Nate’s Great Eight – #7 BYU Football and Changes

So, really as long as I can remember I have been pretty obsessed with BYU sports, primarily football.   Well, I like to think that obsessed is too strong of a  word, but others might disagree.  I am finding that my feelings are morphing, not necessarily in loyalty, but rather the significance of BYU and sports in general are playing in my life.

I know that there are others who can empathize with the visceral and real pain that comes with watching a BYU loss, especially to the filthy yewts.  There are probably more that can’t.  I wish I could get back all the melancholy weekends following a Cougar shortcoming.  While not completely devoid of  disappointment and frustration, I can say that this year I recognized that I no longer felt dejected all weekend long.  I thought this especially curious given the manner and opponents in which the Y lost their three games this year.

I have been wondering why.  One explanation is that I am “maturing” or some rot like that.  I am not sure that one applies!  I do however, think there is limited shelf space on the emotional landscape and with real estate so scarce, it simply means that you better invest your psychological nest egg a little more carefully.

This has been a process over time, but I think my consciousness of this shifting has finally begun to surface.  It started when I started to really question why I read the “comments”  following newspaper articles and angsting over what some nameless moron was spouting off behind the cowardly camouflage of anonymity.  I really began to examine why I felt compelled to; one, read the comment, and then to respond.  I mean really, who has ever changed their opinion reading a message board like that.  It is sort of like the kind of negotiations I imagine would occur if Ted Nugent and the President of PETA sat in cement bunkers on either side of the country shouting at the top of their lungs; both deeply set in their perspective and world view and not really interested in listening.  At the end of the day it seemed really lame.

Another development that has led me to this point is my increasing disdain for the intrusion into the personal lives of the athletes.  The double edged dagger of the modern media is an increasing insistence into revealing the most personal elements in a persons life.  When it comes to BYU athletes, I do not feel inclined or comfortable dealing with extremely sacred and private aspects of the athletes lives.  I can’t stand discussions about their decisions to serve missions or worse yet, their honor code status.  I am sick of the zealots who get involved in a persons spiritual struggle in any other capacity than to privately lift or assist.  In weaker moments I wish that these zealots had their own personal struggles published for the world to criticize or mock.  For all of the admirable and desirable features of BYU and organized religion in general, one of its most terrestrial by-products are the hypocrites and fanatics (how ironic is it that fan is eytmologically derived from fanatic) who feel compelled to get involved.  Now while a do feel there are situations that need to be dealt with even if the individual doesn’t come forward on their own, but I  think we have lost sight of an important Christian principle highlighted in the following versus of scripture (Luke 5:24-32):

” 24 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to aforgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.

25 And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, aglorifying God.

26 And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day.

27 ¶ And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named aLevi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me.

28 And he left all, rose up, and followed him.

29 And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them.

30 But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?

31 And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick.

32 I came not to call the righteous, but asinners to repentance.” (Bold text added)
I really agree with the article written by Gordon Monson from the Salt Lake Tribune on a similar topic.  In the end, it embarasses me as a both a person and a member of the church to see this play out in the media.  I am not embarrassed that there are people at BYU who drink (or fill in the blank with a sin).  I am embarrassed that we feel compelled to discuss their struggles in public.
And lastly I feel tired of the sinister and divisive relationship between many BYU and Utah fans.  I don’t know if it is become more prevalent or that I am just more sensitive to it, but I find it less palatable.  I can not say that I have not been guilty of going to far in my feelings for this rivalry.  Something strange happened this year.  It started with the strange convergence of two really strong seasons by the respective schools and the subsequent hype and my introduction to Facebook (see Nate’s Great Eight #8).  I found myself really at odds with some people whom I had not spoken to in over 15 years.  It was a great departure from the friendly banter that I am more inclined to participate in.  It all seemed non sequitur to me.
However, lest you think that I am somehow no longer a fan and am checking my Cougar Fan Card at the door.  Fear not.  I am still a big fan and I am already pining for the 2009 season.  I am stressing about the departure of Collie, Reed, Feinga, Reynolds, Oswald, Vakapuna and others.  I am wondering if McKay Jacobsen will be able to get his legs back.  I worry that the O-Line will be thrown to the fire like Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego against next year’s National Champions, the Okalahoma Sooners.  I wonder if the defense will turn around and be better prepared.  I wonder if Bronco can pull another gear out of his hat and catch back up with Utah and TCU.  Here is a list of my favorite memories for the 2008 season:
  • Absolutely throttling UCLA
  • Watching Collie’s brilliance
  • Beating Wyoming again
  • Seing the Utes beat Alabama (choke, sob, sob, yes I said it)
  • The first half of the USU game
And my not so favorite moments:
  • Fourth quarter against Utah
  • First quarter against TCU
  • Second half of the USU game
  • Vegas bowl

So while my fan-ness is changing, it is thoroughly intact.  After all I still lull my kids to bed at night to the sweet dulcetones of “Rise and Shout.”

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Published in: on 31 January 2009 at 12:54 pm  Comments (5)  
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Nate’s Great Eight – #8 Blogging and Web 2.0

So my first post is really about this whole media that some call Web 2.0.   I was one to quickly adopt using the internet for commercial and educational pursuits, but recently the Internet has dramatically changed they way I socialize.

In 2008 I added a new dimension to my digital landscape.  I discovered Facebook and all of its time-sucking capability.  So now I have email (work, ‘live’ personal, ‘junk mail’ personal), texting, MyFamily.com (for the Miller family), LinkedIn (career-based social networking), Facebook (personal social-networking), Google Reader (blog monitoring), my WordPress blog, Flickr (photo sharing), MyYahoo (internet portal, fantasy football, etc), Google Documents (document sharing), YouTube (video sharing), and Google chat (Instant Messaging on both my PC and BlackBerry).  Shoot, I even have a Mii avatar wandering around the “plaza’s” of Wii’s around the world.  All of these tools are simply extensions of my physical social networks.  In most every instance these tools have become a digital extension of my lifetime effort to make and keep friends.   It is a dizzying array of tools and sometimes a bit overwhelming.

Now obviously these medias allow me to keep friends and family in the loop.  Through various combinations of these tools many of you have seen my new home, driven with me to work,  and even commented back on your thoughts and feelings about what I have shared.  In many respects it has allowed me to shorten the distance between us.

I wish there was better integration between the different tools.  I think Facebook needs to create a “rooms” feature where you can set up specific “walls” or “spaces” that allow for selected sharing.  That way I could get rid of the MyFamily site, the blog, and some other tools and consolidate them.

These tools have also introduced an interesting benefit.  Of the nearly 200 friends on my Facebook page, I had lost contact with probably close to 80-90% of them until we reconnected on Facebook.  In many cases I had reluctantly resigned myself to probably never speaking to them again.  But now, I almost spend too much time following up on their digital versions of themselves.  Somehow, even though I haven’t said a physical word to most of those friends in well over 10 years, I somehow feel reconnected.  Really, when you stop and think about it, it is kind of strange.  Not to mention the ever awkward dilemma of “do I accept that person as a friend even though I am not sure who they are …”

So this is the Web 2.0.  A simulacrum of the old town square.  The digital coffee shop.  Small enough to fit on my BlackBerry, but big enough to fill endless hours of “surfing.”  Now if they could just figure out how to attach me to an email so I wouldn’t have do another 14 hour trek across the high plains of Wyoming …

Published in: on 29 January 2009 at 2:10 pm  Comments (3)  

Starting the year with a top 10

So I have been kicking this idea around for a while and finally decided to get serious about trying it. I say trying it because I am not sure if it will be interesting, introspective, or just plain lame. It is after all, quite the departure from the typical miller6pack post (you know, pictures of our house, funny things kids do/say, updates on family comings and goings).

My inspiration came while seeing all of the top 10 lists in the newspapers, etc. that come every year in December. In fact, I think I may have even used that format once in a Christmas letter, I am not sure … anyway I digress.
I wasn’t sure what kind of Top 10 to do. Do I do Top 10 Highlights for the year? Top 10 things I did … nothing seemed to really capture what I wanted to talk about. So I am simply calling it Nate’s Great Eight. Lest you think I have lost all ability to do math, lets just say that the marketing side won out and liked the snazzy title better. Who knows, I may only come up with 8 things anyway … hope you enjoy.

Published in: on 28 January 2009 at 6:34 pm  Comments (2)  

A fun surprise at the Winter Quarters visitor center

While touring the Winter Quarters visitor center we came across a couple of quotes from my Great-Great-Great-Great-Great Grandpa Major Howard Egan. I don’t think the kids were as excited as I was.

Published in: on 25 January 2009 at 9:56 pm  Comments (2)  

Following Up on Rylan’s story below

Since the tooth fairy cheaped out on the Wii, we took matters into our own hands and bought the Wii ourselves.

Published in: on 25 January 2009 at 9:54 pm  Comments (4)  

Another house update

The blog has been dominated by our fixation on the home and it is probably indicative on how badly we want to move in.  To put it bluntly we are exhausted from all the decisions and can’t wait to stretch our legs a little bit.  But we are now about 25 or so days from moving in and it is really looking like a home more and more.  Here are a few more pictures.  The highlight is the paint and staining.  The cabinets in the kitchen are made from birch and we love how they look.  It will be interesting to see if they paint keeps its green tones when the carpet arrives.  Anyway, enjoy.

Published in: on 25 January 2009 at 9:51 pm  Comments (6)  

Maybe Money or a Wii

Rylan lost another tooth last week.  The difference between this time and the last two times he lost teeth, is that we didn’t actually LOSE the tooth this time.  We held onto it tightly and didn’t let it leave our sight.  Rylan was very excited to put it under his pillow, as he has been denied this opportunity in the past.  He was discussing the endless possibilites with Raevyn.

Raevyn-“What do you think the tooth fairy will bring you?”

Rylan, matter-of-factly-” She will either bring money or a wii.”

With high hopes, the tooth was placed carefully under the pillow.  In the morning, Rylan was delighted to find a $1 bill.  🙂  Thanks tooth fairy!

~MaeRylan Toothless

Published in: on 25 January 2009 at 5:38 pm  Comments (3)  

Living Room

This shot is a panorama from inside the great room.

Published in: on 4 January 2009 at 8:51 pm  Comments (4)  

Update on the house

Here is an update on the house.  They are almost ready to start painting and staining indoors, so things are changing really quickly.  Hope you enjoy the pictures above.  They are in order from L to R, Top to Bottom.

  1. Back porch being heated in order to poor concrete
  2. Kitchen cabinets
  3. Hallway and stairs
  4. Front door and sidelights
  5. Coat closet
  6. Ethan looking out one of the kids windows
  7. Master bathroom cabinets
  8. Downstairs bathroom
  9. Basement
  10. Hole for sump pump in the basement
Published in: on 4 January 2009 at 4:58 pm  Comments (5)