Monday, June 27, 2011

Hero Highlight #2- My Boss: Victor Alan Williamson

Everyone has someone that they look up to in certain areas of their lives. It's always nice to have a model that you can follow in certain ways, and mold some of your personality traits after.

For almost 10 years now, I've worked at the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center in Pleasant Grove, UT. We are a non-profit organization that uses the discipline of wonder to educate children in the Alpine School District. We try to teach them to see things as what they could be, not as they are. It's not the most simple of tasks.

The founder of the CMSEC. Victor Williamson. At the first meeting I had with him, he scared me. He is just that type of person- likes to have the authority rest on his shoulders at first; demands the respect from you immediately so it is clear that he is the boss, and that there are no bones about it.

Vic, or bossman, or Mr. W or Mr. Williamson, or even Tex to some, is one of the most amazing people I've ever met. He isn't the type of person that takes anything for granted. He's grateful for what he's got, and he shows appreciation for it. Our organization is held together by volunteers, and they don't get a lot for the work and effort they put in here. However, Vic knows everyone of them by name, and can tell you a lot about each one of them, because he takes time to know them, where they are from, why they are here, and how they are. It truly is inspiring.

Vic is my hero for 2 reasons. He'll never let me give him credit for them, but they mean a lot to me. 1) When my family was going through a rough time, and there was a lot of uncertainty with where we would live, and what was going on, he recognized that, and allowed me to stay at the space center over the camps that we had. I spent that whole summer working here, and I remember him checking in with me quite often, and I just remember how secure that made me feel- like I had an ally in my corner. He still, to this day, shows extreme interest in my well being, and what's going on in my life. I am convinced that he is sincere when he asks, and he is truly wise in the advice he gives me. 2) Because he's not afraid to just be himself, and chase his dreams. This place where I work is one of a kind. There isn't another one in the world. It's incredible, and it's here because he wouldn't give up on his dream. He isn't afraid of any one else's opinions either, he just does what he feels is right, and allows the world to dream on, while he floats his boat to where he wants to take it. I've never seen him kowtow to the ideas of the world. He stands for what he believes in, and that is his business alone. Truly something that I wish to emulate.

He's an amazing friend, boss, and man. He doesn't agree- but like him, I don't really care what he thinks. I know it. What he's done for me, and countless others has been truly inspiring.

Thanks for all you do, Vic!


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hero Highlight #1- My Dad: Randall Brett Funk

Today I am going to start spotlighting the heroes I have in my life. I have 5 heroes; people who inspire me, and that I want to be like as I continue to put the pieces of who I am together. Tonight I want to share with all of you readers my hero for fatherhood, and friendship: My Father.

There is a lot about my dad that I could share, and there is a lot I could say- but a lot of that is just information that may or may not have any bearing to you the reader, so I'll start with the good stuff.

My first memory I have with my dad, the furthest I can remember back, happened when we had just barely moved to Texas. It was Father's Day, and we had just gotten him a Nintendo Entertainment System:

I remember that being the first night I had been permitted to stay awake past my bed time. We played and played and played all of the games that we'd gotten from our really good friend who owned the local video store. I know I will remember her name when I finish this post, but she was always so good to my mom and I. I suppose that the thing I remember most from that night, in hindsight, is that it was Father's Day- and my dad could have played that all by himself and a) been a lot more successful, and b) enjoyed his new toy, but, instead, he played with me, and allowed me to be a big part of what he was doing.

I've never played on a sports team, acted in a play, sang in a choir, given a talk, had a speech, worked, or anything where my dad wasn't super involved (my mother too, but that is for a different day). He always was either coaching, or was on the first row cheering me on. That always meant a lot to me.

He always took time to spend time with me. My dad would read to me at night all the way until I was like 16. It wasn't embarrassing, we'd take turns reading a book, or he'd just read to me, and we read several series that he had loved, and I remember LOVING those nights. Those were times that I will cherish forever.

My dad will still to this day wake up at all hours of the morning to go hoop with me. Very few dads do that. My dad has made it a priority.

My dad always does his job as a parent, even when he knows it will tick me off. I've found that I respect him soo much because of it. It may not be the popular thing, but he does what he needs to to ensure that I am only somewhat of a schmuck instead of a total one ;).

The last thing that I want to touch on, is that my dad has always loved me through anything. No matter the trial, the situation, my attitude, whatever, my dad has always been there. He is my hero for all of these things, but mostly, because I know that he has my best interest in mind, and will help me reach whatever potential I have. I love my dad, and hope that one day, I'll be at least half as good as him in these areas, because that means I'll do at least a decent job.

I love you, dad. Thanks for everything you do!


Sunday, June 19, 2011


It's weird how fast the week flies by, and how I seem to never have enough time to accomplish everything I want to. There are times I wish that I could have a personal fairy that granted wishes that would allow me to complete everything I have in my mind to complete.

I had a cool thought today. Only I would think of such a thing, but it hit me kind of suddenly, so I thought that I would share it.

In the Walt Disney version of Cinderella, there is a very interesting thing that happens. When Cinderella is given all of the chores she must do before she can go to the ball, her Fairy God mother doesn't appear, she frets about not being able to complete it all, but she does what was asked of her. Her friends show great support, and make her a dress- but that isn't enough to get her to the ball. As her dress gets destroyed by her sisters, there is still no Fairy Godmother. When she feels that all is lost, and that there is nothing remaining for her to hold on to, and all she can do is cry, then comes her Fairy Godmother. After she's done everything for herself, and learned the lessons involved in them, then the miracle came, and granted her wish.

I think there is great correlation there to what Jesus Christ himself taught, and how life works. So often we expect that someone is going to make something happen for us magically. That if we just pray, then whatever we need will just magically occur. I disagree with that sentiment. We are required to put forth work, and make what we want happen. When we are willing to show the work (putting in the faith that is required) then we are given what we need to make what we asked for happen. It's an important principle I think. If we go forward trying to answer our own desires (the good ones, the ones we are praying for), if we don't get the answer ourselves, then God steps in to help us out. Not before then, but after all we can do.

I just really liked that thought. Interesting, no?


1) Schools are starting to talk to me, and I have some great options of people that want me for me, not me to only fill a spot.
2) Father's day- so grateful for an incredible father who loves me, and treats me so well.
3) The Christensen family- those that don't know them should. Ask me about them sometime!

Until later.


Sunday, June 12, 2011


It's been an interesting few days. A lot has happened. I am not entirely sure what I think about it all. Of course I am sure about the decisions that I have made, but not sure how to deal with all of the different responses that continue to barrel my way. I can't really say more until everything is finalized.

Regardless, there has been a drastic shift in the wind for me. I am confident it is for the better, but getting here was a journey that has been very rocky.

The business of my schedule has kept me from having time to post anything. David Siverly, a good friend of mine from Fresno (basketball manager for the team this previous year) came and stayed with us for a few days. It was also the week of the Lone Peak basketball camp, and the county baseball all-star game (which I PA'd), and a crazy week at the Space Center. So as this week rattled on, David spent more time chillin' with Marquelle than I spent with him while I was trying to figure out all of these other obligations at the same time.

Basketball camp was solid. I do know that the younger kids are my least favorite in camp, because they haven't yet learned what it means to follow directions :P (and I've totally mastered my direction following skills, haha). They just rub you wrong after a few days. The best story I have from that though is that one of my kids had to do push-ups after losing a contest or something, and he was in really good push-up position. I said, "Do some man push-ups," and the child started humping the floor as hard as he possibly could 10 times, and then looked up with complete and total satisfaction on his face. I laughed for a good 20 minutes. It was just perfect delivery and timing from him.

The all-star game was good too. I got to see a pretty good and tight game from our county all-stars, as well as have a blast PAing the game. I really enjoy PA, it's one of my favorite jobs ever. During one of the contests, however, some girls came up to the booth with a partial answer. I informed them that others had answered it fully, and I couldn't give them the prize when they hadn't really accomplished the goal. One of the little girls argued with me for a sec, and then pulled an "but, we're adopted". I laughed so hard that I almost fell out of my chair. Then, I told the story over the PA, there were a few chuckles. Then, after the game, I was informed that they were adopted, and that my comment over the PA wasn't very nice. Oh, well. I got a kick out of the way she said it. That was FUNNY!

We had a pretty good time mini-golfing after the mission at the space center David and I went to on Wednesday. David had a good time there. He got to intrude like 40 times, which he said he really enjoyed. That was good :) I love the place, so I'm glad that he did too. Anyway, Marc crushed us all, and was sure to let us know. One of my really good friends, Shay Droubay came too. We decided we should play 2 on 2 basketball after, and Shay and I smashed David and Marc, and we felt good about it too. Shay hasn't stopped holding her release yet ;).

Other than that. Another week ahead. It's late, so I will just leave it at this, and hope I can find time for tomorrow. But, David showed me a song that I've fallen in love with. You WILL watch this and love it :) (mostly the song though, the video is ok).


1) An amazingly supportive family who are willing to help me out, even when I'm a little headstrong.
2) A great ward
3) My gift of being able to ignore social awkwardness. It comes in handy in all sorts of situations.


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Saturday From Hades

(The Man That Made Saturday Possible)

It's one thing to fly the overnighter. I can handle that. We start on Friday at 6:00 P.M., and end Saturday at 10:00 A.M. But then... well... There is all this buzz about scheduling private missions on Saturdays, and I got stuck with a 5 hour. It started at 11 A.M., that meant it went til 4. I groaned when I discovered this. That is pure torture.

So... I flew it. Then discovered that I was very tired, and didn't think that leaving was in my best interest. So I decided that I would stay for a bit.

That was a bad decision.

About 20 minutes later, I found myself enveloped in a project with Rachel and Jon. We were refitting the Odyssey simulator with paint, and changing a few things that the set director thought needed to be changed. One of these projects was tearing a random thing that protruded from the ceiling down.

Apparently the instructions given by our boss entailed only the painting portion of this task. I came in later than that instruction, so I was doing what I'd been asked to. I was ami ripping... Ok, bashing the protruding "box" on the ceiling with a baseball bat when whatever it was attached to put a hole in the ceiling made of sheetrock.

"Damnit," I muttered under my breath. Jon and Rachel looked at me. I had sworn. That meant something was wrong.

First off... Who makes a ceiling of sheetrock. That is just lazy, cheap, and stupid. Secondly, why is this box here. It makes it so the operations officer cannot see the viewscreen. I was throwing around these rants (expletives excluded), and then realized that the box was hanging above the ceiling. I decided I could pull it down.

I reached up and pulled with all my might, and a small portion of the ceiling came down on top of me. I bashed my elbow on the station below me, and swore again.

It was done. The box was down... But now I knew we weren't going to be out by 10:30, as instructed. I decided that I would call my boss, Vic, and ask him to reset the alarm for 3:00 that morning, so that we didn't set it off while we repaired the ceiling, then got everything painted.

IT WAS A BUGGER. But we repaired the ceiling, we also got the ship painted. Jon left at 12:00. Rachel and I finished painting the rest of the ship. I got most of the roof. Jon had touched most of it up. Rachel and I finished the stations, and the grate at the back of the ship. We had the ship put back together, and we were gone at 1:56.

My boss though. He was furious when he came to reset the alarm. There was smoke streaming from his ears. His frustration could be heard as his voice shook with every word. I've been yelled at, spat at, sworn at, and glared at by this man. I knew everything would be fine once it was all taken care of- but at the moment, it was obvious that he was going to try to kill me if I got too close. I tried to take all of the blame. Mostly because I pulled the ceiling out, and I had been there, and I really wanted him to put the blame on me, and leave Jon and Rachel out of it. I feel I'm on his good side, and I wanted him to be pissed with me, and then it'd all be better later. I think the plan kind of worked.

However, I was instructed that I shouldn't apologize if it isn't my fault. "I'm venting," he said, "Just tell me you are sorry I'm frustrated, and leave me at that. There isn't anything you can do about it. It annoys me that you try to place this all on yourself. It's not your fault. Things happen. I'm just frustrated. I said to paint. Painting doesn't involve ripping off portions of ceiling. It never has. I don't know where people get off thinking that they can just do whatever. This isn't your fault. Just shut up, and listen to me vent."

I tried. He is so long winded. I thought if I annoyed him, he might leave in frustration. "I'm sorry about my birth, that was an unfortunate incident," I told him.

Aggravated, he left. Instructing me to stay til the job was finished.

It was a long night.

Needless to say. Life is back to normal. The continuum is where it should be, and the stars are back in their normal orbit. Thanks to Rachel and Jon for putting up with my mistake. And thanks to Vic for not killing me. :)


1) My friend David from Fresno is here visiting this week. I am so glad that he was able to come and chill. We toured temple square, and it's just been a fun day. Hopefully he enjoys his visit.
2) Megan comes home this week!
3) I got some good time spent with my sister Marquelle today. She is going off to college soon, so it was really good to have some one-on-one time with her before we both vacate the area.

That's it for the weekend. Here goes a long week. Hopefully the man at the top of this page stays out of it :P


Mr. Williamson's Saturday Disturbance

Well, a new policy was just passed for "Life- Funked Up". That policy is that if there is ever a post about me, it will be reposted here on my blog. I will still attempt to get a full post in, but, there is always the chance that I run out of time, so, this might be it, I doubt it, but enjoy my boss' take on last night's event.

The phone rang just after 9:00 P.M. Saturday night. I knew something was wrong by the sound of the ring tone. It seemed darker than usual with a tune hardly recognizable from its normally bright melody. I picked up the receiver. The illuminated window said "Schools Public 801-785-8713".
"This can't be good," I whispered to my optimistic self.
"They might be done. They're calling to say they're leaving," it replied.
"No its bad. Trust me on this one," my pessimistic self unwelcomingly intruded.
"Shut up," I shot back. "I'm not in the mood."

It was bad news. Bracken called to ask me to leave the comforts of my home and return to the school to set the alarm for 3:00 A.M. People say you should never shoot the messenger, but what choice did I have? I unloaded my frustration. I didn't tell them to remove a part of the Odyssey's ceiling. I gave instructions to paint the front of the ship. How they got "remove a part of the Odyssey's ceiling" from my simple instructions I'll never know. Bracken told me that getting upset wouldn't solve the problem. The ceiling was damaged, the deed was done. Agreed, the deed was done but my commentary was just starting, and I had lots to comment on.

When Bracken called I was dosing in the comfortable plush arms of my rocking recliner, kept company by the flickering lights of my 65 inch TV. The lights had mesmerized me into a stupor. I hung up on Bracken, paused the TV show I really wasn't watching anyway, and three minutes later was in the Battlestar crossing over the canal and on my way to the school.

I saw the damaged ceiling. Bracken tried to explain over my streaming commentary. Rachel kept to the front of the ship painting. She knew it was best to keep a distance. When I'm in streaming commentary mode my arms like to flail about unpredictable and the spittle from my frothing mouth can be corrosive. Jon disappeared to the shop in the school's fallout shelter, the only safe place when I've gone nuclear.

Bracken attempted to calm things by taking full responsibility for everything, even though he was only there because he didn't want to go home and attend a Stake Conference meeting. I stopped him when his apology expanded to his birth.

"Bracken, why are you apologizing for something you weren't involved in?"
"If it helps, I'll apologize."
"Don't, unless you are the one responsible. Listen, sometimes you have to let people vent and that's what I'm doing - venting. Instead of apologizing, just tell me that you're sorry I'm upset and leave it at that."

Bracken left it at that. I changed the alarm to 3:00 A.M. I peppered the air with a bit more commentary before leaving, giving instructions on making sure the doors were shut when they finished. "We aren't stupid," their faces expressed without need for their mouths.

This morning I drove back to the school to see the results of their long night's labors. The Odyssey looks much better. Rachel did an outstanding job with the front of the ship. Bracken and Jon did a great job at repairing the ceiling. The ship was clean and ready for the 10:00 A.M. Monday morning mission. I spent a few more minutes at the school trying to gather the words I used in my volcanic eruption the night before but sadly couldn't find them. They were spoken, heard and gone. So, I'm going to apologize for my foul mood with a reminder that I'm in no condition to think reasonably after spending 34 nonstop hours at the Center for an overnight camp.

A word to the wise with our upcoming camp. If you want me to make a decision or think rationally about a problem, don't bring it up on the second day of camp. Wait until the third day when you know my sanity disappeared with the setting sun the night before. On the third day I'm usually beyond exhaustion and have been known to exhibit signs of giddiness.

"Mr. Williamson, a camper fell and broke his leg."
"Oh that's interesting."
"Mr. Williamson, the entire Pleasant Grove Fire Department, along with half the police force are here because the Voyager staff let out too much smoke and triggered the fire alarm."
"Really, how nice. Ask them if they'd like to stay for lunch."
"Mr. Williamson, the news says there is a n asteroid heading straight for Earth. It will wipe out all life on the planet, leaving Earth a barren wasteland."
"Really, break out the telescopes and let's have a nice look."
"Mr. Williamson, the pop machine is out of Diet Coke."
"Take me to the roof. It's time to end it all." (there is a limit to sleepless good humor).

--Victor Williamson, Director, CMSEC