Thursday, March 31, 2011

Fatty McFat

Look at my sad face...
Wow.  I honestly can't believe I'm posting this for all to see, but this is my body.  My flabby, fat and lazy body.  I'm like a hairy wildebeest only weaker.  Like a massive woolly mammoth only shorter.  Like Monstro the Whale with blubber by the bucketful (but not a muscle to mention).

My name is Fatty McFat, and I desperately need a change.

So today on the last day of the month, I am posting these pictures of my current unhealthy and undesirable physique.  On the last day of April, I will post new photos.  Hopefully within the month there will be some noticeable change.  If not, I'll work harder and post new photos at the end of May and on and on.  Once the photos no longer cause you to vomit at the sight of them, I'll know I've reached my goal!

And speaking of vomit, yesterday I had my first day of exercising in probably my entire life.  I'm not a fan of exercising (as you can see), so my body was more than a little shocked when I started to work out.  It was like, "What are you doing?  We don't move.  Why are we moving?  STOP, I SAY!" until I collapsed pathetically into a pile of my own vomit.  Gross.

My trainer for this endeavor is Brian's little sister Courtney.  She has me doing various exercises for my abs, arms, and legs using free weights, an exercise ball, and pretty much whatever we can find in the house!  She may be young and she may be small, but she is one tough cookie.  I'll also be walking to work everyday, which is about a half-hour each way.  I might start jogging too, and hopefully I can rope Brian into this new fitness regimen.

I also know I need to eat better, and the first thing I am cutting from my diet is soda.  I'm fairly certain I will go through withdrawals without my Coca-Cola, but it's not helping me out any.  To aid in the healthy eating, Brian has gotten some new cookbooks by Rocco DiSpirito called Now Eat This! and Now Eat This! Diet.  Basically they contain recipes to make healthier versions of the yummy food we love.  Each meal is 350 calories or less and still totally delicious.

If anyone has some weight-loss secrets they would like to share or some motivating words, please leave them in the comments below!  I pray to God the next set of pictures looks better... at least for your eyes' sake.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

No Longer Unemployed Bums!

We entered the cul de sac of the Kesler Kingdom late last Wednesday, beginning our job search on Thursday.  I am very happy to announce that in less than a week Brian and I have both secured employment here in Orem, Utah.  Moments after Monday night's post, Brian was offered the data entry job that we hoped he would get.  Then yesterday afternoon I received a call from the movie theater with the same happy news.  We're no longer unemployed bums!

I am supposed to go in later today to fill out paperwork, then Thursday I'll be in training, and Friday I'm said to be working in full swing.  Brian has the rest of the week off (lucky fella) but begins his training on Monday, April 4th.  He trains part-time for a full week and then begins working full-time the following Monday.

Brian will be getting more hours at a higher pay rate than I, so he'll be contributing more to our bank account.  However, thanks to my job, we will be able to see movies whenever we want for free.  A definite bonus!  I also hope to come up with artistic ways of bringing in some extra dough (any ideas anybody?).  And with our lowered monthly expenses (no rent, no power, etc.) we should still have an extra $700 or so to whittle down our suffocating debt.  Once we get our credit cards paid off and various family members reimbursed, we will begin to look for a place of our own.

And as far as school goes, switching everything over from L.A. to S.L.C. won't be able to happen before this Monday when the spring term starts.  Besides that, I'm just starting at a new job and really want to get situated with that before I begin schooling.  So now I have to make a choice...  Do I begin in July with the summer term or do I start as early as May with their late-start program?  May has the appeal of being sooner rather than later, but it's done in half the time of a regular term so I would be doing two weeks worth of work in just one week.  It sounds a little overwhelming and I don't want to do poorly in school because I'm so stressed.  On the other hand, July just seems so far away.  I'm not getting any younger here people.

What should I do?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ask Joaquin: What is Your Favorite Part of the Human Face?

From Anonymous:  What is your favorite part of the human face and why?

It's a good thing you specified it as a "human" face.  If you had just asked "What is your favorite part of a face?" I would have instinctively assumed you were referring to an elephant's face.  Elephant faces are customary in conversations such as these.  My answer would have been the trunk obviously.  Second to the valuable tusks and third to the dumbo-sized ears.

But the human face?  What an odd thing to ask.  Allow me to think aloud for a moment and consider the positive qualities of each.

The eyes...
  • They can be made to cry through various means.  You can cut an onion, or watch a sad movie, or even get shampoo in them.
  • It's fun to poke people in the eyes.  Poke.  Poke.
  • You can accessorize eyes with eyeglasses or sunglasses.  Even an eye patch if you are truly daring.
  • They come in five colors:  brown, hazel, blue, green and satanic red.
  • Eyes are said to be the "window to the soul" ... whatever the heck that means.
  • They are really useful when taking an eye exam (except for those last few lines which I don't think anybody can read).
The ears...
  • Probably the best place to collect ear wax.
  • The older you get the more hair will grow out of them.  More hair is better, right?
  • Can be used to listen to your iPod, conveniently tuning out annoying people who want to talk to you.
  • They hold up your glasses (or a spare pencil in case of writing emergencies).
The mouth...
  • It is the best place to insert food.  Shoving food directly into your stomach through your belly button is not a good idea.  I've tried.  The mouth works better.
  • Used for mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
  • Similar to mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, it can be used for kissing.  Unless you are an Eskimo.
  • Can be turned up at the corners to create a smile, or turned down to make a frown.
  • Needed to say the old Campbell's slogan "Mmm... mmm... good" or sing the Hanson hit "MMMBop."
The nose...
  • You can't "wake up and smell the coffee" without it.
  • Picking it provides hours of entertainment for most school-aged children (and the occasional lonely adult).
  • It's the claim-to-fame for Barbra Streisand.
So as you can see, each aspect of the human face has many benefits.  After careful consideration, I have decided that my favorite facial part would have to be the mouth.  You might think it's because I like kissing, but really I just love singing Hanson tunes all day!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Interviews Out the Wazoo!

Hey world!  I just wanted to give everyone a quick little update on our job situation.  We are still unemployed... sad face... BUT between us we have had five interviews!  I'm telling you, getting a job interview is so much easier here in Utah than getting one in California.  Out there we submitted hundreds of applications to no avail.  We signed up with temp agencies to no avail.  We even bribed potential employers with drugs and sexual favors and still to no avail.

However, here in Happy Valley our application-to-interview ratio is at 100%!  One simply fills out an application and is granted an interview.  Brian has filled out two whole applications so far and has already had two interviews.  The first one was on Friday, and the second one was this morning.  One was for a customer service job and the other was for data entry.  The data entry job pays a little bit more and seems a bit easier, so we're both rooting for that one!

And me?  As of now I have filled out three applications, getting me three interviews.  The first one was today at 1:30 in the afternoon with a clothing store that is a bit on the teenagery, labley side of fashion.  The second interview was immediately after at 2:30.  It's another retail store, this one also catering to a younger crowd but a lot more fashion savvy and trendy.  And the last interview was just outside the mall at 4:15 this evening.  It's a movie theater and I secretly want that job more than the others.  Of course it's horrible pay, but it does mean we'd get to see movies for free again.

I do miss our free movies.  We haven't seen a single new release in 2011... and that's a crime.

Traveling Gypsy UPDATED 3/28/11

Back in October of last year I had tallied up a list of all the places I have ever lived and posted it under the name "Traveling Gypsy."  I have since done a bit more moving (along with Brian of course), so I decided to update it.  For those of you who read it when I first posted it, you can just skip the first 33 places since I didn't change that part at all.  Only the last three are new.  But if you didn't read it before, here it is again!

  1. Although I was born in the hospital of Culver City, my mom and dad were actually living in Upland, California at the time of my birth.  So from August 20, 1986 until the end of that year, that was my first home.
  2. For some strange, bizarre reason my parents decided to move up north to Bellingham, Washington.  We lived there from December '86 to February '87 before heading back to California.
  3. While hunting for a new apartment, we stayed with my paternal grandparents in Baldwin Park, California.  We were there for a couple of months.
  4. From April '87 to September '87 we lived in Rancho Cucamonga, California.  It was there that I had my first birthday.
  5. Not sure what happened, but we ended up staying with my grandparents again in Baldwin Park, California.  We were there for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's.
  6. In February of 1988 my parents were back on their own two feet again, living in an apartment of their own in Fontana, California.
  7. After 7 months we moved to Pamona, California in September of 1988.  We stayed there for about 6 months.
  8. In March of '89 we moved back to Upland, California (different apartment this time) and it was there that I turned three years old.  In April 1990 a dead body was discovered in the laundry room ceiling, and out of fear we packed up and left.
  9. We found ourselves in Vista, California and stayed there for a surprisingly long time.  Just shy of two years.  Oh, and my brother Daniel was born during this time on July 11, 1991.  
  10. In February of 1992 we moved within Vista from an apartment to a house.
  11. Just four months later in June, my parents separated and moved to separate apartments.  Daniel and I lived with my mom, and my dad lived by himself.  We were still in Vista and I started my first grade school year.
  12. My parents decided to patch things up and the four of us all moved to Lake Elsinore, California in January of 1993.
  13. In April of that year we moved back to Vista.  I finished my first grade year there.  That's right, I had three first grade teachers.  I'm surprised I learned to read!
  14. My parents' relationship was still rocky.  A change of scenery was a possible solution, so we moved to Rocky Ford, Colorado in July of 1993.
  15. We lived in a small duplex for maybe a month before moving to another part of Rocky Ford where my Grandpa Garcia owned a rental house.  On September 28,1993 my sister Renee was born.  Less than three years later my parents decided to divorce.  I was almost ten years old.
  16. In May of 1996 my mom moved to Cheraw, Colorado with the three of us kids.  I went to fifth grade there.
  17. My mom decided to move us back to the Rocky Ford house a year later in 1997.  My mom was working in La Junta, Colorado (maybe 15 minutes away) so I attended middle school in La Junta.  It was during this time that Steve Davis moved to La Junta from Kansas.  He was teaching at an alternative school in Rocky Ford.  He and my mom met at church.
  18. They were married and we moved into a small house in La Junta in May of '98.  Steve started teaching in Ordway, Colorado and Daniel drove out there with him for school.  I was still going to school in La Junta.
  19. In October of 1999 Steve and my mom bought a house in Ordway.  This was our first time owning vs. renting, and we lived there for the longest time ever.  Ordway is where I went to high school.  It's also where I got my first real job.
  20. After I graduated in May '04, I moved out on my own.  Kinda'.  My dad had recently divorced from his second marriage and was living in the old Rocky Ford house.  I decided to move in with him there since it was located exactly between my job in Ordway and my studies at Otero Junior College in La Junta.  He eventually moved out and my grandpa took his place.
  21. I was called to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, so I went in to the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah September 2005.  My companion was Elder Carr.
  22. Two months later I went to my first area in Curico, Chile.  I was there from roughly November '05 through January '06 with Elder Barron and then Elder Juarez.
  23. I was transferred to Concepcion, Chile and stayed there until about June 2006 with Elder Ramirez and then Elder Orellana.
  24. So in June I moved to the small town of San Clemente with Elder Potter, who was replaced with Elder Medina, then Elder James, and then Elder Carter.  That's a lot of companions in just four months!
  25. October '06 found me in Molina, Chile where I spent time with Elder Auccapuclla, Elder Boyle, and Elder Meza.  Boyle and I even threw a Christmas Concert in the downtown plaza!
  26. In February 2007 I moved to Talca, Chile and was there with Elder Fernandez and Elder Carrasco.  It was there that I wrote, directed, and produced "Arboleda" a play about faith.
  27. Just three months later, in May, I packed up all my luggage and headed out to Chillan, Chile.  I was a Zone Leader there with Elder Bazalar, followed by Elder Stringham.
  28. My last move in Chile was to Talca again, but in a different area.  I trained a new missionary, Elder Silva, and I was only there for 6 weeks.
  29. In September 2007 I finished my mission and went to live with my family again.  While I was gone they had moved to Burlington, Colorado, and I lived there with them until the end of December.
  30. Ringing in the New Year '08 I had moved in with my friends Edward and Michael Mayhoffer in La Junta, Colorado.  I had one semester left to get my Associates Degree at Otero Junior College.
  31. I moved to Provo, Utah in September 2008 so that I could attend Brigham Young University.  I lived at Branbury Apartments with roommates Jason, Tanner, and Griffin.  During this time I met Brian and dropped out of BYU.
  32. Brian and I wanted to move in together, so we went to Sky Harbor Apartments in Salt Lake City, Utah sometime in March of 2009.  Our friend Tess moved in with us to help with the rent.  Our apartment had cockroaches and a leak in the ceiling, so we left at the end of the year.
  33. We moved to Citifront Apartments just blocks from our last place.  The apartment is almost double the size of the last one, and much nicer.  We lived there with our friend Mesun from January 2010, and Ryan and her kitty Cinders joined us in August.  Our lease expired at the end of December.
  34. Brian and I got the idea that we needed to leave Utah and pursue bigger and better things.  So we packed up and moved to California on January 1, 2011.  We stayed at my Aunt Rachel's house in a tiny town called Littlerock.
  35. We decided we were too far from all the action of the city, so we moved into a tiny roach-infested hotel in east Los Angeles.  We lived there from February 17, 2011 to March 22, 2011... just a little over a month.
  36. Unable to obtain employment (though we tried very hard) we ran out of money and had to return to Utah, this time living with Brian's family in Orem, Utah.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sketchbook: Human Nude '09

Here are just a few sketches that I've unearthed recently while going through the boxes we had stored here at the Kesler home.  These are from the summer of 2009, and I apologize to anyone who may be offended by nudity.  I assure you it's not pornographic!  The sketches of the male and female respectively were drawn from models, and my instructor at the time specifically asked us to roughly sketch using straight lines.  The last drawing is a lot more detailed, and is of our statue friend Veronica (who by the way, is very happy we are home).

JoaquiNews: Argentine Wins Lottery; Might Lose Everything

Monica Alcota (left) and Cristina Ojeda (right) rallying to repeal DOMA.
NEW YORK—This Friday, one lucky American won the Mega Millions Lottery!  Monica Alcota won $202.9 million dollars by choosing the numbers 22, 24, 31, 52 and 54 with the Mega Ball number being 4. Lottery officials say that this was the 6th largest win nationwide and the largest win in New York State.  The only problem:  Alcota isn’t a legal citizen.
Monica Alcota snuck into the country over 10 years ago from Argentina.  With a pair of felt dog ears and some very convincing makeup, she rode in a dog kennel with the other luggage on an airplane.  Nobody suspected that the adorable puppy from South America was actually an illegal immigrant.  And the dog’s owner?  She was none other than Monica’s lesbian lover Cristina Ojeda—a U.S. citizen.

The two have lived together in New York City ever since, and were even married in Connecticut last year.  However, Alcota may now be deported.  The only thing keeping her here is the confusion over the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  If DOMA is done away with, the marriage of Alcota and Ojeda will be considered valid, thereby making her eligible for U.S. citizenship.  However, if DOMA is here to stay, Manhattan’s immigration court won’t recognize Alcota’s marriage to a woman.  She’ll either have to get hitched to a hombre or go home to Argentina!

Monica Alcota’s not the only one coming to the U.S. from south of the border.  On Thursday the U.S. Census Bureau reported that the Hispanic population has risen by 43% in the last ten years.  There are now 50.5 million Latinos living in the United States, officially making them the second largest ethnic group.  Soon Spanish will be our national language and McDonald’s will serve sopes, and tamales, and chile relleno.  If you want to be prepared for our Spanish future, this news team suggests TiVo-ing Nickelodeon’s Dora the Explorer immediately.

Although loosely based on real news stories (click the links), this article is FAKE.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Cousin Oliver on the Drums

Brian's oldest sister Jenny was not cast in The Kesler Bunch simply because she does not live here.  However, she does come down on weekends so I guess she can be considered a recurring character.  Let's call her Cousin Oliver.  Anybody remember that little bespectacled boy?  He was in six episodes or so during their last season to make up for the fact that the Brady kids were all teens by that point.  Kind of like on The Cosby Show...when Rudy grew up they added Olivia to be the new cute little girl character.  There always has to be a little kid!  And Jenny will be ours.

When Jenny comes over, she brings her dog Lou with her.  I suppose he can play the Bradys' dog Tiger.  What ever happened to Tiger?  Although the doghouse was always part of the backyard set, the dog itself mysteriously disappeared after the second season.  Weird.  Well, if Lou keeps being as hyper as he is, he might "mysteriously disappear" too...

Anyway, so our Cousin Oliver doesn't feel too left out of the bunch I'd like to share this awesome video of her playing the drums.  Go Jenny!

The Kesler Bunch

The Kesler Bunch!
Introducing our new living arrangement in wholesome Orem, Utah!
We have family meetings and family prayer and family meals.
We are always conscientious and never disobedient.
We do our chores, brush our teeth, and we're always in bed by 9:15.
We're even in syndication!

Meet the Bunch!
Katherine Kesler as Carol Brady
Chris Kesler as Mike Brady

Amy Kesler as Marcia Brady
Courtney Kesler as Jan Brady
Sox as Cindy Brady

Jack Garcia as Greg Brady
Brian Kesler as Peter Brady
Rusty as Bobby Brady


Veronica as Alice!

"So Jack and Brian moved back in with their parents
And they knew that it was much more than a hunch
That this group would somehow form a family
That's the way we all became The Kesler Bunch!"

Friday, March 25, 2011

Chihuahua Comics: A Girl Can Dream

Michelle Grasmick of Colorado was the first one to respond with all ten of the correct answers for the One Year Anniversary Contest

Thursday, March 24, 2011

With Your Help, We Are Going to be Just Fine

So, yes, Brian and I are disappointed with the way things turned out.  But we aren't completely devastated.  I for one believe things happen for a reason, and whether I understand it or not, we need to be in Utah right now.  All that we learned in California only adds to our character and gives us experience to learn from.  Now we are embarking on a new journey here in Orem, Utah.

Last night Brian applied to a couple of jobs online.  This morning he was called by one of the employers and has an interview set up for tomorrow.  Things are already looking promising.  And as far as school goes, The Art Institute of Salt Lake City (actually in Draper, Utah) offers the same animation program that I was going to do in California.  We are going to be just fine.

And I want to thank our awesome friends for their love and support: 
  • “Just a temporary roadblock. Pick up your heads and embrace this new adventure!”—Mom
  • “Sorry to hear about L.A. not working out. The economy is still rough. You at least gave it a shot. There will always be a next time. Just remember that all successful people experience a few bumps on the road of success.”—Steven Davis
  • “Things will work out better in the future I'm sure :)”—Caitlin Jarvis
  • “Just remember when one door closes another opens keep your head up honey. You and Brian will be in my prayers.”—Stacy Lovato
  • “I hope everything works out for the best.”—Cynthia Steele
 And others... they are just happy we are living near them again:
  • “Oh Jack, I'm sad California didn't work, however I’ve missed you guys!! So kind of ‘yea!’”—Wendy Snarr
  • “Yay!  I’ve missed you!  I mean I’m sorry you’ve had to come back but I’m glad I’ll get to see you.”—Kayla Robertson
  • “Wahoo to moving on and I’m just happy you’re home.”—Mesun Choi
  • “I am torn between being sad and happy.  I can’t help it; I am a selfish b****.”—Kelsey Heck
  • “I’m with Kelsey!”—Darcy Posselli
And some were both supportive AND secretly happy to have us back in their lives:
  •  “JACK, YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE!!!!  You followed your dreams and it did not work out this one time, there will be other opportunities at perhaps a better time.  I’m sad things did not work out, but I’m glad you two will be in the same state.  When you both have settled in, I would love to have you both come over for dinner!!”—Gina Wehling
  • “Jackie, I'm so sorry.  But I don't believe you guys are failures!  The fact that you tried is inspiring and I'm proud of you!  With the economy the way it is right now it's nearly impossible to start over, and you guys were trying to do it from the ground up.  Don't give up hope on your dreams, because they give flavor to life.  You are an amazing animator, and one day you will show the world.  The world just isn't ready for you yet!  I love you and even though I'm so sad for you for having to come back to crummy old Utah, I'm glad to have my friends back.  I'm here if you just wanna cry and vent for a bit. Or Gleek out.  Or anything.”—Rebecca Hackket Lisor

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011


    Well, well, well.  Where do I begin?

    So Brian and I have been really rreeaallllyy struggling this last month.  I've been trying to keep my blog upbeat, and leave out some of the uglier truths.  Which is a shame because originally I vowed to be truthful at all times with every post.  I guess I never really lied, I just only wrote when I was feeling especially optimistic or when something good happened.  You know, like my fun day being an extra on The Event.  True story, totally fun, but in the end not really enough to lift us out of poverty!  I've been trying so hard this month to get you all pumped up for the one year anniversary of the blog...  I suppose my fear was that the negative news of us starving and nearly homeless would dampen your celebratory spirit.

    "Yay!  I've been doing this blog for a whole year now!  Isn't that great!  I haven't eaten in three days, guys... but hey!  Don't forget about the contest!  You can win a comic of your very own!!"

    See?  It just doesn't work.  So here is the truth.  For all to see.  I AM A

    Wow.  It seems so harsh to see it written like that in such big letters.  But it's true.  We've given up our quest for a new and better life in California, and have returned to Utah.  We will be living with Brian's family in Orem for a bit while we get ourselves back on track financially.  Gosh... it's so depressing, huh?  Maybe I should start lying more.
    • "Brian and I just got back from our really fun three-month vacation to California!  We spent some time visiting with my Aunt Rachel and my cousins, and then got a hotel in Los Angeles to see the sights!"
    • "So Brian and I just completed a social experiment for purely academic purposes.  We were studying the causes of homelessness amongst Americans during these hard economic times.  A documentary is in the works."
    • "We just took some time off to really find ourselves, you know?  Figure out our place in this world..."
    • "No, this wasn't a failed attempt.  It was actually phase one of a seven-step plan.  You see, phase one was to get out there and scout it out for a few months.  We're back in Utah to recuperate before the launch of phase two."
    • "Things were so successful in Los Angeles!  Brian just shot a pilot for a new television drama and I was hired on to animate for Disney.  Unfortunately we had to give it all up to take care of a sick relative.  She's severely ill and might be dying any day now.  We're so selfless."
    Yeah.  I'm liking those excuses better.

    Tuesday, March 22, 2011

    Chum Chat: Kevin and Success at Grandview Terrace

    My friend Kevin Bright wanted to do an interview today because it is his birthday!  He was also really adamant that he talk about good management and recognition in the workplace, and the birthday boy gets what he wants!  As a young man managing many, his experiences and insight are very valuable.

    JOAQUIN:  First off, “Happy Birthday, Kevin!”  How old are you today?

    KEVIN:  Today I am 23 years old.  It’s not exciting.  I’m too young for an insurance discount and I’m not at senior citizen discounts yet either.  It’s all downhill after 21….kidding. 

    J:  Speaking of senior citizens, that’s sort of your specialty, now isn’t it?  Where is it you are working?

    K:  I currently work at Grandview Terrace Retirement Community.  It is a luxury life care facility.  

    J:  And how long have you been there?

    K:  I have worked there for almost two years and just recently celebrated my one-year in management. 

    J:  So what is your position there?

    K:  My position is Dining Room Manager. 

    J:  Look at you!  What does the Dining Room Manager do?

    K:  I currently manage the six different dining rooms that we have.  Each dining room has a different theme:  New Orleans, Santa Fe, Napa Valley, Victorian Tea Room, Hawaiian, and The Club.  The Club is our newest addition and it serves as a casual dining room in the evening.  All our other dining rooms have a dress code that is enforced by our residents’ council.

    J:  Wow!  I’m floored at how fancy that retirement home is!  You weren’t kidding when you said “luxury.”  Sorry to interrupt.  Back to your duties, sir…

    K:  I manage the front of the house staff entirely for dining services.  This includes hostesses, servers, food runners, coffee/water servers, catering, etc.  Currently I have about 32 staff members.

    J:  You’re 23 years old and already managing 32 staff members!  Amazing!

    K:  Since I have taken the position, I have completely revolutionized the way we plan our catering events by using company tools to the fullest.  I have created electronic files, turned around an entire staff to enjoying their jobs, and taken on as many extra assignments as I possibly can.  In my spare time I have been teaching a basic class on computers… anything from how to google to how to copy/paste.  I love our residents and have had a blast working with them! 

    J:  You are a busy bee!  So it’s safe to say you like your job, huh? 

    K:  I absolutely love my job.  I can think of no other place I would rather be most of my day.  This is in part due to the fact that I have an amazing boss who challenges me to go outside of my comfort zone daily, but who also understands that I am here to do the same for her on occasion.  It’s nice to have a mentor that you know you can trust one hundred percent.

    J:  She sounds like a great manager, which I know is what you wanted to talk about here—management.  So what position did you start out in?

    K:  I started out in the company as a food runner.  I worked my way to server, and to working many catering events, and finally to Dining Room Manager in less than a year.  I must say though, that luck was definitely a big player in my success.  However, I also must say that I am a big proponent of showing dedication; and that combined with patience and an attitude of gratitude allowed me to achieve the position.

    J:  Do you think your boss played a part in getting to where you are now?

    K:  My boss challenged me by throwing me in new positions all the time and by giving me opportunities to make something a success.  I was able to work at the facility I now staff with servers and run it the way I wanted without a title or an increase.  It was fun.  I took on as much responsibility as I could and the titles and pay came later. 

    J:  So now that you are the manager, what are you doing to ensure your employees have the same opportunities?

    K:  The answer to this question is recognition and actively challenging your staff.  With some coaching from my mentor and boss, I learned that a paycheck is not enough satisfaction for a person.  We are all human and we all have the desire to contribute to a greater good naturally.  We also have that craving for recognition naturally too.

     J:  You are absolutely right!  A paycheck isn’t enough to make you happy.

    K:  The key to it all is remembering that your employees are human.  A happy employee will give you a greater return.  Their work ethic will be greater, and their contagious attitude is absolutely worth the hard work.  This being said, recognition cannot be a blanket type for your entire staff.  Everyone is an individual human and his or her recognition needs to be tailored to his or her personality type.  If you hated movies, I really couldn’t get you motivated by giving you movie tickets now could I? 

    J:  Ha ha!  Feel free to give me movie tickets any day, Kevin!  But I see what you mean.

    K:  Instead my goal was to get to know my employees so I could reward them appropriately for their successes.  I showed appreciation for going above and beyond the job description.  And as I did these things, morale was strengthened, more people enjoyed their jobs, and teamwork began to blossom. 

    J:  So I’m guessing your staff gets along pretty well with each other.

    K:  Yes!  I have created a compliment board for my staff to write out compliments to each other, and we currently have a program where employees vote for another employee to receive a Bravo Award at our quarterly meetings.  I also have a hero board where I have my staff pick their hero, tell me some attributes of their hero, and how they can relate those attributes in their job.  I also took the time to make a staff video that introduced my staff as a team to our residents.  It all seems really simple, but commitment to the process will yield the results a manager is seeking. 

    J:  That doesn’t sound simple at all!  You’re so creative and crafty!  Going to all the trouble of making cute boards and a movie even… I’m impressed.

    K:  Thanks, Jack.  I even have staff wanting me to come up with more outside-of- work functions.  That right there really spelled it out for me.  I have created an environment that some don’t even want to leave.  They want to bring it into their personal time.  That says a lot to me.

    J:  That’s awesome, Kevin.  Seriously, I’m proud of you.

    K:   I am extremely proud of my staff and how much they have grown as I have grown.  No one person can do it alone!  I secretly hope that they always think back at their job at Grandview and think, “That was an awesome job, I really felt valuable, I was lucky to have a great start there.”  If I can do that, I have done my job well. 

    Sunday, March 20, 2011

    JoaquiNews: Utah Adopts New State Symbol; Honey Bee in Danger

    Utah's newest state symbol.
    SALT LAKE CITY—Governor Gary Herbert recently signed a new Utah state symbol into law:  the John Moses Browning-designed M1911 pistol.  Only mere months after the mass shooting in neighboring Arizona, Utah officially has a state firearm.  And it’s a semi-automatic, baby.
    The adoption of a weapon as a state symbol came with lots of controversy, but Herbert claimed that it had less to do with the gun and more to do with the man who created it.  Browning was a Logan, Utah native— the son of Mormon pioneers—who gave back much to the state.  Honoring such a man seemed a very noble idea, until the true reason of the bill came into light.

    Rocky Mountain Elk (Utah’s state animal) and California Seagull (Utah’s state bird) had blackmailed Herbert into passing the bill, with motives truly sinister.  For decades Elk and Seagull had felt like minorities when compared to the much more popular Honey Bee (Utah’s state insect).  Salt Lake City’s baseball team?  The Bees.  Deseret Industries and Deseret Book?  All referencing bees.  And what do you see on the Utah flag?  A beehive!  With the mounting social injustices, Elk and Seagull plotted a political assassination of the tyrannical Honey Bee.

    Inhabiting an alternate universe of state symbols, Elk and Seagull had no way of murdering their foe.  Earlier attempts all proved futile.  Attempting to trap and roast Honey Bee in a Dutch oven (Utah’s state cooking pot) only infuriated the insect more.  Enlisting the help of Bonneville “Cutthroat” Trout (Utah’s state fish) resulted in the near-death of the fish by bee-sting.  Turned out his nickname was a bit misleading, as he was a bit of a pansy.

    So with the new bill now signed into law, Seagull and Elk now have possession of a gun.  Herbert has cooperated with assassins.  May the blood of Honey Bee be on the governor’s hands.

    Saturday, March 19, 2011

    Michelle Loves Joaquin!

    Jennifer H. Loves Joaquin!

    Most Featured Friends of the Past Year

    Although it's called Joaquin the Chihuahua, it's not always about me!  Plenty of my friends and family have been featured here on my blog.  Sometimes they are mentioned in an article, or maybe even a photo, or perhaps even depicted in a comic.  I present to you the ten most featured friends:

    10th  Tori (mutual friend)
    11 mentions, including 4 photos.

    9th  Rachel (my aunt) and Courtney (Brian's sister)
    A tie!  12 mentions each, including a cartoon of Aunt Rachel and 2 photos of Courtney.

    8th  Amy (Brian's sister), Ryan (mutual friend and former roommate) and Katie (mutual friend)
    A three-way tie!  13 mentions each, including 5 photos of Amy, a photo of Ryan, and 6 photos of Katie plus a cartoon and a Chum Chat interview.

    7th  Jack (my dad)
    14 mentions, including 2 photos.

    6th  Katherine (Brian's mom)
    15 mentions, including a photo.

    5th  Kelsey (mutual friend and former neighbor)
    20 mentions, including 7 photos and 2 comics.

    4th  Kathi (my mom) and Daniel (my brother)
    A tie!  21 mentions each, including 5 photos of my mom and 8 photos of Daniel.

    3rd  Renee (my sister)
    22 mentions, including 9 photos and a cartoon.

    2nd  Mesun (mutual friend and former roommate)
    37 mentions, including 7 photos, 10 comics and a Chum Chat interview.

    1st  Brian (my partner)
    Wow!  167 mentions, including 22 photos and 30 comics.

    Stacy Loves Joaquin!


    "Happy Anniversary!"  WOO HOO!  

    The first person to email me the correct answers to the following ten questions will be featured in their very own comic!

    Hint:  All the answers can be found on this blog!

    1.  In my very first blog post I explain the name Joaquin the Chihuahua.  So why did I choose Joaquin?  Why did I choose Chihuahua?

    2.  As shown in a comic posted in April, what logo is printed all over my red pajama pants?

    3.  On Mother's Day, who slipped $50 into Brian's coat?

    4.  In June, Brian and I went to his sister Amy's high school graduation.  Who's graduation did we attend the very next day?

    5.  What did my friend Kelsey and her husband get me for my 24th birthday?

    6.  I've mentioned an animation project called "Tenny" a few times.  Who is this project with?

    7.  Who wrote the book I read in October?

    8.  On what holiday did I tell Brian's mother we were moving to California?

    9.  What was the official name for our Christmas party in December?

    10.  In February we temporarily took in a stray dog and gave him a name.  Who did we name him after?

    Jennifer M. Loves Joaquin!

    'Joaquin the Chihuahua' Timeline

    March 2010
    April 2010
    May 2010
    • Brian's parents can't help him financially in regards to AMDA, so we give up on the idea. ($50)
    • I start working on a music video for He Is We. (Music Videos)
    June 2010
    • I finish the He Is We video and get a second job in retail. (No Sleep)
    • We attend Brian's sister Amy's high school graduation in Orem, Utah. (Graduation Part I)
    • We drive to Colorado Springs, Colorado for my brother Daniel's high school graduation and stay to visit for a few days. (Graduation Part II)
    • My ex-stepdad Steve is remarried, although I don't make it to the reception. (Steve's Missed Wedding Reception)
    • My Aunt Rachel, cousin Mariana, Uncle Charlie, Aunt Jodi and all of their children come to visit.  (Harry Potter and the Tia Loca)
    July 2010
    • My brother and sister, Daniel and Renee, come to visit us at the end of the month. (Daniel and Renee)
    • We throw a birthday party for Harry Potter and play Quidditch. (Quidditch for Muggles)
    August 2010
    September 2010
    October 2010
    November 2010
    December 2010
    January 2011
    February 2011
    March 2011
    • Brian becomes a background actor to make money, and I soon follow suit. (Extra! Extra!)
    • Together, with my readers, we celebrate the one year anniversary of Joaquin the Chihuahua! (Thanks For a Great Year!)


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