Saturday, December 27, 2008

Freely ye have Received, Freely Give

I was reading in Matthew 10 the other day and came across verse 8 that contains the admonition, "Freely ye have received, freely give." Coincidentally I was also reading King Benjamin's address in Mosiah 4 and came across similar admonitions.

It got me thinking about the financial security I have enjoyed, despite being a student, the benefits I get from various organizations, and the obligation I have to support these organizations. I use wikipedia several times a week and strongly believe in their efforts to bring useful information to everyone. I believed in Barack Obama's campaign and the potential good he can bring to the country. I've also listened to days and days of This American Life and consequently now have at least one story that applies to any possible conversation topic. None of these organizations is possible, at least in its current efficacy, without public support, not just social, but monetary support as well.

It is extremely easy to rely on the next person being the one to donate and continue to fund our favorite organizations. However, maybe it is my guilty conscience, but I often feel the nagging need to move myself out of the freeloader category.

In a way, I view donating as both an investment and a test of one's own character. It is often a selfless investment in the future. We are investing in the ability of future generations, no matter what socioeconomic status, to gain information about the world, investing in the preservation of our world's natural resources, investing in the future leadership of our government, etc.

I think it is also a test. It is easy for me to espouse my idyllic views about the world. But when push comes to shove, the true question of my values is asked when those values require sacrifice. It's easy to talk about preserving the environment, or helping kids in Africa, or how great Wikipedia is, but it is a lot more difficult to open up your wallet and really support the causes you "support." And I find that each time I choose to do so, I am a better person. I am less selfish, I feel like I am pulling my weight, I feel responsible, I'm a part of these causes, I've taken ownership, and I've proven to myself that my values are more important than my bank account.

So invest yourself a little. We've received long enough, let's step up and give a little. Prove something to yourself. Find out how much you really believe in what you believe in. Don't let the rest of society pull your weight.

In light of the recent economy, many organizations are facing budget crunches. The ones that survive will be the ones with supporters who step up and give back.

So, in the season of giving, I challenge us all to give to a cause we believe in. It doesn't matter who you give to, as long as you believe in them. It also doesn't matter how much you give, but I'd suggest making it hurt just a little. It'll be good for you. So, if you are up to the challenge, let me know in the comments. Merry Christmas all!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Help picking a class

Here is your opportunity to impact my life.

I need a two or three credit class to finish out my schedule for this winter. What should I take?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

There is a robot in my apartment!

This morning for some reason I had the urge to satisfy some lingering questions about dishwashers:

- Does the silverware really need to be placed handle-down? Cause I hate touching the top, and if I could put them in handle-up, that would be so much easier.

- What really goes on inside of them?

- Do the dishes need to be oriented around the center or can they all face one way?

- Are dishwashers classified as robots?

Okay, I admit the last one wasn't really a question. I mean, I didn't know it should be a question of mine until I read an article on HowStuffWorks that said, "Basically, a dishwasher is a robot that cleans and rinses dirty dishes." I don't know why, but that really surprised me. I never considered them robots, but now I will. They will now get the respect... or disrespect (considering my usual leeriness of the bunch), that they deserve.

I wasn't really able to find out if the dishes needed to be oriented around the center, but on one of the videos that I watched (yes, there were multiple), the lady loaded them that way. So the verdict is still out on that but I imagine that you should judging from the many videos of the inside of a working dishwasher that I also watched.

I found that it is a little more difficult that you'd think to find good quality video of the inside of a working dishwasher. And once I did, it was a lot less fulfilling than I thought it would be. I don't know what I expected, but I guess I expected a little more action. They are actually quite boring. Of course, none of the videos I watched included soap, and that might give me the added excitement I need to justify searching Youtube for dishwasher videos.

And finally, yes, the silverware needs to be placed handle-down, except for knives which for safety reasons should be handle-up. But that leads me to believe that if knives get clean handle-up, other things could get clean as well in the same orientation. So I think it is fair to say that for "comfort reasons" all handles should be up.

So, that is it. And, I'm pretty sure that my worries about having interesting and productive things to do once I finished finals are quite valid as evidences by this post.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Decision

I have just sent off my acceptance of University of Pittsburgh's offer and my declinations at the other universities.

University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine Class of 2013 here I come!

The Dangers of Wiki

- "An apparent Muslim, Obama could use the Koran when he is sworn into office." -- First paragraph of Conservapedia's article on Obama

- "Grant him the unconditional love he desires. If you really want to hold onto him, you must accept that commitment is not to be. This does not mean you become a doormat. Long-lasting affairs are built on trust, intimacy and respect, just as any good relationship is. Usually long-term affairs are affairs of the intellect as well as affairs of the heart and body." -- Tip #5 of 6 from wikiHow.com's article How to be a Mistress
(emphasis added to highlight ridiculosity)

- "Shake down small businesses legally by launching spurious lawsuits against them. Have your lawyer do all the legwork filing and offering 'a deal' at a reasonable rate to make the suit go away. Split the proceeds. All you have to do is find something to be 'angry' about at various businesses." -- Method #9 of 20 from wikiHow.com's article How to Get Money without Working

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Cooking tip #2

Let me let you in on a little secret I've found. There is absolutely no circumstance in which one should put an intact egg into a microwave, shell-full or shell-less. I repeat, the is no conceivable situation in which it is a good idea to put an egg (in its oval shape, apparently you can scramble them, but that is yet unverified by me) in the microwave. Let me give you a brief synopsis of my experiences in this field of study to further develop my ethos:

Incident #1: Years ago, I decided that I was too impatient to boil an egg. I think boiling water took a lot longer when you are younger, so I decided that I could microwave this egg and speed the whole thing up. But, I'm not an idiot. At least, I'm not an obvious idiot, and I knew that if you put an egg in the microwave it would probably blow up, so I provided for that. I put the egg in the microwave and put a cup on top in case it did blow up. This way, it would all be contained in the cup and I wouldn't have to clean up much. I turned the dial and waited. KABLAAM! The egg exploded. The cup launched like a rocket. The top of the microwave was broken with several huge cracks on the inside. Fail #1.

Incident #2: A couple months ago I was again boiling an egg. I'm still an impatient person though, so I pulled it off the stove too soon. I unshelled it and bit in only to find that sickly half cooked dark yellow color in the yolk. I spit out the bite I had taken and looked at the remainder. I couldn't just waste this, I was hungry! "Ahh," I think, "I will just microwave this egg a bit just to get that yolk done." So I put the egg in the microwave thinking that only eggs with their shells intact are bad to put in the microwave. After a bit of time I open the microwave door. I can hear sizzling. Just as I am about to pull it out. KAFLAAAM (an F is used instead of a B to denote a softer explosion sound)! It exploded and spread egg guts everywhere. Now, the egg that was supposed to be on the inside of me, was on the outside and all over me. The odd thing is that it didn't explode when it was microwaving, but waited a second or two until I opened the door to explode. It was as though this little chick had a mind of its own... Fail #2.

Incident #3: 10 minutes ago I "finished" boiling two eggs. I use quotes because I shelled one, bit in and saw that sickly yellow again. Grrr. Well, if I had learned anything from incident #2 it wasn't "At any time, in any place, and under any circumstance, it is a really bad idea to put an intact egg in the microwave." It was more of a "At any time, in any place, and under any circumstance, it is a really bad idea to put an intact egg in the microwave without putting a paper towel over it to protect you against explosion" lesson that I learned. Apparently it was the wrong one. I was careful this time though, with my paper towel and my 10 second heating intervals. I finally pulled out the egg when the yolk was done. I tried to pick up the egg but it was pretty hot and so I put it down. But oddly enough I felt this area with an interesting sensation on the backside of the egg. It was... well, you know when you have the runs and your stomach is rumbling and you don't know if you can make it to the bathroom but you are sprinting as fast as you can? Yeah, it was that sort of rumbling, egg-style. I didn't think much of it, maybe it was just a hot-spot or something. Anyway, the egg was too hot to handle, so I cut into it with a knife. With not a second to spare after I pressed the knife into the egg, the "rumbling spot" of the egg gained critical mass and exploded everywhere. This moment has been immortalized in the following couplet:

Egg guts, egg guts, egg guts in my face.
Egg guts, egg guts, egg guts everyplace.

Fail #3.

Lessons I've learned:
1. Shells are not the only factor to consider here. Shell-less eggs are just as dangerous
2. The old adage about watched pots not boiling is not true. But watched eggs may not cook.
3. The eggs are getting smarter. The first one exploded in the microwave, the next one waited until I had opened the door, and the final waited until I cut in. I'm not sure I would want to know where the next one would explode.

So, I repeat for your well-being. Putting eggs into they microwave in any form (except possibly scrambled, not sure) is putting your life in the eggs hands... claws... whatever. Just don't do it. I will come over and boil them for you. I think I am getting better.

Did anyone else know this and fail to tell me? Also, how long do you have to boil an egg? You'd think with those little 3-minute egg timers that... you could do it in, well... 3 minutes. But I'm pretty positive that's not cutting it. Maybe I should put them in the crockpot and they'll be ready by dinner next time?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Weird Dream Post #2

I woke up around 3 this morning from a bizarre dream. I only remember pieces.

I remember being at some large convention center and there was an event going on. It was supposedly some concert by a semi-popular band, even though none of us at the center had heard of the band. Then somehow I remembered seeing the band members a few days earlier at a different event and remembered them going by different names. This brought me to the odd realization that they weren't a popular band, but were instead trying to scam people into thinking they were a popular band so that they would buy tickets. In fact these people weren't even a real band, they were just trying to deceive us. My fears were confirmed when I tried to go to the Facebook page corresponding to the name by which they went at their last event, and the page said something to the effect of "You've been scammed." So despite being fearful that they would retaliate, I spread the news. I don't think they were happy.

The next part of my dream found me in a field. Scattered throughout the field were blue herons. The blue herons held little pink hummingbirds in between their beaks. Every second or two the heron would shoot the hummingbird out of its mouth and it would get caught by an opposing heron who would shoot it back. I tried to walk through the field and avoid the flight paths, but a hummingbird ended running into me and falling to the earth. I forget if it got back up.

Finally, after I had traversed the field, I remember floating in a stream. The stream at one spot was more open like a lake, and then it narrowed again. At the narrowing point a fence served as the stream's left border and a large industrial plant as the stream's right border. I worried at first about floating through such a small stream with a decent current, but figured it would be okay. My fears quickly returned when, while floating past the industrial plant, I read the sign for a chute dumping liquid into the stream right in front of me. It read "Caution - Hot Butter." I clung to the fence to arrest my progress down the stream and the dream ended.

Explain that.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

(Utah county != the hood) && (you != gangster) = true

In a few years when we look back upon the lessons learned in the first decade of the 21st century, perhaps the most important one that will stand out is this: Contrary to the widely held belief at the time, flashing fake gang signs in pictures isn't actually that cool.

What do you think the most important lessons from this first decade will be?

Slaughter and laughter

Am I the only one that is disturbed by the similarities between these two words? Seriously, one letter?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Yes

OHSU, Temple, Penn, VCU, and Pitt all sent me admission offers. That's great, but now I'm not quite sure where I want to go, considering that Penn has offered me a scholarship, but Penn wasn't really my favorite school. So, do you follow your wallet or your heart? Now, that sounds like it has an obvious answer for a sideline observer, but it is a bit more difficult when you are put in the driver's seat.

Pitt is my top choice based on just the school. OHSU would be my top choice based on the location. And Penn is my top choice considering cost. Help?