Credit Where Credit is Due: Pop ‘n Sweets

I have not been know to look for nice things to say about Provo Utah. Not wanting to be a generally negative person I have often kept my mouth shout when wanting to say bad things about the place. I find myself now in a position where I have no choice… I must praise the place. Or at least I must praise one place that is in that place.

Pop ‘n Sweets.IMG_6344

They have nice story about how they came to be and who owns the place but that doesn’t mater much in this case. This candy and soda shop could have been founded by the devil and it would still be worth the visit (incidentally the devil has been outlawed in Provo so it couldn’t have been founded by him).IMG_6304

Long story short, they have soda. All kinds of soda. Soda on tap, Soda from Austria, Soda that’s funny, soda that is sophisticated, a lot of soda. I like that. They have candy too but I’m not so much into wasting calories on that when there is a red capped Blenheim ginger ale to be had.IMG_6339

Or perhaps a mate mojito? A birch beer maybe? Whatever your flavor grab one and have a seat at the counter or in a booth.IMG_6318

This place was good enough that I wanted to hang around… in Provo. I want to go again… to Provo. I can’t believe I ‘m typing this. I’m being forced to shift my fundamental belief system. My foundation is crumbling.

Crumbling into a sweet, fizzy, bubbly, wonderful pool of soda.IMG_6320

Southern Virginia University

At the southern end of the Shenandoah valley, up on hill, sits a school. It was once called the Bowling Green Female Seminary, a girls school with a focus on equestrian training. That was 1867.

Fast forward to the 1990’s and the school has begun admitting boys. Interesting that when the doors were opened wider, people stopped going in the door. The school was dwindling, going, going, then gone. But not in the way you might think.chairs outside

In the year 2000 Glade Knight and his associates were handed the reigns as a completely new board of trustees. They were new, had energy, had money (at least compared to the old board), and what set them apart above all else, was that they were Mormons. Maybe I should say they are Mormons.
girl sitting room

Now note I did not say the Mormon church assumed control of the school, just that those who took control were Latter-Day Saints. This is an important distinction.

Today the school remains small, less than 1,000 students, but it is vibrant.  It has the look, feel, and in reality is, a small liberal arts college with all that that entails or infers. Small class, lots of personal attention, broad educational focus with emphasis on arts and sciences. And it also has church.gym floor

Some locals where I live, and even sometimes those at SVU itself, might say Southern Virginia is a sort of BYU East Coast. It isn’t. They should be proud of this.

Now what they mean when they say this is that the two schools share a religo-cultural tie. The two schools both require students to sign the same honor code. A code that strictly forbids any use of alcohol, tobacco, premarital sex, and of course it requires strict academic integrity. Religion classes, taught from the same texts as BYU are part of the general curriculum. All the markers of a Mormon educational experience are well entrenched in the Virginia hills. If that is what you want, school and personal development devoid of debauchery and keg stands, both schools have that.

But BYU also has 34,000 students. It is a well entrenched research institution in the “heart of the beast” if you will. There are a lot of cracks in which an 18 year old can slip through. Sports are a glorified professional institution, not a general participatory student experience.

SVU has something different. It has romance.

Personal attention that leads to academic exploration and opportunity. It has that. A community of young scholars who can participate in a DIII athletic team, that too. A first class choir? A student advisor who knows not just your name but your aspirations and dreams? Yes, they have that.

They call it the beauty of small. I have been there and they are right.

BYU: of course

Brigham Young University and I have a history. No, I never attended the school, but you can’t be what I am, from where I am from, without BYU being in your life. Sort of like a cousin, or a not-so-drunk uncle.IMG_9691

Speaking of uncle’s, my niece is a sophomore there. That is not why I went. I went for work.

BYU is a great school. I will even admit it is an absolutely top academic institution. While studying colleges, while I was in college, I realized again how different this school is from every other school in the country and cannot be honestly considered when doing national comparisons. This sign is a prime example of why.IMG_9692The bathrooms is the student union have diaper changing tables. I will wager big money a sign like this has never been posted at any other American college.

Now I am sure plenty of NCAA collegiate football players have children, but at BYU they also have wives (but only one wife per player so don’t start). The school is truly its own kind of bookstore

Last year they won the National championship in rugby. the college rugby team I played for has only beaten BYU once. I played in that game. I cannot take credit for the victory. I didn’t even know we won. I was simply running around confused and battered when a whistle blew and the BYU guys all walked to their van and went home. They did not shake our hands.

Its Okay though… we were very poor winners.



Found a Spot to Land

I am not made for entrepreneurial pursuits. I prize security, am averse to personal financial risk, and consequentially I am happy to give up some measure of autonomy as well as the associated insecurity.  With this in mind I have spent some time being racked with insecurity, of all sorts, while shopping around for a safe haven. We call it “job hunting.”

My recollection of deer hunting with Dad was that it consisted mostly of sitting still and quiet in the snow waiting for something with antlers to wander in front of us. The same tactics don’t bear fruit when stalking employment.

I had to move around a little.

Brigham Young University

Job hunting is much more like dating than hunting. I move we start calling it “job dating.”

First you stalk each other’s profiles online, then maybe a phone call, then if you both get brave, you meet in person. Both parties size each other up and try not to act too eager, because desperation looks good on no one, but really you wouldn’t be talking at all if you both weren’t dripping with need.

Widener University

You do your best to steal attention from the other guys in the crowd while they all do the same. When things don’t work out you are sent off making excuses to your friends as to why it wasn’t the right fit, or it just wasn’t the right time for a relationship,  or any other lame excuse to not say directly that you got dumped for someone else.


But in this game there is no time to mope. Bachelorhood is not an option and in this light maybe this is hunting in the primitive sense; one needs to eat. Frost killed my crops so farming is out of the question. I am hungry.

Then you see the five point buck, or maybe the girl who looks like Halle Berry. Keep cool. don’t be “that guy.”

Pomona College

But in some sense you never get anywhere until you throw it all out there. Pull the trigger, pop the question, leave cool behind and take a risk.

Which is what I said I wanted to avoid in the first place.

Claremont University Consortium.

It is time to update my Facebook status.