Thursday, April 30, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy


I didn't think my semester was going to be so intense. I mean, 14 credits, nothing too hefty -well, there's Physics, and Technical writing. But other than that ... well, I guess the rest is just bulk -not too challenging, but pretty demanding. I'm also working for the Geology Department and serving as a Teaching Assistant to a class. And beginning two research projects for two different instructors. I'm having a blast, but feeling sort of stretched ("like butter scraped over too much bread").
I'm thinking I need a holiday. It's too early in the semester to feel this way! Oh, well. It's just school -right?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Sunday Afternoon

It was a nice afternoon for a walk. I went to the temple and took my camera. The sky was full of amazing clouds, and birds were singing on the breeze. What a nice way to spend an afternoon.

Hello, Void?

"Can you hear me? Am I getting through to you? Hello? ..."

I thought for sure that my last two entries were comment worthy. That's what I thought. I guess it was more of an assumption. And you know what assuming does... Except, in this case, there's no you in the formula. There's me and a void. Assvoidme. There you go. It doesn't really work.

I mean, I took, edited, and posted pictures of live underwater creatures! I posted my first video, that actually allowed viewers to "find Nemo"! Now, what other blog can boast a real-live clown fish in motion. I tell ya, it's a hard crowd. (I was really 'fishing' for a few good comments on that one. No biters this time around)

Now that I've successfully expelled that little blurb of bitterness, let me continue with the real post.

I was born to be a scientist. I've decided this. I've got tons of other interests, it's true. But none outweigh one very important trait that has dwelt inside for a very long time, making itself known at intervals where it could. I'm incredibly curious. You know that saying, "Curiosity killed the cat"? Well, I want to know how it killed the cat. That's the truth of it.

I think we're all born with curiosity. We come into a world full of amazing and wonderful things. As a brand new mortal being, we spend our first few years marveling at every new wonder that comes our way. This process continues, in large measure, and comes to a peak typically around the age of cub scouts. Unfortunately, it's accompanied by an equal measure of mischief that sometimes accompanies the curious kid.

As the child progreses through school, he encounters a new form of exploration: curriculum. This is the equivalent of a guillotine to the youtful neck of curiosity. The only hope for curiosity's survival is the right sort of teacher, who administers the demands of curriculum while maintaining the vitality of the curios youngster. Such is the makings of true heroism. And the French do NOT like it.

When the youth matures enough to be set free in the "higher education" realm, they are faced again with the obligation of completing science courses. And the majority rises up in revolt. It's a rather scary thing -you see, their curious heads have all been lobbed off! They're revolting because experience has taught them that science is no more than a teacher throwing facts at them so quickly that they become inundated with information to the point that if the guillotine didn't do the trick, they end up drowning. Then they're expected to regurgitate that information onto a piece of paper, which they then submit for a grade. No wonder then, that curiosity is mostly dead by that point. I'm thinking of a Princess Bride quote right about here -Westley's torture seems about what some high schoolers endure in the way of science classes.

And now, I turn to those miracle workers who bring the curiosity back. They draw back the curtains of technicality, all the equations, laws, and theories, long enough to give the mature student a view into the realm of true exploration. The inner-cub scout starts to stir. With that vision, the teacher then proceeds to lead the student along that path, and the technicalities and all are picked up along the way as tools in the toolbelt of the explorers.

If I seem a bit enthusiastic about Geology, it's because I'm in the middle of an amazing journey. I'm learning about how mountains are formed, what made our world, the planets, our universe. I am up to my ears in amazing exploration. And the greatest thing about it is, God is in it all. And I get to be an explorer for the rest of my life.

I invite all of you to reclaim your curiosity, if you've lost it, and try to remember how you would've felt about science(rocks, birds, and bugs, etc.) when you were seven or eight years old.

It's past 2:00 am. Much past bed-time.
So goodnight, dear void.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

My Aquatic Friends

Welcome to a mini-ocean. It's to be found in the Geology Museum in the Romney Building. Any quick break between class, I'll go check it out.Here's one of the newer crinoids that have joined the aquatic ranks: Here's a crab that I saw for the first time today: And here's a sea cucumber that prefers hanging on the glass side of the aquarium. Have you ever seen a sea-apple feed itself? I can go see it almost any day of the week. It tucks its arms in its mouth and eats the food off of them. (That's a couple of faculty members, Bro. Ben and Bro. Little, discussing global climate issues in the background audio)
video

Monday, April 20, 2009

Something to Sing About :)

The sun is shining in Rexburg! The flowers are blooming! A new semester has started, and I have an A+ in all my classes at this point!
My past couple of posts have been all about singing. Well, chalk another one up -this one's about singing too.
At 4:10 this afternoon, I stepped into room 282C of the Snow Building for an audition. One verse of How Great Thou Art and a few scales later (a vocal range test), I walked out the newest member of the BYUI Men's Choir. I decided to try doing choir this semester because it's always been my way to relieve the stress of school and get a reality check. (Reality check from the music department??? Yes. After studying science all day, yes.)
"Look, I know that it seems like the wrestlers get all the fancy ladies, and the free creams and lotions. But my life is good. Really good."
PS: Don't you just love the new "SUNSHINE" song? It's my newest favorite. I wonder if my shower-singing roommate knows that one...

Friday, April 17, 2009

More Music?


Today I was treated to my roommate's shower-time renditions of:
-"Ain't No Mountain High Enough"
-"Follow Me" by Uncle Cracker
-and more Josh Groban pieces.

At the end of "Follow Me", he threw in a little falsetto improvisation that had plenty of soul and lots of volume. I left the apartment smiling.
I think I'm gonna like this semester.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Whole New Apartment

You have no idea how difficult is was to find this image! Anyhow, I'm all moved in. A new place. Well, it has the exact layout of my last apartment, and doesn't seem much different, but it's got a different number on the door. And it's a bit closer to campus.
Yesterday, As I sat in my room unpacking, my new roommate (the only other one here yet) decided to take a shower. That's when I found out that he's got a nice resounding low tenor voice. In full double forte, with MUCHO gusto, he belted out "You Raise Me Up" -the classic by Josh Groban, and "A Whole New World". Yes, the Disney classic. This made my day! I'm not sure he was aware that I was still in the apartment. I enjoyed a solo concert and found out very quickly what kind of potential this guy has.
It was sort of inspiring. He had no reservations about singing out, with all he had in him, as he showered. I haven't done that in years. Where has the self-assuredness of my youth gone?
Maybe I'll return the favor and sing out next time I'm in the shower. But what will I sing? Any suggestions?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Tut, tut. It looks like...


I really want to share all of my cloud photos. But I really wouldn't know where to start. Maybe I'll just turn them into a book, one that you keep on your living room table (or next to your toilet, if that's your style; I'm not gonna judge you).
In any case, I've decided to share the ones just from today. Today, the clouds kept changing and moving. I seriously could've "parked my fanny" in a lawn chair and watched it like a stage performance. I only took a few photos, one with my cell-phone. Around 12:30, we some of the brightest white fat cumulus clouds. Then, in the late evening, the storm clouds rolled in and we've got lots of hail, lightning, thunder, and a good downpour of rain. For some reason, rainstorms always make me want to do one of three things: go for a good run in the rain and get good and soaked in that fresh goodness from above, drive around in it and splash through the puddles, or sit down with a good book next to a window, partly open, so I can see and smell the rain. It's usually the book option.
But today, it was the blog option.
Tomorrow is Easter (or "Easters" as I'm wanting to call it ever since Nacho Libre).
And while family is miles away, they can rest assured that I'm not whiling away the holiday alone in my apartment watching Charlton Heston part the Red Sea as I hang my lonely little head over my cold plate of tear-soaked deviled eggs.
I'm joining with a group of also-not-going-to-be-home-for-Easter friends for lunch. We'll have a nice roast and all the fancy fixings. They want me to bring a drink or dessert, but I'm tempted to fix up a batch o' "Taters" while I'm at it. "Easter Taters." Hmmm. I think I may be onto something. This could become a new tradition faster than you can even say 'coon huntin' on a Saturdee.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Not to Gross You Out....


Here they are. Our bathrooms. In all their resplendent bareness. There are 2 in our apartment, side by side. 3 roommates to each bathroom (not all at once, mind you). Can you guess which one is mine? The top one is a certifiable health hazard. Notice the box from the soap bar in the shower. I don't quite understand why, but somebody leaves their bar of soap in the box and put it in the shower just like that. And the used soap goes in the soggy cardboard box. Why not lay out a welcome mat and heat lamp for your bacteria colony. It's almost as inviting as the soggy cardboard. What I want to know is how they can bring themself to use that bar of soap. Have fun rubbing your microscopic buddies all over your naked body. I'll pass.
The first bathroom hasn't been cleaned once this semester. I was embarrassed to have the maintenance man come over to fix the leaky faucet in the tub a few weeks back, but then, I was too afraid to venture in there and attempt to clean it.
And some people take a shower in there on a daily basis. They are braver (or dumber?) than I.
Clean checks are coming fast, and one of them boys are gonna have to tackle that beast. They may want to borrow a biohazard suit from the chemistry department.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

100? No, really?


Usually for the hundredth post, people do something crazy and spectacular like divulge 100 random facts about themself, post pictures of groups of 100 random items, hold an online give-away, or some other such bid-ness.
I really just couldn't bring myself to do any of that. Instead, I decided to just lump together all the "I should blog..." thoughts that have been bouncing around in my head for the past few weeks all combined into one entry. That's right, the real me.

Let's start off with the picture above. It's atypical for me to blog about movies, but for post 100, I'm doing it. I've decide that there are certain movies so incredibly stupid that you find yourself with a craving to watch them on a regular basis. Ok, so homestarrunner.com is not a movie, but it fits the category, so it's in there. Those are definitely my top four.
Some of you might be thinking, "What about _______ such-and-such movie?" Well, that's your opinion. Go blog about it.
Nacho Libre is at the top of the list. Anyone who can't appreciate that movie either needs to watch it with the right person to truly discover it, or spend the rest of their life confined to the reference section of the library where they'll be content and keep their opinions to a whisper 'CUZ THEY DON'T HAVE ANY TRACE OF A SENSE OF HUMOR!
As for The Princess Bride, it's got to be the least stupid of the list, but it really is; and for that reason, I find it kind of endearing. It would only be a mediocre movie if it weren't for all the dumb subtleties in it.

If you haven't experienced homestarrunner.com, you've got to at least try it. But be warned: it's a bunch of stupid nonsense. You may consider having a guide show you the site before trying to browse the uncharted waters. A couple of recommendations from their sb emails link: dragon, crying, love poems, and dangeresque 3.
Yes. That should mush your brain enough for you to start appreciating the merit of that website.

Secondly, I don't agree with all these "cause" things on facebook. I've recieved several invites to join the cause, "follow the prophet". While it sounds great, what's the point? Am I a bad person because I'm not going to join the "Follow the Prophet" cause on facebook? Would it help to mention that the reason I can't accept your invitation to join that cause is that I'm currently involved in a group called The Buttercream Gang and helping old widow Jenkins up when she falls has become such a labor-intensive commitment that I just don't have time to devote to an online cause. I am, after all, a part of the cause to "follow the prophet" in real life. Following the Prophet isn't something as fleety as a random application on a social network. It is the outward expression of a deep inner conviction of gospel truths. I'm sorry if I've offended any well-meaning people who sleep better at night because you've found a cause online. But I'm still left wondering, what's the point? An online cause is a weak substitute for physically standing up for what you believe in. I'll skip the online cause and focus on the real one. Sorry.

Third: I've got a dillema. Let me illustrate.
I'm at a fast-food joint. I approach the menu board. I decide on what meal I want. So far, so good. But then I have to choose a side item to accompany the meal. There used to be only one option: fries. You just choose a size and get your fries. But now, you've got a whole range of options! You can choose from the following: Small cup of fruit, small yogurt with granola, fries, a cup of chili, the 5-piece chicken nuggets (with your choice of dipping sauce), or ....taters. THAT, my friends, is a dilemma in itself, but the real dilemma I'm talking about is "TATERS". I wouldn't bother with it, but for the fact that they're such a tasty item that I sometimes really want them! So, if you're wanting the "taters", how do you order an item like that? I mean, I just can't bring myself to say it! "I'll have the ....the um, ......those little potatoe, uh ...." The cashier inquires, "I'm sorry, what was that?" O gosh. I'll have to say it. I'll just sort of mumble it. "Taters." "You want what?" "TATERS!OK! I want the freakin' TATERS! I'll say it in FULL WESTERN TWANG so yer SURE tuh underSTAND. Ya heard what I said son! Now go on an' rustle me up a heap o' them TATERS!"
Seriously, who's putting the menu together in this place? Do you have some old back-woods prospector workin' on it back there? Can we expect the "Combo Meal" menu to read "Grub an' Fixins" and the side items to be labeled "vittles" sometime in the near future? Do you pay the old prospector with chicken nuggets?
It's a huge dilemma. I would just stick with fries, but gosh darn it if them tater tots don't jest make yer mouth water now and then. They've got me, and I just don't know what to do about it. I could do the little kid thing and point to what I want. I could just opt for Chinese food. Or maybe I could just learn what they call taters in Spanish. I guarantee somebody working in that restaurant would understand.

Well, thanks for joining me for post #100. We're in the triple digits now folks. There's no turning back. Excuse me, I'm gonna go fix me a batch o' them one things...

Friday, April 3, 2009

Springtime in Rexburg


I took this picture at 9:00am from inside the Romney building after my chem class. Would somebody please make the snow stop?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

One Sad Story, With a Rather Cheery End


Rather than mess with the "once upon a time" and all the other "set-the-stage mumbo-jumbo", I'm going right for the tragedy scene. Here it is: I deleted all the photos from my Grand Canyon trip up until the time we stopped to have lunch at Indian gardens. Apparently, there's a "delete all photos in this file" option. And as I tried to delete one fuzzy photo from my camera, I accidently deleted the WHOLE FILE to that point. It makes me want to yell, cry, and break something all at the same time. Honestly, who thought of that function in the first place? It's like a car manufacturer offering a "massive engine failure switch" option in their latest sedans. Seriously, I think this function was engineered by some vindictive person who tried at love and lost, just so they'd have a way to delete all photos of their ex in one dramatic push of a button. They should've added the fateful DUN-DUN-DUNNNNN! sound-effect to really get the point across.
I think most people would be irked at the fact that tons of their photos were gone for good, but for me my photos are really one of my most valued items. I don't like a lot of physical stuff, I like to live simply. But photos are my thing. Add geology to the equation, and they become ultra (yes, italicized) important. So of our 4 days in the field, the first 2 and a half are only preserved in memory and in my field notes.
But then, ....(cue the pleasant strain of sappy string music) along came Jedd. He had his camera the whole time, and it didn't trash any of his photos! And he uploaded them to the geology department's network drive, where we can all access them!
Jedd, my friend, you are a modern-day hero. But then, we already knew that.