Wednesday, October 31, 2007

On This Day...

Because I know ALL of you have made note of this on your calendars, (along with that note about Daylight Savings) and everyone has been eagerly anticipating it, I just wanted to take this moment and confirm to all of you that on this day, 11 years ago, I, Zachary Lifferth, finished my mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints in the Russia, St. Petersburg mission.

Oh and I found this old photo that Noah took one time. Gabe looks so young...and petrified.

I assure you...this was all staged. If the authorities ask.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Random Thoughts on a Random Day

1 - This last Sunday, we had our Primary Program. Now mind you, the Spirit was amazingly strong and it was a fantastic meeting. However, we as a congregation learned that the male side of our primary is completely and utterly tone deaf. For one of the songs, they had the girls sing the first verse and they sounded wonderful. They were on key, stayed together, followed the tune and harmony. It was splendid. The second verse is where the boys took over. The sound that was music took a turn to straight monotone. The boys were tone-deaf, off-key, flat, couldn't stay together and I finally understand the meaning of the word "Deadpan". It truly was a flat cornucopia of music.

2 - After the Primary program, we were singing the closing hymn. Our chorister and the organ player have different views on the world. We sang, "How Firm a Foundation" which has 7 verses. As per usual custom, when we got to the conclusion of the 4th verse, everyone started shutting their books and preparing to finish. The chorister even closed her book and sat down. The organ player though, he would have nothing of the sort and continued to play. In fact, his bravado increased with each succeeding verse thereafter. Members were scrambling to re-open their hymn books and seeking to sing along. The final verse was an exuberant display of what an organ truly is capable of.

3 - Yesterday I had to discipline some of the students in my Seminary class. They had been pushing the envelope for some time, and finally crossed the threshold. I stopped the lesson with 10 minutes still to go in class, had someone give us a closing prayer, and then asked the three malefactors to stay behind. I didn't raise my voice or threaten them with a phone call to their parents. I simply asked them their thoughts on why they come to Seminary and how to properly behave in the church. They all apologized and promised to do better, and today, they actually were much improved. However, after having to do that, I think I have just the slightest glimpse of what parents mean when they say, "This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you."

4 - You know in movies where people of a foreign country ALWAYS speak English when no Americans are around? Well, that is based on the Truth! No, I am telling you. Yesterday I walked in on two of our employees (both from Mexico), and before they knew I was in the room, they were speaking English. As soon as they realized I was there, they switched to Spanish. Who knew Hollywood had it right all these years? (Obviously I am kidding)

5 - A month or so ago I bought some stock in a company based in Orem. I bought it because I knew the people that worked there. Don't make financial decisions based on emotion.

6 - I bought some fish from the grocery store the other day. It was pre-coated with a coconut crust. It was Tilapia actually. It looked good, it was simple to bake and I thought it would make a wonderful meal. Within the crust, there was dried mango and papaya. There was also some sweetner added. It tasted like fishy fruit cake. It wasn't very good.

7 - Finally, if you have not had the chance to see the new show on CBS called, "The Big Bang Theory", I highly recommend it. Maybe because I am a nerd...but it is one of the funniest shows on TV today. You can watch full episodes online. Just click here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Smoke 'em If You've Got 'em!

Ok, maybe that was a bad pun. For those of you who don't know, Babylon, also known as "Southern California", is ablaze in flame and smoke right now.
The fires are spread out throughout Los Angeles County, Orange County and San Diego County, with San Diego taking the biggest hit. All the fires were started for different reasons, some natural, and some, sadly, by arson.

The fires exploded out of control because the "Santa Ana" Winds have kicked in. For those unfamiliar with So Cal weather, every year about this time, massive winds come through the area. Over the weekend, some winds reached over 100 mph. This is what it did to our pool.

Some of my Seminary Students go to a high school that is currently acting as an evacuee shelter for many of the people affected by these infernos. One of our substitute Seminary Teachers is a full-time firefighter, and we learned this morning that yesterday he and his crew were overtaken by one blast of flames, but they were able to get under their "Fire Tents" in time and no one was hurt.

These are just some pictures that I took from near my home. Where I live is relatively safe, however, no one is escaping the effects of smoke, ash and haze. These pictures were taken about 3 in the afternoon, so you can tell how much sun is being blocked out by the smoke.

The absolute most amazing thing about all of this though, is that all through August and September, our local church leaders on the Stake and Ward levels have been warning us to have 72 Hour Kits prepared and ready to go. I thought it unusual at the emphasis they were placing on preparedness. Now I see why.

I don't know about you, but I am going to send up a few extra prayers for the men and women putting their lives on the line right now to battle these flames. At least we have FEMA! The way they handled Katrina...I think I am going to go do some more praying.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Apparently I Am Skinny

Ok, so it's no surprise that when it comes to body types, I was born with "Body By Gilligan". I didn't exactly realize HOW skinny I was until just recently. My boss accidentally locked her keys in her office. When we couldn't find the spare in the safe room, you could say that we were flummoxed.
One of my buddies there suggested that we climb over the wall, through the ceiling tiles. We grabbed a ladder and he climbed up to take a look. There really isn't much room between the ceiling tiles and the heating ducts, wiring, support beams, etc. that hold the place together. In fact...there are 7 1/2 inches of space.
My buddy, being a bigger guy, backed down and said it was impossible. I told him to let me take a look. He laughed and told me to go ahead. When I told him I thought I could fit, he laughed and said there was no way.
A few moments later, when I opened the office from the inside, all of them stood with mouths agape and looks of awe.
This is the hole I crawled through.

Yep....7 1/2 inches.

Friday, October 19, 2007


Hello and welcome to this my latest entry! I bet you are on the edge of your seat with eager anticipation to discover what is the latest and greatest in the Life O Zach. Well, I can assure you that if you are looking for adventure, travel, excitement, perhaps a little bit of romance and a heap chock full of good ol' fashioned drama...there's got to be something better out there to read. But I shan't disappoint through lack of effort. At the very least this fissiparous bombast should be slightly entertaining.
First things first...Buckskin Gulch. This was by far one of the greatest perambulations that I have ever had the pleasure to meander. I'll skip the details of the what and where...(see previous post)...and dive right into the who and whats.
Our group consisted of me, Uncle Karl, Cousins Craig and Ryan, their neighbors Craig (orange shirt), his boys Mark and Nate, and the two girls on the end are Melanie and her friend Kristi. Melanie works with Uncle Karl and Kristi is her friend.
The slot canyons were amazing. You really can't believe the sheer awesomeness of these geographical wonders of nature unless you are right there staring at them. Truly a work only accomplished by Heavenly Means.
At one point we crossed from Utah into Arizona...this picture shows about where that happened.
Overall, one of the best trips I have ever been on. Probably the one thing that stood out more than anything else was the first night, when I saw more stars packed in the night sky than I have ever seen before in my life. Unbelievable celestial show. Thanks Uncle Karl for setting pace as the fugleman of our motley crew.

7 is a Cleansing Number

Not exactly the smoothest transition...but hey...welcome to Drama Central. I have to admit that over the last few months, I have received quite a few requests for updates into the quagmire that is my social life, or rather, more specifically, "What's Up with the Wife Hunt?" (Too crass?)
I have to preface this grandiloquent, yet myopic, pasquinade with a short apology and overture. I realized rather sheepishly that in previous posts, I could have been a bit more subtle and changed the names of the innocent to save them the embarrassment of having shards of their life splayed out across the illumination of computer monitors across the nation like the tabloid headlines of some worthless rag. To you, I am sorry. I will endeavor from this point forward to be more sensitive to individuals involved.
With that said...let's dive into the history of the number 7. Why 7? According to ancient times, 7 was a cleansing number. Numerous references throughout the Old Testament cite the importance of doing things 7 times for a completion of rituals. The number 8 was considered a perfect number...but in order to get there, 7 had to be conquered. What is this fascination with 7? Delving into 2 Nephi 14:1 may shed some light on the whole situation, however, to avoid a completely cryptic entry, I will just say that I found that in my life there were 7 most eligible and fantastic women whom I found myself hoping to win the affection of.
A long time ago, most of my teenage years in fact, I grew up with the absolute conviction that there was but One person for each of us out there to marry. Now, (and this is where it gets confusing), I didn't think that there was a One and Only and she was the only one I could marry. I just thought there was One person for me.
I know...this is random...but imagine that your life is a book or novel. At the end of the book, you will know how your life ends up and to whom you were married. Well, because our Heavenly Father is Omnipotent, I knew that He had already read the book of my life and knew exactly who I would be marrying. So in that sense...looking from the back to the front, there really is only one person that I could marry. Going forward could be anyone. The choice is still mine, (and hers). We just have to work our way through the book.
Alas...I digress. This said, I found myself looking at 7 most wonderful girls. Each of them in their own right is an spectacular exemplification of womanhood. However, polygamy being a thing of the past, and considering my luck thus far at achieving even one matrimonial success in my life, a wise friend suggested that it was time to clean house. I needed to sort through and narrow down as much as possible the whats and whos from my dating pool.
So that's what I have done. Fearing an inimical response, I won't name names. However, you will be happy to know that my gallimaufry collection has now been depleted to a much more manageable and realistic aggregation.

Did I mention 31 years old?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Utah - 2007

So I have just spent the last week in Utah and it has been, for the most part, wonderful. I have the greatest family in the world. Parents, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, extended family, everyone...some of the greatest people ever. I will add more about the trip a little later, but I wanted to post this video of our backpacking trip to Buckskin Gulch. It is the longest slot canyon in the world, and we hiked about 21 miles of it. The picture quality isn't the greatest because I didn't want to bog down your Internet connection loading it. I hope you enjoy:

Friday, October 05, 2007

Supernumerary Vagabonds

I'm not sure what it is, but lately, the number of bindle-boasting transients seems to have multiplied itself in this little production I call My Life. In the last two weeks there have been three separate occasions where gutterpups have played a central role.
It seems that just a short time ago, (and when I say short, I mean lacking the distance of a fortnight), a domicile-impaired individual thought it might be a good idea to become bunk mates with the Lord. No one is 100% sure how long he was able to pull this off, but it was recently found that a gentleman had moved himself into our church building and had been living there for some time. I suppose with its vast array of space and potential hiding places, it made for a perfect shanty, however, he was discovered and quickly evicted from his rent-free abode. Curious...this same building is where we have seminary each weekday morning...but more on that later.

My next adventure with vagrancy occurred last week when I flew up to Oakland for work. My journey to the Land of Raiders was aboard none other than the Southwest Airlines. Being famous for their "Cattle Calling" technique of sitting people, it is always a lottery draw to see who your co-lucky bench jockey is going to be. This trip I landed the Granola Award with Personal Hygiene Issues thrown in for that little bit of...what's that phrase again? Oh yeah...gag reflex. My quatragenarian traveling companion gave the distinct impression that he had not battled with a bar of soap since the turn of the Century. Aside from the odor though, it was his perpetual snow storm that had my skin crawling. You see...he was blessed with a full and thick head of long, albeit greasy, hair that he allowed to flow freely down and across his shoulders. However, each time he shook his locks, a small cloud of dandruff wafted through the air. He wasn't shy about shaking those ivory-flake infested tresses.
What was particularly entertaining was that on the other side of him sat an attractive young woman that was just too nice not to ignore him. He engaged her in conversation and although she was polite enough to respond just enough not to shoot him down directly, her body languages screamed, "If I had a tazer, it would be charging right now."

Finally, this morning we had another drifter drama at the church. During Seminary, it seems that an odd man carrying a lunch box, 4 grocery bags of sheet music, and a cell phone with charger, entered into the chapel, sat himself down at the piano and began plinking away at the keys. After class was over, I was one of the last to leave, I came into the lobby where my bishop, (great man by the way), and two mothers with wringing hands were standing around not really knowing what to do. They filled me in on as to our visitor, and the Bishop had finally gotten through on a phone call he had been trying to make. The man said that he was part of a musical group that will be performing during the Holidays and that he had permission to be there and use the piano. We found it odd that he couldn't name who his bishop was or who gave him this permission he spoke of. He did give his ward information, but that ended up being on the other side of Orange County. Finally, from all looks of it...he lived out of his van that was parked outside.
He did give one name whom the Bishop had finally gotten a hold of. She was in fact in charge of the upcoming production, but she didn't know who this guy was or why he was in our building.
So the Bishop asked me to accompany him as we gently asked this man to leave the building. He got quite upset and loud as he gathered his grocery bags. He ranted about how he was only there to make music and that music was all he lived for. I am not sure that tapping out A, E and F repeatedly with about 8 seconds of pause between each note constitutes music...but, to each his own.
However, I don't think I will soon forget his parting words that he loudly spoke over my Bishop's attempts to explain the proper order of scheduling the building, our transient friend shouted, "If you are trying to kick me out...then you obviously don't know what MUSIC is about!"
Apparently, I don't.