Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Just a quickie

I needed to sort out my thoughts for a bit, so this is an interlude before the rest of my Thanksgiving weekend blog comes out.

Can I just say: I love my holiday instrumental station on Pandora. It is glorious.

Anyways, so I got an email from my SOC 310 professor today asking me to be his TA.

UM: THAT WOULD BE JUST AWESOME! Yes please!  Problem: I already accepted a TA position from another professor....Oh shoot, I have too many opportunities. I need to weigh the issue for a second:

For SOC 310: I adore this class. It is all theoretically based and discusses sociological and philosophical issues.  I love that.
For SOC 112: I adore this class. It is a review of sociology in general and got me excited to enter the major. Plus, the teacher is a hoot.

For SOC 310: It is 10-15 hours, so I won't get as much work time, but I would have more time for other things like studying, dating, etc.
For SOC 112: It is 20 hours a week, so I get the max I can work as a student, but I would be really busy (since I am taking 18 credits).

For SOC 310: He just barely asked me...It's a little late.
For SOC 112: She asked me last Winter semester and has asked me twice since. She loves me so much.

For SOC 310: He is a full-time professor who pulls a more weight in the department. He could write me a mean letter of recommendation. He has been a pseudo-mentor for me as I have been looking into being a professor.
For SOC 112: She is only a part-time professor but has been really helpful at getting my feet on the ground in the major. She has been a mentor for the major and going into what I want. She also has pretty sweet contacts.

I wonder if: could I ask my SOC 112 teacher to do only 10 hours a week instead of 20? Then I could do both of them :)  Hmmm....I think I'm going to go ask her right now. Or maybe an email? I'll walk over there. It isn't too far...OOh, now I'm excited! 2 TA jobs.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Weekend


This past week (I guess it was a week, not a weekend since it started on Tuesday night ending on Sunday). Anyways, I got to spend almost all of it with my family, which was awesome!!!

Tuesday, I got back, unpacked, and helped my mom cook my favorite meal EVER: bratwurst, speatzle, and boiled red cabbage (with apples and bacon). It is seriously sooooo goood. In the image, just imagine the meat as bratwurst and you got it. I really cannot get enough of this dish. It was the first thing I asked to eat when I got off my mission and my mom knew that I would love it when I got home for thanksgiving.  The food started off perfectly.  Plus, it was just me, William and mom and dad. We got to catch up some and see family plans for the future :)  I love my family sooo much.

Well, just some background, Cy lives 3 houses down the street from me. Ever since we became good friends, so have our families. Almost every year we do a little double Thanksgiving. Wednesdays his family cooks and we have a huge Thanksgiving dinner at their house. They invite us and usually some friends over and they have soooo much yummy yummy food. I loove it. Then Thursday, we head over to my place and we do it all again, but this time, my family cooks. We invited our whole family except Elizabeth (and I was very sorry that she couldn't be there).

When we went to Cy's, we also played a whole lot of street soccer (by that I mean we played on the narrow driveway on the side of their house with one goal). It was the oldies (Cy, me, and his bro-in-law) against the youngin's (Cy's bro and two friends) with Cy's other younger brother as the all-time goalie (he was awesome). We played for at least an hour and we trashed the younger ones. I'm pretty sure they didn't even score once. Or maybe once, but I don't remember. I guess it might not have been too fair since we were so much older and bigger.

Thursday morning was AWESOME! On Tuesday, my family let me know that we were all signed up for a 5k run Thanksgiving morning. Problem 1: I have never run seriously for 3 miles before. Problem 2: I have not been training or even exercising. Problem 3: The night before I played soccer for an hour and ate a huge Thanksgiving dinner. Things weren't working in my favor.  But, I got ready and went with the family. It was an interesting start as we got there 30 minutes before it started and William and I were a little confused at what was going on. So, we jogged a bit, people watched a lot, jogged some more, and did some random stretches. Who knew what we were supposed to do before a 5k? We were long-race virgins.

About 5 minutes or so before we started, we decided to eat the 25% caffeinated energy gel that they gave us as part of the SWAG. Oh ....  my ..... hideous ..... death.  It was so disgusting. I wanted to throw up right then and there. It was sooooo gross. It felt like a medicinally tropical flavored slug that wouldn't go down my throat. It just sat there waiting for me to force it down with water. Nasty. Both William and I were a little disturbed by it, and more so that my mom liked it. Ew.  That is so wrong.

Well, we started the race. Unfortunately, William and I got separated by the crowd of 700 and I was left all by my lonesome with no music or anything. I was just running. I didn't know my pace, or have a goal, or have a watch, so I just picked someone that I thought was about my ability and followed them for a while until they took off or I fell behind. Mile 1.5 went GREAT. I felt like I was going to do so awesome. But then I got tired. The next mile was HELL. I didn't know how far I was, where the race was going, or anything. I was just running, tired, and it was going on forever. Finally I saw the mile marker for 2.5.  The last mile felt like ETERNITY. There were so many times that I felt like stopping and rationalized it for the rest of the race. I know, it was not the best psychological motivation, but I didn't know what was going on.

Finally, I was running and started hearing screams (they were fake once, produced by a loud stereo system) and I realized that in the distance I would find the end. I was still dead tired trying to find where the finish was over this Irish Guy who was running in front of me. I finally realized that the finish actually wasn't that far away. It was close enough that I felt I could push a little bit harder. That was a fail though. I went for like 15 seconds and got tired. Then, the Irish Guy finally realized that it was almost the end and he decided to push on too. Heck no. Somewhere inside me I got the energy, and totally thrashed him at the end. And guess what?

I was number 40 out of 730ish participants! Isn't that awesome!? I was also 9th in my age group. What the? Guess my three problems weren't so bad after all.

Anyways, I'll finish this up later. I got to finish cooking and then head off to FHE. After that, I'll have to end this procrastination and get to the library to finish all the work I put off during the week! :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Faith: How to make your dreams come true.

Today at FHE (which, for those not familiar to my church's programs, is "Family Home Evening." Every Monday - or any night determined by the family - is set apart for family time) I had this thought on faith that I would like to share with you.

I think faith is one of the hardest concepts for our generation to conceptualize because of how abstract it is. As children we are taught that Faith is believing in something that you cannot see, whereas all throughout school we are taught that if you can't see it, then it isn't science and it isn't provable. More and more people are getting frustrated with religion because you can't prove it. Modern day science and technology leads them away from the only "proof" they will receive about the existence of God. Faith is the pathway to receiving the "signs" that testify that God exists.

Faith, as I understand it, is believing without seeing, but that is an incomplete definition. It is not just believing, but acting without knowing for sure. However, you hope that whatever you are working for will happen. For example, I think to some extent getting a degree is an act of faith both in the college that you attend and in the "power" of a degree. You go to school, you invest time, money, and work into it, for what? For the ability to say I did all this work and I have a piece of paper. You then hope that all that you learned and that little piece of paper can land you a job. That is faith. You completed that term project because you hoped that in the end, you will get a good grade, which will help you graduate, which will help you get a job. However, there is NO guarantee that the degree will get you a job (especially in this economy). You cannot be certain of the outcome, but you hope in a wonderful result.

This is faith and you use it everyday. You have faith that the country will protect you. You have faith that your credit card will still work and that the banks didn't close. You have faith every time you go to McDonald's that they will have the McRIB that the advertisements are glorifying. However, there is no guarantee and no way for you to know that they will be there. You hope for it, so you act and you find the result.

The same is the way with spiritual things. I hope in Jesus Christ who died for me and made it possible for me to live a better life. I hope in God who has a plan and purpose for my life and wants me to become good enough to return to Him. I hope in people that, while most of the time we seem just plain stupid, we are actually good-natured, divine beings that will ultimately put this world back on track. I hope in my friends and my family that if we work hard now, after this life we can all be together.  Because I hope for these things, I will act on them. I will follow what Christ has said to do to return to our Heavenly Father's presence. I will serve my neighbor with the hope of a better world. I will do my part to keep a loving family and strong friendships. That is faith. The action of what you hope for.

Otherwise, your hope is just a dream, and dreams do not come true without faith. You need to start it. How can you hope for something better without doing anything about it. It is time for you to act. What do you dream for and deeply and honestly desire? What are your greatest ambitions? There may be just a couple things you want in life, or you may want the world. Turn that hope into faith by getting started on your dreams today. Without moving your little bum to get started, you will lose hope of ever finishing.

Because faith is putting your hopes and dreams into action, it comes with a power. Once I finally started into my major classes of the subject that I finally found was my dream, I wanted to understand and really get involved with it. I put in the effort to really delve into sociology and I love it. Seriously, I feel a power every time that I study that drives me to learn and understand. It helps me continue despite it being hard and to love every minute of it. Faith is the power to make your dreams come true.

So don't just sit there this Thanksgiving. Work out what you really want in life and make it happen. This is our time. Let's not be a lame, hopeless generation. Turn your hope to faith and get what you want. I would that part of what you would all want is the truth about the purpose of life and the reason that you are here. I know that there is an answer to it. I believe to have found it, but it will be up to you to go on your own journey for the truth. However, keep searching. It is there, but you will need faith to find it.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

My Favorite Holiday: Thanksgiving!

In all honesty, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday EVER! People ask me: really??? What about Christmas? Halloween? Easter? Why Thanksgiving? All you do is eat! You do that every day...

Well, let me explain why I love Thanksgiving. Maybe this will explain why I resist the Christmas music until after the feast. Thanksgiving is the only holiday where nothing is expected. Halloween you have to get candy for everyone and dress to impress. Easter you have your "Easter Outfits" and you hope for something awesome in your Easter Eggs. Christmas has become too materialistic for me. Way too many times I get things for Christmas that I don't want/need. While I appreciate the gesture, it seems that the value of a certain Christmas has started to rely on what you get instead of what it means. 

However, with Thanksgiving there is nothing to expect or pretend. There is nothing special or exuberant about Thanksgiving. It has survived (for the most part) the commercialization that other holidays have succumbed to. It is a simple and wonderful holiday that you can spend with your family. Some people say there isn't anything special about thanksgiving, but for me it is special. It is a time to set apart from the rest of the world  and have fun with the family. It gives us time to reflect on what is really important in life and what you are grateful for. I feel that more time should be taken for appreciating Thanksgiving is really meant to be for: celebrating all of the things that God has given us and to appreciate the exploration of this country that has resulted in our United States of America.

 Let's take a little bit more time to love what there is to love and be grateful for everything that is around you.

So, for starters, I'm going to go corny on y'all and start doing some listing: Here is what I'm grateful for. I'll try to do this as often as I can throughout the week.
* I'm grateful for my family. I love them all sooo much. My parents are always there for me and have provided everything that I have ever needed. Rachel and I have had so much fun doing midnight shopping runs to Wal-Mart and watching Law and Order and Bones together. Jeremy always has the best jokes and we have a lot of fun playing xbox whenever I come home. Elizabeth always listens to my problems and we've always enjoyed playing music together. William is my buddy. We just understand each other and are able to talk about anything. Plus, our sax and cello duets are just epic.

* My roommates are just plain awesome. We are too cool for this school. Seriously, every Sunday we make this sick awesome dinner. Today we did a pre-Thanksgiving feast. It was seriously SOOOOOOOO good. We did the green bean casserole, the stuffing, the turkey, the mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, everything. It was great. Plus, Michael always makes this really, really good ice cream dessert. We always have good times and just enjoy being with each other. It is going to be weird when Cy isn't around anymore, but we'll deal.

So, I just wanted to say why I love Thanksgiving so much. I LOVE IT so much. Stay tuned.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Well, that was a fail.

So, I've been wondering something for a while. You know that person who always kills every single joke? The one who is never funny? I always wanted to know why they do that or what they do that kills the joke. Here are my ideas:

1. They just aren't funny people. That's sad.  These we call Conversation Killers:

2. They don't get sarcasm. For example, think of the HILARIOUS movie "Despicable Me". I was watching it with some friends when it got to the part where the youngest girl says at the carnival: "It's so fluffy, I'M GONNA DIE!" I had friend say: "She's not going to die. She needs to grow up."

Oh my goodness. She just killed it. Who does that? 

I mean really. It was a JOKE! Leave it alone. It was funny. I think she was the only one on EARTH who thought that. We all know that she wasn't going die, but the hyperbole made it hilarious!

3. When people try to be funny, but they don't know how. For this example, I pull from a book I read by Malcolm Gladwell called Blink. It is an amazing game and you, yes you, MUST read that. It is about the small unconscious decisions and thoughts that we make. He talked about how important it was to be able to think on your feet for improv actors. 
Wait...Was that a joke?

Bad Example:

Patient. I'm having trouble with my leg.
Doctor. I'm afraid I'll have to amputate.
Patient. You can't do that, Doctor.
Doctor. Why not?
Patient. Because I'm rather attached to it.
Doctor. (Losing heart) Come on, man.

That was not funny. The attached joke was a little punny, but all together, there wasn't anything that would make me laugh out loud. However, here is what they should have done.

Patient. Augh!
Doctor. Whatever is it, man?
P. It's my leg, Doctor.
D. This looks nasty. I shall have to amputate.
P. It's the one you amputated last time, Doctor.
D. You mean you've got a pain in your wooden leg?
P. Yes, Doctor.
D. You know what this means?
P. Not woodworm, Doctor!
D. Yes. We'll have to remove it before it spreads to the rest of you.
(P's chair collapses)
D. My Goodness! It's spreading to the furniture.

That's funny! Why? They kept going! He kept on being funny. However, many people end it. As a personal example, ME: "Oh my goodness. I failed a test. I'm just going to quit college and work at McDonald's." Friend: "Well, that's too bad. I'm sorry."  

Really. I was obviously making a joke because who ever knows me is going to know that I would never, ever go to work at McDonald's. Ever. However, they just kill it.  It would improve how funny they were immediately if they said, "That's cool. Do you think you could get me a discount?" or "Dude, McDonald's is so old school. Go for In N' Out or some place a little fancy."  Play the joke a little bit. Don't just downplay it and give up. 

This was just too good.
I think this is why when I make jokes, they sometimes go awkward. Not always because my sarcasm is a little awkward, but because people kill the joke. Then everything goes wrong. That is sooooo lame. So, people, get on the ball and just roll with it. Don't kill the joke, keep it rolling and you could be the next one on "Who's Line is it Anyway". 

Anyways, make life funny and peace out.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Classroom Porn

If you clicked on this link hoping for porno: SHAME ON YOU! Now, back to the real post.

You are probably thinking: Say whaaat??? What is this weirdo writing about? I admit that the title "classroom porn" can give the imaginative mind too many possibilities, so I will tell you to what I am referring.

I am currently in a Marriage and Family Preparation course at BYU. I know. Super-stereotypical, right? But it is an awesome class. Also very academic. My longest papers so far this semester I have written for this class. Yet, it gives great insights into the world of dating, marriage preparation, and marriage itself.

Wait, Marriage Prep and classroom porn. What are you talking about?

Well, in this class that my friend and I currently attend, there are always these 2 couples in the class who are just ... awkward as. As what? you might ask. Just think of the most two awkward moments of your life and this will fit as number three. Probably.

So, my friend gets there everyday early to save seats. However, these awkward people tend to gravitate to wherever we are sitting. No joke. We can sit on any side of the room, front or back. They follow us. It is like they are trying to hate on us. Anyways, what do they do? Well, couple number 1, which are actually two normal human beings who make up an awkward relationship are married. They are the PDA champions of the class and they would be in the running for PDA champions of BYU if every couple at BYU wasn't already proclaimed champion. No joke though.

Every class period, they kiss at least once and at least once a week, that kiss is much longer than would ever be appropriate for a CLASS SETTING. Now, imagine this right in front of you....every class....and you are probably thinking: what the? Gross. But it is true. Our professor will say something like: You should be charitable. Girl says to Boy: "You are the most charitable person ever." Boy responds "No, you are" and they start to kiss. Gag. Who taught them classroom etiquette? On the way back from class, my friend and I were lamenting such disturbing woes when I finally concluded that they are: classroom porn. They are distracting and unappetizing. Exactly what porn is. At least they are married. 

Couple #2: Not married. These are two awkward people who make up an awkward relationship. Guy holds girls knew throughout the class. Doesn't his hand get tired? They lean on each other and cuddle.  Awkward. Then, we are getting up to leave. This couple doesn't move. They just sit there in class loving each other publicly while everyone is trying to crawl over them to leave, but without touching them so we don't get involved or infected in their classroom porn. Gag.

Why do they find it necessary to put their affections in front of everyone else? Shouldn't that be a private matter? I don't know. I feel that they are trying to tell the world: "Haha! We are engaged/married. YOU ARE SINGLE you scum! We are so much better than you." Um no. Because the way you are acting: gross. There is a reason that we have the phrase "get a room."

It is rude and unacceptable. I'm fine with holding hands or a lean of the head on the shoulder, but then you are done. That is it. You can't do anymore than that. There is a time and a place for everything, so just stop it. Please.  Thank you.

Peace and Blessings to all y'all.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

In the middle

So, last week at this same time I wrote a post that got me into quite a bit of trouble. Maybe I should stop being so critical of society...However, I fear complacency.

Anyways, I was sitting here and I was going to type up some notes for my Sociology class, but I got listening to Pandora and I decided I don't want to be typing notes. I also have been reading/listening about sociology since 9:30 and as much as I love it, I need a break. So, I'm writing. I like to write. I love it actually and I want to do some more.

There are just too many ideas going on in my mind that I can't afford to not write them down. First off: Can I just say how important it is to me to express my ideas. I'm thankful for people who are willing to listen to me and let me talk things through. (I'm sorry, but I'm not talking about you who is reading the blog, but about "real" people and "real" conversations.)  My home teachers came over and one of them asked Charlie and I what we did to find our major and as I started talking about how much I loved my major I realized really why I like it:

WE TALK! All the time. Sure, there is research involved and a lot of lectures where we have to just sit there and learn definitions, but most of the time we just reason out things. It is a theoretically based science and so every theory must be discussed and evaluated. I love that! I love giving my ideas and listening to others and working out the kinks. We learned about a prominent modernist thinker who thought that this kind of relationship with others (the exchanging of ideas) is how we will progress to becoming the perfect society. :)  He believed that as we keep mixing cultures and ideas then we will soon mesh all the ideas on the planet and we will have to bring out all of the truth/rationality in every one until we perfectly understand our universe.

Anyways, I think that is so true. I don't know if we will ever get to understanding our universe perfectly by just talking (I think some other things need to happen first), but I do strongly believe that whether religiously or in more secular subjects, we can understand the world better as we talk and exchange with each other. One thing I need to work on is listening more to what other people have to say. I don't want to be one of those guys who just thinks he knows everything. I want to grow and become, so I need to learn from everyone if I want to do that. I hope I'm becoming better.

However, I think in our society we are becoming less and less conversational. Things are getting too mechanical for me. Emails, letters, texting, etc. (Phones and Internet in general). It leaves out a lot of opportunity for two or more people to converse. I would wish that every blog that I write that someone would respond to it and give their two cents. However, few people have time or desire to write down a response. Unfortunately, fewer people will take time to sit down and talk with another person about ... anything. There is so much in the world to learn about and talk about! From the purpose of life to the reason we have politics to the life of a flower to how mathematics can help the world. How vast is our knowledge.

Usually when I go to the BYU Library I go to the bottom two floors. Today, as I was searching for a computer, I ventured up to the 5th floor. As I went, I realized that there are so many books and so many other resources here that range from anything we could talk about. There is so much knowledge in the thousands and thousands of books here. (I don't know how many, but that would be pretty awesome to find out). 5 floors of books! Isn't it great! And this isn't even the largest university library. And the largest university library isn't even the largest library! There is so much to read and learn! Can't get enough.

Anyways, thinking of that, I realized why I selected my major. I could have done Music, Business, or something else, but for me I need something that will let me learn through experience and reading. Already there has been so much experienced that it would be a shame if we didn't use it. I need something academic. So, instead of going to Communications or Business Management, I looked at the Sciences. The "Hard" sciences weren't going to do it for me because I can't imagine myself working out chemical or mathematical formulas the rest of my life. So, I started to look in the social sciences. What could get better than people and academia? Nothing. Sociology: the branch of the social sciences that I can most relate to. I love it. It is soooo me.

Now, I'm not saying that the other majors/careers are bad or lesser than mine. But that's it. They are not for me. Everyone needs to find their own niche, their own reading corner for their life's ambitions. Some people do love hashing out equations, and I thought I did. But, I moved on to something that works better for me! :)

Now that you know I don't hate the other majors, I wish the other majors would stop hating on me. So many people, even my family, asked why sociology? Do you want to be poor? It sounds boring? It's a "soft" science. Well, to you hard sciences, take this problem shown by one of my professors. He put up a differential equation and asked if anyone could solve it. There was a math major who said that if she had enough time she could do it. Then, he said he was going to put up a "soft science" question and see if anyone could solve it:

Solve Poverty.  

Who's the hard science now?

Anyways, I just thought that was funny because of all the beef I get about doing social science. Did you know that my career path is in the top 10 most financially affluent masters degrees? Eat that. Besides, even if it was not that lucrative, at least I love it! Apparently you don't get any happier in life when your salary is over 60,000$. Well, so there.

Anyways, I went from loving to write to defending my major choice and I got to go to class now. Peace y'all and don't be hating on the writers or the readers!