Thursday, February 28, 2008

BYU Underground

Okay, so maybe I'm a blogoholic and addicted to blogohol, but this post was way too good to pass up. And maybe the term BYU Underground is a misnomer because what I am about to describe does not exist under the ground... it doesn't even exist in the basement. It actually is on the ground level of the Benson building... so maybe that person should have just written "BYU Ground," but I guess that isn't as catchy.

Without further ado, my new favorite place on campus is under the display cases in the Benson. People write really funny things. Here is a selection:

"BYU Underground!!!"

"Tonsel Hockey" w/ a big awkward heart drawn around it.

"O chem will kill you!"

"It's true o chem kills"

"What it do baby boo?"

"And to think I never knew about this place!"

"Rachel B and Austin I forever!! 6 months and going strong"

"Don't take MFHD 210 with David Nelson! The class sucks!"

"Stephanie Anne Nielson is DAMN FINE! - 2005" (damn was penciled out, so I wiped the pencil away restoring the quote to its historical context. Actually, someone also had changed the M to an R as well)

"If my love life were chemistry I'd be nothing but a spectator ion - Kurt"

"We kissed under here! :-) Vanessa & Dave"

"I wish I kissed under here... :-("

"I wanna kiss under here too! tres romantique!"

"BYU Athletes are spoiled little idiots who get everything handed to them while we have to work our butts off just stay here (sic)" (This person appears to have to work their butt off just to make coherent sentences)

"Amen to that" (referencing above quote)

"Shawn lost his virginity here"

"To a man" (Appended to above quote)

"Hi Brigit. Happy birthday"

Anarchy symbol

"Um, dumb!" (in reference to above symbol)

"Talking leads to touching and touching leads to chicken (crossed out) sex (obviously not written by original author)" (I don't think chicken was written by original author either)

"Glue" (with an arrow pointing to a spot of dried glue)

"Can't stop the asian invasion"

Okay. There may be more... but my shoulder hurts from blogging under here.

Oh, and in an effort to verify the accuracy of these statements, I looked up Stephanie Nielson. She's married so I can't comment. And Shawn? Well I'm kinda glad Shawn doesn't have a last name.

Reflections of a man who once was a small child

I remember contemplating many mysteries as a child. I'll share three of them, still unresolved.

First, I remember being flabbergasted at how society could ever reach the state of advancement it is in today. The scenario in my mind was this, how could you ever make a computer chip on a deserted island. Perhaps my problem was expecting that it could be done in a matter of years.

Second, I remember being awestruck at the origins of languages. In my mind, I pictured two middle-aged learned men in a lab of some sorts deciding it was time to create language. They proceeded by picking up objects, making up words for them, and deciding on a spelling for each. I suspect this view may be a little less than entirely accurate.

Third, I remember thinking that sterilization of anything must have been impossible. Sure I knew that boiling sterilized things. But how could you hold something that you want to sterilize without contamination from the unsterile holding instrument. Essentially, how could you ever sterilize something if you didn't have something sterile to hold it with. For example if I had a pair of tongs I wanted to sterilize by dipping them into boiling water, and I decided to hold the tongs with another unsterile tongs, the germs could crawl from from the unsterile tongs to the sterile tongs. Someone told me a couple months ago that germs can't crawl... but I'm not so sure about that. I don't recall discussing the means of germ locomotion in Bio 240.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Excerpts from my morning cross-campus traverse with bonus commentary

"If I'm not bear hunting I'll definitely be there." - Between two students.

Now, my first impression is that this is a lame excuse and perhaps a little over the top. Bear hunting??? I mean, I hope that bears had at least been previously mentioned in this conversation, otherwise this is a really lame excuse. The way I see it, chasing after a large animal that could easily kill me, just so I can shoot it and eat its sub-par greasy meat, is one of the last things I would want to do. In fact, I have so little desire to do the aforementioned activity that you could probably even ask me questions as absurd as "Do you want to come over tomorrow and clean my whole house?" before I would even consider using bear hunting as an excuse. I wonder what this guy was asking his friend to do?

"He took $1600 from his wallet." - Student A
"Why did he have $1600 in his wallet?" - Student B

First of all, that sucks. $1600 is a whole lot of Roosevelts. In fact, 16000 of them. But seriously, $1600 in your wallet? Come on... really? Maybe he was conducting some sort of integrity test. I've seen several such tests conducted, though never with such high stakes. Two years ago my friend TJ stayed at James' and my place and left his suitcase open with, I believe, two $50 bills resting in a see-through mesh pouch. We all knew we were being tested, and eventually it was too much for us. We took the money and put them behind another paper so we wouldn't be tempted the rest of the day.

I conducted a similar test two weeks ago when I lost my wallet. I got a $100 loan from my fam and each night I just stored all the change out in the open in my room. I was trying the worthiness of my two new roommates. Actually, I never really counted the money... so I don't really know if they passed...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions... and Unbought Stuffed Dogs

"In return, the heart say France's Jews suddenly stand up and blood flows or falls down to your feet and less returns your heart for few beats. You suddenly have an abrupt increase a lie down and blood slut rushes into the heart."

No, that wasn't a direct quote from an email in my spam folder advertising free \/IAGRA. That was actually supposedly a direct quote from my physiology class.

You see, many professors always try to stay on the cutting edge. I guess some, like my Evolutionary Bio teacher isn't (last time I visited him he was typing away on his typewriter). Some, however, are always switching things up, trying to find the most effective way to teach. The survey is still out on some of these methods, such as in my Physiology class.

It is a pretty good class, and I like attending it. The teacher, however, has tried to harness a little too much of the computer's power. So we've got our normal powerpoint presentation going on on the main screen. Then the teacher brings in a wireless router so we can get wireless in the MARB basement. We also have a TA that has not one, but two laptops. One laptop he uses to get online and answer questions that we can post (if we bring our own laptops) during class on the blackboard discussion groups feature. Then the other laptop is hooked up to a separate projecter which projects on a separate projection screen. This laptop has a couple things open on the screen. The first thing is the polling boxes for our I-Clickers. You see, we get graded on class participation. On every slide we need to click in: A if we get it, B if we are ready to move on, C if we are confused, D if we think the slide is dumb, and E if the teacher made an error. Sometimes these polls are open for a couple slides and so you never really know when they are going to open or close. You always have to be on alert, or just do what I do and randomly click your clicker on a random button so you get the participation points. If you click in on less than 70% of the polls, you don't get your participation points that day. The sad thing is that he only looks at the poll screens about once a week.

But the best part is the rest of the second projector screen. Here is displayed the crowning use of robot power. My professor wears a microphone, but it isn't for amplification. In fact, it isn't amplified. He wears it so that this DragonSpeak box connected to the second TA laptop can receive what he is saying. This little box transcribes what our teacher says on the remaining portion of the second projection screen... or at least it tries to. There is a word document open on this projection screen that is constantly attempting to transcribe the lecture. Maybe this would work if this wasn't a physiology class, but probably not. In fact, I think our teacher spends a lot of time training his little Dragon with all the physiology terms. So the problem really isn't the tough words, its everything in between. In fact, this system works so badly, I believe that you are better off not trying to remember what he just said, than to try to look at the screen and sort it out there.

So yeah, you read pretty funny things on the screen. Anyway, that is my technologically overwhelming class. I need to submit this post before he unplugs the router...

Monday, February 25, 2008

Thoughts across campus

Two snippets of conversations that I wished I could have listened to:
"...the radioactivity per gram of cesium..." - Two middle-aged men
"...our relationship is exactly where it should be..." - Two male students

I'm grateful for friends who call me when they see me hurrying past their office on campus.

I think something disgusted me about the idea that the Wyview Ball's theme is "I do. I'd do it all over again," and that the dress is "wedding attire optional." Sounds like an awful dance.

I'm still trying to figure out how I felt about the girl who unicycled past me on her way to the ESC.

Heisenberg was Wrong!

Actually, I don't think he was, that was just a grabber, and what reaches out and grabs you like a bold statement about quantum mechanics? But anyway, sometimes I find myself (okay, maybe two times... this morning and maybe some other time) sitting and thinking about Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. What am I thinking? Well I am thinking, okay yeah, Heisenberg said we couldn't both know the speed and the location of an electron at a moment, but maybe we will some day when technology gets better.

Now I don't understand Quantum Mechanics very well, but I am pretty sure Heisenberg was saying that it was impossible. And not just because we didn't have the technology at the time. Basically, I don't think we'll ever be able to do that. For some reason that is slightly disconcerting to me.

I hope that some day we can develop the technology to better police our electrons, even though Heisenberg is a naysayer. I also wish Heisenberg would stop hating on my optimism (even if it is a little unfounded).

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Irrational Thoughts

Yesterday I was eating a delicious bowl of Ramen Noodles. I was also walking around wrapping up some loose ends in the complex. Anyway, at one point I realized I needed to put an appointment into my phone before I forgot. So as I stood on the second floor balcony, I precariously rested my bowl and spoon on the 1.25" wide railing. I distinctly remember thinking, "I sure hope we don't have an earthquake while I have my bowl resting there. It'd be toast."

What I found so amusing about that thought is that it honestly was a concern of mine. There really was a moment where the biggest concern I had with the prospect of an immenent earthquake was the possibility that it would break my bowl.

For further references to irrational thoughts, please see Adam's post

Thursday, February 21, 2008

This was funny once







So, I thought this was funny for about 30 seconds. Long enough at least to take the screen clipping. And then I realized this was actually kind of sad. Sad that someone was frustrated enough with some class that they were driven to the point of:

1) Shouting - I would say that with the prevalence of the internet, it takes a lot to perturb someone so much that they would abandon all internet etiquette and give in to ol' Cappy.

2) Writing an ambiguous email - How are we supposed to help this person? I mean, I guess it is obvious that I could email them back and ask... but really, wouldn't the more obvious solution be to go to the TA or teacher and try to get help.

3) Forget to give any indication of what class they are emailing about - I love this part. Actually I hate this part. When will BYU students learn that merely stating in an email "Hey, my wife was having a baby monday and so I need notes from class" is not enough to give any indication of what class you are talking about. I suppose there is the small chance that one of the few poeple that is at all inclined to answer your plea will also be one of the few that is only taking one class on Mondays, but... no... no there isn't. Please, if you are going to be tactless enough to subject a whole class to your constant pleas for help because you can't attend class, rather than getting a study buddy, asking a TA, or planning ahead, at least let us know what class you are talking about.

Hmm.. So once again, my empathy ruined what at first glance looked to be a very entertaining blog post.

Tip

Tip #1: To instantly feel like a high-roller, use a bill for a bookmark. Not like... a bill from a company. Even a Washington will do.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Proof








There you go James. Also, according to Urban Dictionary is blowing trees is defined as smoking the ganja. But then again, there was only one submitted definition for that phrase, which as you know, is uncharacteristic for Urban Dictionary. Perhaps it was Kanye himself that submitted it? I mean... Should we compare Kanye to Shakespeare? Perhaps he is doing to our language now what Shakespeare did centuries ago?

But yeah, on further thought... it seems to be the trend that... Well let's just say that if the users of Urban Dictionary collaborated on a legit printed dictionary, I think the 4th definition for about every word would either deal with doing some drug or some immoral act. Just my observation. I also pondered on how peculiar indeed it is that Kanye not only has a recollection of events that happened when he was 3, but he also knew enough to determine that Wendy had "So much soul." I certainly don't believe that I was that clued into the world to make such observations at that age.

P.S. How do you think he graduated if he got D's? Maybe that is why he had to register late?

P.P.S. If you are not James, you don't know what I am blogging about. Listen to Kanye's "Homecoming" song with Coldplay. Then reread

Monday, February 18, 2008

Comments

You can be notified when you get comments posted on your blog. Go to Dashboard > Settings > Comments. Put in your email in the last text field to get comments emailed to you. Maybe this will help you be more productive James.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

$26.87

James,

I hesitate to post a private letter to you on my blog for everyone to read it, but you leave me no options with your sudden lack of ability to answer my calls. Have no fear though, I'm not angry or upset. On the contrary, I was inspired by seeing some young ladies perform acts of service this morning wiping off windshields. So inspired in fact that I started thinking, "Maybe I can soften James' heart through a similar act of service?"

Similar? Not so much. Service? I think so. The above amount of $26.87 is ......suspenseful pause...... the amount you are getting back on taxes. That's right, I filed for you today. I interpreted your failure to pick up your W2 as a subtle hint that this would be a welcomed service. What better day to serve to than the day of love?

Overall it went okay. I mean, who ever said taxes were easy? I ran into a couple hitches along the way. I used an online service so you'd get your refund most expeditiously. Somewhere I must have accidentally thrown in an extra zero in your gross earnings, because it said you owed $6,000 dollars in state taxes, a far cry off from the $712 they withheld. The site, however, was a little difficult to navigate, so instead of worrying about going back, I decided to move on, but a little creatively.

Don't worry. You're not paying $6,000 in state taxes. With the use of my own creative definitions of "hybrid car" and "adopted a child in the last 12 months," I was able to score you some sweet tax credits. These brought your taxes down considerably. You are even getting $26.87 back. Oh, and your wife (you now have one) is also a wounded veteran of the current Iraq conflict.

Now I know you may be thinking this is risky business, but I think the odds are with you. Seriously, you are just one of how many that have filed this year? I'd say you didn't even earn enough to be a concern to the IRS, but they might think you have since your income is off an order of magnitude. Fear not though, I was not completely careless in covering your tracks (read my tracks). Not only did I make up a bogus social security, but you now live on 148 Rimmington Circle Topeka, Kansas. I figure that from the time that you first find out the IRS is after you, this should give you a couple weeks to put some distance behind you. If I recall, your passport is also still valid for another 6 years.

Anyway, all in all I think they went pretty well for it being my third time filing (and first time claiming most of these credits). If you have any questions feel free to call me from a payphone. I don't know if I told you but AJ's dad works for the NSA.

Hope this letter finds you well,
Gabriel Proulx

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sometimes I feel like my humanity is being questioned


You know what I mean, when you are trying to sign up for something online or post a comment and the website asks you to verify that you are human? Well, I'm sick of it. Sure, sometimes they are easy enough, other times they aren't. I admit, I've failed a couple and been "detected" as a robot. Come on, I don't think they are supposed to be that hard. More disconcerting than the fact that you have to resubmit the whole page, is the nagging idea that someone out there questions whether you are even human. I guess somewhere in the back of my head I also feel as though this test of humanity comes with consequences. Perhaps each time I fail, I slip further towards being a robot and eventually will lose all touch with reality.

The thing that scares me the most is where this word verification is headed. Apparently making up a nonsense word and putting some curves in it is good enough to fool some robots. But what about as robots get smarter? Perhaps someday the criteria for judging if you are human will have to rest on probing whether you feel human emotions:









Anyway, I think there is reason to be concerned.

In other news, I called T-Mobile Thursday to complain about how the internet service for my phone is sub par (wait... wouldn't sub par be a good thing in golf?). Katherine was very nice and gave our family plan 50 more minutes for last month and gave me a $20 credit.

However, I bought this De-Icer can from the auto store the other day and have since discovered that it should be labeled "Re-Icer." In my experiments with my windshield it makes scraping your windshield about twice as difficult. To date, the only people who I can imagine would benefit from such a product would be weightlifters, football players, or other such people that search not just for the road less traveled, but for the much-more-difficult-rocks-in-your-way-cars-and-heavy-sleds-that-need-pushing-filled road. The problem is, the only phone number I have been able to locate on the canister is one for an emergency line. Although interesting to ponder what type of emergencies one would have involving their iced windshields, or better yet the type of people who would rather call the emergency number on the back of a windshield product rather than the good ol' 911, this number does nothing for me. Well, I guess you can't win them all.

The final thing I was going to blog about explains why I have been averaging 5 or 6 hours of sleep this past week. Adam blogs a fair amount about his dating life, and although I talk a lot about mine, I haven't every really blogged much about it. I think there is the concern that the people mentioned would find my blog and read my posts (although I guess similar situations could be conceived involving Katherine from T-Mobile, Hal from Armourall, the Wrigley's lady, and other such customer support specialists finding my website and reading my posts about them). Anyway, there's this girl that I have liked since I met her at my first stake dance when I was 14. She's pretty much amazing. I guess she likes me and so talking on the phone has been occupying my 11PM to 2AM hours most nights. She lives in Cali, but she's the type of girl that is worth me ignoring minor details like that.

P.S. Since you don't answer my calls anymore James, and since posting on my blog is probably the most efficient way to contact you right now, call me. Not only are we holding your W-2 ransom, but we need to catch up. Maybe bring Settlers over tonight.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Exciting news!

Alright, some exciting news. First off, I think it is awesome that Uchtdorf is in the Presidency. I think this is an amazing Presidency. Personally I think that Elder Eyring is one of the most moving apostles we've had. I don't know what it is about him that I connect with, but I connect.

Now, as you all now, I ordered a shirt off woot the other week. It was a random shirt. Once again. I was quite pleased with it. Here is a pic...















Uhm... Next up is my recent conversation with Dax. Yeah, that's right. Either Dax or an imposter. I am not sure yet. But anyway, I found him on Facebook, added him, and then msged him weeks ago to try to get him to respond and get some type of friendship going. Success!!! All I can say is... success.













I haven't decided yet what to write back...

Okay, so I thought this was pretty cool today. My roommate Patrick brought this to my attention. Michelle Obama met with two apostles today. While we are on the topic of Obama. I don't know what has gotten into me, but this election has re-energized me. It is like when you get excited about something and it is so clear to you that you want to just tell everyone and expect them to get excited too, but you sometimes forget that everyone doesn't see the vision? I don't know what it is, but I am so excited and filled with hope for America's future when I think that Obama may be our next president. I showed his Yes We Can speech after his rout in South Carolina to Sharon, Anthony, Ashley, Nate, and some others Sunday night, and it was electrifying. It gave me chills to listen to his message of solidarity. Call me crazy, but there is something that is happening with his campaign that hasn't happened in along time. People who have never voted for, people who have become disillusioned, people who have never thought twice about politics, people from every walk of life are getting excited about Barack's message.

I don't think there is any stopping him. I know that is a risky statement on the eve of Super Tuesday, but I think he keeps on building momentum. If you feel differently about him, I challenge you to watch A Call to Renewal, his MLK Jr. day speech, or his Yes We Can Speech and then tell me that this guy doesn't have the fire to change the hill.

And finally... I feel a little like Daxflame gloating this way... But I scored 100% on my physiology test today. Yeah... some professional test takers don't even score that much in entire semester! :-) Anyway, to be honest it was some lucky guessing, but it felt good:-)

Happy Super Tuesday all!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Coca-cola bear is an athiest?

Remember a couple months ago when you were getting those emails from your concerned christian friends about The Golden Compass forwarding Pullman's athiestic agenda? You know, they told you not to go see it because they thought it would be the demise of christianity? While I have to give that forward credit as perhaps the first one to check out true with Snopes, I've got an even more compelling reason to not watch The Golden Compass. How about, it was awful...

To sum it up, if you are hankering for the type of action you think The Golden Compass has, you'd be much better off procuring copies of Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, Quigley Down Under, Harry Potter, Stardust, and some Coca-cola commercials and then rapidly switch them in and out of your DVD player. In fact, despite loading time for each new disc, the plot line of your newly created movie may just flow a tad smoother than that of The Golden Compass.

Hmmm... Maybe I should look into starting a syndicated movie review column.

My debut

After my foray into the modeling world, I decided to try my hand in the world of cinema. Here is a class project my roommate Devin shot last week. The stipulations were that it had to a one shot film with no post-editing. Surprisingly enough it was also a one take film after much blocking. Tell me what you think.