Friday, April 25, 2008

I'm not the only one

I learned some things today. Not huge things, but things that I didn't expect. They've forced me to rethink some things. Not big things, certainly, but things nonetheless.

Looking through google analytics at my blog stats, and I see a visit from guatemala. I get random hits from random countries all the time, no sweat, but this one lasted for 16 minutes. I checked the source, and it came from a blog that's run by T. Armstrong, you know, the T. Armstrong we all know and love from school.

Anyways, I checked it out, and mr. Armstrong has got himself one very attractive blog. Apparently he's been at it since last year. He's only got 18 posts between now and then, but still, the fact that he's had a blog for that long and that I never knew about it.

It was one of those, "Oh snap, you don't know half of what you think you do," moments. I figured we'd tracked down all of the taylorsville bloggers long ago. Nah, he slipped through. Granted, he's not linked to or from anybody in the local blogosphere, but still. It surprised me. I'll wait to shoot him a link till I get permission from him, but you can google him if you want.

Another, more important, discovery came today during English. We'd been talking about the valedictorian race all day long, because Horton called down everybody in the running to verify information and tell them that they'd find out next week sometime. I got called down, as did Nickmo, Jason, and several others.

In english we were talking about it, and we discovered one girl had taken nine AP classes. She has something like a 3.98 GPA, but as a raw weighted GPA, she totally owns me.

Now, I'm alright with that. As I've said before, I'm alright losing. Even the one condition that I've always stated, whereas I refuse to lose to one certain person, I'm beginning to ease up on. Heck, I'll even lose to that guy. If he speaks, though, I want to speak too.

Tangents aside, I was blown away. Not by her accomplishments, even though I think those are pretty impressive, but rather by the fact that I had ignored this for so long. I think of all those times that me and Nickmo talked about it in class. When Parrish asked, "Who's it going to be?" and me and nick always talked about us and jason. She was sitting right there, totally blowing us away, listening to us be arrogant. I dunno, it was just something I totally wasn't aware of. I was so unaware of it, I was entirely unaware that I was unaware.

So things aren't looking too hot for the valedictorian thing. I'm down with that. Mom's a lot more invested in it than I am, but that's cool. We'll see what happens. I'd love to be able to speak, but I'm alright if I don't get to. Life will be a lot less stressful if I don't get the nod, but I think it'd be a cool opportunity. It'd be like a five minute vocal blog post. What could be cooled than that?

I've done very little homework this term. Heather said something interesting today. We were in English, and very few of us had done the assignment from last time. We'd talked about it before, known it was happening. After a while though, she turned around and said, "I can tell myself I don't care, but I still do." She was worried about not doing her assignment, getting a bad score and grade, etc. etc.

I don't know if I'm in the same boat as she is, but I think that I'd like to be, for various reasons. I've managed to turn off my caring switch under the pretenses of preparing for BC calc. I really haven't done a ton to prepare for calc anyways though, I've just been being lazy. Talking with mom today, I realized that I should probably start working on my homework again.

I'm starting to look at it as a bit of a race. It'd be a big shame to give up all the work I've done up to this point just because I feel like being a slacker.

In reality, keeping a 4.0 will do very very little for me. College is already taken care of, and scholarships are already set. The valedictorian race will be done long before fourth quarter is even at midterms. On paper, the 4.0 doesn't do much for me.

But it's the principle of the matter. Why be a slacker? I know it's a bit disappointing to everybody around me, especially mom. I don't wanna be one of those guys that does things just for his mom's sake, but let's be honest, she's pretty cool, and I love her, so she probably deserves a little bit more effort on my part. I don't want to look back on the last term of my senior year and regret stuff. I think it's about time I started getting some work done.

This discussion is mostly focused on English. Calculus is a giant ball of mystery right now. I've been keeping up in Adult Roles. Choir and Mads are hard not to keep up in. Health is cake. I need to take care of English though.

Things are changing. Ballgames are changing. I've got a whole post in my noggin about ball games. I wish it wasn't so late, I could write for a long time about it all. Soon, hopefully. I learned some new things about ball games on tour. Tour was quite the learning experience. There was quite a bit of risky adventure, but I think I pulled myself through it all quite nicely.

It feels good to think. To ponder where I've been and where I'm going. To think about those who are coming, and those who have gone. Things are changing, like I said. That's got its ups and downs.

I tend to feel pulled in two directions all the time. There's the good part of me that wants to work hard and study and write and workout and prepare for everything in life, and then there's the lazy part of me that wants to waste the whole day. There's the wise part of me that wants to keep myself relationship free, and there's the whole other part of me that is actively trying to woo the ladies. Ups and downs, as I'm wont to say several times a post. Both sides are seeking the ups. In all honesty, both sides are very capable of finding the ups where they're headed. I think it's just a matter of finding the path that leads to the most ups. The higher ups, the better ups, the one ups, etc. etc. If we integrate my path through life and find the average value, I hope it's high because of the choices I made.

Wow, did I really just make the calculus reference? It's really sort of a good one. Let's see if we can flesh it out a little bit better.

A lot of choices we make move us either up or down on the graph of life. As we live, we carve out a curve, based upon our choices. At the end of the day, when we integrate that curve and take the average value, we can see how well we've done. Our choices today have a direct influence on the value of our lives.

Ha, atta boy Newton.

Ah, just trucking along. Tomorrow looks like a good opportunity. I hope things work out. I'm sure that they will. T told us that we're probably going to sing "You are the New Day" for graduation. I'm very happy about that. She also tapped "The Prayer" for concert choir, I think. Don't hold me to that. I'm super excited about that choice though. We sang it once in mads, just sort of a practice run. It was beautiful. I've been singing it on and off every once in a while, not even remembering what it was since then. It's gorgeous, I hope that we do sing it.

It's late. I'm excited for the possibilities that tomorrow brings. It's a quest for understanding and fulfillment. A journey of self-discovery. A marathon of endurance and a constant vigil over the person that you want to be. Hmmm.

I hope you're all doing well. It feels good to post. Sometime soon I really want to go all out and tell the important stories. There are a few important stories that I haven't posted here, because of how important they are. Maybe they'll never be posted, but maybe they will. I'm becoming more bold, I think.

I've flutted about long enough, I believe. Today we have snorkeled, and tomorrow we scuba dive. Understanding, here I come.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

About Me, 4-12-2008

So, after being here for a little more than three years, I figure it's finally time to post a decent "about me" page. So, forgive the formality, but here we go.


Welcome to The Other Dentist. I'm Christopher Thatcher, and I've been blogging here for a little more than three years. I started the blog as an assignment in ninth grade journalism, and never really gave it up. My reasons for posting have been all over the place over the past three years. They've ranged from trying to get girls to fall back in love with me to trying to have a better shot at some scholarship money. Regardless of the motive, though, at the end of the day the blog has taught me a lot about myself, and that's where I think its value lies.

The beauty of The Other Dentist, I think, is that it incorporates all the different sides of me. Some nights I come here to post, and I'll be super excited about a new project or idea I had, and I'll write forever about all the implications and opportunities it provides. Other nights I'll show up burnt out and emotionally vulnerable, and I'll write about the way I really feel. There have been funny times, and there have been incredibly serious times. I've learned that there are a lot of different "versions" of me, but more importantly, I've learned that no matter what happens, I am always, always, me. That's what this blog is about. It's not professional, it's not mandatory, and it's definitely not emo. It's just me, and that's what I love about it.

As an introduction, here are some select posts. The archives have over 360 of them, but here are some of my favorites.

23 - Wednesday, January 23, 2008

This one is the end of my blogaday adventure. Me talking mostly about life. It's pretty representative of how I feel about things. A happy post, to be sure.

Blogaday 19 of 20 - Wednesday, January 16, 2008.
Day 19 of blogaday, this is me recovering from having my hopes dashed against the rocks at scoring a huge scholarship I had been gunning for. I thought some important things that evening, and I'm happy with the things I figured out.

Blogaday 15 of 20 - Sunday, January 13, 2008
Last blogaday, I promise. This one is the emotional, "I'm actually talking about my feelings" side of me. I respect it.

300 - Friday, September 28, 2007

This is the first post where I talked about a very important question to me, "When did I start being me?" Another heavy life post.

Super Unleaded - Saturday, August 11, 2007

This post is important because it talks about the time I put a gallon of super unleaded in the minivan. It's the loud and obnoxious side of me.

Leg Shaving - The End of the World - Monday, June 11, 2007

The best video I've ever made, produced for my final english project last year. Seriously, if you only check out one thing on this blog, make sure it's the video. It explains why guys shaving their legs will lead to the demise of the whole human species.

Jello - Wednesday, March 7, 2007
Don't get this confused with the Jello story, cause it's not it. It's just the time I submerged a stapler in jello for my sister's birthday.

-Or Bust - Monday, January 22, 2007
My favorite artwork I have ever produced. Yep.

Honor - Sunday, November 12, 2006
The video of the time we retired a few ultimate sport discs. I hear it made Trevor cry.

(8) Just a chance that maybe we'll find better days... (8) - Friday, October 27, 2006
This was a very emotional night for me, and I'm really proud of what came out. I think these nights are the most significant on the blog, because they remind me of what I really am deep down. I like it.

Rock the Vote - Sunday, October 22, 2006
Kyle commissioned me to woo the ladies for him. This was my attempt at writing a piece that would make every girl in the world fall in love with the boy. I'm not sure it worked, but I enjoyed writing it a lot. It is, to date, the most commented of my posts.

The Best Game Ever Played II - Sunday, November 20, 2005

This is my talking about the best game of ultimate I've ever played. I get pretty dreamy about it, it's good times.

Feel free to not read this - Saturday, January 7, 2005

This was my first really good "let all my emotions fly" post. I really enjoyed writing it. I wanted to delete it by the next morning, but I decided to keep it up as a tribute to the person I had been the night before. This post, and the effect it had on the next few days, did a lot to teach me about myself.


Why do I write? I write to learn more about myself. I write to fulfill an inner need to express myself. I write because I think that maybe the things that I've got to say can help somebody out there. I write because I'm me, and I want to preserve that me that I've got.

Here I am. This is me, and I make no excuses for what goes on here. I hope you'll keep stopping by.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Hansen's Revenge

Happy Tuesday evening. It's 10:16, and I'm nearly ready to start wrapping stuff up for tonight. Sleep's kind of a big deal, I need some of it.

I'm feeling a bit stressed and conflicted right now. The AP Calculus test is in 29 days. I'm taking the BC test, for a lot of reasons. This means that I have four weeks to learn parametric, vector, and polar coordinates. Series, convergence and divergence, and the million tests to figure that out. Integration by parts and by simple fractions. Improper integrals too, whatever those are.

It's a pretty big deal. I really want to five this test, and I really think that it's possible. Tonight I sat down and scheduled out the next week or so of work. The plan is to study one section a night for the next five nights, basically giving myself a quick run-through of all the topics I've never seen before. On the sixth day, I think that's Monday, I'm going to take the first practice BC test. I'll do it under the actual time limits and all that, making it as accurate and realistic as possible. That's the day before we leave for tour, but I'll take a good look at what I did well and what I did poorly, and then make a game plan for tour. I'm not sure how much studying I'm actually going to commit myself to doing in California, but if it's necessary, I'll pull it off. Once we're home from tour, I'll take another good look through all the new BC material, focusing especially on things I did poorly on in the practice test. Once that review is done, I'll spend a few days really hitting the regular calculus tricks. I'll make sure I've got all the trig differentiation and integration memorized, shell method, all the mean new integration, any formula I'll ever need. I'll take the second BC practice test. I'll check those answers, see where I'm suffering, and make sure that I'm competent on them. Once all that's through, it'll be May seventh, and I'll walk in and take me a BC calculus test.

It's fairly daunting, I'll be honest. I've never undertaken something like this before. I know the people who did it last year did really well, so it's not impossible. It's probably not half as big of a deal as I'm making it out to be. It reminds me a lot of chemistry last year, except that we had at least mentioned all of that stuff in class once.

So, I'm a bit stressed about it. But I can do it. I'm excited to learn all this new stuff and prove that I can actually pull this off.

The most important part of this next month for me, I think, is going to be to remember that BC Calc isn't the most important thing. Whether or not I five the test will affect me in the future, certainly, but it's still not the most important thing. I'm going to need to make a concerted effort to make sure I don't forget everything else. Specifically, I can't forget to be happy and social. I need to make time for people. That was the moral of the story for March, or at least one of them. Ends up that April will be the big test of my ability to actually learn those morals that I keep being given.

So I think that's where I'll need some help. If I'm being a butthead, remind me what's important, please. I really do want to five this test, but not at the expense of my own happiness or my ability to help out those people around me.

My parents are going to Mexico tomorrow for a five-day vacation. Me and Michael will be okay, but life's a lot easier when they're around. It'll be an interesting experience. If I don't show up to the first period, it's because I'm still asleep.

So here I go, working to five this test that really isn't even that big of a deal. I'm ready and willing to put forth the effort. I'm going to do my best to make sure it remains exactly where it should on my priorities list, though.

I'm glad I've got friends. They're cool. You're cool. I hope you're doing well. I'm out~

29 cents

I swung by Barnes and Noble this evening to pick up the Princeton Review for AP Calc. After locating the book, I took it up to the register. The guy scanned it in and said it's be twenty-dollars and twenty-nine cents.

I had a ten and two fives. I was 29 cents short of paying for the book. So I tell him, "I'm 29 cents short, so I'm going to run out to the car to grab some change."

He replies, "You know what, don't worry about it."

He then reaches into his pocket, pulls out a one dollar bill, and throws it in with my 20. My receipt indicates that I paid 21 dollars for a book that cost $20.29. He figured the change, and put it back in the pocket.

I thanked him a few times, and he was very gracious about it. He pocketed his change, and I was walking off he says, "Good luck with your test."

This is important to me. It proves that there are good people out there. Twenty-nine cents wasn't a big deal to either of us standing at that register. It was more or less inconsequential. But he was a really nice guy, and he decided to sacrifice a bit of himself to help me out. He'd never met me before, and there's a really good chance that he'll never ever meet me again. I didn't catch his name, and he didn't catch mine. All I really know is that he worked at the sandy Barnes and Noble on Monday night, April 7.

I know it's stupid, but it makes me want to pass this test even more. All of the sudden, there's one more person that's invested in the score I get. Kaelin has put in a ton of work on me. I've put in work, the guys from Davis put in work, Kyle's put in work, Melissa's put in work. There are lots of us that have put something into this test.

But now there's one more guy. He tossed his 29 cents into the ring, saying to the world, "I've never met this kid, but I believe in him."

I dunno. It's a big deal to me. It makes me want to go out and help people. It makes me want to five this test.

I was given a micro-loan today. I doubt I'll ever meet this guy to pay him back monetarily. But I'm going to do my best to ensure that his 29 cent investment is not wasted.

Fiving the BC calc test is a feat that will rival last year's fiving of the chemistry test. It's entirely possible, but I'm on a super time crunch. I have to bust it in order to make it happen.

I'm going to do it. I will five the BC test. Academically speaking, that's what matters to me right now. It's going to start taking top priority in my schooling. I've got someone counting on me.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Live your Life

I've been happier this week. I love that. I think that there are a lot of reasons why, ranging from no more end-of-term stress to Divine intervention, but I sort of want to focus on just one reason right now.

This past week, I've been living my life. I've been doing the things that I like to do, as well as the things that I really feel that I need to do. I've been being me, all the time. It's made a difference.

My life is sorta like my blog, I think. You notice how sometimes I get really distracted on here? I'm not talking about within my posts, but like, what I want to do with my blog. I'll go on big tangents sometimes. The Alliance, Blogaday, my failed sleep-a-day, thinking about switching hosts, thinking about holding contests, thinking about doing all sorts of stuff. Somedays I really just want to try something new. Something pseudo-professional. Something like a project for my blog.

Some of those projects have been successful. Blogaday, in particular, was wild. Some projects have seen marginal success, like The Alliance, but have always seemed to lack what it takes to sustain themselves. Most projects have flopped.

Most of the flop projects are always accompanied by less posting here. When I do post during flop times, it's usually nothing inspiring.

I'm not sure why I feel that tug towards blog projects. When I look at what has made this blog important to me, what gives it value, it's the exploration of my self that makes it all meaningful. It's the difference and insight for others that makes me think, "Yeah, this is important."

Projects have never really brought anything important to the table. Blogaday is the exception, but that's only because it allowed for more exploration. What gives this blog meaning is the old-school and traditional staples: just me and my posts.

And I think my life runs a pretty close parallel to the blog. The same issues that I have here are the same issues I have out there. Some days I just get really distracted. I want to go do something, I want to go be something different. I want to do something epic and time consuming and pointless. Why? I don't fully know, but it's distracting.

And when I do finally sit down and look around me, I start to realize. The things that give my life meaning are not the projects. They're not the grade point average or the standardized test scores. I am not defined by my academic performance.

Just like with my blog, the things that give my life value are the old-school staples that have always been there. The way that I interact with and help other people, time for myself to do important study, and time spent with my family are the things that are important to me. When I focus on those things, I feel like I make progress. I feel much better about myself and about everything around me.

It's when I get distracted and start trying to be something that I'm not that things get rough.

So that's been the discovery of this past little while. It's been a long time coming, I think. And I'm not saying that it's been a lightning bolt of inspiration that has changed my life in a day. I still get distracted, but I'm working on remembering what's important. I'm working on priorities. It's been making a difference.

I talked a bit above about being me, and not trying to be something I'm not. The Micron scholarship I shot for, as well as the sterling scholar stuff, sorta helped me discover what was going on. I don't want to be a scientist. I've got a good academic record, but that's not where my true talents and gifts lie, I think. Or, maybe rather, that's not where my calling lies. I don't think I've been called to revolutionize the world of science or engineering. Micron and Sterling Scholar were all about that. And while that's awesome, and while I'm very glad I worked on both of those things, that's not who I want to be.

My calling- that's a very interesting thing to think about. I mean, can one really define, specifically, what they're supposed to do? That's a personal question, I think. I have my own beliefs about it. I don't think I'll write them all out here, but I suppose that if you want to talk about it, find me sometime and ask.

The important thing, though, is that, with help, I've started figuring things out a bit. Without going too far into everything, I've come to the realization that I have not been called to be extremely successful.

And that was something that totally got me by surprise. I guess I just sort of assumed that I was. I assumed that because I've experienced some success in the past, I was a failure if I didn't go out there and become incredibly rich and famous and change the world. If I wasn't top of my class at the university, if I wasn't a millionaire by thirty, I wouldn't be living up to what I needed to do.

But that's just not the case. And the fact that I know that that's not the case now, that's changing things for me.

I mean, yeah, I want to be successful. But I'm realizing that that's not the most important thing in life. And because I'm realizing that, I'm starting to work on the things that really ARE important. When I'm working on things that are important, I'm happy.

So what's the moral of the story? I think there's a few things I can take from this. The first is one that I've learned before. Life is a sine graph. It's got its ups and downs. I'm feeling pretty good about stuff right now. I know that there will be times in the future when I feel pretty crappy. I think the key to success with this one is that I need to maximize my life when I'm up like this. Learn what I can, so that when I go down things will be better. Accomplish everything that I can when I'm up like this, working at a million percent. I need to make progress up here. I need to make progress down in the troughs, too, but I can't take times like this for granted. Life is life, whether I'm up or whether I'm down. I've been given this up, and I need to make the most of it.

Second lesson, I feel, is that cliche's are true, but it doesn't matter that they're true, because it's impossible to discover they're true until we run into them for ourselves. This past forever has been a journey of self-discovery. Things have started coming together lately to help me learn more about myself and the world around me. Ideas and opinions I have held for a long time are changing. I am discovering myself. For a long time I honestly thought that I was through with all of that. I felt like I'd done quite a bit of discovering through the years, and I was feeling pretty good with where I was. People have always said that the journey of self discovery never really stops, but I figured it had. Welp, I was wrong. Here I am, appreciative of the fact that I was wrong.

The third, and most important, lesson: I'm not as tough as I thought I was. Back in sophomore cross country days, Porter and the older guys would always mess around with each other as we ran. They'd smack each other, jump on each other, and really just have a good time. They're battle cry and anthem was always, "Do you think you're tough?!" Any time they'd get hit, or be ready to hit, or really any time they just wanted to say hi, they'd ask if you thought you were tough. The first time they asked me, it caught me off guard, and I thought about it. The next million times they asked, I just figured they were joking. But now, years later, I'm starting to see the wisdom of it all. Noaksey said that madrigals is what made him realize that he wasn't tough. I've got a long way to go yet, but I'm starting to realize, just like Noaksey, that I'm not that tough. This process of changing what I want to be when I grow up, what I want to do, and ultimately what I want to focus on, it's been a bit humbling. I've had to realize that I didn't have it all figured out. Admitting that what I've been working towards for the past long time just isn't what I want to do. I was wrong. And the fact that I was wrong helps me realize that I will probably be wrong in the future, too.

Normally that kind of stuff bugs me. I hate to be wrong. But this week, I'm loving it. I'm so excited to be human again.

So hey, life your life. Was that Thad's catch-phrase when he ran for office? I think so, and I'm totally horking it.

It doesn't matter if I don't make a lot of money, because making a lot of money isn't what I've been called to do. I've got a feeling that I know what I've been called to do, and I'm going for it. I'm living my life.

It's like that great smelling burst of spring air through the window. I really feel like I'm on the right track. I love being on the right track.

So go ahead, accuse me of just having a really good night. Accuse me of being overly optimistic and cheerful. I understand. I'd do the same if I were you. But the truth is, I'm feeling good about this. I'm feeling good about life and the future. I feel like I can, with help, really get out there and make a difference. I feel like I know where I'm going. I have no idea where I'm going, but I know what I want to do when I get there. I know who I want to be.

So hey, live your life. I'm figuring out what's important to me, and I'm pursuing it. I think that if there was one thing I'd say by way of advice, it'd be to try the same. Figure out what's important to you, and then chase after it with all you've got.

I hope things are going well for you all. I appreciate the fact that you're all out there. I think about you guys. If there's anything I can do to help, well, drop me a line. I know nobody will actually drop me a line, but I wanted to put it out there, cause I mean it.

Here I go, full steam ahead. I'll need help, but I know that it's possible. I can make it.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Calc 152

Hey, really meant to get around to posting tonight, but now it's looking a bit too late. I just finished my calc assignments for AB. Didn't do any BC work, unfortunately. At least I'm staying afloat, eh?

Hopefully I'll bust a post out tomorrow. In the meantime, here's to you, wednesday.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Fulfillment of a Dream

So, remember how about a year ago, I said I was going on a quest to get my own wikipedia page? I decided to officially try today. I've already been flagged for not asserting my own relevance, but I threw up the "hold on, I'm getting there!" tag, so I've got at least a few days to prove that I'm actually important.

I will be victorious, I'm going to make this happen. I'm so proud of myself.