Saturday, January 28, 2012

I Got Tagged!

My cousin tagged me in this random internet game, so I decided to play along. It's all in good fun. I'm going to struggle to come up with 11 people to tag, but that, to me, is not the fun part.

The Rules: 
 1.Post these rules 
2.You must post 11 random things about yourself 
3.Answer the questions set for you in their post 
4.Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer 
5.Go to their blog and tell them you’ve tagged them 
You legitimately have to tag 11 people!

11 Random Things about Jake Taylor:

1. I like touchy-feely things. Shirts, stuffed animals, pets...if they're nice to touch, I love it. I used to think that everyone was the same way, but I just recently met someone who is scared of stuffed animals. 
2. I love taking naps BUT I always have weird dreams when I nap. It never fails. When I sleep at night I have an occasional crazy dream, but nap dreams are, without fail, the ones that could possibly have me committed to an asylum someday.
3. I'm not a fan of nuts and/or raisins in my cookies. Whoever decided that was a good idea was smoking something.
4. I can do (just about) anything with music going in my ears: clean bathrooms/toilets, mow lawns, till gardens, you name it I can do it if there's good music playing.
5. Back in the day, I could care less about calories. Probably a big reason why I got up to 210 lbs a few years ago. Now, I feel guilty for even looking at a cinnamon roll. Tonight, I gave in and ate one. I had to stop the voice in my head that belongs to that fat guy I used to be so I could enjoy my delicious morsel.
6. I constantly surprise myself, lately, with how much more outgoing I am now than I ever thought I'd be. I used to be quiet and reserved. I tell people that now and they think I'm joking.
7. I can't chew gum for more than 10 minutes before I get tired of it.Weird because I used to chew it all the time.
8. I'm left-handed. Scissors are my nemesis. I had to train myself to switch them to my right hand. It's hard to be a lefty in a right-handed world, however, I would not change it for anything in the world.
9. I'm obsessed with Ireland.
10. I take it as a compliment when people call me "sassy" or "snarky." 
11. Beware: I can memorize phone numbers really easy. Not sure why, but ever since my mission in Florida I've noticed that I just have a knack for remembering phone numbers. 

Kara's Questions for Me:

1. If you could automatically acquire the skills/academics, and you had the schedule for it, what is your dream job?

Dream job for me would be to have a doctorate in English literature and teach at a university while writing my books on the side. The professorship would be just to have something to do and the writing would bring in more money and be my fun job.

2. What is the #1 played song on your iPod (or other audio device)?

On my iTunes it's "Bad Romance" by Lady Gaga
On my iPod, lately it's been "Telephone Games" by Jack and White

3. If you could see, but not necessarily participate in unless you wanted to, any moment in history, what would that moment be?

Ok, so I have a top three on this question. 1. I've always been fascinated with the Salem Witch Trials. I think it would be interesting to watch how it all went down from beginning to end, but I would not want to participate. 2. The Battle of Bull Run (Manassas) in the Civil War. I'm not sure why I'm so intrigued, but I would pay to see those rich Northern folks running for their lives after they'd come to watch a battle and picnicked. The nerve. 3. Anything in WWII. Such a devastating time in our history, but it is also where heroes were made, and I would love to see them in action. 

4. What is your favorite drink?

Chocolate milk. Mmmm...However, that voice in my head (see #5 of Random Things about Jake Taylor) would taunt me. So I'm going to say Crystal Light to appease the voice. haha!

5. What is your least favorite chore?

Ya know...I actually don't mind cleaning or those kinds of chores. Cleaning is actually a release for me, and I find I usually do good deep cleaning when I need to clear my head. Plus, I can usually listen to music when I clean, so that's even better. If I had to choose one, I would say shoveling snow but even that is acceptable because I can listen to music. (See #4 above)

6. If you could change your name for a day, what would you change it to?

I love the name Grady. I'm not sure why. 

7. When was the last time you had an AMAZING meal? And was it the company or the food?

I had turkey chili with Anna and Alan. It was pretty dang good, and the company made it even better!

8. What is the worst gift you have ever received?

I can't say that I've ever gotten a really bad gift. Guess I'm lucky. I can say, however, that my 28th birthday was probably the worst one I've ever had.

9. What is something that you learned in the last week?

That patience is a virtue I really, really need right now.

10. Is a picture worth a thousand words? Elaborate. 

Yes. Let me show you. 

You can't tell me that this picture is not worth a thousand words. It is so priceless and perfect. Art, in any expression, is worth talking about and responding to, and that is what is so beautiful about it. 

11. You can only work on one project for the next year. What is it?

MY BOOK! I need to get this dang thing done already!!!
My Questions for You:
1. If you could be any character in any book, who it would be and why?
2. What are the top three things on your bucket list?
3. What's the best book you've read in the last 6-12 months?
4. Who do you think will win the election this fall?
5. If you could change any physical attribute about yourself, would you do it? If so, what would it be and why?
6. You're you in a different dimension. This version of you is married to a celebrity. Who is it?
7. What was the last dream you had that you remember?
8. How many children are there in your family? Where do you fit in?
9. What is your favorite physical attribute of someone of the opposite sex?
10. Do you prefer cold weather or hot weather? (Tell me why too.)
11. What's your favorite item of clothing you own?

I'm going to tag 11 people. If you decide to play along, just let me know in the comments here! Thanks!

The Rules: 
 1.Post these rules 
2.You must post 11 random things about yourself 
3.Answer the questions set for you in their post 
4.Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer 
5.Go to their blog and tell them you’ve tagged them 
You legitimately have to tag 11 people!

Monday, January 23, 2012

My Latest Obsessions

1. Lana Del Rey
She's got this whole dark, vintage thing going on and her style is very unique. I'm definitely a fan even though she bombed her SNL performance. 

2. Big Bang Theory 
I just got a screaming good deal on all 4 seasons on DVD for $38!!! Yeah, ya can't beat that. I smell a BBT marathon in my future!!!
3. CrossFit
It's going to be an intense workout, but I've been wanting something a little more extreme lately in order to really prepare me for the Navy. So here goes nothing!
4. Foster the People
Their album is addictive! I listen to it all the time now. 
5. Justified
Crazy-good show. I'm going to have to catch up before I get into the third season which is playing on TV now. It is a pretty badass show. Love it!!!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Pumped Up Kicks

So, I kept hearing this song everywhere. All I could ever understand of what they said was "All the other kids with the pumped up kicks, better run, better run...." It's a great song with a nice beat, and it gets stuck in your head really quickly. All the makings of a hit. I like to know words to songs, so I looked up the lyrics to this song by Foster the People.

Is it just me or is this song about a school shooting? This "cowboy kid" goes on a rampage with a gun he got from his dad's closet. Why is this not a big deal to anyone? I don't understand how we can mourn tragedies like Columbine and the Virginia Tech shootings and then love this song. It just boggles my mind. This could almost be akin to writing a hit song about 9/11 from the perspective of the terrorists, putting it to a snazzy beat, and then having Americans dance to it. Talk about irony.

This doesn't stop me from loving the song though! In fact, I just got the album and it is amazing. It's sincerely one of the best albums I've gotten in a long time. All the other songs are less tragic and controversial in my mind. But I can't get rid of this sense of guilt I have for liking "Pumped Up Kicks." Call me a hypocrite.

However, for the writing of this post, I did a little more research. Come to find out that Foster the People's leading man, Mark Foster, who wrote the song said he wanted to get inside the killer's mind. He was going to do it about the victim's perspective but thought that would be a copout. It's all about saying f**k you to the hipsters, yet these are the kinds of kids listening to and loving this song. He said there isn't actual violence in the song and that it's an internal dialogue in this kid's mind. So, in a sense, it is a commentary on the isolation and detachment our youth feel today. Aha! Another great ingredient for a hit.

We all love a good controversy, and maybe that is why this song is popular. It seems to reach a part of everyone, the rebel inside each of us. I'm not saying I condone the thoughts portrayed in it, but I'm finding that it was not meant to be taken literally. Foster wanted to understand another side of the story. And, as a writer, I can respect that. It's a fun song to dance to and it also has a chill aspect to it. Foster the People is not just another pop band. I tend to think they will be around awhile now because of the depth, fortitude, and genius behind their madness. There's more to them than meets the eye.  FtP, you have made a fan out of me.

Paige and I love to dance to this song so much that we've almost got a choreographed dance to it.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Me in the Navy: The Decision to Join

I decided I would document my experiences in the Navy through video. It starts with a lot of rambling because I really wasn't sure what I was going to say at first. If it doesn't work here you can see it on YouTube by clicking here. Thanks and feel free to comment! That's all for now!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

New Book Review System

I will put this on the sidebar so you can refer back to it whenever, but I just want to make an official post about it. Today I had an epiphany. I've been rethinking how I rate books. My old system has been on the 5-star system only I think stars are boring because they get overused in things like this. I was using things from the books to rate the book and I'm not sure if it even made sense to anyone else but me.

So! I have come up with a new system!

It is still the 5-Star System with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the best. If you've noticed I rarely give out 5's. From now on (or at least until I tire of this system) I will be rating books as follows:

1. Woopdeedoo!
2. Boo!
4. Woot!
5. Woot! Woot!

There you have it. Feel free to comment or fill-in better suggestions. Peace!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Clockwork Prince

Rating: 4 out of 5 Magical Opium Dens
It seems fitting that my 300th post on my blog should be a book review. Not just any book review, but a book review for Cassandra Clare's latest book Clockwork Prince, which is her newest installment in the Infernal Devices series. 
When I read Clockwork Angel  I have to admit it took me awhile to warm up to the characters. I fell in love so quickly and easily with Clary, Jace, and all the characters in The Mortal Instruments series that it was hard for me to wrap my mind around other characters in the same universe. I'm not even sure if that makes sense. However, this book sealed the deal for me. I am fully invested in the characters now and must find out what happens next. It definitely takes a talented writer with a keen eye to be able to create characters you can still love just as much as the originals. 
I still find similarities between the characters of both series and I think that's what bugged me about the first book. They each seemed like carbon copies of The Mortal Instruments characters with just some minor changes. I may re-read my review of Clockwork Angel to see if I had the same idea then. Jace and Will are both brooding, troubled, and heartbreakingly beautiful young men who somehow win the affection of the leading lady. Clary and Tessa are both beauties in their own ways who feel out of sorts and are trying to get used to the world of magic still. Jessamine and Isabella are both snotty but lovable.
The similarities fade with this the second installment of the series and I think that's why I started to like the characters more. They seemed to be coming more into their own and I wonder if it's also because Clare herself has become more acquainted with them. Jem is not near as likeable in this novel, and I'm not sure why. He's supposed to be sympathetic when he actually, to me, comes across as whiny and self-piteous. We learn more about Will and why he is the way he is and I find that I am rooting for him to win Tessa's heart. 
Say what you want about Cassandra Clare, she can write a damn good love triangle. This one is a doozy! There's a part where Tessa thinks out her choices and you find that it's a just not a good situation for any of them. I won't spoil anything. 
As far as action in this book...there's not a whole lot of it. I felt like the climax was a little weak and Mortmain probably could have made an appearance somehow toward the end. 
So now I will sort of patiently wait for the next installment. I'm assuming she will release the 5th book in the Mortal Instruments series before she finishes up this one. The suspense is killing me, Cassandra Clare! I gave this book 4 out of 5 Magical Opium Dens.  

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


I weighed myself last night.

168 LBS!!!!!!

I have not been below 170 since...I'm thinking at least freshman year in high school. 


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2011 vs 2012

This is Part 3 of a 3-Part Post Series I'm going to do for my blog. The first post focused on my best and favorite moments of 2011. The second post was my worst and least favorite moments of 2011. This final post will be a revisiting of my resolution for 2011 and seeing how well or not well I did. 
2011 vs. 2012

  • Read 35 books.
I didn't quite make it. However, I did beat last year's 25 books. I finished at 31 books for 2011. My next post may be a list of all the books I read. 
  • Get a new job that pays awesomely.
I joined the U.S. Navy! So yeah...It may not have happened in 2011, but the ball got rolling then. Yay! I accomplished part of my resolution!
  • Move out of my parents' house.
Still hasn't happened, but it will happen in April!
  • Get married. (I know, I know...I say it every year. Well, I do but I don't express it apparently. Well, here I am announcing it publicly that this is the year that I, Jacob Taylor, will finally settle down and get hitched. Now to find that girl.)
Oh, please. That didn't happen. 
  • Finish my novel (rough draft, revision, revision, revision, edit, send out to literary agents and publishers, revision, edit, work, work, revise more, and hopefully get the dang thing done and published!)
Yay! I am on the second draft, and I have sent it to quite about 25 agents now. Still got to finish the revision. 
  • Learn 5 songs on the guitar.
Didn't happen. I still feel guilty about this every time I look at my guitar. 
  • Lose 10 more lbs.
Done! And, in fact, today I weighed in at 168 lbs! I have not been this weight since high school! So weird. I feel so good!
  • Go somewhere I have never been before. Boston would be cool. Possibly finally go on a KB Tour to Europe!
Uhhhh...I did get to go to Oakland, CA and other little places near there. All of which I'd never been to. Go me! This year I will be able to see a lot more of the world!
  • Speaking of the last one: Get a passport!
Yeah. About that. Didn't happen. 
  • Start writing the sequel to Befall which is probably going to be titled Beleaguer. 
That hasn't happened either although the ideas are still rolling around in my head.

  • Grow out my hair. This time I am actually going to do it. Last time I got the furthest I have ever gotten but this time I am going to refuse to cut my hair even when I really, really want to.

This did happen! I loved it and sometimes I miss it.
  • Grow a goatee.
What the hell was I thinking??? Yeah...No. Never will that ever happen. I didn't do it last year, and I'm not ever going to grow one. Moving on. 
  • Be wiser with my money.
Yay! I'm doing that! It took me all 2011 to finally get it right, but I'm doing much better with money these days. 

I'm not doing a resolution this year. Let's face it: the last time I looked at my resolution last year was when I wrote it. I forget what's on there and I have changed so much over the course of a year that my goals change dramatically all the time. only resolution this year is to continue on the path I'm on with no regrets, let my heart be the lead, and continue doing awesome things that amaze even myself.  

Monday, January 2, 2012

Worst of 2011

This is Part 2 of a 3-Part Post Series I'm going to do for my blog. The first post focused on my best and favorite moments of 2011. This second post will be my worst and least favorite moments of 2011. The final post will be a revisiting of my resolution for 2011 and seeing how well or not well I did.

My Worst Moments of 2011

(In no particular order whatsoever.)

1. MEPS. Such a long, drawn-out process at the Military Entrance Processing Station in Salt Lake City. Probably the longest day of my life so far. And that's just the beginning. I was there from 6am to almost 6pm and most of that was waiting in lines. 

2. DLAB. I was devastated when I took the language test to get a linguistics job with the Navy. I was 2 lousy points away from the minimum. 

3. Halloween Weekend. My plans and my friend Casey's plans for the weekend were apparently very different from each other. I like the idea of Halloween but for some reason, Halloween is always the worst day for me. Examples:
               1. Senior year of High School. Injured my knee at ballroom dancing practice right
               before school. 
               2. Utah State. Made an idiot of myself by wearing this hideous mask thing to work. I think
               there were some pranks in there that, by that time, I did not find funny at all. 
               3. Mission Halloweens. I always hated talking to people on Halloween. They were always drunk
               or just a little more belligerent than normal.
 I rest my case.  

4. California trip. The wedding part, like I said, was awesome. The whole part where I spent most of my time in airports or my hotel room or waiting for a ride was super uncool. Probably my least favorite trip I've been on in a long time.

5.  Winter. It seemed like last winter clung on forever! Hence we did not get a good summer. Summer was cool and just...not summer-ish until maybe August. Bring on the heat!

Guess it's a good thing I can only come up with a few bad moments of 2011. It was definitely a year full of ups and downs but I think it will always be a memorable year for me.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Best of 2011

This is Part 1 of a 3-Part Post Series I'm going to do for my blog. This post will focus on my best and favorite moments of 2011. The second post will be my worst and least favorite moments of 2011. The final post will be a revisiting of my resolution for 2011 and seeing how well or not well I did.


(These are in no particular order. Just as they come to mind.)

1. Joining the Navy.  I never in my wildest dreams imagined that I would be in the military. It had never seemed like a possible thing until just recently. I'm excited for the adventures and experiences that await me on this new chapter in my life. 

2. Transferring stores and becoming a supervisor. At the beginning of 2011 I got promoted and changed to another Deseret Book in Ammon, ID. This has been such a great and positive change in my life! I actually get along with my boss, I love the people I work with (for the most part), and Christmas was a breeze! Would I ever go back to the Temple store? Not in a million years. 

3. Kira. This woman has been such a blessing in my life. She has taught me how to stand up for myself and to follow my dreams. I probably would have been stuck in a life I never wanted if it weren't for her. She inspired me to join the Navy among other things. 

4. Lagoon trip. I went on a Lagoon trip this summer with Mike and Lacey, Brittany, and Kira. We had a blast. Kira and I even rode on the insane ride that shoots you up while you're sitting in this little ball. That is something I never would have done. I'm a lot braver these days. 

5. Year of Change. I think 2011 will always stand in my mind as a year of change. Not like big changes, but I know I've changed and grown a lot just in a short year. Who I was last year is completely different from who I am now.

6. Getting in Shape. I've lost a total of 35 lbs. and I'm in the best shape of my life. I never thought I'd be able to run a 5K and I did that this year with Kira and some mutual friends of ours. I feel like I can conquer the world because I was able to conquer that demon which has been my self-image. I feel comfortable in my own skin now.

7. Mike & Lacey's Wedding.  I was able to attend my friend Mike's wedding in Oakland, CA. It was a beautiful wedding and I was honored to be a part of it as the best man. The trip itself wasn't my favorite, but the wedding part was amazing. It was also the first trip where I've made all the arrangements for myself and flew down all by myself. Sad that I was 28 when I finally did this, but at least it happened, right?

8. Good Books & Good Music. I've read a lot of books and a lot of them have been really good. I can only think of a couple off the top of my head that weren't that great. There has also been a lot of really good music this year. Tori Amos, Lady Gaga, Kelly Clarkson, Nicki Minaj, Chevelle, Adele, and Florence + the Machine have pretty much dominated this year for me.

9. Hannah. This girl is amazing! There are some people you just connect with and it's like your souls rejoice because you've finally reunited with an old friend. That is how I feel with Hannah. We are kindred spirits.

10. Zumba! This has been the year for Zumba for me. I got addicted and now I can't get enough. Such a fun and enjoyable workout. 

That is all for Part 1. Stay Tuned for Part 2 (The Worst of 2011)!