Monday, December 31, 2007

One more thing.... conservapedia.com

Ok, I forgot one more thing. I've got to do some more delving into this site and really get a good post written on it, because it sure as heck deserves one. In the meantime, however, check this site out on your own if you'd like. Probably the most incredible site I have been on lately. www.conservapedia.com

New Year's Poll

Ok.. The poll actually has nothing to do with New Years, like at all. But you should still vote. Maybe this poll is less ambiguous than the last question, which has a history of frustrating those presented with its conundrum. I think this was a pretty easy poll for me to weigh in on. Maybe too easy.

So, the results of the last poll? Actually I don't even remember. Except one answer had 5 votes and the other had 4. With 9 people polled and that kind of spread between the answers... Well, I don't think it is even possible to make a statistically sound conclusion with those numbers, since there is absolutely no way to split evenly on the topic. So yeah, thanks for participating in the poll.

This last week I got sick with strep throat. That was fun. And then I moved back to my apartment last night. I don't have any plans for new years tonight. I learned that commupance is a real word from the 1850's???

Oh, so here is a little story. Man, I think it is bad that the whole time I am writing this post, I can hear it in a Daxflame voice in my head. Anyway. I have decided that I have a really hard time with sunk costs. If you know me, which you most likely do because you are reading this blog, you will know that I view life's scenarios in a very logical way. I use economics and cost-benefit analysis to guide most of my decisions. This explains why I was crushed when this summer I realized I had $170 in bank fees ($170 of which I managed to get out of). As soon as I got those fees, it completely negated the possible returns I hoped to get from my new investments (I had just bought some money market funds). So, I felt that the rest of the year was just going to be wasted in trying to get out of the red.

In fact, in my mind, I have a sort of running meter where I keep track of how I am doing in life. When I think I have been able to get ahead financially or scholastically, either by scoring some cheap textbooks, getting out of fees, making some good investing moves, acing a test I didn't study much for, etc, the meter turns towards the green. I feel like overall, I am ahead of the game. However, when I make some stupid moves and bomb a test, get my car booted, breaking something expensive of mine, etc, the meter dips towards the red. This meter is always there, and it is always an indicator of how I am doing. Luckily I don't ever recall spending too much time in the red. I've had setbacks, but I always feel like overall in life I am ahead, meaning I am living well, making smart decisions, and being blessed to be on the right track to succeeding in life.

So, that is why I have such a big problem with sunk costs. They seem like such a setback. Not only are they unpleasant, but they seem to negate other successes and wins in my life. It would be good if I could compartmentalize my life and not let certain aspects affect other aspects, but the Meter just lumps it all together and gives me a general reading of how I am doing.

What got me thinking about this is my guitar. I took a guitar class this semester and it was really rewarding. I went out at the beginning of the semester and bought a guitar with a case for $200. It looked like a decent guitar, but what did I know. I brought it home, and then noticed that it buzzed when others, who know how to play, were playing on it. I took it back to the store and they made some adjustments that helped a bit. I started going to class and learning. The action of the guitar felt a little high and seemed to make things difficult to play (perhaps it was just me being bad that made things difficult). I took the guitar into the Great Salt Lake Guitar Co. of Provo and the luthier there adjusted the action by working on the nut. It cost $35. I got it back and noticed that it buzzed again. So, I dealt with it the rest of the semester, but as I learned more and got better at playing, it started bothering me more. I took it to Best in Music in Orem. The guy there criticized the last guy who worked on it and said he would replace the nut and fix it for $35. A week later I came back and the nut had been replaced but it still buzzed. The lady there got the guy working on it on the phone. He said, "I replaced the nut, but now the problem is your frets are uneven and so if you want I can work on evening those out." Since the guitar was worse than it was when I brought it in, I agreed, even though it would cost me $45 more. I came back later that day after the guy had come in and "finished" my guitar. The total was only $55, but that is because he had some trouble with evening out the frets. I played the guitar in front of him, and it sounded exactly the same as when I brought it in. I emphasized this non-verbally by choosing only to play the worst offending string over and over again. He said he could keep working on it but that might bring the total up to $100. I didn't want that. We talked some more, he could tell I was dissatisfied with the results, and he knocked down the tab to $35. I paid and left. At this point I was so sick of the now $270 guitar in my backseat, that I tried to decide what to do.

It was time to cut my losses. Right then and there, I decided that I wouldn't spend another dollar on that guitar. I could have bought two decent guitars for that price. Not only was I not going to sink any more money in that guitar, but I didn't want it around. I disliked it so much that I thought it would be dishonest to try to sell it to someone else. I considered the idea of smashing it. This guitar was a sunk cost and just its presence signified a failure of mine.

So, I am going to give it to my brother so he can start learning guitar on it, and I am looking for a new one on craigslist. But there it is, my dislike for sunk costs. I think what I dislike about them most, is the inability to win. It is a lose more-lose less situation, but still a lose-lose. Oh well, if I have learned anything it is that money is just money and in 5 years down the road, most of the setbacks we encounter today will be inconsequential in the context of our lives.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Family time

This is probably the best Daxflame video I have seen.

I am sorry to the UTMOST degree

I would like to make a public apology for all disparaging things I have hitherto said about Firefox. Today I got fed up with IE7 and will no longer use it. Please accept my apologies. Barney, this is mainly to you. Btw, I really like it. I installed Boost too.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Phlogging...plogging....photo blogging

So... Just a couple updates. Today I realized I had a fear of playing guitar in front of people and decided I will do that more often until I overcome it.

Next, as you see I have added a poll to my blog. Yes, you may be familiar with my hypotheticals. Now you can enjoy my hypotheticals from the comfort of your own computer. I will update the hypothetical each week. I feel that by answering hypotheticals, we all will be more prepared for a variety of situations that, as unlikely as they may be, would be better handled if we had an answer already decided. You know, kinda like how they advice you to make the decision about your standards only once. This question is actually complements of Jameson.

Okay, and then my photos. I walk around each day and see funny/interesting things and often I am not with anyone who I can talk to about what I see. So instead I whip out my phone and take pictures with the intent to some day blog about them. Well I have finally run out of other things to do. Here are my photos.


I like this picture because I don't think I have ever seen someone smile while bleeding profusely from their head, or anywhere in fact.



Probably the most confusing poster I have ever seen. If you notice, that green circle says, "Sweet spirit." I don't get it...


Second most confusing poster I've seen on campus. I've decided I am very lost as to how the prefix "i" modifies a word.


Apparently it's the newest trick in marketing though. Maybe they are teaching this in marketing schools, "One sure way to get your sales up, folks? Add an "i" before everything. Everything..."


Hehe, okay so maybe all of my pictures are confusing posters. I like this one though because it was a poster in the wilk that was advertising the barbershop. Now, I would have to say that if you lined up 10 random guys and asked me to pick who just got their hair cut, this guy would be one of the last ones I would guess. I guess he could be on his way to the barbershop when this picture was taken.


Modern day Alice in Wonderland. This is in the Brimhall. This picture doesn't show it very well, but that door is really.. small. Like, this isn't just a long hallway, that is really a small door that comes up to my neck. I like most that it has a number on it.

Okay, final picture. This poster's sweet, cause even though it technically says "Opportunity: When one window closes, another opens," to my subconcious it seems to say "Determination: When one window closes, you make another one, even if it takes a sledgehammer and a whole lot of muscle."

Friday, December 21, 2007

Comment on this

This is a census poll. If you read this post, please comment on it so I know you are reading this. Don't throw the poll off, just be counted. You could even just like... count off like you do in gym class. I will start...

Done

I'm finally done. I took my last final today for my Molecular Biology lab. It was one of those classes that we got attendance and participation points in, but our weekly quiz was never graded and so we never really knew what to expect... then came the final. I studied for a few hours today, and it was a very good thing. The test was a lot harder than I thought it would be. Anyway, I am done with this semester. I feel like I eeked by one more semester.

Cindy and Amy came over tonight and I watched garden state. I really like that movie. I love the Shins songs on the soundtrack. It is one of those things though that I feel has a lot more meaning than I get. I need to look up some analysis of it online. Cindy bought me a tragicomedy "Waiting for Godot." I am really excited to read it.

Anyway, this was kinda a boring post but, thats my life:-) Things are good. I also got a new book for myself. It is called "How to Stop Worrying and Start Living" by Dale Carnegie. Pretty excited about that one too.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Back on track

I think I am back on track to stresslessness. I am going to rock my ACS test today and then just take it from there. This will be a great week.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

As of late

The last couple days have been interesting. I feel like I've had some good experiences or opportunities to overcome challenges in my life. In some instances I perhaps failed and got stressed or angry, but perhaps I've done better than I have in the past.

A couple days ago I got booted while I was dropping off some banana nut bread at a friend's place. Yesterday for the first time relationship uncertainties frustrated me. Today a friend was telling me how I should live my life (in particular how I should approach relationships) and it really bothered me and so I left their apt. They followed to apologize.

I dunno, it felt sort of like a step back the last couple days. But I guess in retrospect, I am doing better than I would have been doing in the same situation.

On another note. Do you think retroactively buying an ACS Study Guide for which you have previously broken copyright laws in regards to justifies your previous indiscretion? I just ordered the study guide online after talking to my mom and feeling guilty that I had a PDF copy of it, even though it is copyrighted. I guess I can use it to study for the DAT.

I also think I am going to Wyoming this break with my brother Ben to visit the mission. Should be fun.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Three Most Attractive Things a Girl Can Do

1. Wear pigtails. I don't know if I need to elaborate, or even if I can. They are cute, fun, and just goodlooking.

2. Wear fishnets or patterned semi-transparent tights. I don't know where we ever got the idea that fishnets were bad. More girls need to follow in Clarissa Lassig's shoes. She really knows how to dress and really pulls off fishnets. I think they look very sharp.

3. Wear headbands. I don't know what it is, but those wide plastic headbands girls wear are really attractive. They seem very simple to wear too so I don't know why more girls don't do it.

Anyway, when more girls understand the above three points, they will have men flocking to them. Men will melt like putty in their hands.

How to Win Friends and Influence People

I called Legacy Mazda today because after taking my car in for 3 times now, the belts they put on over the summer are still squeaking. As I was getting ready to call I prepared what I would say. I decided to ask for John, compliment him on the service I have received so far, express concern about my belts still squeaking, tell him I still wanted to keep my business at Legacy, and ask him if he had suggestions on how I could get a beat on this noise. I called John and said, "John this is Gabriel Proulx, I don't know if you remember my car..."

He immediately fired back, "Mazda Protoge. I also remember your dad coming in last week too."

I chuckled, "Oh, he must have talked your ear off too!" I then proceeded to explain my situation and ask what could be the problem. He told me to bring it in tomorrow and they would check it out.

I finished Carnegie's book Saturday. There isn't a single person alive who should not read that book. It is one of the most revolutionary and life-changing books I have read. The previous pleasant exchange could not have taken place had I not read the book. As simple as the principles are, they have profound effects on every day interactions. I feel like I have gone from being a good people-person to a great people-person.

Go buy the book and read it. If you value your relationships with others, you will read it.

Living the dream...

Brother Reyes used that phrase in one of his testimonies this year. I found myself really impressed that he was really living the dream. As he described his life, he made it sound like there was nothing more he could wish for. I remember being amazed and sort of jealous. I also wondered if it was even possible to live the dream like Brother Reyes was.

I now know it is possible. This past week has been incredible. I don't know how to describe it. In fact, I feel silly trying to describe it because there isn't any one particular thing that has happened to make my life great. I happened... I happened to make my life great. Ever since I have decided to eliminate stress from my life and not get angry or be negative, I've been living a new life. I try to explain to people the significance of this last week in my life, and I don't think anyone really understands because, well... Imagine you were trying to climb over a brick wall, and the minute you crested the top of it you beheld a beautiful view. As much as you could try to describe it to others that were still trying to climb, you could never really impart to them the actual beauty you see. They have to be at that point themselves. There is no substitute for personal experience.

Anyway, life has been great. School is wrapping up. I have incredible friends. I have a great family. I have the cutest 4 boys as my nephews ever. I love dentistry and the idea that I will be doing it for the rest of my life. What else can I say? Last week was a turning point in my life. I sometimes catch myself getting negative, but I've made very significant strides to almost eliminating stress and negativity from my life. It is pretty much incredible.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A part of me died yesterday

As of yesterday, the negative, critical, pessimistic, stressed, and angry part of me is dead. I'm a new person.

Barney came over Monday night and we talked about stress management. He told me he's only been stressed once in the last few years, and has only been angry maybe two times. At first I was skeptical, but I heard him out. His philosophy is simple: we choose who we are and what we feel. That's it. When we are stressed or angry, it's by choice. If that isn't so for someone, then that person needs to work on self-control. Ultimately, if not already, these can all be choices of ours.

Now, if it is a choice, is it helpful or desirable in anyway to be stressed or angry?

Stress:
I thought, 'Well, sometimes stress can pressure you to get things done efficiently and effectively.' Upon further thought, however, I abandoned that view. Yes, perhaps pressure can motivate. But how does one work efficiently and effectively? Through being calm, being collected, having a clear mind, and by possessing the energy that the tasks-at-hand require. Stress not only doesn't contribute to any of these necessary qualities, but it shorts the circuit of success.

In physics you learn about the different forms of energy. One of the forms that engineers often try to minimize in the design of circuits and machines is that of heat. Often heat is not a desired byproduct and its presence indicates energy leakage from a poorly designed product. So it is with stress. Our circuit of success requires our full reserve of energy. We can't afford the energy leakage stress imposes. We simply don't have enough energy to go around.

Anger:
At first I argued that sometimes I harness my anger to motivate me in other facets of my life. For example, I get dumped and I refocus my anger or negative feelings towards my performance in school. Now, this is partially true, but I believe we can circumvent the process and better harness the energy before we reach anger. Consider the food chain. Each level of the food chain, or trophic level, corresponds with a 90% loss energy from the previous trophic level, only perpetuating about 10%. For example, a portion of beef takes about 10 times the amount of grain in terms of energy. The 90% is lost to the second law of thermodynamics, lost by heat. I think we suffer the same effects as we re-channel our anger. We may be able to recoup some energy, but by choosing not to get angry I believe we better allocate our resources to handle the problem at hand.

So it is with negativity, criticism, pessimism. They all drain on our well-being and prevent us from reaching our potential. I reached a similar epiphany when auditioning for County Chorus in High School. Going into the audition I realized the pointlessness of nervousness. I would get nervous that I wouldn't do well. Because I was nervous, my voice was not as steady or strong and I didn't do well. It was a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I've decided though to optimize my life. Stress and negativity are counterproductive. I decided yesterday to give them up. Despite finals, grades, relationships, and the regular pressures of life, I feel calm. I'm excited for the future. I feel like I've turned a new leaf. It will take a while to find my new groove, but I will, and I will find myself a better person than I was yesterday.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Thoughts five from midnight

No stories, just thoughts. Although I do have several pictures I have been snapping on my phone that I need to upload soon and comment on.

- The more I live, the more I am convinced that love is illogical. Either by defying or superseding, not sure which, it escapes understanding by a logical mind. There are no formulas. Scary thought for a bioinformatics major.

- I don't even know if I think people who don't live in glass houses should be throwing stones. All around the throwing of stones sounds like a bad idea.

- I like tragedies. I don't know why. I think I enjoy the cathartic release that Aristotle talked about that accompanies them. I love the juxtaposition of what was a deserved punishment with what was the actual punishment the tragic hero receives. I knew this though. Further I have decided I like tragedies from a distance and not in my life. In fact I dislike anything resembling tragedies in my life.

- Good friends are hard to come by. They are worth keeping.

- Oedipus ran from what he thought was home and those he thought were his parents in an attempt to thwart a prophecy that he would kill his father and sleep with his mother. The result? He ran far away, crossed his real father, unbeknownst to him, on the way and killed him. Then he went to Thebes and unknowingly married his mother. On a smaller scale, I am afraid of hurting people and as a result often act in a way that ends up hurting someone. Moral? I don't know. Don't run to avoid problems, act proactively to counter them maybe?

- Sometimes people are so good at a talent that I start analyzing which scenario is more likely: A) That they are really that good at doing something that seems impossible to do, or B) That they are really robots posing as humans to make us feel untalented. Now, B sounds pretty improbable (owing to the scarcity of robots and not to a lack of desire on their part to make us feel inferior) but I can foresee a day when the number of robots in circulation is high enough to make this a lot more complicated of a scenario to figure out. I guess option C) That I am prideful could also be a solution. One time I was in my apartment and I thought to myself... 'Robots are going to get really popular. I should buy the domain roborental.com and hold it till I can sell it for lots of money.' Apparently someone had that idea too because if you go there it is titled "Roborental: News about cars until we start renting robots." It then goes on to explain:
"Warning: On this website we have a hodge podge of information about cars and travel - to Explore. Once Robots become more popular and robot rentals become commonplace - this website will be taken down and a financial concern which makes robot loans will be put in its place. Until then - enjoy a variety of interesting topics on cars and travel - which are searched for a lot on the Internet, but there are not a lot of Internet Resources available..."
I had a mix of emotions when I saw this. I was both amazed that someone thought exactly like me. And then I was disappointed that although this person has poorer grammer than me, and doesn't make sense half of the time, they still beat me to the punch. Anyway, that was a side note. Robots... watch out for them is my best advice.

Well those are the thoughts on my mind around midnight.

Monday, November 26, 2007

One more day

I think one of my favorite words is "spigot." I used to think it was spelled "spicket."

I had Barnini yesterday. It is all it claims to be.

I am excited to program this chess game. I'm not excited to temporarily go MIA while I do it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tupac Shakur, Rap Hero, and Blog comments


First off, if you expect the three items in the topic to be related. You will be sorely disappointed. First, Tupac Shakur... I am not sure how I got on to browsing for Tupac... oh wait, yeah I was on facebook, and then I saw that Josh Merris joined a group called "If you were to marry a rapper, which would it be." I thought this was interesting because... first of all, I don't know any female rappers, and I don't think Josh is gay. So as I was pondering this and browsing the wall posts I saw a discussion thread with the title "Tupac is alive!" Who wouldn't click on that? So I followed it, and then followed a link that gave the top 20 reasons why Tupac is still alive.


I'll have to admit, they have several more compelling reasons to hold out hope that Tupac is alive than the Elvis conspiracy theorists. For example, Tupac was producing things under the name Makaveli who was known (the real Machiavelli) to stage his own death as a military strategy. On one of Tupac's final albums (before his death... that needs to be specified as I will show later) has a line on his album art that says "Exit: 2Pac Enter: Makavelli." Interesting indeed.


I find the most compelling evidence not to be listed on the top 20. I would probably put it at number 1 if I had to make a list. I looked up Tupac Shakur on Yahoo Music so I could listen to the person Wikipedia calls "one of the most popular artists in the music industry." What I found interesting is the fact that out of his top 200 downloaded songs, not a single one was released prior to his alleged death. How many dead people do you know that are still producing? I rest my case.


Then I got to thinking that perhaps the next thing after guitar hero could be... Rap Hero. They already have a karaoke game that measures your pitch and rhythm, I am sure they could make a game that measures your rhythm. It may be tough to have it recognize all the words you were saying. I don't even think voice recognition software is advanced enough to identify individual words in a rap, but maybe it could at least identify swears and give you extra points for them. At least James, or "Archie" as he is apparently called in the holy land, would do better with that feature. Just a thought...


Finally, I am kinda disappointed at blogger.com for not having any provision to notify you when people comment on your blog posts. I guess facebook has spoiled me. James, you were lucky I saw your posts. I kept going back to previous posts to see how many you had posted on. Then when I found one you hadn't posted on, I assumed there were no more? Hopefully that was right. Maybe everyone that posts on previous posts, should also post on the most recent post and say "See entry _____ for my latest comment." Maybe not.


Oh, James. I don't know if I told you, but I saw pictures of you rapping in the JC (is that what you call it? Tell me you coined that), and I started thinking of possible titles if you released an album from Jerusalem. Let me think: "Blingin' in the Holy Land" or "Jews and Palestinians: Conflict over, Archie Style." What do you think? And then if things take off, you could train some locals to rap and start some kinda hip hop battle on a West Bank - East Bank type of thing. You know, like our East Coast - West Coast battles (which actually was heavily fueled by Tupac's suspicion of other rappers including Biggie setting him up when he got shot and robbed in 1994 if you didn't know). Anyway, you might have to... make an East Bank, but that shouldn't be too hard. Rappers do whatever they want to anyway, especially when it comes to the words, terms, and the English language. Let me know what you think. If you want I can start thinking of record label names?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Recent events

So I think I've met someone that is my type. I wouldn't exactly say that I know too much about her, but she wants to be involved in humanitarian aid, shops at thrift stores, has a "liberal bob" (in my uncle's words), is talented, is athletic, is smart, is spiritual, and is fun to be around. Anyway, it's kinda exciting. :-)

Also exciting, but... not as exciting (so I don't get in trouble), is the fact that I just beat Metallica's "One" on hard. Now it is Iron Maiden and Slayer's poor excuse for a song "Raining Blood."

In other news, I really like this blogging thing. I've subscribed to Barney's, Cindy's, and Badger's RSS feeds and I am able to check for new updates everyday. Pretty cool. I actually think it is a great way to connect with people. I think I am going to email my family with the link to my blog. This will also be the last blog that gets imported to facebook. I think I'd rather people search out my blog.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The New Me


So I got my hair cut yesterday. Apt 11 cut a mohawk in and then decided they liked it. I decided to try it out. What do you think? I'm not sure how long I will keep it.

I think I find a lot of satisfaction in breaking people's stereotypes of me. Perhaps that is why I like to listen to Hip Hop. Anyway, I kinda like the look. I was interested in seeing if people treated me differently. Maybe I can write a book called "Punk Like Me."



video

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pi Party

I think next year I will have a Pi Party on March 14. But here's the thing, all we'd do at the party is talk about pi, compute trigononmetric functions, and find the circumference of circles. If anyone would even mention pie, I would reprimand them and ask them to leave. That way we could weed out all these posers who pretend to be pi fanatics but really aren't.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sleepworking

Last night I dreamt that I had to keep pressing Guitar Hero notes in a certain succession to stay asleep or else I would "lose" and wake up. Three nights ago I was doing three point linkage genetic crosses to study the effects of recombination amongst chromosomes. Ugh... Sleeping is sometimes very exhausting.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Worst week ever...

A word of warning, unless you get some sort of voyeuristic pleasure from the misfortunes of others, there is probably nothing worthwhile in this post for you. This is probably more for me to be able to vent, and maybe use it as a reference point for any other time in my life that I think things aren't going well.

I've perhaps had one of the worst weeks of my life. I think the only other week to rival it was the last week of one companionship on my mission. Yeah, that sucked too. Every once in a while you will have a bad day, or a bad two days, but as I have learned in Genetics this semester, the probability of consecutive bad days is lower the more days you string together. For example, if I have 20% chance of having a bad day on any given day, having a week full of them would be .2 to the 7th power... or a .00128% chance of happening. At least by those odds I won't have another one in this lifetime.

As most everyone is aware this is one of the busiest weeks of the semester, when all teachers combine together to make your life miserable.

Tuesday night Thomas told me that Tim Filichia, a mutual friend of ours and one of the finest guys you would ever meet, died in a car crash Sunday night. It made me think of the fleeting nature of life and the chance that at any moment, everything we've done might come to naught. Maybe it doesn't come to naught, but sometimes it seems like it would if you were taken right now. Thomas, Kara, and I went to his memorial service Wednesday. It was a sobering evening.

Earlier in the week I went completely against my better judgement and tried to whole break thing thinking it would remedy relationship doubts. Well, it did for me at least, and it quelled most of my doubts. Sadly it was one sided and as of last night, I'm now single. Ugh...

So that leaves me today. Chad and I both weren't feeling up to the 5 miles we had planned. I slept in and got ready for my first class. I sat through an hour of O-Chem complaining trying to palate the limp jokes the teach made. Then I sat through an hour of Genomics trying to stretch my brain enough to remember what contigs, BLAST sequences, and ESTs were. After that, the fun began.

I spent an hour or so studying for the test in my predent class. I had already tried to take this Wednesday to find out it wasn't in the testing center. Then I tried to take it Thursday since the teacher had said it ran from the 11th to the 18th. Still it wasn't there. Finally on the third time it worked. I got an 82.5%. Then I went back to my study cove and spent a couple hours finishing O-Chem homework and studying the reaction and mechanisms. Then I took another trek over to the testing center at 4:30 to spend two more hours plugging away in the music room. The test was incredibly hard, but I think I did alright. After a few hours in the testing center one starts to stop caring.

I walked downstairs, curled up in the lobby and tried to study for my Genetics test. Since it was open book and I had downloaded the first 6 chapters in pdf I thought the test would be a breeze (the book wasn't in the bookstore till a couple days ago and between friends dying, and breaking up with people, I just hadn't gotten around to getting it). I trucked back upstairs, waited in line and got in at 7. I sat down with my laptop to realize that there were several questions on test that required an appendix that wasn't in the 6 chapters I had downloaded. In this appendix, which I had never had to use on homeworks, there was a genetic code chart, and a chi square value chart.

So there I sit in the testing center losing hope. Not only was my brain fried, by my emotions were a mess, and I didn't have the charts I needed. I needed to know the three stop codons. I managed to find an old homework file from Bio 240 where I had listed the three stop codons. I also needed to know the codon that codes for Serine. Searching my computer again I found another homework that showed that UCA was a codon for serine. That wasn't an answer, but UCC was and I figured with the wobble theory that would have to be the answer. Sadly I had no chi squared tables on my computer. So after being told by an employee that there was nothing he could do for me and that he was "Sorry," I started thinking about using the Internet on my phone the bathroom to pull up a Chi Squared table. Even though I was supposed to have this chart, I couldn't justify cheating. So I sat there frustrated as tears came from the whole week. I tried to pull myself together so people around me didn't think I was that pathetic of a test taker. I made my best guesses, turned the paper in and sulked home just as my watch turned to 10:00. Long day...

I don't think tomorrow will be any better.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Divisive connections

Despite being past midnight and fighting the fatigue inherent in the celebrating of July 4th, I have thoughts running around my head that need out. On the way back from fireworks I had a conversation with a friend about the modern nature of friendships and connections. This is a topic I've thought about more frequently as of late.

The last few weeks I've been plagued with these feelings of dissatisfaction regarding the modern face of socialization. Last year I remember someone commenting about how we've be come so distant to those around us in favor of other connections. The example this person used was when class got out. Amongst the rush to get to the next class, many pull out their phones and connect to someone not present rather than interact with those around them. I thought this was an interesting point but didn't mull over it too much.

Last year was also the year I broke down and signed on to facebook. While intrigued by the concept of facebook, I became increasingly more dissatisfied as my number of friends crept higher and higher. Who were these people? People would add me as their friend, and yet somehow we would never communicate over facebook. Who doesn't communicate with their friends? As my "friends" increased, my activity on facebook decreased. I became overwhelmed with the deluge of information in my newsfeed, information about people I was really not emotionally invested in.

While technology has helped us connect as a society, it has also weakened the bonds of friendship. We've spread ourselves too thin as we try to please every one of our 256 friends on facebook. Personal investments such as visits or letters are quickly being replaced with thoughtless wall posts and pokes. With our new greatly expanded social circles, we find it difficult to devote much attention and concern into any one individual. We just do not have enough to go around. Neither do we expect it as much from our friends, for we now have a far greater number of sources from which to draw. It has never been easier to be a "friend" than it is now.

While the number of friends we have has increased, the numerator of personal attention we are capable of has not. We can still only do and care so much. I think of Bilbo's description of feeling as though he is like butter spread too thinly over a slice of bread. Perhaps we've spread ourselves too thin.

In an attempt to strengthen the meaning of friendship, I resolve to invest my self more into fewer venues. I deleted 138 of my 256 friends on facebook. Not because of any personal feelings, but precisely because of a lack of personal feelings lately directed towards them. If I am not putting in the time and effort into a friendship through communication, how can I deserve the title of friend?

While I think technology has done much to connect the world, I worry that in connecting, we've neglected our responsibility as friends. Our portfolios are so diverse that we're suffering in our comprehension of the concepts of taking risks, sacrificing, and displaying loyalty.

To my friends, thank you for our friendship. I hope that by investing myself more, I will be able to see the returns in a fulfilling friendship built on trust, concern, and service. Here's to the prospect of closer-knit friendships.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

I am... the crap king!


Success! Last night I hopped on my computer to check, as I usually do, woot.com to see what they are putting up for sale. Since they put their new item up every night at midnight Central Time, I could still buy Sunday's item without actually buying anything on Sunday. But, to be fair, up until last night I was just a woot observer, I had never actually wooted. For some reason I check faithfully every day to see what item woot.com is selling at a ridiculously low price. I don't buy too many things, so the odds that something woot.com is selling is what I need, and I haven't already gone out and bought it, are slim. This is why I just have enjoyed seeing what they are selling and reading their clever descriptions.


Last night was different though. I hopped on aroudn 11:15 PM to see that they were selling a Bag O' Crap. This is a rather rare phenomenon where woot.com just sells a grab bag of random items for $1. You can buy up to three, which is smart since you are paying $5 for shipping. These Bags O' Crap, or Bandoliers of Carrots as their webpage forum software is wont to render the term "BOC," sell out very quickly, usually within 10 minutes. These periods of intense buying where a couple thousand Braille on Cookies (also another term the forum changes "BOC" to) are sold in 1o minutes often result in the woot.com server going down. The reason for this intense fury is the uniqueness of this crap. You never know what you are going to get. The grab bag is a random assortment of items they haven't sold in the past. You usually get a camera bag, a toy dinosaur, some pens, a pda stylus, or a keyboard. Some really random stuff overall. However, a couple people here and there have been known to get a Nintendo Wii or a 61" HDTV. Pretty sweet for $8.


Today being April Fools added a clever twist to the story. The BOC's where priced at $1,000,001 instead of the normal $1. Some people thought this was a funny but annoying joke that had wasted a day of wooting. Others tried a brute force solution to the problem and tried to charge their credit card the ridiculous sum. Mysteriously the user peggo50 had somehow managed to buy a Bucket of Crabs. How did she do it? It was perplexing. Then the users started to catch on and the BOC's were going like crazy. The key was entering the word "please" into the coupon code section of the checkout form to score $1,000,000 of the price. This had been hinted at in the BOC description. As soon as I figured out that you had to enter something in the forum I went to the page, clicked on "I Want One" and started signing up for a woot.com account. I managed to put all my information in and then tried entering random words into the coupon field like "AprilFools." No luck. I went back to the forum and found out that I had to enter "please." Alas, by the time I went back to the page, it said they were sold out. I went back to the forum to wallow in my pity. I had failed. Yet interestingly enough there were some that said they were still able to buy some after the original "Sold Out" appeared. I went back to page and saw that the "I Want One" button was still up. Apparently the page reserved some BOC's for people that clicked on the button, but when they were unable to figure out the riddle, the BOC was relinqueshed.


In a flurry of touching and clicking, I hammered my way through the buying process. Barely glancing at the form, I filled in "please." Agh! It was denied. I had to type in my CID for my card. I couldn't spare the time to look at my credit card, I just busted off the three digits that I thought it was from memory. The confirmation page could cost me the bag so I just clicked on "Continue." Then was the moment of intense waiting. The page kept refreshing as it said it was trying to complete my order. The server was getting hit hard so it took a good 1o minutes. Finally I had achieved success. I had scored my first woot, and it was a Bag O' Crap.


Ladies and gentelmen, this is not only a story of patience and will power, but it is a story of determination against the odds. It doesn't matter if someone says you can't, or if woot.com says it is sold out of Bandoliers of Carrots. Frankly, I don't freakin' care. I want my crap, and so do you. Go for the gold....


I'll post my booty when I receive it, as long as I receive it. I am ashamed to admit that in typing my address I forgot to put my apartment number. Oh well. I still am the crap king.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Great Migration

I had this morning planned out perfectly before I set my head down last night. I was going to wake up, bike down the the plasma center at 8, donate till 9:30, do my reading outline for Molecular Bio till 11, and then kick it at the SAC carnival till class at 12...

At least that is how things were meant to go. This morning, however, I got out of the house aroudn 8:15. It was a nice enough day so I thought I'd go ahead with the bike ride to BioMedics. Funny, my bike wasn't in the normal place I lock it. Did someone steal it? No, I vaguely recalled biking up to campus earlier in the week yet I can't recollect biking back. I had left it on campus. "That's alright," I figured, "Jon got fired yesterday so I can probably use the car." It was then that I noticed that the car wasn't to be found either. Then I remembered... in my rush to go sit for Bishop's interviews yesterday I had driven up to campus and parked in an A lot. I went straight to the testing center after sitting and took a test till close, completely forgetting that I had driven. I walked home.

With that, I started in an immediate run towards campus. I thought A lots started to be enforced at 8. If that was the case, perhaps I could make it. I didn't want my third green slip at BYU. Halfway there I saw an A lot sign that told me they were enforced at 7. Crap! As I thought more about it, I became more convinced that it was probably a violation to park there overnight as well.

Sure enough, as I ran into the parking lot, I saw a sign showing that the lots were restricted starting at 7 in the morning. There was also a sign that said "No parking: 1AM to 5AM."

The best part though? No ticket. Whameee!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Public Denunciation of Censorship

To all of you that don't read my blog. I'm sorry that I haven't updated it in a month and a half. Hopefully life will get less busy and I will be able to update it more often...so you can feel productive in your not-reading it.

Anyway, to the Heart of the Matter. I capitalized that because it is coincidentally also the name of a very funny anti-mormon show on some public programming channel here. It is pretty funny. Hosted by some very born-again-looking Christian with a goatee and cool looking glasses. For some reason we always stay on that channel when my roommates come across it while flipping through the channels.

So. Censorship. Imagine my joy when the blog that I check very regularly, jlarchiblog, was updated after over a month of inactivity. Not only was it updated but the most recent blogging entry was quite cleverly written. It was classic James. K, got a handle on my joy? Now imagine my confusion when I check the blog again only after a day or two and find that entry now gone! I had even commented on it because it was so funny. It even referenced me, one of the three regular readers of James' blog. Recent entry and comments, all gone! Finally imagine my disappointment when I was told by an associate that the blog entry deletion was not an error of blogger.com but rather was due to James bending to the will of his mother and her censorship. Now I have never met James' mother. I talked to her once and she sounded like a fine lady. But I have met censorship...and we are not on good terms.

James, you know better than to cower under the ominous black shadow of censorship! When you were oppressed before and there were naysayers, okay just your mother again, telling you that you shouldn't share your hilarious story about your unfortunate dinner trip with your grandparents, did you heed? No, you stood up for transparency. I formally petition you for the reinstatement of your most recent blog entry! Who are you, google.cn?

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Make a stand, secure your laptop! - Lessons from the HBLL part III

After the fiasco with the restroom and the buttons, I decided to sit down and do some research, or blogging to be more correct. While plugging my laptop in I noticed an embossed little 1" by 3" embossed sign that reads, "DISCOURAGE THEFT - Secure laptop here," next to a metal loop.

I found the wording of that sign quite interesting. It left me questioning what the motives were behind it. Was the sign for my benefit so I realize there are kleptos even at BYU, or was it for the Library's benefit so they might avoid the hassle of thievery claims. I don't know what it was about that sign, but it seemed to me to have some personality here. The job could have been accomplished by a simple "Laptops Secure Here," yet this sign was different. It made me securing my laptop (which I'm not quite sure how to do) more like making a political statement. I was now discouraging theft.

But would I really be doing that? Or would I just be discouraging theft in my own locale. I imagine that one with the gumption to steal a laptop at BYU wouldn't be thrown into an introspective haze and begin questioning the ethics of his attempted actions, just because he couldn't take my laptop. He'd probably just move to the next open laptop, or even off-campus. Or is it more of a discouraging of the thief that we are attempting. The more laptops he can't get, the more discouraged he becomes, eventually leading him to an utter state of despair where he is humbled to the whisperings of laws, ethics, and the spirit? I'm not quite sure.

Interesting little sign of five words.

Who's idea was this anyway? - Lessons from the HBLL part II

As I was pondering the aforementioned thoughts (see previous post) over a urinal, I struggled to get my fly closed. I'd say zipper zipped, except it wasn't a zipper. Regrettably I was brought to remember the day when I brought home these jeans from the store and tried them on, only to realize they had metal buttons for a fly instead of a zipper.

Immediately I began to question the logic in such a design choice. Was it for functionality? Certainly not. Four buttons were much harder and time consuming to button than zipping a zipper. Also, the sly turn-to-the-wall-casually-so-no-one-can-see-you-zip-up-your-fly move is much easier and less conspicuous than the turn-to-the-wall-for-a-long-time-and-struggle-to-button-up-buttons-into-tight-holes-of-denim-while-people-wonder-what-you-are-doing move. Was it affordability? I think buttons and holes are similar in cost to a zipper. I mean, I got the pants cheaper, but that is because everyone realized the problems with buttons for a fly quicker than I did. Then maybe it was fashion? Again I question this reasoning. Personally, I don't go around showing my fly to other people. As far as I am aware, it would be quite odd to do that. Maybe I should just casually put myself in sitting positions accentuating my unique fly. Once again, probably odd and inappropriate. Then again, I should get some sort of recognition for the hard work this fly has put me through, shouldn't I?

Odds are I'll walk into a women's restroom someday - Lessons from the HBLL part I

Every once in a while I have these completely irrational fears. Though my fears are hardly plausible, if they were, they would bring serious consequences.

I encountered one of these fears in the library today. Usually I use those single room, huge handicapped bathrooms. Not that I'm handicapped, but I assume that since the sign shows a person in a wheel chair, a person in a dress, and a person in pants, any of the three types of people (uhandicapped, unhandicapped-Male, and unhandicapped-female) can use the restroom with such a sign. Perhaps it just means that both male and female disabled people can use the restroom, I don't know. But that is neither here nor there. This time, however, there was a woman standing outside the restroom. Whether she was waiting for someone in the restroom or not, I don't know. I didn't want to risk embarrassment though so I aborted by course for the handicapped restroom and charted a new one. Bathrooms aren't that hard to find usually. There is something about their placement that is intuitive. Maybe the architect just walks around the plans in his mind and feels "I should put a john here," and pencils one in. Perhaps its a human intuition akin to a mother's intuition. I don't know. Water fountains are the same way. This is most likely why it is so frustrating when we are standing in a place that seems bathroom or water-fountain worthy and yet there are none in sight.

So I walked on and saw a bathroom sign on the door. I took a quick, cursory glance at the sign and started to walk in. The instant I cracked the door open, however, fear flooded my mind. This bathroom was a pastel yellow. Thoughts raced as I continued to open the door (I was committed at this point): "Aren't boys' bathrooms usually blue?" "What color are the other bathrooms on campus?" "Are girls' bathrooms yellow or pink?" This last thought threw me for a loop. The only time I could remember being in a girl's bathroom was cleaning the church years ago in Pennsylvania. How was I to know what colors girls' bathrooms were? I had very limited experience in this field. I was rather confident that the sign I had glanced at had a man on it, but then again the only difference between men and women on those signs are obtuse angels on the woman's midsection apparently representing a swallowed triangle or a dress. I've misread things or seen things incorrectly many times in life. Was this one of them?

I proceeded to open the door and began to see the edge of a person's profile. I heaved an inward sigh of relief as I noticed it was a man. Either he was a pervert or I was in the right bathroom. As I used the facilities I began to think of the statistical odds of entering the wrong bathroom. It is quite easy to misread something or to mistake one symbol for another. We use public bathrooms quite frequently. Statistically I am bound to walk in a girls' bathroom one day. I just hope it's when I'm old and I can get away with common mistakes.... and swearing.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Check!

I've accomplished another life goal. I did a little polar bear swimming today. Still working on the marathon.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Research papers are like sand in your pants

Okay, maybe not like sand in your pants, but like sand at least. Cast your mind back to the last demonstration in sunday school on priorities. It most likely involved rocks, pebbles, sand, and a mason jar. I'm doing a research paper for Hon 150 now, and I think it is pretty much like the sand. Any project is for that matter. They are often too big for me to procrastinate till the last moment and hope to get a good grade. Ideally you should be doing it throughout the whole course until the due date.

So my life is like a jar of rocks, with the spaces in between my freetime. Then comes along a project. It is the sand that fills each chunk of freetime up. Okay so maybe it doesn't fill it up because I resist it, but you can never have a moment of freetime where you think, "Ahh, nothing to do," because above your head a research paper swings like the sword of damacles... or sand... whichever visual does it for you.

A fund... just for me!


Okay. So as I was browsing the internet this morning instead of doing the homework that I should have done, I came across a most peculiar site. www.Nummafunds.com lets you set up a fund for any cause. Then people go to Nummafunds and type in a code, go to a vendor's site, buy something, and a percent of that purchase is donated to the fund. So out of curiosity and interest, I made my own fund to support my latest plan.


It is called Gabe's Cruise. After realizing that cruises are only a couple hundred dollars, I have been considering going on a cruise this spring. Anyone else want to come? I was thinking Mexico or the Bahamas. Anyway, there are a bunch of retailers that will contribute to my fund as long as you go through Nummafunds.com. I picked iTunes, eBay, half.com, buy.com, tigerdirect,com, amazon.com, netflix,com, 4inkjets.com, backcountry.com, gap.com, oldnavy.com, overstock.com, toysRus.com, shopadidas.com, and some other ones. I figure that if I buy from these sites regularly, which I do, why not get something back? They'll donate anywhere from like 1% to 10%+ to my cruise fund. So if you want to participate in my experiment that'd be great. I don't want you to buy anything you weren't planning on. However, if you are going to buy something from those sites, remember me.


It's easy to do. You don't need to register. Go to www.nummafunds.com, type in "cruising" as the fund code, and then click on the vendor to go to their site. Thanks everyone! I figure this will be an interesting experiment:-)

Body for Sale

You heard me right. I am now putting, or at least considering, putting my body on the market. In the past I've limited the prostitution of my body to its plasma. But, as many of you know, there was an accident at BioMedics two weeks ago which involved me, my blood and almost a hospital trip. My pint of blood was robbed of me and I am on an 8 week hold until I can sell my plasma again.

I'm convinced plasma is just a gateway activity though, because yesterday I learned about another lucrative venture. My friend, well she became my friend yesterday, told me that she participates in medical research. No, she doesn't wear goggles and work in some lab on campus for $7 an hour. She lets Life Tree Research do tests on her and pay her. One involved them rubbing habanero paste or something on her (doesn't sound too bad). The other involved the testing of a topical anesthetic. She made a couple hundred on one and $150 on the other. Doesn't sound too bad. So, she gave me the number and I'm going to call them. Either I've become more financially saavy, or just more desperate. You tell me.

Trail of Tears

In consequence of my miserable walk to campus tomorrow, in particular that monstrous hill, I've considered renaming it the Trail of Tears. Okay, so maybe it isn't the most appealing title, but it sure is better than Rape Hill. I mean, I guess that's part of Rape Hill. Maybe there are only certain portions of that hill included in the Rape Hill title. I guess I'm not quite sure, and I doubt they have Rape Hill titled on the university campus maps. It will be a sad day if they ever do.

Anyway, that hill is ridiculous. I don't mind walking up the hill on a normal day. It's kinda nice, stretches out your legs. But how about walking on it when it is snowing? Time to hang it up. BYU grounds team, or whoever is in charge of it, somehow has the talent of shoveling it in just the right way so that instead of fluffy white snow that is annoying but allows you to get some traction, it is now a slick sheet of slush that effectively robs you of about 50% of your walking efficiency. I would much rather walk in snow than on slush. Oh well. Plus it also scares me when you're walking up that hill and someone in one of those BYU trucks comes cruising by on the bike side. Sure we've got a separater but still, I didn't see any pictures of a truck on the signs at the top or bottom of the hill.

So, even though I have yet to see blood in the snow on the south hill, I still propose a renaming from Rape Hill to Trail of Tears.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Could you remind me?

Yesterday someone asked for me to set up an appointment with the bishop. After I gave him a time he proceeded to inquire as to whether I could remind him about it. Caught off guard at the peculiarity of such a request as I always am, I hesitated, not knowing how to respond. Apparently I wasn't aware that my calling involved keeping the both the bishop's schedule and those of the ward members. Thankfully he backed down and reclaimed the responsibility to keep his own schedule.

I think that is a funny request though. Perhaps one should take it as a compliment that people think highly enough of your memory and organizational skills that they would entrust you with reminding them of important events. I usually don't. Often I am left puzzling why they think that I would have any more of a chance of remembering something that they are doing sometime in the near future. Personally I think it is just an attempt at passing the buck. It usually occurs in response to a request to do something by another. In a way it is a sort of sword-fighting parry: "You may ask me to be responsible for this matter, but I will make you responsible for making me remember to be responsible for this matter."

Possible responses I've thought of are, "No," "Yeah... (and then proceed to execute your duty by reminding them then and there)," and "Yeah, but could you remind me to remind you?" Usually I just say "Uhmm..." with a look of incredulity on my face.

Customer whats?

I was driving home from volleyball today and stopped at a stoplight, only to turn my head and notice an interesting Taco Bell sign. The sign second from the left reads in big print, "Now hiring customer maniacs." Excuse me? The ambiguous grammer of that phrase left me wondering what type of person they were looking for. Did they want employees that are maniacal about customers or just maniacs that had been customers of Taco Bell.

Webster defines "maniac" as "1) Madman, Lunatic" or "2) a person characterized by an inordinate or ungovernable enthusiasm for something." If they were looking for employees with an ungovernable enthusiasm for customers, lets just hope this enthusiasm is in a safe, service related sense, none of that following the customer home stuff.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Screen shopping

About a year ago I was introduced to woot.com. Every day they have one deal at a fairly cheap price and they just sell it till it is gone. Shipping I think is always $5 and they've sold anything from laptops to robot vacuums. I'm not quite sure why but every day I log in to see what is being sold. It's not like I've ever actually been close to buying something. I don't even have an account there. I usually just sit there and think about how good of a deal that is, ponder how it could improve my life, and then conclude by being content that someone out there, actually multiple someones are getting a sweet deal. Then I leave to return the next day.

Someday I may buy something from Woot, but the problem may be their selection. I mean sure, I buy bluetooth headsets or flash drives, but I have a hard enough time waiting for the delivery truck. To think that I would wait around for Woot to offer my current desire is quite improbable. Someday the coincidence of wants may line up and I'll become a wooter. Until then I'm content screen shopping.

A new leaf

Facebook's lost its fun. I'm not sure if it is the meaningless groups, the unchanging profiles, or the fact that the events that people actually attend are rarely the ones created on facebook. Whatever it is, my desire for self-gratification and self-expression has combined with my enjoyment of James' blog and has led me here. Hopefully my life is blogworthy.