Monday, December 31, 2007

Blogaday 2 of 20

It is but day two.

But what a day two it is!

I have previously pondered the question of, "When did I start being me?" I believe I even wrote about it here before. Much of this may be recap then. I'm going to do it anyways.

That question is so interesting to me because it is entirely dependent upon the way in which we choose to characterize me. Do we characterize me based upon an eternal identity, like some sort of super social security number? Am I me based upon my lineage, my parents, my friends? Am I me based upon the education I've received, the titles I've aspired to?

I love the question because it reminds me that I take my identity from the actions I pursue. More than who I am, it's the way that I am. I find it refreshing that decisions are what help me know who I am.

So when did I start being me? How long have I been making decisions the way that I'm currently making decisions? How long will I continue to make decisions like this?

I think that I'm constantly changing. Who I am, based upon the criteria I've looked at, is never the same two days in a row. Minute to minute I believe I'm a different, albeit only slightly, person. Factors like my health, the amount of sleep I got last night, my hydration levels, the mood of my friends and associates, the weather, all factor into the way I make decisions, which factors into who I am.

So what is the struggle? I believe the struggle is to find out who we want to be, and then, above all, to be exactly like that. To be just like that, even when you're thirsty. To be like that even when your throat hurts and you've got a slight fever. To be like that even when things didn't go well in calculus. The struggle, for me at least, is to be the person I want to be no matter the circumstances. It's not too difficult to be me when everything is coming up roses. It's the trying times that help define who I am. It's good to be a good guy when the sun is shining, but who are you going to be through the perilous night?

Integrity and congruence and persistence, those are the keys to the answer that I know I'm looking for. Integrity because I've got to know who I want to be, and I've got to stick with it. Integrity makes me happy to be one person, and only one person. Integrity won't let me be two people. I've just got to be a heck of a whole person to make it stick. Congruence because I've got to be the same outside as I am inside. Fenton said it well when she spoke of congruence being the key to healthy self-esteem. It is when we find ourselves living in discord between what is true within us and what we project without us. Be we happy or sad inside, let us be happy or sad respectively on the outside. There is no peace when we are so clearly lying to ourselves and others. If I am going to be me, I have to be the real me. There can not be an inner me and an outer me. I must be me throughout, or there can be no real me at all. Persistence because the sine graph of life reminds us all that we must remember. There are good days and bad days, and I must work through them all. Persistence because bad days will inevitably follow the good days. Persistence because I want to be me on the ups and the downs, no matter the amplitude. I will rise and I will fall, but persistence and the sweat of my brow will keep me me.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Blogaday 1 of 20

Hey everybody, Happy Saturday.

I've decided to do another blogaday. This is number three, I think. The past two were fairly successful, lasting a week each. This one aims to be more ambitious, something like twenty days. I expected to roll this baby out with a big announcement and some super cool post, but I'm not really in the mood for all that right now. In fact, maybe I'm not even in the mood to start blogaday 20 tonight.

So, that's what we'll do. I'll see what this post does. If I post tomorrow, blogaday is officially on. If I don't, it's postponed till later. I like that plan.

Yep. It's just not flowing out tonight like I'd like it to. Perhaps it's a combination of factors, but I think that I'm going to get some sleep and try again tomorrow. Tomorrow looks like a pretty great day.

So, therefore verily, I wish you all the best. I hope things are going alright. It feels like I've been gone for quite a while, but I'm excited to get back. Breaks do that to me I guess.

It's time to get back to life. Let's do this thing.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

IV

Countdown to Region Dance:

3 days. Score it!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Porpoise

I fear that I've used that title before. I have that fear a lot, it seems. Titles are important to me. They mean so much and so little. A title can go a long way. This title reminds me of dolphins. But the post has nothing to do with dolphins. It's called porpoise because porpoise sounds like purpose, and this post has no specific purpose. I mean sure, it has a purpose. The purpose is for me to say what it is I have to say. But I don't necessary have an overriding theme for the post. There's no official outline of what I'm going to say, so there's no official "purpose". Purpose didn't seem like a good title, and I might have used it before anyways. That's why I chose porpoise, because it sounds like purpose.

Yeah, titles are pretty cool.

So what's in the news? Merriam Webster just named "w00t" as their word of the year. That doesn't mean that it's going into the dictionary, but it does mean that it's got a better chance in the future. A lot of people are a little upset about it all. "w00t" isn't necessarily even a word, judging by the fact that it's spelled with two zeroes and all that. People have come to expect something epic and relevant from Merriam-Webster's word of the year. A few years ago they had "truthiness" as the word. It was penned by Stephen Colbert, and represented not only the gap between what one perceives and what is reality, but a culture that was willing to reject the shackles of grammar for effective meaning. It was a good word.

But what does w00t really mean and represent? When I first heard the news that it was selected as word of the year I was pretty overjoyed. I use w00t all the time. It's plastered all over this blog. It's a gamer term, and I take pride in having that whole culture be a part of my upbringing. I am the way I am, at least in a small way, because of the battle.net forums.

I've begun to wonder if it really ought to be the word of the year though. It does represent a cultural shift, obviously, towards a new generation with their own slang that is influenced heavily by recreation that our parents never even fathomed. The world is changing, and our language has a tendency to change with it. w00t encapsulates that.

I think one of the things that turns so many people off from w00t being the word of the year is the relatively small community that it's associated with. If an individual is over the age of 25 and doesn't have teenage children or play video games, he or she has probably never heard of it.

Most journalists are over 25, don't have teenagers, and don't play games. They therefore run about slamming on Merriam for selecting w00t.

I tend to think that w00t wasn't that bad of a choice. Yeah, a lot of folks out there haven't heard of it. A lot of folks are still running around with the idea that anybody that says w00t is some pasty LCD-monitor-tanned weirdo without friends. I've got to wonder about people like that. It's generally considered bad form for journalists to generalize and insult an entire group of people with no regard. I think it's hilarious that they're doing it to gamers. I suppose they figure none of us read the paper.

So here we are. Apparently I'm a recluse with no tan that plays D&D all day long simply by the virtue that I use w00t. Bahahahaha.

I feel pretty good about myself. I know that I'm a pretty decent person. To that, I say w00t.

And so, therefore verily, I'm going to set about on a quest. I'm making it my person goal to prove that those of us who w00t are not all social rejects. One day, when I'm rich, I'm going to complete one heck of a business deal. I'm going to shake hands with some other moderately wealthy individuals. We'll hold a press conference announcing how rich we all are.

And I'll say w00t. That's what I'll say. I'll say it right into the NYTimes reporter's audio recorder. Maybe I'll even spell it out. Or, I could say something smooth, like "w00t! Business merger FTW!" and see what they make of that.

Because I feel like a fairly successful person. Don't take this for arrogance, but I know that I'm not a failure at life. I'm out to prove to all the naysayers that I'm not scum just because I say w00t. I'm going to do it.

Does w00t deserve to be the word of the year? I don't know, really. Merriam didn't just make an executive decision. There was voting and all that good stuff. There are 20 or so other words that were runner ups. But here we are, it's 2007 and w00t is the word of the year. The issue to me isn't it's WOTY status, it's the hilarious insults being tossed my way by the ignorant press.

Now, really, most of the insults have come from columns, not actual stories. Most stories have been very objective. But all you column writers. You just watch out. Cause you're gonna get pwned by a man that says w00t. Oh snap!

Need

I find myself wondering what to do next. This week has been an entertaining one, albeit an entertaining one lacking in the progress department.

But here I am, on saturday, wanting to make progress. But I don't even know where to start!

And so I think I need a list. A list of things I want to be and things I want to do, and the things I need to do in order to get there. I worked on some scholarship apps today. That was good gravy. I figure I've got a decent shot at some cool ones.

But yeah, I need a list of things I need to get done so I can get working on them. I also need to post more. And higher quality and all that.

Yep.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Placeholder!















A good post is coming tomorrow. In the meantime, enjoy a picture that's been posted elsewhere, but is still pretty cool. Much love for the fence.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

College Race - Update


I like to keep tabs on what colleges are sending my mail. I think it's an interesting business, this college mail stuff.

In any event, BYU, as of today, is now in first place in the category of "Coolest things I've ever received in the mail from a college."

They sent, in their trademark blue bubble-wrapped envelope, a CD.

"Echoes of the Sabbath" is their promotional CD. It showcases the best pieces of all of their choral groups.

This CD is amazing. There are 13 tracks. Of those 13, five of the songs are personal favorites. Every other song is rapidly climbing the list.

I got to hand it to BYU. They sent a DANG effective piece of recruitment. I'm very attracted to the music programs at BYU. Not that I'm a real musical guy, but being in men's chorus would be one of the coolest things in the world.

Maybe BYU sent this to everybody on their list, I don't really know. Maybe they flagged me as a music loving guy somehow. Either way, they nailed it. I had no idea, but apparently this was what I wanted for Christmas.

Yeah, I'm very impressed with their CD. And I love BYU for sending it to me. Will I go to their school? Yeah, probably not. But heck, they've got a better chance because of this amazing CD. Thumbs up for you guys.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

What I Want to Be

I've always been fascinated with my own future. Recently, though, it's become much more of a concern to me. I've been thinking about it a lot. I'll admit, I fear I'm more worried about the financial aspect of it all than I should be. That stuff is very important, but I don't believe it's the most important. I've been trying to remedy that. I want to try something a little different tonight. It's been a while since I've made a list, and I think that that's just what's in order right now. What follows is an on-the-fly list of how I want to be when I grow up. We'll see how it goes.

~

  • I want to park my car really far away in parking lots. I'm very capable of walking, and I don't mind the cold. It's good exercise for me, and I can save the good spots for old ladies.
  • I want to run in the mornings or evenings. I want to hit Jordan Parkway or some equivalent until I'm back to being strong, then go trail running in the mountains. There's nothing better than a trail run during a summer morning.
  • I want to keep my email inbox clean, and respond to people in a super timely manner. I want to correspond with friends.
  • I want to drink 1 percent milk.
  • I want to carry a water bottle everywhere that I go. Kangen 9.5 baby
  • I want to be a real blogger. I want to keep this blog alive, but I want another one to run like a business. I'm not sure what I'll write about yet, but I'd love to do it.
  • I want to be one of those guys that trades work for work. "Yeah, I'll do your roof if you'll fix my car"
  • I want to be one of those guys that goes to the library. I want to use my tax dollars to the utmost.
  • I want to be trained in first aid and CPR to the max. I want to be confident in my abilities to respond when necessary.
  • I want to plant trees.
  • I want to have hazelnut bushes and fruit trees in my yard. I want to use that as often as possible. I want to bottle and I want to share.
  • I want to recycle.
  • I want to compost like there's no tomorrow. I'll have such a heap; it'll be a beautiful thing.
  • I want to ride my bike whenever possible. Bikes are good for me and the environment. I know that if I ride my bike, I'll be a happier person.
  • I want a tomato garden.
  • I want a green roof. You know, a garden on my roof. It'll be isolated and so serene.
  • I want to mow my lawn with a push-mower. I want a state-of-the-art manual mower. I love mowing the lawn.
  • I want to utilize google docs, google calendar, and all those other great and free google services.
  • I want to take full advantage of that which is free.
  • I want to donate money to Granite Districts Academic League fund. I want to make sure that nerd games never stop.
  • I want to go to community plays during the summer at outdoor amphitheaters. Same goes for concerts in parks.
  • I want to genuinely help people.
  • I want to go on my kids' field trips.
  • I want to be one of my kids' field trips.
  • I want to do 20 push ups every night.
  • I want solar panels on the roof (not in the garden). I want my house making money when no one is home.
  • I want to shave every day.
  • I want the doors and windows of my house open as often as possible. There's nothing better than fresh air.
  • I want to read books.
  • I want to do projects outside of work.
  • I want a strong extended family. My family now and the in-laws.
  • I want to surprise people with good things.
  • I want to have a piano in my house.
I'm confident that there's more. I will add to the list as life goes on. Kind of a fun list to do.

Those are all long term kinds of things. Maybe I'll do a short term one soon.

It's important to realize that the existence of this list doesn't really mean much of anything. It would be remarkable if I could pull all of that off. It would be remarkable if I could pull almost any of that list off. But hey, it's how I want to be, and it's my blog. Sue me.

There it is. What do you wanna be when you grow up?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Powerslide (Kudos!)

So, Nate liked my pokemon reference, and he told me so in the comments. I also earned a cookie the other day for identifying a simpson's quote that he posted.

I'm starting to think it'd be cool if we created a Taylorsville-Alliance-Approved kudos system. So instead of Nate awarding me a digital cookie to whoever nailed the quote, Nate would award one official "Kudos" or whatever we decide to call it.

Of course, we'd only award them for worthy things. No kudos for something square. We could even add a counter to our sidebars that shows how many kudos we've received.

What do you guys think? I think it'd be powerfully fun. We'd need a good name, and probably a good graphic to go with it. You guys in?

Utah State's web-page has a loop of random banners. One of them is Ultimate.

Yeah, they just scored some major points in the college-search game.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Two thoughts; one includes a Falcon

It's been a rather good day. I practiced my mad music with everybody else, and I'm feeling a lot better about it now. I'm functional on almost all of the pieces. There's still a lot of work to be done, but at least I know I'm not doomed. Score one for the good guys.

I was talking to somebody a few days ago about the litmag, or the Literary Magazine for you uninitiated types. I forget who it was or why we were talking about it, but it got me thinking about it again. I have nothing but fond memories for litmag. I remember last year first semester, the only thing I knew about it was what I read on Nate's or Jaron's blog. I got called into the class so I could work on newspaper stuff, but ended up being almost exclusively a litmag man. I climbed (clumb?) the ranks and was made co-editor or something like that. It was a really good experience for me.

But it got me thinking. The literary magazine should have been a lot better than it was. By all means, we had the talent in the class to make it happen. We produced a rather attractive product last year, if I do say so myself. We worked hard and did good stuff.

And yet, the magazine itself isn't life-changing. I think the reason for that is because of the content. Yeah, there's some good writing in there. There's also some not-as-good writing in there.

But really now, the literary magazine is about highlighting the great and significant. Not the extra credit.

And so that got me thinking. What is great and significant? What have I written that is great and significant?

I don't know the answer to that question. I believe that some things I've written might have been great. I think other things might have been significant. But I want something great and significant.

And so there you have it. I am going to write something great and significant.

I am also going to abuse the text-modification, as a side note.

I am going to write a senior paper. It will not be for any class. It will not be penned in blogger's text field, it will be penned in openoffice. I'll revise it, several times. It will be on a topic of my choice. It will be a length of my choice. There will be no parameters placed upon me by anyone else.

In a way, it will be a lot like a blog post. There will be nothing between me and my paper. No teachers and rules, not suggested topics. I will write what I want to write.

And when I'm done, it will be my senior paper. It will say what I want it to say. If there is a literary magazine this year, it will be submitted. It will hopefully appear on this blog. I may just submit it to a few places to compete, who knows.

The moral of the story? I want to write something great and significant. I believe that the only way to write something truly great and significant is to write it of your own free will. Great things and significant things may come of coercive writing, but great and significant things must spring from that which we pen of ourselves.

And so I will. I know what it will be about. I've known what it would be about for quite some time now. It's something that I've learned.

Do I challenge others to write a senior paper? I'm tempted to. I think it might be a great idea. Imagine, fourteen papers that mean something? Fourteen people who had something important enough to say that they actually said it. Fourteen individuals who were not hog-tied or beaten with hoses, but spoke of their own free will. Do you know what kind of change those fourteen papers could make?

Maybe fourteen papers wouldn't make a difference. But writing my senior paper will make a difference to me.

This is the big show, and I will treat it as such. This will, with any luck, be the very best piece of writing I've ever done.

Why do I do it? Because I feel that I've got something to say, and I feel that this is the very best way for me to say it. I feel that maybe our little corner of the world needs to change a little bit, and this is the way that I'm going to change it. I'm writing an amazing paper, what are you doing?

~

It has come to my attention that we have a new dance in town. Jimmy Falcon will be held somewhere in the neighborhood of January 5th, 2008, if I heard correctly. It is a boys' choice casual dance.

It hit me this evening that Jimmy Falcon is a new dance. I don't even think it's been officially announced yet. Nobody knows anything about it other than the fact that it's guys' casual in January. Few people even know where the name came from.

And that's where I come in. School dances are rife with tradition and obligation. There are certain things that a person *must* do. Everyone knows that the girls buy shirts for Sadies. Everybody knows that you need a new dress for prom and all that. Guys are supposed to get pictures are the school. There are things you do: it's tradition.

Jimmy Falcon has no tradition yet. It's entirely new, and, as far as my google searching goes, entirely original. Nobody knows what they're supposed to do yet.

There's a power vacuum here. There is no tradition. Are guys supposed to just reverse the role of Sadies? Do we get shirts? What about hats?

We are waiting for enlightenment. You can feel it. The men are ready for it. We're watching for any sign of leadership during the dark night.

And who does that leadership come from? Who is to decide what is and isn't appropriate for the Jimmy Falcon dance? Who will forge the traditions of the future? I think we're all naturally waiting for the SBO's to let us know. They're the ones who got the dance rolling in the first place.

But what if someone were to jump the gun? What if someone were to establish rules of engagement before the SBO's had a chance to have it their way?

There is a power vacuum, and anybody could fill it right now. I believe that numerous individuals have the power right this very instant to change the course of the future. All it would take is one bold man to make up the rules of engagement and spread the word. The world is ready for any leadership. It doesn't matter who it's from.

Do you understand the possibilities here? This is social engineering at its finest. You or I could make the rules of a high school dance, provided we played the game right.

And so naturally I've been kicking around a few ideas. My current favorite is the Jimmy Falcon Challenge. The concept is that I, with everyone's help of course, publicize the idea that the tradition behind the Jimmy Falcon dance is that you're supposed to ask somebody else's girlfriend.

It sounds a little far fetched, sure, but he made a great pokemon.

But listen to this. If the population believed that that's what has always happened for the Jimmy Falcon dance, wouldn't they go for it? It's risky business, I doubt most people would go for it. There would, however, be a brave few who took up the call of the Jimmy Falcon Challenge.

I'm tempted to do it. I believe that I could make it happen. I also believe that numerous other people could make numerous other ideas happen. It wouldn't be too difficult.

So here's the question of the day: If you could have any tradition for a high school dance, what would it be? If you were in charge of the "rule book", what would the book say?

I really do want to hear your ideas. This one isn't set in stone people. We're all ambling about looking for direction. I think it's time we rise up and declare direction. We have the means, why not make Jimmy Falcon what it's supposed to be?

It's a power vacuum, and we all know what that means. Somebody has got to fill it. Might as well be us.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Olsen Jokes

What happens when you take the derivative of Optimus?

Optimus Prime!

Bahahahaha!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Bold Man for whitehouse

Mike Huckabee just released an ad with Chuck Freakin' Norris.

Chuck Freakin' Norris is endorsing Mike Huckabee for President.

This is way bigger than Oprah.

Projectile

Tonight may or may not be a harbinger of things to come. Tonight is an event unto itself. Without reservation I declare that I am posting tonight. I make no promises as to posts coming in the future or posts that belong to the past and yet are absent. This is a post. It stands alone.

So what's the news? Where have I been? What am I going? Where am I now? Why am I writing in this tone and style? The voice that accompanies my writing within my head is switching between Ratatouille's Ego and some rather dignified American fellow with a British style. Hmm. I guess I'll have to put up with it.

Tonight I kind of just want to run with it. I don't necessarily have a theme for the post or a certain idea that I want to drive at. I want to hit a lot of different things. This is more of a free write than anything else. I'm going to go where it takes me.

So, let's go.

Do you remember all those times that we wanted to do amazing things with the Alliance? Such a cool concept was the Alliance. I really do like the template that it has. We pulled some cool stuff off for a little bit. The question in my mind is why we kept attempting the alliance? That's not a question of desperation or implication of anything, I just wonder what human characteristic made us want to do it so bad. I think we all really had a desire to do something epic, and I think that we wanted to do something we were good at (blogging) and collaborate with others who we knew were good at it.

It always made me excited, because the Alliance was a project, and I love projects. Not only was it a project, but it was a project that spawned other projects.

Why do I love projects? If you ask Adult Roles, it's because I'm a dude and it's the role that society has given me. All laughs aside, I think it's because a project is a challenge. It's an opportunity to show the world what I'm capable of. To do something that no one else has done before, to do something differently.

It's all a matter of the ceiling, I believe. In my life the ceiling represents the limit of achievement. One cannot go past the ceiling. I believe that most school work has a very definite ceiling. A worksheet that is fill in the blank leaves no room for excellence. The ceiling is placed at the floor. An English essay, inversely, contains a very high ceiling, assuming that the assignment is not extremely limited.

High ceilings can be problematic, that's most of the fun of the high ceiling. Writing an open essay is difficult, but it is also rewarding. As a general rule, the more difficult a task is, the more rewarding it is as well. Generally speaking, I see the two as directly related.

Yet one more example. My name is currently on the ceiling of the choir room. That is only cool because the ceiling is so ridiculously high. If the ceiling were usual height, it would be no problem to jump and place my name up, or jump and take my name down. It's only an accomplishment because it's hard to do.

Same situation, a few days ago Sylvia wanted me to get a helium balloon down from the cafeteria ceiling. Had it had a string on it it'd have been no big deal. Had it been a low ceiling it'd have been no big deal. But here it was, a helium balloon, on a fairly high ceiling.

And I got it down with a roll of masking tape. Not at all in the fashion that I had intended to, but I quickly saw a new way to do it after my first attempt and ran with it. The balloon was captured from the ceiling and brought down with no harm to the balloon and minimal harm to the bystanders. Once again, it's only cool because it wasn't easy.

Those two examples both included a real ceiling. Ceilings generally aren't real though. But whether or not they are actual drop-tile or not, it's our job to rise to the day. The higher the metaphorical ceiling, the greater the rewards.

College is fast approaching, and I am fairly excited for it. I'm looking at two schools right now, but leaning kinda heavy towards one of them. Acceptance and scholarship really aren't issues, so right now it's just a matter of decided what to do with my life.

For a long time I've said that I wanted to go into engineering. I have a great love for math and science, and I hear that that's where math and science come together to make the world a better place.

But all the sudden I'm starting to think that I love different things more than I love math and science. It's been a while since this happened, but I'm starting to think that business is more of what I've been building myself to go in to.

I love making things better, and I think that business might be the place for me to do that. Entrepreneurial adventures and all that. And I know that that's a little bit "childish" of me, it's kinda like saying I want to grow up to be an inventor.

But what if the kid that wants to grow up to be an inventor really does have good ideas? What if he's not just wishing, but that he really feels like that's what he could be good at and that's where he could make a difference? Sure, we might laugh at him and think, "He hasn't really looked at this seriously, he just thinks the surface might be cool," but honestly, what if he has?

I really think that no matter what I do, interdisciplinary action will be the key. Maybe that's why I think that business would be better for me. If I do go into business, say, with my own little company, what will we be doing? Definitely not business, that's for sure. We'll be doing engineering or chemistry or e-commerce or social interaction.

Or even if I don't go into business, even if it's science, how many chemistry guys and girls are there out there? There are thousands of those men and women who know their chemistry crazy well. So how am I to make a difference? Yeah, I could make a difference by knowing my chemistry, but am I going to make a breakthrough? Maybe.

But I've got a better shot at breakthroughs if I can bring other stuff in. All my life, success has always come when I've tied my knowledge together. Success in English comes because I paid attention in US history and can make the right argument using the right backup. Success in Jello making comes because I know my physics AND my chemistry and can apply them both simultaneously. Success out on the Ultimate field and the basketball court comes when I remember human psychology and rotational inertia and cross country and sugarhouse pickup.

To me, success has always been about using everything I know on the problem.

And, I figure, knowing more will make me better able to solve problems, right?

So what does that mean for me? Does that mean I'll be forced to dual major? Does that mean that I'll go to college till I'm 45, just hoping that I'll get enough cross knowledge to do something useful? I hope not. I don't know what it means.

But I think it means that I'm going to be doing things a little differently. I'm going to be pursuing things that I might not normally pursue. Maybe it's time for me to take an art class or two. Maybe it's time for me to take ceramics and see what that's all about.

Because I think that the world has been doing well for the past hundred years with single-button individuals. This is the next stage, and business and success is starting to require the next generation of problem solvers. I don't think single-button is gonna work for me. It's time to toss my one button out the window and trade it in for a keyboard of mad skills. I'll be rocking harder than the 80's.

I think I know why I love graphs so much. Adult roles says it's because I'm a guy and I'm hardwired for it. Yeah, whatever. I think it's because graph's show what's important.

Mr. Rockwell always taught us that the AP test would ask us about trends and patterns. He made it very clear that anything they asked about would have happened in the course of American history multiple times under different names. He guaranteed that if there was an anomaly, or something that wasn't what usually happened, it wouldn't be on the test.

I think that that was the most clearly and aptly any teacher has put the quest for education for me. Rockwell taught us that the general motion is important, not the specific case. It was about what was happening over time, not what was happening on June 11th.

Ever since that class, I've been a little hesitant to embrace anything that deals with exacts instead of trends. I believe that trends are more important than exacts when it comes to understanding.

And that's why I'm in love with graphs. Because graphs show what's important very concisely. It's incredibly easy to find out exactly when things started to change. It's easy to see what one thing was happening more often than another thing. We can see mins and maxes with alarming speed. Graphs are mountains of information available to us at a glance.

Because after all, it's not important what y is equal to when x is 14. We really don't care about 14. We care about when things start changing from going up to going down.

Graphs are beautiful. I've had a desire for a while to graph my life and make it a blog post. No specifics of course, but general motion. Stuff like wakefulness throughout the day, motivation, ups and downs, etc.

It's just really pretty cool.

I follow the search engine industry fairly closely. Not analyst closely, but closely enough to know what's going on. I think that that's a large reason that I am the way I am the way I am when it comes to business. Google is an extremely interesting organization, from a business stand point. I come from a very pro-google household, so I have a tendency to believe that they can do no wrong. I know that this leads to sometimes inaccurate observations, but I still like to see how that industry is doing.

The point is that I wonder if there's a better way to search. When it comes to the internet, maybe not. Obviously refinements are in order, as always.

But, as an individual, for maximum efficiency. Let's say that I'm preparing a speech and that I want to include an excellent quote. I can go online and search for an excellent quote. I will find many excellent quotes. But whether or not I find one that exactly fits what I need and want to say is an entirely different matter.

For a quote in a speech to be effective, we generally need to know what exact quote we're looking for long before we start preparing the speech. We need to know that it exists and then work it in. It's hard to find a noble quote that fits what we want to say without knowing the noble quote in the first place.

So that's why I begin to think that as humans, there's a better way to search, at least for certain things. If an individual went through his or her life constantly collecting good quotes and cataloging them, they would be prepared to whip something amazing out when it was applicable. They'd know that there is an excellent quote for this speech, and they'd know where to find it.

The concept is that they'd collect as they go, preparing for a time when they might need that quote. They'd know that it exists.

That's human problem solving. It's all about collecting that bag of tricks. The internet, search engines and all that, can simply brute-force a problem to death. Brute force is simply trying every possible answer until you run into the right one.

But as humans we don't need to do that. We've got a bag of tricks, and we can use it when we need it.

That's why it's important to get a big bag of tricks.

There is more to say. Industry and web 2.0; councils and their effect on my chemistry class. The hour draws late, and it's time for me to prepare for bed.

I hope to be back, but I make no promises. I desire to return, so I believe that I will. There is more to say, and I hope to be able to say it one day. Rhyming aside, it's time for me to depart. I hope that things are well for you all. Keep up the good work, let's take this thing to the moon.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Hmmmm

I wonder how many posts I have whose titles are some derivative of "hmm". I hope I haven't used one with four m's before.

Why is it that I'm so proud of myself when I finish my homework this late at night? There's just something about it I think. It's a victory to me. Belated, sure, but a victory nonetheless.

So, my character essay is completed, and I think it's decent. Not as good as my last essay, but it's a decent essay nonetheless. I finished, and I'm ready for English tomorrow. Bring it on Genghis Khan.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Sesame

Today's homework is brought to you by the letters "A", "D", and "D" again.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

310

1:33 AM, close enough :D

I'm not 100 percent for the evening. I'm choosing to table my calculus assignment. There's one thing I wanted to do with back to the future that I'm just not going to get done.

Will tomorrow be successful? Yeah, I think it will be. I've taken the steps necessary today to ensure that I've got at least a fighting chance. It's by no means a guarantee, but we're close.

I learned a lot of good stuff tonight. I've taken to writing the things that I learn down instead of typing them up here. I pondered about that change a bit tonight. There's a lot of cool stuff to that I think.

Normally I'd tell you about that. But if I did that, I'd sorta ruin it, wouldn't I?

So here's the situation. Tonight's not the night to write it. Tonight has served its purpose. There will be a time for all that.

For now, have yourselves a great wednesday night and even better Thursday. I think we could all use a good Thursday. It looks like it's gonna be one. Let's keep up the good work. We've all got to face tomorrow, let's make it happen.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Project 37

It will take work, but I will make it happen.

This is entirely within my grasp. I can do this.

37, here I come!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Some good thinking

Hey everybody, happy Saturday.

Tonight isn't going to be a full fledged post. I think it's just going to be a list of sorts. There's some fear in my mind that this list will be taken the wrong way. I don't intend for that to happen, but there is a risk. Please be nice.

The thing that makes the difference between a good day and an extraordinary day for me is the amount of time I have to myself before bed. That time is, well, sacred to me. I've got a routine that builds up beautifully to bed. These past few weeks I've been doing better at it than usual, and it's been pretty enlightening.

See, my computer is in the basement. That means that I leave it earlier than usual and am more awake for bed time stuff. It also means I have a free desk in my room. There is nothing in the world that inspires wisdom and growth like a free desk.

I write in my journal and then read the scriptures. Before, during, or after that, I sit and think and write. My journal writing is very different from my other writing. Right now I'm writing most knowledge onto little half-sheets or so of legal paper. You might have seen me whip one out of my back pocket to check my to-do list.

But it's this extra writing that I'm loving more than anything. If a thought strikes me, I write it down and file it in a special pile. I've been working hard at making to-do lists and following through and checking them off through the day. I've been tracking my bloodsugar on paper and investigating trends. The difference has been spectacular.

There's a quote flying around that says the unexamined life isn't worth living. I disagree with the ultimateness of the sentence, but the idea is strong. How do we fix a problem? You sit down and think about it, make a plan, then go fix it. Time before bed gives me time to clear my mind and think about what I'm doing with my life.

That's the biggest difference between good and amazing days. I've even had terrible days turned around by my pre-bedtime peace.

That's been the key for me these past few weeks. It's hard to walk away from the entire world and delve into a strictly personal experience. It is good to note, however, that I spend a lot of time thinking about my friends during these times. I'd go so far as to say I spend more time thinking about my friends per minute during that time than during any other time.

It's been doing good things for me. It's an entirely unique time. Nothing like it really occurs spontaneously through the day. It's hard to have a time for inspiration to strike. An open desk and an alert mind with blank paper leads to it. I've been loving the pre-bed think.

So that's one of the big lessons for me these past few weeks. What makes my life better? Setting aside time to be awake and to study important things and learn. Turn the computer off thirty minutes earlier and say goodbye. It's a sacrifice, but it's been making the difference.

So here I am. It's 1:42, but I'm still awake. I feel like I've got another good thirty minutes in me. Here I go, I'm excited :D

P.S. the snow is sticking.

************ this is the last post, originally titled, "basement". I'm moving it for reasons of my own. No one will probably know about this but me. Ha! *******************************

I brought the computer down here to play Counter-strike with Nathan and Michael a few days ago. Haven't taken it back upstairs yet. Having it down here leads to some interesting mechanics.

The main mechanic is that I spend a lot less time on the computer. It's just less comfortable, there's less room down here and I'm constantly sitting on an angle.

It also means my room looks a lot cleaner.

I'm not sure which is better yet, but there is something beautiful about a clean desk with nothing on it. It just seems to scream out, "Use me!". It's epic.

I still don't know how to properly use quotation marks.

So, I've got some good ideas of stuff that I want to write. A few posts that are kicking around in my noggin. I do hope to put them down soon. I don't feel like tonight is the night to do it though. I think that my time will be better spent tonight doing actual work on the other side of the post.

See, because posts really have two sides. There's the side that you all see, that's really the middle side. It's what I write down, all those ideas and stuff just placed out there. It's the words. Sometimes they're pretty.

The other side is really the two outside sides. Before a post is written it's sorta birthed out in my mind. Something makes me think about something, and then I've got to figure out what my stand on that is. Then I'll wonder why that's my stand and try to figure things out. Then I'll come write, after the pondering, that's the middle side.

But then there's the back side, that gets neglected sometimes. Other times it's not-neglected to the max.

But the back side is the implementation. Back in the glory days, when I'd write a novel about Ultimate and how I was going to tweak my game next friday, I'd follow up and implement what I talked about. The back side is probably the best part of it all.

So I think that I'm going to work on this one concurrently. Something made me think of something, and then I thought about it. I've already nailed part one.

I'm going to work on the back part before I work on the writing though. I'll sort of do them at the same time I guess.

Now don't get too excited about all this, it's nothing big. Although I do love big things. It's just something that I want to do, or a way that I want to be. So, I'm gonna write about it.

But I'm not gonna write about it tonight, I'm just gonna work on it, and we'll talk about it some other time. I am pretty excited about it though.

In the meantime, I hope that you're all doing well. This week looks like it's gonna be awesome. I've 11:05, and I took a nap. That means I've got at least another hour of good productivity in front of me tonight. I've got a test that I want to study for and a little work out. Probably some planning too.

I do wonder how much of me really does belong on the blog. It's a question that I run into every once in a while. Still something I'm trying to balance I suppose.

The moral of my story? I guess the moral is thus: it was beautiful weather today. School was good, and the BO concert was very impressive. I even got a nice surprise today. It's been a good day.

And, as such, I feel an obligation of sorts to make sure that this good day does something good for the future. Today is a great opportunity to lay something up in store. So that's the plan. Let's do something good, we've got an excellent opportunity.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

John Denver is Ownage

Yeah, I'm a big big fan of John Denver tonight. Thumbs up for America's favorite folk singer.

This week has been both really up and really down. Today was an excellent day though; that's good news.

I've got some stuff to write about. It's currently outlined on some real paper upstairs. I'm really excited about that. Even if I never do end up writing it, just knowing that it's up there makes me pretty happy.

Term is almost over, that's so cool. It was really stressful this week, but I think that things are going to be ok.

So, the news:

This week has been rough for me, but it's also been good for me. It feels like I've made a lot of progress these past two or three weeks. I'm so happy about All State. I ought to write about that. I pursued a little project regarding my health, and it went really really well. Maybe I'll write about that too.

A lot of good things have been happening. This term is on the downhill slope. A few more tests left, but that's really it. We can do this.

And after that, it's only three more terms left in high school.

ACT is in what, a week? Yep, I'm gonna start studying.

Concert on Monday. Gonna be ferocious. I've got some studying to do, but I'm going to do it. I hope that things work out. I'm really excited for stout hearted men. And the suits. Wow, the suits are smooth.

Yep, still loving John Denver.

There really has been a lot of good stuff going on. There's been trouble, sure, but more good than bad I think. It's a new setting and I feel like I still need to adapt. I'm rolling with it though, and things are going to be good. There's a chance that we'll have classic frisbee friday next week, the night before the ACT for good measure. Maybe we'll do it Thursday because we don't have school friday or something. Do we have school friday? I don't even know.

Things are working out.

So, I've got this theory about life. It grew from a question that I had and that I investigated. It makes sense to me. I want to do it justice though, so I think it'll come tomorrow night.

Tonight is a good night, but I'm not sure that it's the night to write all of that good business. I think tonight is just the night to remind everybody that we're doing alright. We're gonna get through all of this. We are getting through all this. We're gonna be so unstoppable.

John Denver? Yeah, wow, good stuff.

Three songs to cheer you up:

On the wings of a dream - John Denver
I want to life - John Denver
You fill up my senses - John Denver

They make a man feel good. I say go for it. What's the worst thing that could happen?

We're gonna get through this. At least we'll be safe from bears.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Smought

Todays post is brought to you by the letter "I am having trouble starting my veteran essay."

And I still don't know the rules about those quotation marks and the period. I'm gonna have to learn that before the ACT...

So, I just spent an hour and a half playing Oregon Trail. There was some emulator online. Yeah, I made it to Oregon. The first time that's ever happened. I'm a champion.

Now I have to write that essay. Hmm...

The good news is that I'm up to 40 words. 260 left.

86 words! Ah snap!

149! That's half way!

204. 30 dollars here I don't come.

I erased some, then did more. 260.

317! and not done yet! Oh snap.

380, easy easy.

404, finished.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Before Bed

10:23, got to be a record.

So, yeah. I'm going to bed early. But before I do I've got a thought.

This is one of those cool thoughts that I've said before. It deserves a better telling than the one that I'm going to give it tonight. I shall be brief.

I'm pretty sure that not everybody sucks.

It's odd to see how bad society thinks it is. I can't help but believe that if people in general started to believe that people in general were good, people in general would start being better.

If you thought everybody else was going to go vote, wouldn't you hit the polls too?

I know there are good people out there. Everybody doesn't suck. Why do we fool ourselves into thinking so?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Strong Back

I'm compelled to remember the quote, "Don't ask for a lighter pack; Ask for a strong back."

I always approach the end of the day wishing I had more time to do the things I'd like to do or the things I need to do. I want very badly to point the finger at homework. I want to feel victimized.

But let's face it, I'm just not doing my work as early as I ought to be. I'm not working as efficiently either.

Now I'm not saying this to complain or compel anyone to make me cookies. I wouldn't say no to cookies, but I just want to start working harder.

So I suppose that's what I'm going to start doing.

There's a time to be excellent and a time to survive.

Ok, I lied. It's always time to be excellent. All this survival stuff is indeed good, not at all over-rated. But if I'm going to go halfway, why not go one hundred percent anyways?

For perhaps the second time in my life, I'm concerned about upcoming tests. I feel betrayed. That's like wondering if my own brother is going to poison me in the middle of the night. We've been getting along great for 17 years, and now you've got to spring adult roles and All State on me.

That's it. I've just got to kick their butts. That's the only answer. That's the only thing that's going to bring me satisfaction. Gender roles? Marriage, family, and work? I don't care if what the book says is a load of tosh. Inversely, I don't care if what they say is entirely accurate...

Moral of the story? I'm coming for you, Eighth edition of Marriage and Family experience by Stron, Devault, Sayad, and Cohen. Your reign of terror is no more. I'll admit, I think I'm a lot smarter than you. Maybe not even a lot smart, maybe just a lot more enlightened. No matter. I'll play your game you rouge. And you know what? I'm going to play it for me. Not for you, and not even just to spite you. The day will be mine. Not yours. Mine.

And you know what else? I'm going to ready for All State. I'm going to confident and strong. I love to sing. Why should I let something like All State try to distract me from that? Why am I letting that get complicated?

I'm going to be ready for this. I'm going to walk in there Saturday proud and tall. I'm boldly going where I've never ever been before. I'm walking in there strong to represent me and Taylorsville and T and Kyle and Levi. I'm going to love Saturday morning, no battle.

I will be strong. It is nothing but go time.

I think, just maybe, there'll be fruit in my cereal tomorrow. And maybe I'll wake up early and ride the bike. Maybe I'll get lucky and run. Or maybe I'll get hit by a bus and make more wheelchair jokes than ever before.

But no matter what happens, I'm going to be ready for Saturday morning. The time to act has come, and act I shall.

Calc 103

So, derivatives make sense when you do the first assignment before you try to do the second one. I am now caught back up. Hooblay!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Closer

Today I moved .5 credits closer to graduating. I was short a PE credit, but because I had run cross country two years I was able to get that to count. Score it.

I also called the people I needed to call in order to get me set to test out of computer tech. That is going to be much easier than I expected it to be.

So, checklist:
*Test out of computer tech
*Don't fail any classes

Suddenly this isn't looking so hard. I'm going to graduate. Shabam!

I also have my eagle board of review this Tuesday. I get to get and have a little meeting with the local leaders so they can make sure I really did all the things I said I did. That's the very last thing I have to do before I'm an official eagle scout.

It's surprising how that actually feels. My whole life I've been told I'd one day be an eagle. It was expected. Dad wasn't going to let me drive until I got it. That fell through once I had early morning practice during the summer, but still, it was a fine idea.

I got a little tired of scouts halfway through my career with them. It didn't seem to have any value to me. I wasn't learning much.

I think I was so tired and stagnant because I was isolated. A few years ago the demographics changed such that we had an influx of 12 year old scouts flood into the program.

All the sudden I wasn't lonely, I was big. These little 12 year olds had never seen anything like me. I was tall and had an attention span. I was new.

And so I sorta became a pseudo leader to them. I later became an actual leader to them. Junior Assistant scout master, oh snap.

That year or so was the important year of scouting for me. It's where I really learned and grew like crazy. I learned other times too, but this was leaps and bounds.

And why? Because I was doing two things at once. It's very difficult to ever only do one good thing. I've got a pretty firm belief that in order to do one good thing we've got to do two.

I was helping the new guys. They learned from me. By doing that I was learning a ton myself, becoming a better person and leader. I couldn't have done one without the other.

That's what I've been thinking about lately. How we're all so very connected. How we can't help ourselves without helping each other. We're so connected that the best way for us to lift ourselves is to lift someone else and wait for the cycle to reach back to us. It's a good system.

Most good things do more than one thing. Most good things do three or four. It's hard not to feel good about a system like that.

Friday, September 28, 2007

300

And a happy 300th post to The Other Dentist. Wahoo!

You know, I've had a good day today. A lot of great things have been happening this evening. Mutual was spectacular. One of our leaders got his old mission president to come and have a discussion with us, it was just way too cool. Just a lot of great stuff that we talked about.

Levi and James came over tonight and we got to talk for a really long time. It was so nice to just sit back and talk with them. They came over to borrow some discs, but ended up staying for two and a half hours or so. We really just talked about everything, it felt great. I love being with good people. I love being able to just talk, not about anything really in particular. It was the total opposite of stress. We were just there, talking about real things, being genuine. Genuine - that's one of the best feelings in the world.

One of the things that we talked about were journals. Levi asked if I kept a journal, and so I busted out all the stuff I've got down on paper. Six notebooks plus a little journal book thing. The first journal starts Dec. 28, 2007. That's seventh grade! I have a continuous line of journal between that day and now. There are scattered days missing here and there, sure, but it's pretty epic.

Dec. 28, 2007. That's before I was diagnosed as diabetic! That's before I could grow facial hair. It's brilliant, just looking back and reading that stuff. I haven't looked at that first journal for years. I was a wee lad. It's funny to look and see the glimpses of me. It's just, wow, so cool! In seventh grade I wrote more about the nerd team than anything else. I talked about practice and whether or not I had studied, how our games went. Nothing major, each night's worth of writing was really only a paragraph for a long time, but it was cool. It's funny to look back and see how I got along with people I absolutely love now. Apparently the whole month of January I was mad at Jason. He was my classic opponent with nerds, and we did a fair amount of head-butting. It's just funny to see the seventh grade edition of me mad at somebody.

There are a lot of cool things that I remember from it though. Insights and whatnot. I wrote on the 24th of January (03) about a hymn I listened to that day and a certain line I loved. I sang that hymn a week or so ago and saw that line and remembered it, remembered why I loved it. I had forgotten it was in the journal, but just ran into it. Score it.

Seventh grade had some good times. Such innocent times. Me, Kyle, and James, squaring off for the ladies. So funny.

You know, I'm happy to have the journals. I don't look back and read them as often as I should, but it's a great feeling to know that they're there. I know that they're not the most secure form ever, notebooks don't hold up well in floods and fires, but what can you do? Maybe one day I'll start digitizing them all.

The point is, by taking a few minutes every day, I feel stronger. I've learned a lot from the journal experience. I've figured a lot of stuff out. I think it helped out on AP tests. Journaling is one of the better choices I've made.

I mean c'mon, a journal since I was 12?! Do you know how much I've changed since I was 12?! When I was 12 I wanted to be a programmer when I grew up! I learned VB and always aspired to learn Java and C++ but never did. So cool! I was the super nerd. Seventh grade was before I ever ran anything! That was before the first cross country!

It's cool to be able to look back and see me. It's so cool to know that it's me. I've been thinking this week a lot about the things that I've done that have brought me to the place that I'm at now. Working on the homecoming committee meant that I had to help out with the pageant. I got put back stage making things happen. Do you remember, that's what I did my whole ninth grade year? Engineering that year made me grow a lot, it gave me skills.

There have been a lot of great things all building up to make me who I am. I'm a cumulative effort here. It's so cool to see all the different things come together to influence the way I make choices.

I thought of an interesting question a few weeks ago. I wrote it down on a sticky-note because it made me feel good to think about it. I hadn't planned on it tonight, but I'm going to talk about it.

"When did I start being me?"

There are a lot of answers to that question for me. I know that I'm an eternal being, that I've been around a lot longer than this earth and that I'll be around forever. My soul has been me forever. I've seen a lot more days than I can remember.

The answers to that question depends on how you define me. If we define me as an eternal intelligence, then I've been here forever. If we define me as the guy with the body, I've been me for 17 years. If we define me as the person with the gifts and talents that I've been given, I've been me for about the same, roughly 17.

But what do we define me as? I've been me forever, but me is also changing every day. That's something that I love. When I think about me, I think about the person I am right now. I think about my attitudes and my beliefs, and I think about how I want to treat other people.

I feel very strongly that the me right now isn't that same me that was me during junior high. There are a lot of throwbacks, that's for sure, but I have grown. Physically I'm a stronger person. The height of my physical strength was junior cross country season, right after the summer. That was brilliant. I'm not that strong right now, but I know who I am. I think that I'm mentally stronger now than ever before, perhaps with the exception of right before junior year AP tests. Those were brilliant times.

I think that the biggest change in me has been one in beliefs and attitudes. Through the things that life has thrown at me I've had to make decisions about who I want to be and how I want to see other people.

If I were to define me, that's how I'd like to do it. Outside of the eternal identity, I'd like the next closest definition of me to be how I see the world and the great people in it. If there's one area of growth that I feel really happy about, it's that one.

It's odd to talk about "me" so much. It feels a little egotistical. But I don't intend it to be, I'm just exploring thoughts.

Life has thrown a lot of good passes to me. I've had a lot of great opportunities. It's amazing to look back on life and see all those great opportunities. It's been a long time since I've thought about them all. Junior high was a great time for me. I learned so much about everything. Nerd team was beautiful. I credit about half of the success I've seen in high school academics to the nerd team. Engineering was a very stressful job. It irritated me more than anything else in Junior High. And yet, it taught me amazing things. I learned to value stone cold dependability very highly. I learned a lot about hard work. I think more than anything I learned a lot about working with and managing a team. In junior high I learned to love running. I got a small taste of how it feels to win a race. I got a small idea of how beautiful running really is. It didn't come into fullness until high school. There's just a huge difference between running neighborhoods in junior high and running the park way in high school. But I learned to love running, and I made it a good habit. I learned to love people in junior high. I didn't understand a lot of them, and I had pretty confused ideas about people in general. But I learned how to love a few of them, and got a little bit better at showing that love. I believe that that was the beginning of who I am today. Without those important people teaching me the things that they taught, I don't think I would be the person I am today. I had to explore real questions and find real answers with those people. All the sudden everything that I'd always been told meant something. All the sudden I had to find out for myself. How can I help this person if I don't know it?

I can trace one of the best story-arcs of my life back to one decision. I have a lot of people to thank for that one decision. I wouldn't have ever known before that it would be so important. I had no idea, really. I thank my mom for instilling in me the value of doing things I said I'd do, even if I didn't really want to do it. I thank Courtney for being a great friend and having a party.

It's funny how that all works out. How the simple decisions that we make every day can take us places. It's a certainty that the choices we make affect the people we become. I don't feel like it's even an exclusively long-term thing. From the moment we being to make choices we begin to shape the people that we are. Since day one I've been changing. When I make good choices I change for the better.

I think there was a poster right outside the auditorium at Eisenhower that said something to the effect of, "I am the grand total of all my choices". I really like that. I believe it.

So what's the point of all this? Maybe it's just a good opportunity to look back at the way that life has been. More than that I think it's a chance to look back and appreciate the paths that brought me where I am today. There are a lot of good people that have helped me be who I am. There are so many friendly faces along the way. There is much love for my past.

I am so glad that I am where I am today. I really feel like I can't take responsibility for all the opportunities I've been given. I know that that's entirely against everything I've been preaching this whole post, but I feel like a very lucky man. Things have had a tendency to work out for me. Why did Andrew join the nerd team, and thereby inspire me to do it? Why did Sharpe ask me to be an engineer? Why'd Kyle and Tanya get me to run Cross Country? Why did my family instill the values that they instilled? How did I get so lucky, to meet the right people at the right times in my life?

I look back and see Junior High as the great forming grounds of my life. I have a lot of love for Eisenhower, the home that gave me the opportunities to grow. I have a lot of love for the people that helped me along the way. In whatever capacity, the great people who influenced my life. I feel so lucky.

I can't chalk all of it up to coincidence and good luck. If my life has a plan, I know there's someone up there who's very excited about all of this. There's a reason for the paths that I've taken. It has been my choice from day one, and the things that I've learned since day one are suddenly useful. There's a reason for the way we are. There's a reason for life.

I can't look at junior high and not see that. I just can't do it.

When did I start being me? I think I've been me since day one. Me has changed a lot. The me that I am today has got a lot to thank the me I was yesterday for.

We're building forever on tomorrows. Tomorrow's edition of me will have a lot to blame today's edition of me for. How his health is, how tired he is, the responsibilities he has. To a large extent the developed talents and knowledge as well.

Tomorrow I'm going to take everything I've learned from life and apply it to be the best person I can be.

The day after that, I'm gonna take everything plus tomorrow and see what I can make of myself.

And so we go on, forever and ever, upwards and upwards. It's been an amazing journey thus far. I am me for a reason.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Rash

*yesterday's essay. Not my favorite essay ever, but one of my favorite ideas for an essay ever. You don't have to read this if you don't want to. *

Essay #1: The Defense of Poetry

Truth

It has been stated that truth is the absolute defense. I am an individual assigned to defend the value of poetry, and I have an opportunity in the introduction of this essay to choose one of two paths. I can follow the path of the fool and regurgitate the words I assume the audience wants to hear, or I can stand up for truth and that which I really believe. I choose truth. I am taking a risk of entirely missing the mark on this assignment and being misunderstood by others. I feel an obligation to pursue that which I believe, and therefore I launch into this essay, doing my best to explain that which dwells in my heart.

A very wise friend of mine once made a statement that I entirely disagree with. He wrote, “Without poetry, life would be meaningless.” As a sensible and reasonable individual, I can not accept that statement as truth. I know too much of life, too much of metabolic processes and love between two individuals to believe that poetry is the true decider of a life's worth. Because I know that that statement is false, I am forced to reject it. I have no room for falsehoods in my life.

Our society is inundated by those who regurgitate and echo the refrain that my friend so nobly chorused. Why does society accept that statement and repeat it like some pledge of allegiance? I believe that the statement has become a cliché, uttered so often that the truth of it isn't questioned, it's just uttered again and again. Nearly every artist and high school student has been forced to listen to the statement in one form or another. “Art is a Rose in full bloom / Life without art is Death after Doom.” Does Darlene Lewis really believe what she wrote in her poem “Life without ART”? I don't know who Darlene Lewis is, but her statement resembles my friend's very closely. No matter the reason that particular poem was written, or why any number of similar poems and essays and songs were penned, the idea that without art life is meaningless has been absorbed into our social consciousness. Billy Collins, in “Introduction to Poetry” says that “all they want to do / is tie the poem to a chair with rope / and torture a confession out of it.” Are we perhaps trying to make poetry fit the description we have placed on it? Do we as robots force poetry to be the measure of the meaning of life? Collins reminds us that we have a tendency to make poetry be things that it is not. I believe that this is happening now. Poetry, which is not the meaning of life, is being taught in public schools and popular culture to be the meaning of life.

It is the mark of a wise man to question a cliché. It is the mark of a brave man to stand up for what he believes in. It takes an individual with courage and wisdom to admit that one does not see poetry the way the rest of his or her peers do. I give honor to those brave men and women who disrupt an English class in defense of truth. They have stood and continue to stand against the falsehood that is the cultured robot's anthem. How could life be meaningless without art or poetry? Life is too brilliant for that! They know that life without poetry isn't meaningless, and it is for that reason that they must and do reject poetry. It is not a hatred or ignorance of the art form, but rather a rejection of the philosophy that poetry is everything. It's not about the poetry, it's about how the poetry is packaged and sold to them. How can one accept poetry when it's definition according to society is unacceptable to that individual?

I understand and sympathize with these persons. Their plight is not unknown to me. I am an ex-poetry detractor. I see the value of poetry, and preach that value to all who read this essay. There are parties in the world who wish for me to say that I have seen the error of my ways and have since changed. This is not true. Rather, I have seen the truth of my ways and have been strengthened by those truths. I am not the one who is confused about poetry. I am a poetic rebel. I see the beauty and value of art, and yet I have a firm belief that without art and poetry our lives would still be full and meaningful. The difference between myself and the cyborgs is that we disagree on the true importance of poetry. The poetic zealots say that we're doomed to be clones without it, that poetry is everything to everyone. I believe that poetry is an optional endeavor, that it has much to offer, but that it is not a compulsory thing. One can be a true man with a meaningful life without loving poetry.

My rebel theory says that a poem is like a shovel. Archibald MacLeish, who is clearly not a rebel, says in “Ars Poetica” that “A poem should be wordless / As the flight of birds.” and “A poem should be equal to: / Not true.” I think that Archibald has been deceived by the robot's anthem. He is looking for and supporting something that is not necessarily there for all people. For the rebel writing this paper, a poem is not like a flight a birds, a poem is like a shovel. A shovel is only useful if a man is around to use it. Otherwise it sits and digs no holes- it doesn't fulfill the measure of its creation. Poetry is likewise dependent on humanity to fulfill its worth. Poems exist to enlighten men, but how can poems enlighten men if there are no men to be enlightened? Without an individual to use the tool, either the shovel or the poem, the tool's existence is irrelevant.

To appreciate and use poetry we need to understand poetry, and to understand poetry we must know what it is not. We can not be confused about its identity. Lawrence Ferlinghetti, in his poem “Constantly Risking Absurdity” explores the absolute necessity for poets to find the true identity of whatever they are poem-ing about. “...and all without mistaking / any thing / for what it may not be / for he's the super realist”. If it is important for a poet to not mistake one thing for another, it is doubly important for us to not mistake poetry for that which it is not. Poetry, no matter how much we may want to believe otherwise or how many posters in English classrooms say so, is not the silver bullet. It is not the end all. It is not the only means to accomplish something. A. E. Housman in “Terence, this is stupid stuff” uses a character to remind us that “malt does more than Milton can / To justify God's ways to man.” Poetry isn't your only option, and it will not make your hair grow back and your ex-girlfriend love you again. Poetry is not the true measure of life. Life can have meaning without it. Poetry has no cosmic heartbeat. We cannot afford, as a society interested in truth, to confuse these issues.

After that diatribe is would be easy to assume I have rescinded back into my old ways, that I am not converted to the philosophy of poetry. I spent the last paragraph lambasting the poor thing. I went so far as to accuse it of being of this world and mundane. Be not confused, I have a deep love for poetry. I believe I have a deeper and purer love for poetry than most, In fact. For I see poetry as its true self. I am not in love with a romantic facade, I am in love with poetry for what it is.

Poems, just like shovels, are tools. They can aid mankind on its quest. The value of poetry is that one man can share his experience or thought with another man through a permanent medium. He can express that idea to another man, and that other man has an opportunity to gain something from it himself. It allows mankind to share the collective wisdom that has been accrued since the beginning. Shovels allow mankind to dig better holes. They are tools.

Poems are beautiful and worthwhile because of that value, that sharing that man uses it for. The beauty is in the solid good that it does a man. That's the value of it, nothing abstract, just the good it does as a tool. I defend poetry because it helps individual humans understand themselves and their world. I defend poetry because it has practical value and insight to offer those who seek it. I defend poetry for what it is; my defense is pure.

Love the Time Stamp

I'm always in the best of moods when I finish English essays late at night.

I think I'll post it tomorrow, I think it turned out alright.

Moral of the story? I finished it, I'm a champion.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Journal of a long time

I think that as humans we have a fear of things getting stuck. As long as we can see things changing we feel comfortable and happy. Once we start to feel that life is going to be the same for a long time, we freak out.

I think that might be why I'm afraid of all this homework. It's not really that it's so bad, it's just that it leaves me with no options. The homework is here to stay, at least for now. There is no short-term respite from its onslaught. On a day I don't have "pressing homework" I need to do my background homework, that is, all state and C+P.

It's the long time commitment that's frightening. I don't want to be stuck in this tunnel without options forever. I don't want to have to read C+P the rest of my life. I wouldn't mind practicing all state if I ever got around to it. I really enjoy doing it when I do it. It's just a chore because I don't do it. It's a time commitment. One that I've been having trouble making.

These choices will come back to me. It's justice. When I work hard and do good things, good things come back to me. When I do not work hard and do not do good things, good things do not necessarily come back to me.

And so I'm writing here tonight. Not because I really have time, but because I think it's important to poke a hole out of the tunnel. It may just be I'm stuck in this tunnel for a very long time. It might be a while until I learn to breathe underneath the smothering tunnel-fluids. And so I'm poking a hole.

Yep, I'm still here. I might be stuck in a tunnel, but at least I'm here. The Ninja Turtles have been in tunnels before. They got oozed. Maybe I'll get oozed.

Probably not physically, but perhaps metaphorically. It's a tunnel, and tunnels always mean learning.

It's not really that bad of a tunnel. We don't fear tunnels. We just fear long tunnels. I don't mind writing an essay tomorrow. I mind writing an essay tomorrow and then reading and making a brochure on wednesday. Thursday means practice and reading and Friday means similar things. I've got commitments to Ultimate and other such business.

I like a good tunnel adventure. It is when the tunnel adventure becomes the only option that I get a little stir-crazy. I think we're naturally a little flighty. We like things to change. I like the weather to change. I like my clothes to change. I like breakfast, on occasion, to change. The same thing every day doesn't quite suit me. I don't like not being able to choose when I'm gonna do.

Now, by no means am I so restricted as I imply here. It's just a homework-induced blog post.

I will not let my life slip away from me. I will leave my mark and be something greater. I always, always feel good when I post. I think there are lots of reasons for that, but I think one of them is that I'm leaving parts of myself. I will not vanish. I'm like a bank. There's a paper trail that leads right to me, right now. Hey, I'm here. I've existed in writing for a very long time. I've got journals that go back a few years, I've got posts that go back two or so. Ha, I didn't just show up. I'm really here. I'm still here.

What does the future hold for me? Am I really capable of finding the balance? I feel like the classic argument about government. Where do we draw the line between freedom and security? Where do we need to stop letting the people choose their own destinies because they're all growing up to be mailmen? Where do we enforce structure and where do we let them run wild?

During the summer I feel there isn't enough structure for me to excel at anything. I am a lump. During the school year I feel smothered by structure, all I want to do is get free and follow my dreams. Once I'm free I don't have dreams any more.

It's the same deal with running. Cross Country was not an optional thing, it was just what I did. I ran, and I didn't really have a choice about whether or not I'd run. I just ran. It wasn't what I wanted. I wanted to follow my own running dreams. I wanted to run where and how and when I wanted to. And now here I am, without the obligation. My dreams are going unfulfilled, it's been weeks since I've been running.

So where can I draw the line? I think that's still a part of me that requires a lot of growth. I need to find balance. Balance between doing what must be done and what I would like to do. Balance between progress in one area and progress in another. Balance between myself and others. Balance between carbohydrates and insulin. Balance between the van and the bike, the ultimate and the anything else. Balance between freedom to sleep in and the power to wake up.

It's balance that I'm searching for. I'm going to work on that.

I hope that this post comes off the right way. It's not a sad post by any means. It's just an exploratory post. I'm writing the things that I'm thinking as I'm writing. I think that's another reason I feel so good about posting. I get to think. I'm sort of tricked into thinking about things and exploring their meanings. I get to know me a little bit better. I think that that's the goal behind every school assignment, isn't it? To get us to think. Not every school assignment, some are just designed to improve fine motor skills. But talking high school, I think everything is ultimate an effort to make me sit down and think. I think that it's by thinking that we solve problems. Thinking is how we make progress. We need to sit and evaluate and get to know things better and then we are empowered to make better choices.

I think that making better choices is the whole point. That's what we're shooting for, right?

Then isn't it natural that we ought to pursue a path that empowers us to make better choices? That's why we go to school and why we blog and why we dance and run and fret and do the things that we do. Because ultimately we're trying to be able to make better choices. We want to be empowered to make the best choices that we can. We're working on that.

One must ponder what is really important. There comes a time when I have got to ask myself if Ultimate is important at all. It has its charms, sure, but why? Why do we put forth the effort that we do? Is it truly worth it?

I do love Ultimate, but wasn't frisbee friday enough? What have we done to the pure tradition? If nothing else can survive, why couldn't frisbee friday survive? Where are my lights?

At this point we have to make decisions. We can't have it all. We must choose between two things. It's a compromise. Most of that compromise for me deals with time management right now. Am I going to take a nap or do my homework? One or the other has to give.

And I think that's how I'm seeing Ultimate right now. Why have I signed myself up to devote so much time to it? Yes, it's something that I love. But I also have a responsibility to do my homework and all sorts of other stuff. When it comes time to choose between the two, which one is really more effective for me to keep in my life?

Just some stuff to think about, that's all. Don't assume I'm abandoning Ultimate. I just wonder if we really need anything aside from Frisbee Friday. After all, I do really love frisbee friday.

I am not a shovel, but I am glad that I have come here tonight.

There is a certain allure to contradictions in literature. There's little better to describe a man than to declare him a contradiction. We love a contradiction. And why is it so? I believe it's because a contradiction proves that we are right. We don't believe this facade of a world that we've set up. We don't believe in the social class and the implied rules of men. We live by it, by all this fabric we've set up. But we don't believe it, and we're searching for the rips and the holes in the seams. We know it's not real, and we love proof of it.

That's why we love a contradiction. Because our ideas that we've collectively formulated about the way that society and people ought to be don't sit well with us. A contradiction shows us that we were wrong, and we love to be wrong when it comes to people. "He was a man." We love a man that can show us that what we know isn't true isn't true. We love a contradiction, it reminds us that there's something behind this game that we're playing together.

12:57 AM

Happy Sunday everybody, I hope you're doing well.

I just finished my English essay. I love first drafts.

It's not that good, but it's finished. It's not what one would expect. It doesn't have the required poetry cited in it. It's barely over two pages long.

Really, it's not a good "essay"

But the ideas in there are beautiful. The idea, the core, it's solid. I could stand up in front of the class and give a five minute diatribe on why I am right.

I think I tried to do that with the essay. I used my flow of speech style of writing. The one with the random comma's. I think it's a combination of the great speakers I've heard in my life. Scriptures, SNL celebrity jeopardy, Stephen Colbert. Throw them all together and you get a whack essay that is better heard than read.

It will undergo a radical revision come Tuesday. Until then I'll take my credit with a smile.

Yeah, it's 1 AM. It's looking too late to write an epic post. It's looking too late to read C+P or practice all state. But that's ok, because I'm alive, and as far as I know I'm still moving.

Perhaps there will come a day in the near future (we're talking days here) that I will have to make sacrifices to make things work. Right now I'm sacrificing All State and C+P to finish my homework. I do need to stop that.

Tomorrow I'm going to work hard. I'm going to work hard to ride my bike to school. I'm going to work hard in school. I'm going to work hard after school. I'm going to watch Heroes. And then I'm going to work hard and then go to bed.

It's not that I don't have enough time. I just haven't risen to the challenge quite yet.

My entire essay was really about that challenge, that quest. The main jist is that I'm a man on a quest, and poetry is just poetry. I have eternal worth and value, my potential is limitless. I'm running through everything here trying to be better. Poetry is just poetry.

And therefore poetry should not be idol-worshipped for what it is not. Poetry is a tool that man uses. It is a very good tool. It can help men on their quest. That is where its value comes in.

Not in it's being. Not in it's world. It's value is in the fact that it can help people. Poetry is beautiful because of it. I have love for poetry because of it. I do love poetry.

But then again, I love shovels. And you don't hear me raving about shovels, do you?

But I could rave about shovels. Maybe, to be fair, I will one day.

I don't hate poetry by any means. I love poetry. I just don't believe that poetry is the most important thing. You and I, we're the important things. Poetry can help us. We can't help poetry. Poetry can't be helped at all. It's just there, inanimate. But you and I are living and moving beings, we're on a quest and we need all the help we can get.

It's a deep breath, but I'm loving it. It's fresh, and fresh is what I'm after.

The weather is changing. I love when the weather changes. I think it goes back to human nature. We're all about changing. We have a very hard time noticing the way things are. We're built to notice when things change. When we talk about physics and kinematics we find out that the earth is hurtling along at millions of miles a second in its orbit around the sun. You'd think we'd feel that kind of motion.

But we don't, yet we can feel the slightest acceleration one way or the other. We are all about acceleration. As far as we know, if we aren't changing, we simply are not.

That's how I am about the weather. I like the rain because it's a departure from the normal. It's a new opportunity to see and explore the world, because all the sudden it's an entirely different world out there. A world with rain is nothing like a world without rain. I love the change.

Stalwart. I think stalwart is a good word. Something I'd like to be. I wouldn't mind having that on a headstone, would you?

There are certain words like that. Words that you would always feel honored to be called. I get the feeling that everybody except the very confused still love and respect those words. I think everybody still knows, deep down, that old school virtue will win us all. There's nothing cooler than old school virtue. "That guy was so loyal, that guy was so steady. That guy was stalwart, that guy had courage. That guy was nice to everybody he met."

When I'm looking for adjectives to be, I think I've found the list that I want to pursue. What's cooler than old school virtue?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Write

I feel very good inside. I will do my best to write something good for us all tomorrow. In the meantime, I hope that you're doing well. If you're not doing well, maybe you and I should have a talk, so email me.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

September 21, 2007

I begin to think that one of the vital differences between good days and bad days is that I'm prepared for good days and unprepared for bad days.

Hmmm.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Day

Today is the day.

I woke up early. I shaved, I put my contacts in. I put fruit in my cereal.

And why? Because today is one of those days. One of those fine, great smelling, one hundred percent kind of days.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Taste

So, I've got this theory. All ninth grade girls smell the same. Or, maybe it's not so much a smell as it is some hidden unconscious similarity that comes out at region dances.

It's not a bad thing, just a very surprising thing. They say that scent is the strongest sense tied to memory. I heard it in a commercial once.

What does it all mean? It means that I've been to lots of region dances in my day. Has it really only been three and a half years worth? Have I really been there for all of that?

Every dance is unique. The situation I bring to the table is different every single time. The first dance ever, a wee lad. That first time I ever asked a girl to dance more than once. That one time, that other time, all those times.

The region dance has carried me a long way. It's seen me grow up. It's been a part of my maturing process. That different people I've been throughout the history of the region dance, it's enlightening. Has it really only been three and a half years? From the dance with the side-hair, from all those times we almost knew who Austin was, but didn't really? Wow. Three and a half years? It feels like my whole life, my whole history can be explained in terms of region dances. If the Native Americans used pictures inside their dwellings to tell histories, I'm going to use region dances. Three and a half years?

Maybe there's more to that old saying than I thought...

You know, if there's one way to look at the person I've been, I'm glad that it can be the region dance. I've done a little bit of growing up, a little bit of changing.

The warm gym will always hold a special place in my heart. If all else fails, I know my past is preserved in the memories of the sweaty dress-shirt.

Here's to you, girls of my life. You've come and gone and stayed and come again and are maybe still out there. But if there's one thing for certain, it's that the region dance, that's where I'll always remember.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

End the Madness

Adult roles reading assignments are poorly organized. That poor organization ruins the assignment. Its efficiency and effectiveness is cut by at least 60 percent. Because the questions are in the wrong order, I'm not learning as well.

Therefore, I'm taking this into my own hands to organize them correctly. I'm also taking it into my own hands to share that organization with anybody willing. I'm posting it up here. Tell your friends, it might save some time.

Chapter 4 - Gender Roles

Page #: Question(s):
108 ---- 14
109 ---- 7, 13
110 ---- 22, 26, 15
111 ---- 39
112 ---- 16, 38
113 ---- 8, 10
114 ---- 32, 34
115 ---- 1, 30, 40, 44
116 ---- 3, 5
117 ---- 9, 17
118 ---- 4, 29, 31
119 ---- 31, 37
120 ---- 2
121 ---- 16
122 ----
123 ---- 23, 41
124 ---- 11, 43, 45
125 ---- 45
126 ---- 20, 33
127 ---- 20, 28, 35
128 ----
129 ---- 12
130 ---- 19, 21, 24
131 ---- 6, 21, 27
132 ---- 25
133 ---- 42
134 ---- 42
135 ----
136 ---- 36
137 ----
138 ----
139 ----

*notes: this is accurate as far as the assignment is accurate (as far as I know). If a question appears twice, it's cause it says 126-127, so I put it on both. Any problems/comments, leave me a comment. Also, there is no particular order once you're on that page. You're on your own once you get to the right page.

Tuesday at Midnight

What ever happened to midnight? Back in the day it used to carry such weight.

"And then, as the clock struck midnight, the mysterious cow jumped over the even more mysterious fence! Oh, just wait, it gets even better..."

Yeah, it's midnight. I'm wide awake. My dad is downstairs watching C-span. I really wouldn't be too surprised by somebody knocking on the door or calling the cell.

I think the industrial revolution cost Midnight his job of being the middle of the night. My middle of the night is three to four. If something mysterious is gonna happen, it's gonna happen then. Five o'clock is just really early and anywhere from midnight to two is latter evening.

If I was going to jump over a mysterious fence, I'd do it at three thirty.

*Wishlist*
-A lower range for my voice (I can almost, almost hit an F...)
-A bigger lung capacity (I can almost, almost last three measures....)
-Hot-Glue resistant fingers

Monday, September 10, 2007

When I Grow Up

When I grow up, I want to be one of those guys that puts fruit in his cereal.

In my brain it symbolizes the apex of all self-reliance and opulence. If you've got time and fruit to devote to your cold cereal, you are a lucky man indeed.

And, well, I want to be a lucky man when I grow up.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Called it

Aha! Wikipedia's front page is reporting 2 million English articles today. Here's to 2 million more!