Thursday, December 18, 2008

One Final Left, and Gerard

That is correct I have one final left. Why then, you may ask yourself, am I writing a new post on my blog? The answer is simple and I will endeavor to explain.
The only final I have left is my Spanish grammar class. It's not that I am a Spanish genius that needn't study at all for his tests, and I'm definitely not so completely overcome with disillusionment that I can't bear the thought of studying but one minute more. I merely have no desire to study for Spanish. That's all. I certainly don't have memorized the seven different uses for se nor the accompanying flechitas, but it really isn't necessary. Just moment ago (I'm in the library having just come here from work to study for this final before going to the testing center) as I was looking over my grades for my Spanish class I found that I had an A-. As I did some simple math to figure out what kind of grade I could end up with depending on the outcome of the final I found that even if I don't miss one of the 150 questions, I have no hope of raising that A- to an A. Secondly, I need only get 102 of the 150 questions right, a mere 68%, to keep that A-. While I'm not a Spanish whiz, I'd like to think that I'm at least 68% fluent, and as such I shan't worry too much about studying. Don't get me wrong, study I shall, and with very earnestness, but not to the point of worrying myself and causing myself nightmares. (Those lucky souls that are lucky enough to know me well know that there is very little in life that worries me to that the moment the only thing that comes to mind is having a T-REX chasing me and Suzy and Ashley and Heather and Scotty down Redwood Road as we try frantically to get to the safe and friendly confines of the chicken coops behind Grandma Turner's house. Yeah, that would have me a bit nervous.)...(That was a recurring dream I had as a wee tike...and in case you didn't know, dinosaurs aren't real.)
Anyway, the point of this blog...oh how I hate that is to relate an experience I had earlier today. As I was being introduced to a most incredible sandwich (steak and cheese...really quite good) this afternoon by a girl with whom I work named Kimi, I happened to reach my hand into the pocket of my hooded sweatshirt. The hooded sweatshirt in question happens to be the one that I received when Heather and I traded years ago because mine was much to small. The one Heather gave me then, is now much too small as well and I rarely wear it.
Anyway, as I thrust my hand into the pocket seeking a warm refuge for my hands, I happened upon a small object that I didn't recognized by mere tactile investigation. As I pulled it out under visual scrutiny, with much wonder and a bit of trepidation, what should emerge but a small plastic frog. How long that frog has resided within the confines of that pocket I know not, but I got to thinking about it a little bit.Lately I've pondered the fact that everyone around me has a story to tell. That story, in reality, is a cumulation of many many stories. Among those stories I imagine that absolutely everyone has a few stories that will incite raucous laughter, a few that will cause the most hard-hearted of us to shed a few tears, and a few that will cause a least a moment's introspection. And so my question now was, What was this frog's story? If he had little plastic vocal cords and a little plastic hinge on his jaw, what wonderful yarns would he spin? How is the world perceived by a small frog? How is the world perceived by a small, plastic, frog? I don't know. But I would imagine that in this little guy's case, we'll call him Gerald to simplify matters, it would start off a little something like this:

The world hated Gerard. He didn't know why but it did. He did his best to do that which was expected of him, but how much can you do when you have no muscles, no skeleton, no nervous or respiratory systems but a large heart...

or maybe:

Gerald was created in the laboratory of a child-hating old man. Why this old man hated children is not that which is important, rather one must only know that he hated them. And this was no everyday hatred. It was a burning, loathing, white hot hatred…

or perhaps:

*blank stare* (plastic frogs are inanimate.)

Anyway, I think I'll keep thinking about Gerard. Questions such as Where has he come from and where will he go from here?, Why has he happened to end up in my hands?, What can I learn from him? are worthy of my musings.

...I had contemplated inserting some kind of deep comment about how we could all ask ourselves the same questions about our friends, family, and acquaintances, but I don't think that's necessary. There's much more to be learned from a small quarter-sized plastic frog.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Day of Thanks

Thanksgiving has long been one of my favorite holidays. Now that the whole extended family is growing up and lots of the cousins have their own families and don't live nearby, we don't get together as often as we once did. Yet Thanksgiving is still one of the few times a year when we all get together. (I'm not sure how long that last statement will hold accurate, but for the time being such is the case.) I've always loved getting together with the family on Thanksgiving and partaking of the wonderful foods that the women in the Anderson Family have such an awe-inspiring talent for preparing.
However, though I love the food and the camaraderie of the family, there is a higher reason for the celebration of this great holiday.
On Oct 3, 1863, when the United States of America was in the midst of a great civil war, Abraham Lincoln made a proclamation that declared the last Thursday of November to be celebrated universally to give thanks. If you've never read this proclamation I highly recommend it. Here's a link.
In this proclamation, after listing off the many and varied ways in which the nation had been blessed, despite war, President Lincoln says the following:

"No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great (blessings). They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens."

Would that our current President would/could make such proclamations today.
And so this week of Thanksgiving, let us, in our merry-making, remember the fount from which our many blessings flow, and let us strive to do that which we are able to do to show in our daily lives how grateful we really are for the merciful blessings of heaven in our lives.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Holy War

I would like to make sure that all readers know that this post was written before the game was played. I don't know how things will have turned out 20 hours from now. I want that understood so that this post won't sound pridefully magnanimous in case of victory or bitter excuse making in case of defeat.
As is well known, I'm a hard core dyed in the wool true blue through and through BYU fan. That's how I was raised and I would have it no other way. Growing up the color red made me sick to my stomach, and so on and so forth.
This week I've been doing some thinking as a result of something my roommate Sterling said. He said that in the time we've lived together, nearly three months now, he's only seen me angry once. When he said that I felt pretty good because I try to be an agreeable bloke. But the incident he cited as me being angry caused me to reflect a bit. He was talking about last Saturday when, as I was making a cake, I was listening to the BYU-Air Force game streaming over the internet because it wasn't on any channels that we had. I assume he was referring to the moment when Max Hall threw an interception to end the first half and I threw my green playground foursquare ball at the cupboards in the kitchen and stormed away in a huff.
As I've contemplated this over the past few days I've really come to wonder if football, even BYU football, is worth getting so worked up over that it changes my attitude and demeanor. These thoughts have been especially poignant as we are gearing up for yet another "Holy War" in but a few short hours.
The media has been having a field day with this game since this is the first time that these two teams have come into the game so highly ranked and with so much on the line. Even national news outlets (The New York Times will be running a feature on the Holy War on the front page of their sports page later on today) are running stories on this rivalry. As the The New York Times article says, The Wall Street Journal has this rivalry listed as the fourth best in the country.
As I've read over these articles, that which tends to be focused on more than anything else is the hatred and animosity that is shared between these two schools and their fan bases. Just as a way of illustrating this hatred, this quote came from a Utah fan and was published in The Denver Post, "I want to see Austin Collie's head go rolling off in his helmet down the field." By no means do I intend to target Ute fans and say that they are the only ones taking part in this hatred, because to do so would be entirely off base. I have heard, and lamentably even been known to say, things that are filled with animosity towards the Utes. For example I had an editorial published in the Deseret News back in 2004 which read,
"As I have walked around BYU campus this previous week, I have heard countless students/"BYU fans" say that they would be pleased to see Utah win this Saturday. I cringe to hear such blasphemy. I was born and raised a true blue cougar fan. As good as a Ute win would be for the downfall of the BCS, as well as provide a monetary boost for the conference, I can not bring myself to cheer for the school to the north. In fact, to do so would grind against my very soul and be contrary to my upbringing. I can't think of a better way to end the season, than a victory over the crimson heathens. When such happens I will call the season a success. I would therefore urge all BYU fans to get off the bandwagon, grab hold of all that you know to
be true, and cheer your cougars on to victory."
While those words still tend to ring true with something deep within me, I am now somewhat ashamed of them. Nothing really merits my calling someone a heathen. Such profiling is uncalled for and, frankly, un-Christlike.
There is really nothing that anyone can say, do, or be that truly merits hatred towards them. While this is a hard thing to actually put into practice (Can anyone really say that they truly love Osama bin Laden after all that he has done and is?) it should be what we strive for right?
These things that I've said may come across as blasphemy to some of my friends and family members, and I may well be ostracized for saying them, but these are some of my musings from this week.
Don't get me wrong, I'll still be cheering heartily for a Cougar victory tomorrow, but I'm going to try to not get so absolutely emotionally attached to the game that my happiness is dependant on the outcome. I'm going to try and sit back and have my attitude reflect the words, "Come What May, and Love It."

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Cecil is my Homeboy

While I was on my mission a group of students created t-shirts, buttons, stickers, etc with the following logo:With this, the phrase "Cecil is my Homeboy" became wildly popular, and by the time I got home and down to BYU it was still being said once in a while.
While everyone would like to say that Cecil is indeed their homeboy, I have a greater right to believe that such is the case for me because of an incident that happened about a week ago.
It was Saturday the 11th of October. A frigid morning which brought with it the prospect of free blue pancakes that were being served across the street from the house in which I live by the BYUSSR...I mean BYUSA.
Anyway, after the pancakes and the 5k race (in case you haven't guessed it yet it was Homecoming) there was to be a parade. Now quite a few of the people in our ward live right along street where passed the parade, and so as I settled in to watch the parade I was surrounded by a great many of my friends and acquaintances from the ward.
We were whooping and hollering and generally having a gay ol' time when along came President and Sister Samuelson sitting in a convertible with the top down.
Let's back up for a second and say that earlier that morning when my roommates Nick and Chad and I had gone to get pancakes I was wearing gym shorts and a flannel shirt and my cheap ecuadorian canvas shoes without socks, and my legs and feet got cold. So before the parade I had gone home to put some socks on.
Back to the action,
As President Samuelson drove by, hosts of students, all of whom seemed to be vying for Cecil's attention with the obvious intent of showing to their peers that Cecil truly was their homeboy. I didn't feel the need to do as they were doing and merely sat in my chair and smiled and waved as he and his wife passed by.
As I did so, President Cecil O. Samuelson looked at me in the eyes, and over the din of the other students shouted to me, "Nice Socks." After which he gave me a big smile and a thumbs up."
It was then decided that Cecil truly is my homeboy.
This picture was taken shortly thereafter:

Monday, September 22, 2008

Musings Early Monday Morning

So it is currently 2:23 a.m. and something peculiar is happening. I am unable to fall asleep. I know I know, this is absolutely unheard of, but such is my unhappy lot.
I'm not terribly perturbed at this for, as a college student, I'm quite used to not getting much sleep; I'm more confused about why it is that I can't sleep. I usually have absolutely no trouble whatsoever getting myself to settle in for an evening's repose.
Just last night for instance I had decided to stay up a little bit later than usual to read over the lesson that I was to give in Priesthood today from the Joseph Smith manual. Well, I sat down on the couch, opened the book, and promptly drifted off into that blissful state of unconsciousness which we all know and love. But not tonight. Nothing will do it for me. I've tried the dictionary, both regular and usage types. I've tried listening to soft piano music. nope. I've tried imagining the back of a penny (yeah that's a trick I've used since I was a child, I'm not sure why really.) Nada.
As I can't sleep, I've decided to blog. Man I still hate that word. In saying that I'm "blogging" I feel almost reminiscent of those innocent days of childhood when I'd pick my nose in bed and wipe it on the wall. (and no I am not ashamed of that.) That is a definition better fitting of the word blog. But I digress.
As I look back I see that it has been several weeks since I've *ahem* blogged. As I look back to what has happened to me in the last little while that is worthy of my writing about it at this ungodly hour a few things come to mind.
A week ago last Thursday I was pepper sprayed, by a cop. Now before you all go writing me off as a hoodrat and a hooligan, let it be known that it was a part of my training as a security guard.
Pepper spray, when applied to one's eyes, hurts. A lot. As I cast about for a satisfactory way of describing this pain, one phrase comes to mind. Hellfire. Not hellfire and damnation...but just hellfire. Even though I was told to cover one eye and close the one that was to be sprayed, I still felt as though someone had lit a fire on my right eyelid and then poked me repeatedly just for the sheer enjoyment of my pain. Herein follows a picture of me standing in front of a fan about ten minutes after the incident . Please note the eye swollen shut, the tongue hanging out (the spray got in my mouth and, while it wasn't nearly as intense as my eye, it burned) and the snot coming out of my nose.

So after about 20 minutes I was able to hold my eye open without any fingerly aids, and after about 30 minutes I could see perfectly fine.
It wasn't for about 3 hours though that the burning on my cheek and forehead completely went away and I had a headache until the next morning.
So I imagine this recounting has caused the question to arise, was it worth it. The answer: a resounding yes that echoes through the canyons.
I mean think about it, how many people out there can say they've been pepper sprayed. And of those, how many can say they've done it voluntarily. I daresay that, while that number may reach into the thousands and perhaps millions, that is still but a fraction of the world population. I suppose that the conclusion that I'm striving to reach here is this, I'm pretty cool.
Well, as we approach the 3:00 a.m. mark I suppose I'll wrap up this little musing by inviting all who may venture to read this, Be Excellent To Each Other.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Day or Night; Rain or Snow

The last few nights, as I have been out and about, there has been something different in the air. A combination of several things has filled me with an expectant, apprehensive and euphoric mood. It's the slight crispness of the air. It's hearing my peers discuss classes they will be taking starting next week. It's thinking to myself, "I need a new pencil before school starts." It's in the birdsong that gently drifts down faintly as smoke from a chimney. It's seeing the maple trees with their leaves all tinged with brown edges. (That may be a result of a lack of water but we'll take as a sign of autumn in this instance.) It's hearing young men and women across Provo laughing and pursuing gaiety in these last few days of freedom from the oppressive hand of academic progression. It's a combination of these things, which are but a small sampling of the many that could be listed, that has induced my uncertain excitement for that which lay ahead.
I have long held that Summer is my favorite season. For during the summer it seems, if but for a small season,  that the world relaxes somewhat and that life slows down marginally from it's breakneck speed. (I realize that, as I am still in school, my perceptions of reality and somewhat skewed and that perhaps my views on this subject are probably not widely held, but I can see the world through nobody's glasses but my own and you must, therefore, bear with me here.)
While those few months of ease from the stress of the rest of the year are wonderful, there is a special feeling that comes with autumn. Autumn brings with it a renewed vigor for life and increased desire to improve and make one's self better than ever. There is a rejuvenated enthusiasm that seems to bring the world into sharper focus and really makes one appreciate the beauties of the world that are all around.
It is this heightened perception of the world around me that has brought into ever clearer focus the love that I have for being a sports fan.
The summer, while a wonderful time for sitting back and lazing away the endless afternoons, lacks in great measure that added spice to life that comes from following with fervent care the progress of sports. The only sport worth following through the months of June, July and August is baseball. And baseball, while truly being the great American past time, lacks the intrigue to keep one's interest peaked throughout the entire summer. The Olympics did a good job of holding off the unrest caused by the dearth in sporting news, but their short tenure led to a short-lived sports fix.
But with autumn, sport returns in full force. And leading the fray, is college football.
Anyone at all acquainted with myself or my family knows the deep and residing passion that resides in our souls for Brigham Young University Football. As today the long-awaited  season officially starts today, and as I will be fortunate enough to be present for it's inception, a full summer's worth of pent up emotion, anticipation and excitement are sure to come spilling out of me with as much fervor as my skinny self can produce. 
Much has been said throughout the news world about the high expectations for this season and great lengths have been gone to in effort to acquaint us with the team therefore I shan't delve into that  realm. But I will merely say; Ra Ra RaRaRa. Ra Ra RaRaRa. Ra Ra RaRaRa. Gooooo Cougars.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Of vampires and how books about them aren't worthwhile.

I don't get it. Maybe I'm just not romantic, maybe I'm not fully versed in the ever-changing flows of pop culture...or maybe I just don't like the taste of blood. Be that as it may, I don't understand all the hullabaloo with these vampire books everyone is raving about.

Now before you all start jumping on my case and calling for this heretic to be burned at the stake for calling a beloved pop culture icon trash, be it known that I did indeed read the first book of the series...Twilight I think it was called; and I wasn't impressed. Bad writing aside, I just didn't find the story engrossing.

Anyway, here is my explanation of the first book. (And from what I hear of the rest of the series, this is a fair indication of what the rest are all about...though I can't say for sure because I haven't read them.)

In the first three hundred and fifty pages (give or take) there is very little plot or storyline. There's some chick who runs into and falls in love with a vampire. That sounds like it could be made exciting, but sadly it wasn't. It was just three hundred odd pages of sexual tension...nothing more. (Here I must interject that when the 80 year old handsome vampire dude took the 16 year old high school girl into the woods and started taking his clothes off, pedophile-like creepiness aside, I laughed aloud. He was all glittery! HA!)

Anyway, at the 350ish page mark, the story started to pick up and the plot did indeed start to thicken. But then at the climax, when the author was just promising to end the book on a high note, she had the main character pass out and we missed all the action. It was later retold to her while she was in the hospital, but I couldn't help but to feel that it was a total cop out on the part of the author.

Anyway, this novel left me so disappointed that I refuse to read the others and plan on boycotting the movie as well.

And now, as the new book has come out, I've been informed by my "more cultured" friends that's it's pretty much a steamy harlequin-esque romance novel full of sex and intrigue. Yeah, not too disappointed about missing out on that one.

So I've decided that if ever I'm in the mood for a romancy type book, I'll stick with Adam Bede and Pride and Prejudice. Those at least employ a writing style that doesn't make me sick.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

God Bless America

I realize that the fourth of July was last week, but ever since then I've been contemplating the ideals upon which this nation was founded, and I've come to realize that we the people are failing to fulfill our civic obligations.

On the fourth, at a patriotic breakfast, Uncle Mark read the Gettysburg Address to all present. Now I was quite familiar with this address having memorized it at work just a month prior, but as he was reading, the words seemed to hit home more than they ever had. Especially these ones:

"It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

The cause of which Lincoln spoke was, of course, that of freedom. This call to action and dedication, though delivered 145 years ago, remains as true for us today as it was for them then.

As I watch and read the news of that which is happening across the nation, I find innumerable evidences that the causes to which many of our fellow citizens are consecrated are deeply rooted in selfishness. There is an overabundance of causes that merely promulgate contention, hate, corruption, transgression and "tolerance" to which the American people have come to accept and embrace. It is disillusioning to associate that great country founded by the grace of God by some of the greatest men this world has ever known with the one that we presently inhabit.

Something must be done and a change must be wrought.

Knowing full well that in order to effectuate change, one must begin with "the man in the mirror,"(thank you Michael Jackson) my broodings over the past week have been greatly centered on what I can do to take President Lincoln's words to heart, what I
can do to more fully dedicate myself to this cause upon which our great country was founded.

In pondering this, I remembered the words of Jesus when he said, "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:31-32)

As I've thought about this I've come to the conclusion that true freedom is a lot like true happiness in that there are countless diabolic counterfeits that feign veracity, but only end up enslaving us to a dictatorial regime of unhappiness and damnation.

If we are to be truly free, and proclaim the message of freedom to the corners of the earth, we must continue in Christ's word. Only as we strive to understand and put into practice God's law and His commandments, will we be truly following Lincoln's counsel in dedicating ourselves to the cause of freedom.

We must begin once again to live by our motto "In God We Trust." It was by His hand that this great country came to be, and it will be by following His will that "this nation...shall have a new birth of freedom."

If we are unable or unwilling to follow those dictates that descend from the Divine, we cannot hold on to the hope this nation, in it's truly free and blessed state, will long endure.

Let us all "
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation." For only in doing so, will God's grace reign in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Break Forth Into Joy!!

It is with great pleasure that I announce the arrival of Spring.

*brief pause as applause and/or blank stares die down
(Do blank stares die down and if so, is a pause really necessary? Ah the great mysteries of life!)

Many of you may laugh and scorn and say, "This loon is off his rocker! It's nearly the middle of May! Spring came a month and a half ago." I, however, don't apologize for my supposed tardiness.

I'm not saying that delinquence in our dealings is acceptable, least of all in our heavily scheduled and organized society. My belated proclamation is so...belated as a result of coolly calculated timing on my part. I have refrained from making such a proclamation as long as the remaining vestiges of the cold depression brought about by the winter season that appears to have finally left Utah (deep breath) have lingered. Just last week it snowed. SNOW!! IN MAY!! But it would appear that we have once again gained favor in the eyes of the Supreme, and, as one of Michael's professors put it, "The icy death grip of winter has loosened." (Michael correct me if I've misquoted)

This much anticipated arrival brings with it great joy to my heart. There have been many short intervals during the past several months in which this balmy weather has peaked its nose out of obscurity and given us a taste for what lay ahead. (Editor's note: The author hates the verb lay and its many convoluted conjugations. If he has misused it here, he would ask that you correct him privately so that he may retain some semblance of pride. However, if dashing the dreams of the starry-eyed aspiring is your cup of tea, feel free to do so publicly .) But these brief occurrences, far from bringing hope, have merely served to dash my spirits when the frozen monster returned to continue his reign of terror. I may exaggerate, but only slightly.
Having spent a good long time in the tropical climate of Ecuador, this intense freezing was quite difficult for me to cope with. But it is gone now. The monster is destroyed, at least for a season.

We may now take out the shorts and t-shirts and bask in the wonderful glory of the sun as it has now returned to us as did the famed Prodigal! Hallelujah!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Wrap your head around this

I've noticed that there seems to be a new phrase that is popular among the educated community. Well let me rephrase that. Among the professors that I and several of my acquaintances and friends have as our instructors, there is a new expression that seemingly all of them endeavor to covertly drop into their lengthy lectures. (I can't really speak for the whole community since I'm not a resident thereof. I'm not even a comely passerby looking in on this exclusively gated community. I'm more of the stray dog that has countless diseases all of which contribute to making his skin all crunchy and giving him the appearance that that same skin is about to fall off of his bones. I am this mangy cur who, because the community members feel a shadow of pity for my unenviable state, is thrown a small half eaten tuna sandwich when they drive down to the other side of the tracks to show their children what blessed lives they lead. But academic hubris is another topic for another day so I'll leave it at that.)
Anyway, the phrase that they are so quick to slip into their drawn out discourses is "wrap your head around." For example my calculus teacher might say something like, "The intermediate value theorem states the following: If y=f(x) is continuous on [a,b], and N is a number between f(a) and f(b), then there is at least one c ∈ [a,b] such that f(c) = N. Now I doubt many of you understood that, so I'll try to help you wrap your heads around it." Not only does she say this, but she says it with a derisive smile that clearly tells those of us paying attention, "Ha! I'm smarter than you so I guess I'll see what I can do to impart my bounteous knowledge to you dung brains." Now it's not so much the contempt in her voice that bothers me nor is it the fact that she's smarter than me. Rather, the phrase "wrap your head around" irks me somewhat for several reasons.
First of all, often, such as in the case mentioned above, the material being presented isn't all that difficult to understand and is actually quite logical, but when the presenter mentions that we'll have to wrap our heads around it to understand it, it sounds as though the process of comprehension will be a wearisome and interminable process akin to converting your present hard skull into a more flexible and thus wrappable material through some mysterious alchemical process. This has the effect of discouraging the discourageable and faint of heart, frenzying the perfectionist, and sending to sleep the apathetic. All of which are undesirable outcomes and should thus be avoided where possible.
Secondly I object to this phrase's use in the classroom due to the distraction factor. I've come to realize that I have an active imagination. Such being the case when someone speaks very descriptively or with much imagery I sometimes get distracted and, in the case of "wrap your head around," I begin to think of different situations in which people's heads are being wrapped around a great many objects. (My favorites are tennis rackets, tall beer mugs with the face going into the open end of the mug and then the rest of the head wrapping around from there, and swiss cheese with the head oozing through the holes in the cheese. heh heh) And then, by the time I've returned from my journey along the tangent, I realize I've missed several crucial bits of information and am completely lost in the lecture. I try to get myself up to speed with the instruction being provided, but this is usually a futile effort and I'm left to go back and learn those concepts on my own time. It is a waste of time and quite frustrating to say the least.
While these may seem to be fairly insignificant and harmless consequences of the use of this phrase, it is the existence of such small seemingly inconsequential actions by professors that threaten the education of the student. What I see going on here is something much darker and more sinister than my personal distraction. This is a Sam's-professor-wide conspiracy (again I can only speak of that which I know, though I expect the conspiracy to be at least BYU if not state or nation wide) to prevent the up and coming generation from receiving a good education for fear of revolution...or perhaps it just comes back to their enjoying being smarter than us, which leads us back to academic hubris once again. (huh. maybe that's what I'm talking about after all.)
Why, you may ask, do I suspect this? Well, it's because all, I repeat all, of my professors use this phrase and the time period marking the beginning of their usage thereof seems to coincide. This may not seem strange or unnatural, but this semester I am taking a wide variety of classes in effort to finish up my generals and I've found professors from the English, Math, Music, Physics, and Religion departments who all use this phrase. Now it is well known that there is usually very little inter-department, let alone inter-college, communication. So how is it that this phrase has spread over the whole campus in such a short time? The most logical answer is this: all the Deans of College, and perhaps department chairpersons, got together and decided upon a new distraction that would fly under the radar and not be noticed by the general public, while still achieving the desired result. (personally I see this meeting as taking place up in the mountains somewhere with everyone surrounding a fire while wearing black hoods and chanting under their breath. ooo, and before they get started they have a wicked cool secret handshake that they do while standing on their heads. yeah that'd be awesome.) And then these leaders take the new plan back to their departmental meetings and call for immediate implementation.
These "educators," convinced of their own brilliance, thought that no one would be the wiser and that they'd be uninhibited in their dastardly ways. But unfortunately for them, I'm on to their little ploy and I'll not be taken in. I will receive the education for which I am paying and when the time comes I might even instigate the revolution which they fear.
That is, unless they distract me first.

Friday, March 28, 2008

be it known that I typed this whole thing with nothing but my left hand

I suppose that, considering the rate at which news travels when carried on the wings of those dear people that I am blessed enough to refer to as my friends and family (especially family), by now my most recent tragic adventure is common knowledge far and wide. Nevertheless, since I can hardly allow such an occurrence to go by without my documenting it, I will now proceed to revisit it and provide you all an insider's view of the events.
It was Tuesday the 25th of March. Being witnesses to the fact that March does indeed appear to be going out like a lamb and feeling that such a beautiful afternoon would be wasted by merely burying our noses in our books, Michael Ann Burgan (would that her last name were jello...just say it to yourself out loud) and I decided to go to a nearby park and play frisbee. The sun was shining, the grass was...greenifying and all the world was lovely as we played. Then, when I wasn't quite expecting it (that's what we'll go with anyway) Michael threw the frisbee to me. It was a bit out in front of me and I, realizing my physical limits, knew that were I to merely run to where the frisbee was heading, I would never reach it in time. Thus I found it prudent to leap into the air in a desperate diving attempt to lay hold on the flying disc before it reached the ground. Lamentably I was unsuccessful and the frisbee gracefully floated to the ground. I, however, being somewhat less graceful than the frisbee, landed with a fairly awkward "whump." As I sat up and began to pick grass off of my clothing I happened to glance at my right hand and found that something was awry. My ring finger seemed to be a bit out of place. Whereas one's right ring finger is usually situated parallel to the rest of the fingers in the hand, mine was currently rotated roughly 90 degrees clockwise from where it should have been, thus forcing my pinkee to bend down. Also, for some strange reason, the knuckle that usually sits at the base of this finger, appeared to have been swallowed up within the depths of my hand. None of this seemed to be quite natural so I looked up at Michael's laughter filled face and I calmly proclaimed, "So I think my finger is broken." As she came to my side she acceded to my assessment of the situation. After consulting with Mom, it was decided that I should have a professional look at it.
Luckily for us, Michael's roommates Marissa and Christie happened to be at the same park engaged in a friendly game of tennis. And so we approached them and asked, "Hey do you guys want to go for a drive?" As the situation was explained to them, Christie amiably offered to take us to the E.R. After a short stop at their apartment and the Brick Oven to drop Marissa off at work (I might add that all this time I was calm as could be and quite fascinated by this new arrangement of my hand) we arrived at the E.R. As I went through triage (I felt like I was on M*A*S*H at this point, what with triage and all) I suppose that I wasn't considered to be too serious of a case because I was told to go sit in the waiting room and I'd be called. So I returned to the waiting room and Michael, Christie and I proceeded to chat the evening away all the while watching as our fellow "sickies" were admitted one by one for treatment. After a while of this we were nearly the last people waiting. I say nearly because there was a pair of sick Elders from the MTC. Poor blokes.
At last I was taken back into that area where all the action takes place and I was immediately the hit of the E.R. I was X-rayed first of all, but after that it seemed as though there was a never ending supply of doctors, nurses, student interns and firemen who wanted to see the kid with the finger that was all, for lack of a better word, skiwhompus. Though my finger was beginning to perturb me somewhat, I was more than happy to display the fruits of my labors to all interested. Though I couldn't help but to wonder what all the other patients were doing as their doctors were checking my finger out. I can just imagine some chap bleeding out of his eye sockets who's doctor hears the commotion in my room and says this sanguine invalid, "Hang on I gotta check out the kid with the messed up finger," as he dashes out of the room. But I digress.
At last the tide of onlookers was stemmed and Dr. Hooker (I kid you not that was his name) came in and delivered the prognosis that we were all waiting for. My finger...was broken. yup. And considering the peculiar positioning of my appendage he (thankfully) deemed it necessary to numb my finger before putting it back into place. And so one of the nurses who had been particularly excited to see my finger enthusiastically volunteered to do the numbing. And so she did. I must confess that the needle and the numbing liquid was quite painful. Yes quite painful. At this point another doctor asked if I wanted my friends to come in. I said sure, and so he went to fetch them. I mention this because at the exact moment that Michael and Christie were walking in, Dr. Hooker had seized my discordant digit and was wrenching it around in every which direction in effort to align it with the others. I myself had chosen not to witness this display, but from the looks on their faces as they walked into the room, it was apparent that it was a gruesome scene. At last Dr. Hooker decided he'd had enough fiddling around with my finger and went off to order another x-ray.
Once again we were left to wait. As we did so, we commented on the various strange objects in the room. Perhaps my favorite was the jaw screw that was ever so clearly marked and sat at the ready. As we waited, one doctor in particular kept poking his head in and saying the strangest things. He told us jokes that were so lame that we barely mustered the motivation to provide him a courtesy laugh and, well, generally came off as a little bit the old fashioned definition of the term that is. You know...strange. On one of his little visits (we were sitting in that room for quite some time) he said something rather disconcerting. He said that he curious to see what they did with my finger. He mentioned that they had this thing (he was very vague as to what he was referring to) that they didn't use all that often but that I was a perfect candidate for it. And with that he refused to say any more and left. We were left to wonder anxiously what it could be.
Anyway, after a while we were invited out into the hall to look at the x-rays. Again it was affirmed that my finger was broken and that I might, if things didn't go quite right, require surgery. meh. And so as we mozied on back to the room, a girl with a rather wild look in her eye rolled by in a wheel chair, looked up at my x-ray and proclaimed for all to hear, "DAAMN, HE DOESN'T HAVE A PINKIE!!" (so it appears on one of the x-rays) Needless to say we laughed quite heartily at that one.
At last a student intern came in to the room and wrapped up my hand gave me my instructions, x-rays, and prescriptions and finally, three hours after we had entered, we were allowed to leave the hospital.
Later on, as we were enjoying a form of root beer float at Katy's house, the numbing agent began to wear off and I became more acutely aware of that which had transpired within my hand that evening. Remembering that I had been given a prescription for painkillers, I decided that it would be prudent to fill it at this time. Thus we borrowed Katy's car, and since I was unable to drive with my hand in such a state, Michael graciously offered to drive me to Rite Aid. The wait being an hour and a half long before my drugs would be ready, we decided to get dinner to kill the time, neither of us having eaten a thing all night.
At last I got my drugs and we headed for home. And so, nearly 7 hours after this adventure started with a simple game of frisbee, I popped a couple of pills and slipped into the sweet oblivion of a dreamless sleep...only to be awoken 5 hours later by a searing pain that tore through my right hand.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Round 2

This afternoon, as I got back to my apartment from class, I was debating with myself whether or not I should go to work. Having been a bit under the weather as of late I was inclined to stay home and take a nap. However, with March on the near horizon and realizing the need to pay my rent before management started breathing down my neck, I resigned myself to the proposition of returning to the BYU grounds to once again to pay my daily homage to Mother Earth.
As I arrived at the shed, I could see from the look in Edwin's eye that today would be yet another day filled with menial tasks worthy of perhaps half an hour of my time, but which I would be asked to stretch out to fill two hours. But such is life and I am well capable of doing so.
The work which I was asked to do today was a bit of a heterogeneous mixture of odd jobs. I was asked to go to the entrance of the Smith Fieldhouse to pick up a cement column that had fallen down, to clean out gutters and drains for a bit, and, if there was time left over, which there was, I was to, once again, retrieve the rubbish left behind by careless students in their hurry to class.
I considered the pillar job to be that which would require the most of my blatant brawn and highly toned figure. Upon realizing that there would be quite a large crowd to witness this feat of strength that I was about to perform, I decided to do it first.
As I approached the cement pillar in question, I realized what I was up against. And quite frankly, I was dismayed. Though proud of my burly self, I am well aware of my own limits and this pillar seemed to be well outside of them. Standing nearly four feet tall (when erect) and a good 18 inches square at the base, this concrete monster defied me. It must have weighed 200-250 lbs easy. I could see it leering at me with its yellow teeth showing through a crooked smile. It was as if it was daring me to try and lift it; daring me to make a fool of myself in front of the passers by.
Well I'm not one to back down to a challenge like that, so I squatted down, somehow managed to mash my gloved fingers underneath its broad side and prepared myself to lift. As I did so I heard a voice behind me say, "You'll have to be a lot younger and stronger to be able to lift that up." Thirsting to prove the cynical observer wrong I exploded with my legs and held on desperately with my hands to lift this concrete behemoth. I raised to nearly a 45 degree angle with the ground when my grip gave out and the beast went crashing triumphantly to the ground. As it did I glanced around at the vocal bystander from a moment ago and was shocked by what, or rather who, I saw.
It was none other than the man who made Bronco Mendenhall's job one worthy of notoriety and respect. That's right, the one and only Lavell Edwards.
As I tried not to stare, and wondered wildly to myself what I should do now, he smiled and said, "That was better than I expected from a wiry kid like yourself." To which I could only reply, "Thanks coach." He smiled yet again, climbed into his Toyota 4Runner and drove away.
As I stood there in a stunned silence, a moving guy who had witnessed the whole scene, came up to me and offered to help me pick up the pillar. Distractedly I assented and we lifted the pillar back up to its original position. As I thanked the young man, I couldn't help but to reflect back on what I had just experienced. I had yet again gained approval in the eyes of one of my heroes. This would truly be a day remembered.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Ha I just remembered something. Back in the day I was trying to come up with a new nickname to make Heather mad with. First I thought "Heath", it being short for Heather. Then I realized that Heath, while it could be pronounced H-eh-th, was usually pronounced H-ee-th, which was also a candy bar. So I then thought of chocolate. Following the same pattern as before I shortened chocolate to "choc". I then decided that was enough and stuck with choc. It never did stick really, but I do remember a few choice incidents in which I delivered this moniker at just the right moment and Heather was instantly incensed with me. Ah the good ol' days. I suppose I probably deserved getting that bat to the face sometimes...But you can't blame a three year old kid for not knowing that the catcher was supposed to stand further away from the batter now can you?

Sunday, February 17, 2008


Main Entry: nar·co·lep·sy Listen to the pronunciation of narcolepsy
Pronunciation: \ˈnär-kə-ˌlep-sē\
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural nar·co·lep·sies
Etymology: International Scientific Vocabulary
Date: 1880
: a condition characterized by brief attacks of deep sleep often occurring with cataplexy and hypnagogic hallucinations
As far as I know I do not have narcolepsy. I am very good at falling asleep wherever I am and in whatever position I may be situated, but I do not think that I am narcoleptic. (Mostly because I don't know what cataplexy means. If I were to guess I'd divide the word up into "cat" and "plexy" and go from there. A cat is a small furry animal with a tail and bad humor. Plexy brings to mind the words plexiglass and pleather. I don't think that I am small nor furry and I feel that I am of a good-humored nature. And clearly I am not a clear sheet of unshatterable plastic. Um...I'll just skip the pleather part.)
Anyway, I bring this up because lately I have been increasingly unable to stay awake in situations where such is the socially acceptable status. A few examples are during classes, watching movies and eating dinner (true story). Of late this has become increasingly uncomfortable for myself and others. Just last week I was in my Astronomy class and the girl sitting next to me nudged me to wake me up because I was breathing so loudly. She did so laughingly while I quietly apologized. And within minutes I was out cold once again. (I must put a disclaimer on my falling asleep in Astronomy. I have the class at 1:00pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and it is my fifth class in a row of the day. Not only that but we attend class in the Planetarium where the seats are ever so comfortable and the powerpoint presentations, which only increase the slumberous atmosphere in the room, are broadcast onto the ceiling so we have to sit back in our chairs to see them. Then, when the professor turns off all the lights and turns on the stars, my stupor reaches near comatose.)
It seems that once I am asleep, I'm deep asleep and I immediately enter the dream stage. This can be quite adventuresome in classes such as the History of Jazz and Calculus because my mind goes crazy and creates the most interesting situations and plot lines using the things that the professors are saying. I've never thought of Calculus as a super engaging and enterprising topic, but when the subject is put into the overactive imagination of a sleepy student, the most amazing things happen. Unfortunately I'm unable to remember any specifics, but I can say that more than once I've started awake with my heart racing and wondering what will happen to that poor function when it's taken to and analyzed at its limits.
As for movies, I don't know that I've watched a movie to the end for a month or so now. A few movies that I've started and continue to be in a state of suspense over having not seen the ends to are; The Rundown, Ratatouille, Phantom of the Opera, Stardust, Nacho Libre, The Illusionist, Masters of the Universe (Good ol' Heman), and Martian Child. The problem is, everyone else has seen the ends to these movies and therefore don't want to watch them again, and I'm stuck wondering if the Rock ever finds the rich mans son and whatever becomes of the cooking rat and how, if at all, Christine escapes from the Phantom. It's frustrating.
In short it seems that every time I sit down, or even if I just stand comfortably, I fall asleep. I wish it weren't so, but such is my unenviable state at the time.
Meh. It's not so bad. At least I don't snore in class...yet.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Delusions of stardom

Tuesday January29.
As a member of the BYU grounds crew in the wintertime there isn't much to do. The grass needn't be cut, the trees aren't ready to be pruned, and any planting of flowers would result in their immediate death by freezing. When it snows we have plenty of work to go around, but when there is a dearth of such, we aren't so lucky. It is in such times that we "gardener's helpers", in effort to earn those precious few dollars upon which we depend to provide us with our basic necessities, are forced to be creative in thinking up projects to keep ourselves busy. Be it walking briskly to and fro with a snow shovel and an ice pick in hand so as to take on the appearance of being on some important errand, or merely meandering about with leather gloves on, peering searchingly into the depths of random shrubs and other such herbaceous plants as if on the search for some hidden prize, one must always be sure to maintain the "I'm busy don't bother me" demeanor so as to discourage suspicion that we aren't earning our wages.
On the day in question, at about 3:30 pm, this was my challenge. Having finished all the tasks set forth for me by my supervisor Edwin, I was faced with decision. Go home an hour early, or stick around trying to look useful while feeling that my time was being utterly wasted. Upon thinking of the number of tacos that the extra $8.30 could bring me at Del Taco on any given Tuesday, (being three for a dollar that would come to around 25 tacos. Taco Tuesday baby) I decided that my time would be better spent pursuing that ever elusive seductress; economic stability...and a full stomach. And so as I sat in the shed pondering on whcih task would be most worthy of my next hour, my eyes lighted upon the garbage-picker-upper-dealys. You know the ones where you squeeze the handle and the two pincers on the end of the stick close together giving you the look of a crab with ridiculously long arms.
Upon seeing such instruments, I decided to take the environmentalist approach and save the earth from the never ending tide of litter. I therefore strode forward and picked up a grabber dealy and a bucket and headed out into the unknown.
To be perfectly honest the area into which I was headed isn't all that unknown. I've walked the entirety of our area of campus hundreds of times. Why was it then that I felt such a feeling of apprehension and uncertainty as I began this task. I was as though all my childhood dreams were about to come true. (on a side note, when I was a child my dream was to be a garbage man, so the previous statement, when considered in context, is actually quite accurate. However, this colloquialism was not intended to be taken literally, but just as a way of illustrating the unexpected sense of fascination that filled my soul. )
As I headed east along the north side of the Indoor Practice Facility, keeping a keen eye out for any unsightly debris that might be strewn across the landscape, something off in the distance caught my eye. It seemed as though a large group of men were jogging towards me. My thoughts flew back to the scene of It's a Wonderful Life where there is a run on the bank and the whole city turns out to withdraw their funds. With Zion's Bank not 50 yards behind me, I began to worry that the economy was on the fritz and we were but seconds away from losing our life savings. And then my thoughts shifted. Were we such a possession oriented people that our greatest concern was for our funds. What would happen if we were to stop caring about such things and focused on the really important things like love for you neighbor and stopping to help another.
As I was considering and lamenting the ever decaying morality of our society and the fact that much of what we do seems to be centered around how to make the next buck, I realized that the group of men that was charging towards me, wasn't a group of economically prudent beings, but rather the BYU football team. Most of whom looked me over with an eye of disgust for my appearance (I haven't washed my work sweatshirt for a couple of weeks now) and headed into the warm and friendly confines of the indoor practice field.
In a jiffy my thoughts on saving the world from its selfish endeavors were lost as I watched these giant specimens make their way into the edifice to my right.
With the sudden appearance of this crowd of spectators, I was instantly aware of my situation and how I was breaking the cardinal rule of menial labor; to never look as though you have nothing to do and are just lounging about. And so I was immediately prompted to action and caught sight of a slightly worn cardboard container that had once played host to French fries from that great American institution McDonald's. So I hastened purposefully towards the rubbish and thrust out my grabber, ready to collect it and tuck it safely away into my bucket. As I did so my focus on the trash slipped and my eyes were drawn unwillingly to rest upon the countenance of the great Bronco Mendenhall who was now jogging lightly towards me. As I looked at him, I saw his eyes shift towards my general direction. Not entirely realizing what I was doing, I drew myself up so as to display my entire 6'2" 145 lb frame in its natural grandeur. As I did so I saw that Bronco glanced at me and then changed directions. Instead of following his team into the building, he was now running directly towards me.
In an instant, floods of Rudy-like visions came to my mind. I saw myself suited up and running out onto the field of Lavell Edwards Stadium as 65,000 strong roared their approval. I saw myself in a myriad of situations in which I singlehandedly stole victory from defeat while playing the part of nearly every player on the field. First I was a defensive lineman making the game saving stop. Then I was the punter pinning the opposing team down on their own 2 yard line with a booming 70 yard punt. Next I saw myself intercepting a pass in the end zone after an acrobatically maneuvering myself in midair to put myself in front of the would-be receiver. I was the quarterback scrambling for a 15 yard gain and keeping the game winning drive alive. I was the running back, the All-American wide receiver and the center of the offensive line. In short, I was the hero.
As he approached me I felt sure that Bronco was seeing these same images in his mind, or was at least watching them through my eyes. He saw in me some raw talent; some greatness that had, as of yet, hidden itself from public view. A greatness that Bronco saw and knew that he could mold into the next legend to come out of Brigham Young University.
As he drew near I took gulp of icy cold air and listened for those words that I longed to hear.
"Thanks for helping to keep campus clean son," he proclaimed as he patted me on the shoulder. And with that he turned and entered the practice facility.
I stood in a state of bewildered awe. "Son," I thought to myself, "He called me son." I had gained approval in the eyes of Bronco Mendenhall.
And with that, I continued on in my work.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

And so it begins...

So I've joined the technological age and created a blog for myself. I do not do this of my own accord or volition. It's actually just an assignment for my English 150 class. But I, with cheerful disposition, will take upon myself this ever so daunting task of informing the world of the various happenings in my life.
And so it is that in this, my first official post, I decry the existence of the word "blog" and its use in reference to scholarly efforts such as this one. I feel that we, as a people, should abandon the use of this word. It is demeaning. It sounds like something stuck to the end of a quarter that you've just pulled out of your nose. This connotation therefore establishes, at least in my mind, a minuscule value to mine and others' words.
As we all know, the word blog is an abbreviated form of the term "web log". Have we become such an amazingly lethargic society that we can't bring ourselves to pronounce just one extra syllable in describing our efforts to document our lives? Blogs (shudder) have become the modern form of journal keeping in many instances. Are we willing to have these attempts to inform our progeny about the events that shaped and molded our lives described by a word that brings to mind a muculent substance? I say that we should not stand for this. As a matter of principle this should not be.
It being 12:33 in the morning, I will now rest my argument. One fundamental question still stands. What can be used to replace the word blog in our vocabularies. I don't claim to have all the answers and therefore appeal to the masses to help me in my quest to find an adequate replacement noun and verb, and mainstream it into our society.