time leads us away from our potential.

It's going to be a rough week. Actually it's already been a rough couple of weeks, and I doubt things will get better right away. I'm not sure the guys really understand why I have to move out... Plus to be honest I don't really want to do this. This is a huge leap of faith. A leap I'm doing with the hope that somehow this will all work out well, for everyone.

*by the way, I brought the mohawk back for a limited time to mix things up... Haha. Oh and I'm trying out the glasses thing as well.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

photoshop tutorials....

ok, so it's been awhile but I'm back to messing around with photoshop....

here's the product of the latest tutorial ---

It's a watercolor and the girl is..... Kristin!

Follow me on twitter as well.... just search for justified84

I also just updated my twitter background after messing around on photoshop for a couple hours.... check it out.