Saturday, December 19, 2009

Acceptance (the Picture Edition)

Here are some pictures to accompany my post earlier this week about acceptance into UChicago. This is right after Brad found out he was accepted as well...

Courtesy of Julie's phone :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The University of Chicago

Chicago at night

On a lake... just like Hogwarts!

Bartlett dining hall

The Dining Hall is Hogwarts-esque.

I swear to you, it must be Hogwarts!

Library looks like Hogwarts!


A phoenix as a mascot?! Definitely Hogwarts.


Heart racing, I checked my UChicago Admissions Account for what must have been the 100th time in eighth period TOK. 99 times, nothing new. Apparently the 100th is the charm!

There was only a minor change: a small box within which was a curt statement along the lines of, "Admissions decisions have been made. Click here to view your decision." I gasped audibly. My entire TOK class, aware of my plight, turned to face me all at once. One word: pressure.

I eagerly, yet nervously, clicked the link. At that exact moment 5,855 other potential students were attempting the same. As a result, the page took an excruciatingly long time to load...

Finally, a message appeared.

"Dear Blake,

Congratulations! -"

That was as far as I got. A cheer escaped my mouth and I leaped from my chair. The class, observing me throughout the ordeal, began to applaud. I had forgotten their presence and blushed.

Mrs. Allen told me to call my mom. I did so, was wished a congratulations, and then my thoughts turned to my friend Brad. I asked Mrs. Allen if I could get him, she approved. After running through the halls, I made it to Mr. Talbot's room, and asked him if I could have Brad. From there we ran to the IB room to get on a computer. Pressure continued to mount...

Several people had Research in the IB room. I'm sure they loved Brad and I loudly and excitedly interrupting their study period. We frantically got onto a computer and Brad logged into his account... The minutes it took for this process to occur were obnoxiously long. Everyone in the room took to focusing intently on the screen...

Next thing we know, the letter opens with the same words as mine! Brad jumps higher than Kobe and we cheered gleefully. What happened next, I am not so sure. It was complete and utter happiness.... and apparently Julie and Brooke got pictures for us :).

My life has suddenly decreased in stress level, although a variety of new challenges loom ahead. I'm still going to apply to some other colleges, but it feels amazing to have my safety school be ranked #8 in the country. My mind is blown, quite frankly.

On the same note, I would like to offer my congratulations to the IB Class of 2010 who is certainly surpassing the expectations placed upon it. I would like to congratulate the following:

Albert Cui: Yale. My friend, you have worked harder than anyone for this, you completely and totally deserve it. I am inexpressibly happy for you!

David Evans: Stanford. Wow. You are brilliant, David. At 18, you've done more to help the world than a lot of adults. You will excel at Stanford or at whatever prestigious college you choose to attend.

Anish Bhatnager: Johns Hopkins. Since we met each other in 4th grade, you have dreamed of going to this amazing university. We are going to hang out a bunch during college. I know you'll be amazing! :)

Phuong My Le: Washington University in St. Louis. Although I joke about WashU, it's a great university and you'll have a great time. It's supposed to have one of the happiest student bodies, you'll make it even happier!

Bradley Marshall: fellow UChicago potential student. Dude, I am stoked at the idea of you and I going to one of the best universities in the world that is supposedly exactly like Hogwarts! Chicago seems to be right on our wavelength, I can't wait to visit and possibly attend this elite school with you.

I don't know if I'll go to Chicago for sure, but the #8 university in the country is an amazing safety net to have. I'll apply to some more colleges, but no matter what happens, I'm on the up and up! :)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Flaming Steak!

Last night, mom left me a steak in the BBQ and told me to monitor it regularly. Me being a teenage boy, monitored it infrequently. Upon placing the steak on my plate, I realized the fire from the BBQ had made its way to my steak - my steak was on fire!

Monday, November 30, 2009




The ironic thing is that in the last ten minutes that it took me to type all of this up, I could have done aforementioned homework... I should check Facebook...

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Two things this weekend have reminded me of past years.

First, on a more serious note, Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving and Christmas, more than any other holidays, always seem to remind me of old times with family celebrating these wonderful times together. This Thanksgiving was different than any other Thanksgiving. It was the first ever I've spent in Utah, not Texas. It was strange and forced me to think about what has changed in the last several years. So much has.

I love Christmas, and I honestly cannot wait. The morning after Thanksgiving I was blasting Christmas music in my room and it made me smile :). I love the traditions of Christmas and the whole month leading up to it! This year, all I can think of is last Christmas season and its wonderful memories. My anticipation for Christmas and the flashback to last year is reflected in part of my musical choice, if you noticed. Last Christmas season, I listened frequently to the Relient K Christmas CD (hence that song) and Taylor Swift has a song called "Last Christmas" so how could I possibly resist that??

If you're wondering about the remainder of my peculiar music choice, the second flashback-inducing experience explains those!

Several days ago, someone I hadn't seen in ten years found me on Facebook! Isn't Facebook wonderful? His name is Amir and he was one of my best friends in second grade.

I'm sure several of those reading recall the infamous "Boy Band Picture" taken last school year of a rather studly quartet: Bradley Marshall, Albert Cui, Takami Kowalski, and myself, Blake Ellison.

Rewind this picture ten years and you get SilverStreak! It was pretty much a Backstreet Boys tribute band but it was composed of equally studly men... in second grade: Amir Nazari, Tom Lechtinberg (I still have no idea how to spell it...), and, once again, Bradley Marshall and myself, Blake Ellison.

The boy band SilverStreak roamed the halls and playground of Peruvian Park singing favorites such as "As Long As You Love Me" and "I Want It That Way". We were well-known throughout the class for our vocal talents. One of our members (not the right one *cough cough*) even won an award at the end of the year for "Best Voice!"

Good times in 2nd grade... I'm feelin' SilverStreak Reunion Tour, any takers?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Taylor Swift

I've decided to devote a blog post to Taylor Swift and it is quite frankly overdue. For those who know me, you understand this and are quite possibly wondering why it took me so long!

We were both young when I heard her... I close my eyes and the flashback starts...

I was first introduced to Taylor when I was in ninth grade. I noticed that a friend of mine was listening to "Teardrops on My Guitar" on IM (back in the day, obviously) and decided to take a gander and listen to the song! Soon, I was entranced and purchased the song! Quickly, "Teardrops" made it to one of my most played songs - I was a dramatic little ninth grader! You know, 'cause when I was fifteen, I was feelin' like there's nothin' to figure out, but I counted to ten and took it all in...

Unfortunately, it was another two years before I would truly appreciate all of Taylor's repertoire. One dark night in... November, I believe, of my junior year, I was listening to the only song I had of hers, and I decided it was time for me to branch out and get her other songs, for after all, I loved this one so much. I took a chance, I took a shot: I bought her two albums: her self-titled one and Fearless, a new release.

Best two musical purchases I have ever made.

Her songs are fantastic and her voice... melodic. I must confess, I developed quite a soft spot for the nice young lady. Maybe I should've said no, but it was a moment of weakness, and I said yes!

Initially, she was my guilty listening pleasure - imagine, a sixteen-going-on-seventeen year old boy in high school listening to Taylor Swift! Soon, however, I learned to proudly display my newest and greatest musical interest.

Since that fateful November night, many things have happened in my life and Taylor's music has been there. On the year's anniversary of the commencement of my complete Taylor listening experience, her songs have taken on an entirely different meaning.

The memories I have of her songs vary wildly. There were happy times and sad times, funny times, and emotional times. When I hear Taylor Swift's songs, I recall driving with buddies across the valley, trekking at Philmont singing my renditions of her songs, and amazed glances I receive when someone learns that I know every word to every song of Taylor's.

When I think Taylor Swift, I think fireworks, literal and emotional, beneath the stars, in the field behind your yard. I think of summer, the best I've ever had. I think of my favorite song, the one we danced to all night long.

It's hard not to find it all a little bittersweet.



Winter has come to Salt Lake City

Monday, October 26, 2009


Words convey a powerful meaning. So powerful that a simple few can completely turn your world around.

For some reason, someone's words can affect you unlike actions or behaviors. They can twist your stomach, energize your mind, or tear at your heartstrings.

They can paint beautiful images or harsh realities. They can make you exuberantly happy or morosely depressed. They can make you laugh or they can make you cry.

The power of words is both beautiful and terrifying. I ordinarily consider myself to love them, but I don't now.

And yet, in the opening of a mouth or the flash of eyes over text, that sentiment can change - or perhaps already has.

In a brief utterance or message, words can right what was once wrong. They can turn sorrow into joy or despair into hopefulness.

Although words initially struck me down, more have lifted me back up.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Honestly, I don't think I have had this much work in my life. Between 4,000-word essays, college applications, and extraneous events beyond my control, I have been harried this week. Weeks like this past one get me down; events pile up on one another and file at the strings holding me together.

Amazingly enough, the littlest of things can reverse the downward spiral of a mood.

A great dinner with people I admire and enjoy; productivity on a Saturday morning; fall colors peering through trees; fierce hockey games; starlit skies above a spanning green field; and talking, sharing, and being with a friend.

It's the simple things in life that make it so extraordinary. Although I may have had a difficult week, I choose to look at the wonderful opportunities and experiences I've had and I can't help but be happy and grateful for the life I've been given.

Life is good, and I love it.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Wagon Wheel

It's interesting how the simple tune of a song can bring you right back to where you memorably heard it.

Headed down south to the land of the pines
And I'm thumbin' my way into North Caroline
Starin' up the road
And pray to God I see headlights
I made it down the coast in seventeen hours
Pickin' me a bouquet of dogwood flowers
And I'm a hopin' for Raleigh
I can see my baby tonight

It's pitch black. Nature is teeming all around me as a sit on a bench at a presentation at Clark's Fork. It's difficult to completely describe my emotions and thoughts. I was tired and worn, missing those things which are most dearest to me... and are largely located a thousand miles north. Yet, I was having the adventure of my life.

So rock me mama like a wagon wheel
Rock me mama anyway you feel
Hey mama rock me
Rock me mama like the wind and the rain
Rock me mama like a south-bound train
Hey mama rock me

The people of the camp staff come from all across the United States. Men and women from completely different backgrounds and interests with different talents and personalities.

Runnin' from the cold up in New England
I was born to be a fiddler in an old-time stringband
My baby plays the guitar
I pick a banjo now
Oh, the North country winters keep a gettin' me now
Lost my money playin' poker so I had to up and leave
But I ain't a turnin' back
To livin' that old life no more

And yet, they have at least one thing in common: a love. A love for a lifestyle; a love for the outdoors; a love for simple living; a love for Philmont. Before beginning the song, a man had announced its title to which there was little response. No one had heard it before. He was astonished, declaring everyone who has attended Philmont knows this song.

So rock me mama like a wagon wheel
Rock me mama anyway you feel
Hey mama rock me
Rock me mama like the wind and the rain
Rock me mama like a south-bound train
Hey mama rock me

They strummed their guitars, their banjos, and their vocal chords. Singing of a feeling that I have never felt anywhere else. It's indescribable. Something borne completely out of experience.

Walkin' to the south out of Roanoke
I caught a trucker out of Philly
Had a nice long toke
But he's a headed west from the Cumberland Gap
To Johnson City, Tennessee
And I gotta get a move on fit for the sun
I hear my baby callin' my name
And I know that she's the only one
And if I die in Raleigh
At least I will die free

The same things were going through each of our minds during this song: beautiful sunsets over the tallest peak in New Mexico, amazing landscapes of tall trees and wildlife, and brotherhood founded in common purpose, shared experiences, and simple conversations on the trail.

On the eve of the end, in front of a campfire and a group of people who treasured that experience, I had the opportunity to reflect. Within the four minutes of this song, I felt a kaleidescope of emotions, thinking about the challenges and memories of the journey I had embarked on just two weeks earlier. How much farther I had come.

So rock me mama like a wagon wheel
Rock me mama anyway you feel
Hey mama rock me
Rock me mama like the wind and the rain
Rock me mama like a south-bound train
Hey mama rock me

As we left the campfire and prepared for our last night on the trail we sang. We sang the song that has come to embody the entire experience for me and has done the same for so many before me.

Walking through the darkness, remembering, commiserating, singing...

Eight voices softly and thoughtfully singing.

"Rock me mama like a wagon wheel, rock me mama any way you feel..."

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Comeuppance of a Long Weekend

I feel like the last week has been blowing by faster than the Hogwarts Express. I haven't had too much "downtime" as my mom calls it. It's been great and I have loved every minute of it, but sometimes I really need a break - time to sit and just... be.

I've thought several times in the last few days, "This would be an awesome thing to write a blog about" and yet now that I have some time to do just that, I'm finding it difficult to either remember those thoughts or simply articulate them. It's almost as though I'm the subject of some sort of thought overload.

My whirlwind of thoughts has a dramatic variety: flashes of "study groups" that didn't do too much studying, Alfred Hitchcock telling of "comeuppance"(my favorite new word), pumping up dozens of balloons to decorate a hotel room, finally meeting someone I've heard so much about, hopping, skipping, traipsing, but not quite running with an incredible friend Downtown, eating Chinese at "Kowloon"with a dozen people, and reflecting on a rainy, yet calm Sunday. This current state of dizzying thought is the comeuppance of a weekend called "UEA".

What more could you want in such a weekend?

Oh, another day of course.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Mischief at Midnight

What do you get when you take four guys and give them a mission to carry out at 12:00 AM on a Friday morning?

Plotting, preparation, and perfection.

I'm pretty sure there is nothing as exhilarating as midnight outings with a group of great guys, especially the group we had last night. For an effective excursion, we needed several hours to gather supplies and conceive spectacular techniques to accomplish our mission. After a long night of this calculated conspiring, we began the adventure, and what an adventure it was! Hiding behind walls or in bushes, running from unexpected noises, and, ultimately, seeing the face of the beneficiary of our crazy plans led to an unforgettable night.

Hopefully it was as memorable for the young ladies on the receiving end of the mischief as it was for us! By the looks on their faces, I'd say mission accomplished.


For an example of the fruits of our labor, check out my boy Brad's blog and follow the YouTube link:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The About BE Page

Here it is. My Blog. A long time in the making if you ask me.

It's been something I've been thinking about for several weeks now, the only thing that has been holding me back is a name! I couldn't think of one for the life of me, although I did avoid some potentially tragic ones involving bells... In the end, this is what I decided. It is, as you may have guessed, about me - or should I say BE? Same person: Blake E., get it?

I'm starting this blog as a type of personal journal that I wanted to share with my friends, family, or whoever else wants to read it. If you know me, then you know I can be cheerful, thoughtful, excited, tired, clever, strange, outgoing, obnoxious, and more in the span of just an hour, and that's how this blog will be. Whenever I get the bug to write, I'll write. That is the beauty of having a blog.

As far as my blog goes, that's the story - or at least the preface. I hope you enjoy it as much as I'm sure I will!