Monday, December 18, 2006

Death Becomes Me

I am not dead, as many believe, but am slowly inching my way towards the slippery slope of perilous doom. I am up at 5:37 AM, for my third night this week of pre-test, all-night study. This means, unfortunately, that I must make up for this sleep at some point in the day. If, however, I fail to find the time, I will most certainly die. Since I foresee additional sleepless nights in my upcoming week, I think death could most certainly be in the cards for me. If this is the case, please, do not cease to comment on here. Go on with life, as though I exist. You can even set a place for me at your table; make it a Christmas tradition. Or just give me Christ's seat until he comes and demands it back -- I'll be more than happy to partake of his food. In the meantime, I seem to remember that my mom said she'd be making Cherry pie ... I'm going to go check the refrigerator to see if she really did. That may save me from death for a few more evenings, so keep that fine china away from my placemat for now -- I'm going to live.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

An Overwhelming Undertaking

I sit here pondering my previous day -- a day that has been complete for half of what some would consider to be the most important measurement that is commonly used in this society. I awoke late -- missing the entire morning -- leaving me with just the second half to finish what I have determined is the most important paper that I have ever had to write, and what others would likely consider just another paper. Nothing more, nothing less.

I regret nothing; I worked hard. It may not come to be any great thing, and at this moment, it has not generated even an inkling of satisfaction for anyone except myself. I worry for its completion. The conception came quickly, in a rush of grandiose insight and wit, and yet the research was delayed by my own selfish desires to increase other aspects of my living existence, and now I am forced to do in a day what should be done in no less than three.

The final product will inevitably be remarkable. While it can not be seen at the moment by others' eyes, or even by my own, its existence is soon to be created by my capable faculties -- and it is overwhelming. I write now in hopes that by the completion of tomorrow I am still capable of proceeding with my commendable undertaking. If I'm not, then my grade will surely suffer.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Danger: Keep Hands Clear!

A little while ago, I went with my class on a field trip to a factory where they produce the little bags of salads. Near the machine that cuts the lettuce into little slices and mixes all of the cut carrots and cabbage into the salad mix, there was a sign similar to the one on the left. This sign, in case you can't see, contains an image of a hand that has each of the fingers sliced off cleanly, with little drops of blood falling out of the newly opened ends. This is by far the scariest image I've ever seen. After I saw that sign, there's no way I'm putting my hands anywhere near that machine. It seemed to me to be a little excessive for a warning sign. I mean, we all know what can happen if you place your hands near a sharp automated blade. The danger sign would be enough it seems, maybe with an image of a knife or something, for those who are unable to read.

In my tours of various other food production plants, I have noticed this sign, or a similarly gruesome one, on cheese vats, chopping devices, and fans. I'm beginning to feel that these signs would be fun to place around schools, near dark holes perhaps. It would be interesting from a sociological standpoint, at least, to see which kids would stick their hands into the dark hole regardless of the sign's depicted warning. I suppose then they'd learn to disobey such signs because the lack of any blade in the hole would be evidence to them that signs often lie. In fact, I'm starting to doubt the sign myself. I mean, I've never seen a blade make a clean cut like that through human flesh. It has bone to cut through, after all. I also think there'd be a substantial amount more blood than what is shown. Perhaps next trip I'll have to sacrifice a finger or two to find out - watch for it in your next salad.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Crossword Complete

I'm not a crossword fanatic. I do the New York Times crossword that is reprinted in The Daily Universe each day, not because I have some specific goal to complete the crossword to prove my high-reaching intellect to myself, but rather, to waste time when I am bored and have nothing else with which I could occupy that time. Specifically, I tend to fill out the crossword puzzle during the 10 minute class breaks when I happen to have my next lesson in the same room as my previous lecture. My eyes also wander to the clues during my microbiology class, which proves to be quite fruitless. I get the most work done on the crossword puzzle during lunchtime, when I am busy chomping away at a tasty Subway sandwich. This required some skill at first, seeing as how I was used to eating two handed. I am now able to hold my sandwich quite confidently with one hand, while filling in boxes with the other. Granted, this only occurs on Mondays, and sometimes on Tuesdays. The other days of the week usually see me sitting with my sandwich, pondering over the possible answers to the incredibly difficult clues to events and happenings that I have never heard of.

The reason for posting this today, however, is that something happened that has never before occurred in all of my months as a crossword enthusiast. I completed the crossword puzzle. That is, I filled in each and every box of Monday's puzzle, and am quite confident that I did so correctly. And you know what? I feel no differently than when I finish all of the puzzle save a few squares. I never really look at the solutions to yesterday's puzzle, either, so I'll never know if I was right. And I don't care. I'm not a crossword fanatic.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Scholarship Exaggerations

Tonight, I was honored at a departmental scholarship banquet in the Wilkinson Center. This was a nice fancy dinner attended by the faculty and staff of the Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Science Department (NDFS), as well as other scholarship recipients and their parents and/or spouses. My mother and I sat at the same table as the dean of the college of biology and agriculture and his wife, as well as the department chair and his wife. This was obviously the most prestigious table in the room: front and center and all. It was table #3.

As part of the festivities, we were served a very tasty meal provided by BYU catering. It was fancy schmancy, and was a joy to eat. It was great to see all of the other people there getting their awards, and feeling just as uncomfortable as I was to see their biographical sketch in the award summary program that was handed out to everyone in attendance. None of us are quite aware of where they found this information. A popular theory seems to be that they took bits and pieces from our scholarship applications. Well, you know how people exaggerate on those. Exactly.

Here's what mine said:
Joseph Schlegel will receive dual degrees in Food Science and Russian. He would like to use both of these degrees in a future career. He served an internship with the Food Products Association, and was a member of the IFT College Bowl Team, which required an extensive knowledge of the terms and principles associated with food science. He organized a benefit concert for Russian orphans this year, and was able to help needy children receive supplies they needed. He has been a member of the BYU Slavic Club, Food Science Club, and took second place in a Regional IFT Food Science College Bowl competition.

Well, most of that is true, so I guess I am slightly amazing. But, it is really funny how it makes it sound like I organized this huge benefit concert all by myself, when in reality I was simply a member of the club that organized it; my duties included passing out flyers and helping to collect the donations that were sent in. It also makes it sound like I took second place in the college bowl, when in fact it was a team effort, led mostly by the team captain, who was not me.

They ended up reading these biographical sketches out loud for everyone when they had us receive our individual awards. So, there was no hiding from the extreme exaggerations listed. Many people were probably feeling quite uneasy. I had a blast.

I got to meet some neat people, and hobnob with the intellectual type. This is a completely different crowd of people, and one that I wouldn't actually mind being a part of. We'll see where my amazing future brings me, once I finish my job that requires both of my dual degrees.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Scutigera: My Friend

First, some background:
About four months ago, I awoke in a most odd way. I slapped my face as hard as I could, while I was still asleep. This awoke me from my dream. Why did I slap my face? Well, I was in a groggy state, having just awoke, and I thought I had felt a tickle on my face, and naturally, I assumed that my fear had truly occured, and a spider had been crawling on my face. I probably would have forgotten about this by now, and just passed it off to a bad dream that made me believe a spider had been on my face, except that when I looked at my hand, a spider leg was on it. This leg was undeniably one that belonged to a spider, and I was quite scared that I may have upset him now (I know I would be upset if someone whacked my leg off!). I looked around without moving, hoping to see where the spider was. . .but I couldn't see anything. So, I slowly got out of bed, moving only the covers. I looked back at the bed, and saw no spider. I was about to leave, and get on with my day, when I decided to shake things up a bit, literally. I shook the covers, in fear that something would pop out and run up my leg. Nothing did. Finally, I grabbed my pillow, and shook it. Well, this is where I get freaked out, because out from under the pillow streaks this brown insect-looking creature. I thought it had a hundred legs, it was moving so fast. It ran right under the covers. Well, I knew I couldn't sleep in that bed ever again until I knew that that creature was dead and wasn't going to crawl all over me in my sleep. So, I grabbed a sunday school lesson manual (the closest hard object I could find) and held it like a racquet. I quickly threw the covers back, and swatted the racquet down hard. I hit it square, but, due to the softness of the mattress, the spider was not killed, and only paused briefly before running away down the side of the bed (on the side next to the wall). I was very afraid now, because not only is this spider pissed off at me for losing a leg, but now he's been swatted and is probably leaking some sort of goo everywhere he goes. I thought he probably hadn't run far off, and I could coax him back onto the bed. I pulled gently at the mattress cover, and sure enough, up he came. I hammered the lesson manual down on him. This time, I didn't stop. I swatted again, and again, and again, until I had pulverized him, and I knew he was dead.

Note: Don't you find it odd that I consistently refer to scary spiders and insects as 'he'? I do.

Now, the update:
So, a few days ago, I walk into my bathroom and see the exact same type of creature, hanging out on the wall behind the toilet. It wasn't moving, which was shocking, considering how fast his counterpart had darted off the bed. I ran into my kitchen and grabbed a small tupperware container (not yours, GM ... unfortunately, I still don't know where that is ...). With this, I attempted to capture the insect. As I inched close to it, though, it fell right down to the floor and started to scurry away. I quickly clamped the tupperware over him, coaxed him into crawling up the side of the container, turned it around quickly and shut the lid. I then threw that into the freezer, hoping to take it to the entomology room in the Bean Museum for identification.

This proved to be unnecessary, however. A simple email to the curator of the insect collection describing my catch was sufficient for him to give me the exact species name. Scutigera coleoptrata. Commonly known as the
House Centipede. So, after all this time, the mystery is solved. That's what the scary creature was that awoke me in the night so long ago. And, another mystery solved: it states, "In an act of defense, when one of the house centipede's legs is held down, it drops that leg in hopes that the attacker will be distracted by the temporarily twitching appendage." Well, it's leg didn't deter me from smashing it to death, but, it sure gave a valiant effort.

I am very impressed by my friend Scutigera. He eats the spiders that I hate so much. He wasn't on my bed that night to bother me, he was simply ridding my sheets of bedbugs. Scutigera is one of the most beneficial creatures that I could have residing in my room, even if he is nasty looking. Looks can be deceiving: that's the lesson to be learned here. Remember it.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

No Backpack - No Worries

At 7:50PM, I had a twenty minute window before I had to leave to give a friend a ride. I decided that may be the only time I have to get a little bit of homework done for tomorrow. That's when I realized that I left my backpack, and every bit of my schoolwork, in my locker at the Eyring Science Center. This whole weekend, it never even crossed my mind. I guess that shows just how little I think of school on the weekend. I'll be getting up early tomorrow to get some of that work done that's due. That'll be fun. For now, though, it's back to forgetting about it.

Teach Safe S in Schools

There's a need in our education system that is simply not being fulfilled. We teach and teach about the miracles of modern science, about the history of the Native American tribes, about the formations of the clouds; we have children memorize and learn the names of all of the counties in the state, the names of the Native American tribes, and the times tables; we teach them how to read music, decipher petroglyphs, and make ceramic pots. But, between all of this learning of unusable - yet interesting - information, we fail to teach children the value of keeping safe. You see, there is a certain act that many children, even at a very young age, contemplate doing. Many times, due to the pressures of their peers, this act becomes mutual, even ritualistic at times. When this happens, the consequences of such action becomes apparent and cause much difficulty for the family, friends, and teachers of such a student.

The tell-tale signs are clearly visible before the results of the final act are seen. Bloodstains on the sheets, perhaps. Or a child and his friend entering the garage and locking the door, in order to be alone. We all should be able to recognize what is happening. The big "S". Suicide.

Children are committing suicide at an alarmingly higher rate than we were when we were their age. The modern world, this modern society, is all the more troublesome and difficult to live in, and children can not always cope with the pressures and demands of the populace. This causes many problems at home and at school, when children no longer show up for classes or clean their rooms. Many of these problems could be assuaged if we would simply include proper suicide etiquette in the school curriculum.

Safe suicide has already begun to be taught by some school systems and has shown great results. Although the suicide rate does rise slightly with the implementation of such a system, the manner in which these suicides are performed is much more in keeping with the ways of proper living. No longer are children shooting their brains out onto the wall with shotguns, leaving only a bloody stump in the place of a head, and spilling out all of their cranial contents onto their personal belongings. They instead take caution and care to write a proper suicide letter, notifying their loved ones of their actions and the reasons pertaining to them. They ensure that the act takes place in a safe area, with the consent and approval of proper administrators. They learn how to handle unforeseen circumstances, and overcome their adverse effects. With these changes comes a greater appreciation for what they have done, and a better understanding of the mature nature of their actions.

Let's face it: kids are going to commit suicide. It's a basic human desire that requires fulfillment. We are no longer living in an era when it is okay to force children into living a useless and hopeless existence. I demand that all schools inculcate their pupils with the principles of safe suicide. Suicide is much too enjoyable of an experience to deny desiring children. Sure, such values should be taught in the home - but many parents are not fulfilling this necessary obligation. Their children are then having an impact on others, and the poor suicide technique spreads like wild-fire.

The fact remains: children are going to do it. Therefore, let's make sure they are doing it safe and doing it right.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A New Board Writer

Hey, I've made a contribution without even trying. I simply answered the question posted on an online forum, and now I've been quoted on The Board. I keep this up, and maybe people will think I'm a board writer myself.

Same-Sex Marriage

I was reading through today's posts on the board, and found an argument against gay marriages that I had never heard before. It struck me as remarkably absurd, so I post it here for your amusement:

"Marriage was designed, in essence, for conceiving, bearing, and raising children unto God. He wants us to raise our children under righteous principles so that it may continue from generation from generation. Now brings the simple truth: same-sex marriages cannot have children! There is no reason for me to dive in the physiology and why it is that way; we all understand it. If we allow same-sex marriage to continue, it will proliferate to a point that there will be a huge desire to adopt. So much, in fact, that a married man and women, who are unable to have a child naturally, may not be able to adopt. What would happen for you, Logos, if you were married, unable to have children, and couldn't adopt because there were so many gay marriages wanting adopt also? I would imagine that you would be devastated - your name-sake would not be able to continue."

First, I was struck most by the claim that same-sex couples should not be allowed to marry on the basis that they cannot breed. Following that logic, any heterosexual couple that is unable to produce offspring should also not be allowed to be married. Since when was marriage all about the children? Yes, that's its primary purpose, but certainly not a qualifying necessity.
Second, what's all this about homosexuals wanting to adopt? Yes, there are many that would love to adopt children, but I don't think it's an overwhelming majority. Certainly there are enough children available from the illegitimacy and cohabitation problems that were noted earlier in the answer to supply the highly interested and able homosexuals the ability to adopt without stealing the children away from heterosexual couples. And, the last time I checked, the adoption board will only allow an adoption to go through if it deems the home suitable for raising a child. What difference should it make to society, then, if every child that needs to be adopted is able to be adopted by caring and loving parents in the bonds of marriage? Seems like a pretty good deal to me - a hell of a lot better than we stand now.

I am in no way finding fault with The Board, or the writer of this answer. He was asked to give the argument for those that oppose gay marriages, and he did so. I'm simply using my disagreement with his points as motivation to finally type up some of my thoughts on the issue. I agree completely with his concluding points, for example: "I hope you can see, by these few examples, how same-sex marriage can, and will, affect our society," and "A minority of society, who are pushing for same-sex marriages, do not understand the huge implications of it." It is certain that allowing same-sex marriages will cause a drastic change to the way our society functions, as it attempts to respond to the unintended consequences of such a change. But, I believe that this change is due to come just as it has in other revolutions in the past (abolition of slavery, women's rights, voting rights at 18, etc.). Every time a change is made in policy, it, of course, affects our society. There are those who will claim the received consequences are bad, and others who will claim that they are good. However, this change is imminent, and we had better prepare ourselves for it and figure out how we can make it work, rather than trying to put a halt to the process.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Advanced - Mid

It's official. I can speak Russian on the level of Advanced - Mid (which, I assume, is a shortened form of Advanced - Middle). It cost me $55 dollars to find that out. Should I pay the $10 dollars to get the official documentation sent to me? No, thank you. It served its purpose already ... now, here's hoping that was good enough to get on the Russian debate team next semester.
I suppose I should give some background for those of you that may not know of my reasons for testing my Russian knowledge. Ten people next semester will be allowed to sign up for Russian 490R - Russian Debate. This is the first time this class is being offered. It will consist of learning the principles of good debate, and then utilizing those principles to debate in the Russian language. The culmination of this course will take place at the close of the semester, when the team will fly to Russia to participate in an international debate competition against some native Russian teams.
In order to ensure the highest quality of students, they have required that everyone interested in signing up for the course take this Russian language proficiency test. I took it and got the ranking of Advanced - Mid. This is better than Advanced - Low, but worse than Advanced - High and Superior. This ranking is for the oral exam only, as the written portion has not yet been graded. I did just as well on that exam, though, so I'm feeling okay about getting on the team. 60 people took the test, so the odds are still slim, but there's no reason why it shouldn't be me, really. We'll see what happens, though. If nothing else, it's good to know I'm Advanced - Mid.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Fiasco. This is a good word that, sadly, I don't use often enough. I suppose this is a good thing, since it means that I am not presented with many fiascos in my life. But, I do so enjoy exclaiming, "It was a complete fiasco!" Unfortunately, even when a fiasco occurs, I tend not to use that word to describe it ... actually, I rarely, if ever, speak to anyone about the event if it was, indeed, an authentic fiasco. In fact, I'd have to say the only time I ever use the word is in a hyperbolic sense. This, too, is a good thing. I'm glad the word exists. I'll have to thank the Italians next time I see them.

Taco Bell Letdown

Last night, an odd occurrence took place. I was given a ride home by my friend (that's not the odd occurrence; he's one of my best friends, and is always there for me when I need him) and I decided to ask him to stop by Taco Bell, so I could both grab a bite to eat for myself (since I had not eaten for most of the day) and purchase a Cheesy Gordita Crunch for him, since he was so nice to come out of his way for the sole purpose of driving me home. Well, we pull up to the drive-thru, and wait for the little voice to respond. We know that someone's there, because the car in front of us just pulled up and got its food. We sit at the board for a good minute or so before we decide to pull up to the window. Upon pulling up to the window, a mean voice tells us that the store is closed, and 'the one on Freedom is open till 3.' This is taking place at 10:05PM, mind you. I, for one, was greatly confused. I thought Taco Bell prided itself on its late night catering. Assuming this was just a bizarre scenario that could only portray itself at the 9th East Taco Bell (a most unreliable facility, mind you), we drove to East Bay to try our luck with the good old stand-by. Imagine my surprise when we pulled up to my previous place of employment to find that only the word 'Bell' was in lights, and the rest of the store was completely dark. Closed. Closed at 10:00 PM.
Well, the story ends there, really. I was really in the mood for Taco Bell, and didn't get it. Instead, I had Wendy's for dinner.
I can't say I'm too confused though. It makes sense, if you're not doing enough business, to close up shop. But, it seems weird to me that Taco Bell now closes earlier than any other fast food restaurant (unless it's the one on Freedom, which is apparently open later now than it ever was before).

Monday, October 09, 2006

Letter to the Editor

What causes one to write a letter to the editor? Don't people know that the letters to the editor are more often ridiculed and mocked than actually interpreted for words of wisdom and sage counsel? Don't they realize that their petty disputes are of no concern in the large scheme of things? Why do people subject themselves to this meaningless and wasteful endeavor?
Well, having now officially written my first letter to the editor, I can now shed some light on this issue.
I have often opened to the opinion page of the Daily Universe, in order to partake of the immense joy that occurs whenever I read the poorly written thoughts of my fellow students. I take great pride in knowing that I couldn't possibly care less about most of their grievances. Parking problems? who cares. Honor Code Violations? no big deal. R-rated films? okay, I disagree, but, what difference does it make. Dancing to Hymns is Blasphemous? OKAY, STOP IT RIGHT THERE ... THAT'S JUST ABSURD!
So, as weird as it may seem, that's the way the dancing to hymns letter struck me as I read it. I actually felt an extreme hatred towards the two girls who wrote that letter. How could people be that stupid, and then assume that they are speaking on behalf of the entire student body? Someone had to set this right. Someone had to let everyone know that I, at least, do not agree with these two loonies. So, although I was in haste to find time to study for my Food Chemistry test that evening, and I only had a 2 hour window in which to study, I found myself at a computer in the SWKT computer lab, typing up the following
letter to the editor:

While I agree that "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" is indeed a beautiful hymn, I don't believe we can claim it as one of "our sacred hymns." A simple scouring of the alphabetical listing of hymn titles and first lines will confirm the fact that the song is no longer included among the other Hymns of Zion. Although beloved by the LDS community, the inspiring words were penned in the 18th century by Robert Robinson, and are sung in many Christian congregations throughout the world. It, therefore, falls under a separate category of songs for which performance art is valid, and perhaps even encouraged, due to the more rigorous restrictions placed upon the hymns.

I for one would much rather have a spiritually uplifting tune be the backdrop for a dance performance than, say, "Baby Got Back," by Sir Mix-a-Lot. During the performance, I found that my thoughts were centered on Christ and his Atonement; I'm sure many others' were as well. By stating, "Hymns should never be used in a routine or setting to garner loud, rambunctious approval from a riotous crowd," you are discounting the fine work and many hours of dedication that were put into producing the visual accompaniment to the music. The appropriate applause (for which President Samuelson himself announced approval) was not directed at the hymn, but rather to the performers, as appreciation for providing us with entertainment and inspiration. Any disdain could have been expressed by abstaining from the applause ritual.

Joseph Schlegel


So, there it is. I felt that that would be the end-all-be-all on the subject. I honestly thought that I was one of the few who would be confident enough to voice his opposing opinion through the public forum. I was, of course, quite upset to find that my letter wasn't even published until the following Monday, rather than that Friday, even though I had clearly turned my letter in on time (they used the title I supplied for my letter as the title for one of their other submissions). However, I lost all of my previous fervor once I saw the enormous amount of responses on the same subject. It instantly became another of the many issues that I couldn't care less about. I even read through my letter now, and, while I admit that it's not poorly written, it sadly joins the ranks of all of the many other letters in the overly hostile and uncouth clamor of BYU's elitist student body. I don't believe I'll be writing any more such letters in years to come, but, it was a good experiment, and I'm glad to understand a little better now, what compels people to subject their most passionate thoughts to the torment of an uncaring populace.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

$55 dollars

I lost $55 dollars to stupidity yesterday. I was signed up to take a test that usually costs lots more than $55 dollars to take, but, thanks to the good deal our program was able to get, the test was going to be at a reduced price; the best part, however, was that the program would pay for it all, so it was essentially free to me. All I had to do was get up on time, call the number, and take my test over the phone. Well, I did the first step: I got up on time. However, I had managed to forget that I even had this test to take until 9:30 AM ... I was supposed to call at 8:30 AM. Anyways, what it comes down to is that I just wasted money on a test I never took. I still have a chance to take it again, but I have to pay for it from my own pocket this time, which I've elected to do. That means I payed $55 dollars for the joy of sitting on my computer reading my email rather than taking a test. Totally not worth it. Do you know how many yams I could buy with $55 dollars? (Well, actually, put that way, it's not that bad. I don't really like yams that much)
Anyways, I'm glad I do stupid things from time to time. It makes me feel a whole lot smarter the rest of the time.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

New Haircut

Some people will find this post extremely exaggerative, others will think it's simply hyperbolic, but I assure you, it is neither. This post will deal with the greatest haircut that I have ever received. This monumental haircut occurred less than 2 hours ago, and I am still in awe of the marvelous mastery atop my skull. Looking in the mirror does not elicit any pangs of regret at the loss of the bulky mass that once adorned my cranium, but rather, I am overwhelmed with comfort and solace as I see that my face is in perfect harmony with its surroundings. The hair does not detract one's gaze, nor does it demand the attention of passers-by. It is, simply put: perfect.
How did I come to be the fortunate beneficiary of such skilled workmanship--workmanship that could not have been rivaled by even the greatest masters, such as Donatello, Michelangelo, Lysippus, or Bernini, to name a few (these are, of course, great sculptors--not hair stylists. I wonder if they could cut hair as well as they sculpted ... I mean, if you can chisel away at marble all day, and make a masterpiece out of it, you'd think hair would only be easier ... perhaps I am wrong on this, though. Perhaps hair requires a more delicate touch, a more firm command of one's hands to achieve success. After all, I believe scissors are a much different tool than the chisel or hammer. Edward Scissorhands proved, however, that a great hedge cutter could have cross over success, both in hair cutting (and dog grooming) and sculpting (ice sculpting, at least). Regardless, my hair was cut in a much more elegant manner than any of these artists could have accomplished. And yes, even better than Edward Scissorhands, wherever he may be)?

My story goes back many years. I was a young lad, 5 years of age. The annual Christmas Eve trip of Santa Claus was about to commence, and I was delighted for a chance to meet the pudgy man in the suit that would bring me presents. I decided to wait for him outside, on my front lawn. My parents were oblivious to the fact that I was standing barefoot in the frosty snow. They were asleep, all snug in their beds, while visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads. I was having a very informative discussion with Frosty, the snowman who had built himself on our snow-covered lawn a few weeks previous, about the possibility of spying Santa about his yearly chore. Frosty said that he often saw Santa, and, indeed, that the two of them were great friends. The discussion led to how he had come to life one day, a long time back. He said that Santa was the one who was able to grant him that wish. I was shocked. I never knew that Santa could grant wishes as well as hand out presents. Frosty, noticing my concerned and delighted face, responded that Santa doesn't usually grant wishes ... only to those who show a degree of sacrifice. Frosty stated that he had sacrificed his presents one year, receiving a lump of coal instead, in order to be granted a wish 18 or so years later.
I was elated. I could do this too! Only, I didn't need to come to life ... I was already alive. In fact, it didn't make much sense that Frosty had really sacrificed his presents, considering that he wasn't alive at the time, so presents would have been fairly useless. I suppose that's when he received his corn-cob pipe and button nose. All the same, though, it seems that coal would have only been a welcome gift in itself, and not the objectionable surprise that it is to most of us on Christmas morning, because it would only serve as yet another eye or button for a snowman. However, the sound of the approaching sleigh, and the red light from Rudolph's nose, pushed all of these doubts from my mind.
I approached Santa with a "HoHoHo", to which he responded, "HOHOHO." He asked me what I was doing up so late. I said I wanted to trade my gift for a lump of cole. "Just one lump?" he asked. I said, "Yes, indeed." "Whatever for?" he inquired, "I was told that children like presents more than coal. Have I been wrong this whole time?" "No, Santa, it's just that Frosty told me that if I asked you for coal this year, you'd grant me a wish sometime in the future." Seeing that I was now frost-bitten in more ways than one, he validated my proposal. "So it shall be," he announced. "You, Joseph Schlegel, shall receive any wish you'd like at a future date of your choosing." I said goodbye to my new friend in red. The following morning, I was delighted to see a solitary piece of dark black coal sitting in my living room, with my name attached to it. My parents were confused; I was crying with glee.
Now, knowing this background, I think you see where this story is going. To make the long story short (because, making the long story long would require me divulging the information of my life's proceedings for the last eighteen and a half years, which would take ample time, I assure you), I used my wish today, in a bold move, to receive the finest haircut that I have ever received. So, you see, there is no doubt that it is the best, because, after all, it was an Autumn gift from my pal Santa, who is still doing quite well, I promise.
I now reflect upon the object I saw that fateful Christmas morning that made my wonderful haircut possible: a single piece of coal, all alone, solitary. This is also known as uni-coal. Thank you.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Mormon Adz

I have known for a long time that there were some reworked New Era ads that were done by Divine Comedy, but I have been hesitant to actually look into whether or not they were actually funny since, quite frankly, Mormon humor generally tends to make me nausious (case in point: The Home Teachers - I still feel like vomiting just thinking of that movie). However, I stumbled across these so-called Mormon adz online today, and found myself laughing out loud (which rarely happens when I'm reading something alone). For those of you that don't realize the significance of this, it means that I think these ads are quite funny (it's not often I can actually use the term 'lol' and mean it!).
I laughed out loud at a total of 13 ads. The others were either not funny, or only semi-funny. If I had to pick only three to share, these would be them:
It's good to sacrifice. But not cats.
Jelly is made of people!

The others that made me laugh are:
Don't run with cookie cutters, Eye doctor has a crush on you, Families are forever, Be Gladys Knight, Who paints the floor?, Put it on. Join the Medieval Club, Somebody has an eating disorder, Modesty in all things, We can all be winners ... loser, and Anthrax.
Actually, there were only a very few that I found to be unfunny, and certainly none were vomit-inducing. I might just have to check out the next Divine Comedy show.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Mmm ... Salad.

Today, in the course of our return from 'The City,' my mother, brother, and I stopped in at 'Sweet Tomatoes' - a fine eating establishment designed after the manner of the bygone 'Souper Salad' of yore (apparently, Souper Salad still exists ... I thought it had gone extinct). This is a restaurant that is greatly needed in this age of extreme meat fascination - a menu that is devoted solely to the dispersion of salad and salad toppings. Of course, as a food scientist (which includes some nutrition) I have to confess that eating at an all-you-can-eat restaurant of any type (and eating as much as I did in this sitting) will not aid anyone in losing weight, and, thus, will not decrease the rising number of obese persons in the surrounding area; all the same, it is nice to know that there is a place where people may banquet healthily while still fulfilling their desire to eat-til-they-puke.
The fact is, I love salad. I think it is one of the greatest foods, especially when there is a long list of available toppings to include in this most delectable dish. My favorite toppings are, without a doubt, broccoli, kidney beans, and cheese. Within cheese, I include my favorite dressing: blue cheese dressing. I'm also a big fan of blue cheese chunks, when they're available, and enjoy sprinkling those around the whole edge of the plate to surround my salad with a bite of strength and pungency. Pickles are a common addition to my salads, and I've been known to add cucumbers if they look particularly fresh and crisp. However, under no condition will I add sweet pickles, as they are incredibly nasty. (It has come to my attention that sweet pickles may, indeed, be the last of the 'common foods' that I dislike, now that I have overcome my hatred of mushrooms (which I find to be quite tasty in most salads (unfortunately, they don't jive well with the blue cheese dressing that I so love, and, therefore, don't find their way on many of my salads))) In connection with kidney beans, I also enjoy garbanzo beans; peas add quite the touch to many a salad. And may we not forget the chopped hard boiled egg that I will always add. Mmm ... salad.
An interesting feature at this establishment was the bin of plain croutons next to the seasoned croutons. I found that I adore the plain croutons. They enhanced my salad to the perfect extent, allotting me one of my best salad tasting experiences (the blue cheese helped greatly, as well). Overall, I highly recommend 'Sweet Tomatoes' as a clean, well-organized restaurant for the whole family. In addition to the salad fare, you can find soups, breads, fruits, and potatoes, and a wonderful frozen dessert stand for all ages (with lovely english toffee bites - a most scrumptious addition).

Friday, September 15, 2006

A Marvelous Realization

I sit, idling away my time at my computer, checking every webpage in my favorites list, double checking the pages in my favorites list, checking my facebook page and pressing refresh a number of times. I wait. I wait because I fear the time that is soon to come. The time at which homework is inevitable, as it is due the next day, and there will not be time to complete it then. The time is soon at hand. I don't want it to come, but it will be here soon.
But, wait. Tomorrow is Friday. We only have homework in that class on Mondays and Wednesdays. Tomorrow is Friday. I don't have that homework that I've been fearing. I'm completely free tonight. Oh sweet joy of joys. I can idle away my time some more. Heck, I can even blog a bit.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Rain, Rain - Come Again Another Day!

Working the football game was long and difficult, considering I was standing the entire time with the weight on my right leg, since the left leg can't handle any strain. To make it more difficult, I had also worked the Priesthood Leadership Meeting in the morning, which required me to arrive at 7:15 AM. Well, apart from the excitement of the Marriott Center being highly overcrowded (unexpectedly), the use of new electronic scanners to check tickets at the football game, and actually seeing a number of familiar faces in the incoming crowds, it also began to rain in the 4th quarter. It was a good rain, too. It came down in just the perfect amount, so it gets you really wet, but feels greatly refreshing. The game was cancelled for awhile due to lightning, and most of the fans fled the stadium for safety. This left only the diehard fans for the conclusion of the game, which was wonderful, since BYU won. I hope the rain comes again soon, because it is so much fun.
Yeah, so I lied when I said it was long and difficult. It was long and fun, thanks to the 'godsent' rain.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Hobbler

This morning I awoke with the most awful pain in my knee, unable to bend it out of position for fear of reawakening the treacherous pangs of immense torment with each new move. I therefore called the Student Health Center to let them know that I was coming in immediately. I skipped my first class to hobble into the Urgent Care section of the Health Center, watching the ongoing dramatics of the many missionaries that were stationed in the waiting room. Apparently 9AM is a very common time for missionaries from the MTC to head to the emergency room of the Student Health Center in their gym clothes.
Anyways, I'll make the long story short: my knee cap was dislocated, and I was given a brace to keep it from happening again. As far as fixing the current problem, the doctor prescribed some pills (I have no idea what they do, all I know is I paid ten bucks for them, and I'm supposed to take one pill twice a day after eating) and told me to come back in 5 days for a meeting with the orthopedist. The brace helps me to walk - hobble - with greater ease, although it is still very obvious that something is wrong.
This gives me more excuse to stay in my room and study, which is good since I have an ample amount of homework due on Monday, and it must needs be completed. I will be working for much of this weekend, however, which should be interesting, since my job requires that I stand for long hours. We'll see how well that turns out. In short, this is just the sort of distraction I needed, and I'm going to make the most of it. Hobbling can be fun if you take it in stride.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Hike of Inspiration

One of my best experiences in my life was when I hiked straight up the mountain near my house with one of my friends. This occurred in 9th grade. We were simply walking home from the bus, and looked at the mountain, and decided to climb straight up it. We took his dog as well, and no water or anything. (As a side note, it would be good to know that my friends and I are not the type to usually choose to do anything active with our time, but rather, to sit and watch movies or read books and the like). The climb was arduous, but the view fantastic. We reached a large ledge near the pinnacle of the peak, and sat down. It was a great moment for reflection and contemplation. The hike down was very treacherous, as the mountain is very steep, and covered with shaky slate as its base. I'm still shocked at how well his dog was able to manage the climb. We returned home tired and dirty, and oh so very thirsty.
Well, today, I decided I needed another such hike for inspiration, but decided I would simply walk up through the nice trail that goes through the middle of the two peaks, up toward the much taller peak behind them. When I approached the gate to the trail, however, there was a sign that said, "Trail closed to all users. Violations Punished." An odd sign, due to its use of the word 'users' and the past tense, 'violations punished,' as if it had already happened. Nonetheless, it was clear that they did not want to have me on the trail. Recalling the adventure of so many years previous, I decided to climb straight up the mountain again. After all, the trail is closed, but they can't very well close a mountain, now can they?
I was really enjoying my climb, but getting fairly tired, when I stepped on a rock with my left foot in an odd position, and something very peculiar happened. The knee just popped right out of joint: it looked bizarre and it freaked me out. Luckily, it popped back in as I moved it about, and it wasn't in a great deal of pain. However, when I tried to bend the knee, there was a bit of pain. Nothing fantastic, but enough to keep me from wanting to put any weight on it. I was up on the side of a mountain, in a rather precarious position, as I began to slide my way slowly back down, trying not to bend my left leg. I finally reached a flatter portion where there was a small trail, and took that the rest of the way, limping only slightly as I hoped to 'walk it off,' as my father was so often prone to teach during little league. The trail joined up with the 'off-limits' trail, from which I proceeded to head back home. I wasn't spotted by anyone, and my violation went unpunished.
Despite the knee mishap, I rank the hike as a stunning success (assuming that my leg has not suffered permanent damage, of which I am still uncertain). I was able to see a spectacular view that I had long forgotten. It is quite wonderful to look to the left and see springville in the expanse to the south. Look out and see Utah Lake in its widespread gloriousness from afar. Look to the right and see the campus of learning that is BYU. And look down to see my very own street, and my very own house, from a much different perspective. I really needed to get away from all of that.
Also, I was once again taught the lesson of dependence (this is the lesson that I have been taught more than any other, I think). When up on the mountain, I was all alone. I wished I had someone to help me get down when my leg was not of use to me ... however, I made it down on my own, it just took extra struggle. I wasn't worried at all, though, as it was not what would be classified as a serious problem. It was just meant to teach me a lesson, not put my life in danger.
I brought my book of Pushkin poems along with me on the hike, to read when I got to the top. I never reached the top, due to the leg problem, but I did sit down when I got tired and read a few verses. This poem struck me as incredibly apt and well-crafted, and I'm glad to have come across it at this time:

I loved you, and that love, to die refusing,
May still - who knows! - be smouldering in my breast.
Be not you pained - believe me, of my choosing
I'd never have you troubled nor yet distressed.
I loved you mutely, hopelessly and truly,
With shy yet fervent tenderness aglow;
Mine was a jealous passion and unruly. . .
May Heaven grant another love you so!

- Aleksander Sergeyevich Pushkin, 1829.

New Blog

So, for those of you that may speak Russian, I have decided to start a new experiment. I have created a new blog, "Кислый Майонез," on which I am going to post entirely in Russian. This is for a number of reasons: 1 - I wish to retain my knowledge of the Russian language, and a blog is a good way to keep me writing and using my vocabulary; 2 - I have many friends in Ukraine that wish to know of my proceedings here, and I am unable to email them all each week, as I tend to be short on time; 3 - I want to improve my knowledge of the Russian language, by allowing those with more knowledge to comment on my blog, notifying me of mistakes, and including the reasons for their being in error. Hopefully, this blog will also provide an interesting read for native Russian speakers hoping to expand their horizons and learn about new people and places.
The content of the new blog will be very similar to that seen on this blog, with the exception being that it will be posted in Russian. I will not always cross-post; in fact, I doubt I will cross-post very often at all, since I'm not the biggest fan of translating my own words and thoughts into a new language. But, I will probably be discussing similar events in my life, and so, if you don't know Russian, you will not be missing out on too much. This new blog is more for me than for you, and it is an added bonus to those who know the language. In addition, they get to see my many mistakes, and thus see a very frail, human side to my personality (but, you've seen plenty of that, too).

Mackwynd the Paladin (New Home, and 3 of 3)

Part 3 was a bit longer than I remembered. So, rather than take up the space on my blog with another lengthy post that no one cares about, I've decided to move the whole story to another site and simply provide a link to those who care about it. I plan to place all of my favorite stories on this site, incidentally. Not because it's a particularly good site (in fact, I don't endorse it at all, since it appears to never be updated, and will probably disappear at some point), but rather because it's free and easy to use. I'm not impressed with the design or layout of the site, however, and, therefore, it is just a temporary home for my stories. But, nonetheless, a home. So, for the full saga of Mackwynd the Paladin (or, all there will ever be of it, at least), you may follow this link. This includes the final section (part 3 of 3) entitled "The Adventure through the Desert." Thank you to those who have been following the story. I hope you've enjoyed it to some extent.

I have now also deleted the first two parts of the saga, in order to make the blog more concise in format. The first two parts can still be read in full at the above link, though. I've kept the original blog posts, but deleted the story from the the intro to the saga can still be read.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Mackwynd the Paladin (2 of 3)

So, here is the continuation of the saga. I hope at least someone is getting a little enjoyment from this.

The Death of Taciturn

Edit: see this site for full story.

Mackwynd the Paladin (1 of 3)

Once upon a time, I decided to try and get into Dungeons & Dragons, because it looked like something I would enjoy. So, I found a group of friends and included myself in the festivities. The entire premise seemed great, and I think I would have enjoyed it if I had had enough time to devote to the hobby. However, I was taking 18 credits at the time. Combined with work, a new hobby was simply not in the cards for me. However, I did manage to write a pretty cool backstory for my character. I had decided to entertain the group with a new chapter at each new meeting, and I succeeded. For three meetings. Then I stopped going, because of the busy factor explained above. I have not returned to D&D since, and don't think I ever plan to. There are plenty of online role-playing games that I think are more up my alley. I do think that D&D could be lots of fun with the right group of people and lots of time, though. In any case, I've decided to post the three parts that I did manage to write onto this blog, in installments, the way they were read originally. Check back tomorrow for part 2, and the next day for the subsequent and final submission of this character description. I hope it is able to enlighten and entertain you in some small way.

Brief History of Mackwynd the Paladin

Edit: see this site for full story.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Steve vs. Sting Ray

Sting Ray.

I had a great time tonight at Magical Science Club (our weekly sharing of writing samples, which takes place each Sunday night). I read a stream-of-consciousness work that I wrote one night called 'Oddities.' It was received quite well, causing me to realize that I must continue to write the main character's thoughts in the same fashion for awhile longer, and see where it takes the tale. I'm excited for that, since I really like the character a lot.
After all of the readings and some hanging out, a few of us decided to go out to Denny's for some tasty nighttime breakfast victuals. The bizarre awareness of the moment, however, is that during the time I was enjoying my new two sausage and cheddar bowl, Steve Irwin, renowned crocodile hunter, was being mauled to death by a vicious stingray.
While I was never a huge fan of the crocodile hunter, and rarely watched his show, I greatly appreciate the work that he did. He succeeded in entertaining people through education and daring. There are some people that you never expect to die; he was such a person to me. I mean, anyone who watched his show knows that he was constantly placing himself in perilous situations. However, he always amazed me by emerging from such predicaments unscathed and rejuvenated. Now he's dead. By a stingray.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Joseph Schlegel

I did a search for Joseph Schlegel on Google (because that's my name (not Google, but Joseph Schlegel)), just to see what I would find. Surprisingly, I found that my Amazon reviews were the number one entry, while my blog doesn't show up at all. A couple of pages down, I found a BYU items of interest page that talks about my internship. After that, I also found the script that I submitted to awhile back. However, the only way to get my blog to appear is to type in a search for josephschlegel or for I doubt anyone is searching for Joseph Schlegel anyways.

Overall, I was genuinely surprised by the number of Joseph Schlegels in the country. The one I was most surprised to stumble upton was the myspace page for a Christian rock group. The front man for the group out of Vail, Colorado shares my name. They're called
The Ride, and if they ever come to Utah, you're welcome to join me at the show to shout praises to Joseph Schlegel. I think it would be fun to cheer for myself while they think I'm cheering for them. I suppose now I can tell people that I'm a famous Christian rocker and they'll believe me (because they never did before...). Thank you, Joseph Schlegel. Keep on rockin'!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Farmers' Market

I love the Farmers' Market. The produce is very affordable, and it's a lot of fun to talk with the growers about their vegetables. I bought a container of wild blackberries for 3 dollars, a half a dozen ears of corn for a dollar, a basket of tomatoes for 2 dollars, and a large 10 pound sack of red potatoes for 3 dollars. In addition, I tasted a large variety of scrumptious offerings from the bread lady, as well as a very delicious jalapeno honey. It's fun to buy the food straight from the source. It felt like I was part of a special community.
For information purposes: the Farmers' Market is held every Saturday on the corner of 5th west and 1st South. This represents the first week at the Pioneer Park location, as verified here. This new location a vast improvement over the previous location, as it allows for your children to play without having to cross the street, and the shade makes for relaxed perusing. The vendors sit in little booths and sell not only vegetables, but tasty lavender ice cream (which I actually don't like all that much) and other wares (such as tie-dye shirts and jewelry). I highly recommend supporting your local community and buying some of the products ... you won't regret it.
In related news, I noticed they were putting up booths by the courthouse for the latinoamerican festival. I don't know if that's today or tomorrow but, that looks like fun too.

A Backwards Walk

So, this one time, after the Friday Night Extravaganza (tonight), I was feeling quite chipper. So, even though it got out later than the last bus home, I was content to walk home. In fact, I was looking forward to having the time to reflect on certain things and just be happy about life. By the time I got to the corner of center street and 9th east, I decided it was time for a change. I turned around, and walked backwards all the way home. I had the time and had never done that before for such a long distance. I tried not to look around too much. It was lots of fun. I only tripped once, but did not fall. And, I hit a yield sign once when I stepped off the sidewalk at a corner. But, overall, a successful journey which used completely different muscles than usual (it works the calves like crazy). I can now say that I've walked home backwards from the corner of center street and 9th east. Hooray for me.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Infinite Journey

So, after an immense amount of searching, I was able to find my file wherein I placed a number of my favorite writings. Most of these I had available to me on my computer still, but there were a few that I had not seen in many years. As a result, I think I may post them here on this blog every so often when I don't have anything else to post. It will give me an excuse to keep this thing updated fairly regularly. Please feel free to comment, as I love both criticism and adoration. A lot of it will not be good, because it was written in high school (but, mainly, because it's me that wrote it, and I'm not that good).
So, without anymore needless explanation, here is the first entry (although, I believe it was written fairly recently - most likely last year):

Infinite Journey

Glaring through all that internal haze,
Thinking of thoughts which sharpen your gaze.
Unable to doubt, that which was done,
Knowing inside what you haven't won.

Cancerous pocks, growing unseen -
Noticeable marks of your history.
No one will feel this. The pains go unknown.
Most will just think you've reaped what you've sown.

Life has a way of dimming you out,
Right at the end, when you start to doubt.
Nothing is done because there's no way.
A little bit later and all is okay.

Now looking back at all that was seen,
Thinking about this great mystery.
Realizing all possibilities lost.
Having a chance, but what was the cost?

Feeling uncertain that all was done right,
Piling up rocks of doom is your plight.
Overcoming this will be hardest of all.
On the journey ahead, it's easy to fall.

Progressing still, you walk ahead,
Under the impression that you are not dead.
Infinite and immortal, as you always were,
Struggling will be forever your cure.

Destination in sight, you set your goal.
Now you continue saving your soul.
You reach the end, and feel you've won,
But then find out there's much not done.

Meeting with others who've walked your path,
Together you'll continue avoiding the wrath.
What you have now is greater than victory;
The others among you are your own family.

You now have a chance to make it all right.
Do what you want, but keep it in sight.
Do not forget the person you are.
With those whom you love, you will go far.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

A Good Week (and Another...)

Since my last post, I have really only had great moments. I look back at my last few days only with fond memories. I have had great opportunities to make new acquaintances, forge new friendships, and strengthen old ties. I have been able to seek out such opportunities with very little trepidation. I am more confident about myself than I have ever been. It's a pretty good feeling, and one that I intend to keep.
In the meantime, however, my free time has been causing me to think a little too much about life, dreams, relationships, equations, desires, and other random miscellany - so much so that I think I'm going to explode. I'm glad I finally know the root of the problem: too much free time (and, more specifically, too much alone time (oddly enough, I've spent more time with friends this week than ever before, but, still, I think at the moment I simply require more social interaction than I once managed to get by on)). I've therefore decided to keep myself busy by forcing myself to be creative. I have finally started work on that movie idea I've had floating around in my head for a little while. I think it will be fun to try and get a full script done before school starts. It'll be interesting to see what comes of it, and it will get my mind off the miscellany, if nothing else (life, dreams, relationships, equations, desires...that'll stay, but the miscellany's gotta go!).
I won't be showing this script to anyone till it's done. I actually hope this will be good, whereas most everything else I write I usually don't think twice about and if it makes me laugh, I call it good, and could care less what others think. This one I'm making more for others than for myself. I think it could have an impact. In other words, it will probably be awful and never be completed, and, therefore, I don't want any part of it to see the light of day. But, so that my blogging public (that's you!) knows that I'm not just idly sitting around, that's what I'm busy doing for the time being.
I'm also reading lots of Dostoevsky before school starts, since I never have time to read during school. I just finished 'The Double.' I liked it a lot, and highly recommend it, although not if you haven't read any Dostoevsky yet.
My new favorite picture is 'The Farewell of Telemachus and Eucharis,' by Jacques Louis David (He's the guy that did 'The Oath of the Horatii'). I saw this at the Getty Museum in California, and liked it so much, I bought a 75 cent bookmark of it. I think it's an incredible work of art. My previous favorite picture, and one I still rank as my second favorite, is 'La Comtesse d'Haussonville,' by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres. My favorite statue is Donatello's 'David.' Why all this sudden interest in ranking art? Because, due to the vast amount of thoughts multiplying in my cranium, I have been unable to sleep well, and have instead stayed up late painting. And, I'm a horrible artist. It's fun to test stuff out, out my completed work is quite hideous. How these great masters like Michelangelo, Donatello, Leonardo, and the other turtle (I know it was Raphael...I love his 'Madonna of the Meadow') were ever able to achieve their greatness, I'll never know. It's really very incredible. Incidentally, I think the same thing about my writing when I read Dostoevsky - it simply pales in comparison to his work. It's as if my writing were the infant language from which his grew, and I still have decades of work ahead of me to catch up...but, here's the catch: Dostoevsky was 25 when he wrote 'The Double.' I'll not be up to his level at any point in my life, but if I ever am, I'll be well into my 60's. It's simply brilliant to think about.
This is a rambling post if I've ever seen one, but it's much too late at night for me to bother revising it in any way. Maybe I'll edit it tomorrow if I wake up and decide it's revolting. In any case, you're stuck with it now.
Here's to hoping next week will be even more enjoyable, and fruitful, than this week. I am fully confident that it will be. (Then school will start, and it's back to busy work...but that's another post for another time).

Monday, August 21, 2006

Recent Trip

This summer has been my summer of travel. I just recently returned from a three-month long stint in Washington, D.C., where I was one of many BYU students who decided to complete an internship in our nation's capital. As part of my job responsibilities, I was given the opportunity to travel to Kiev, Ukraine for a week to help supervise the work being done there. I was also given a week of vacation time, which I used to travel to Nikolaev, Ukraine and stay with a family I knew from my mission. After being in Provo for only a few short days, I rode with my friends to Riverside, California, to attend a wedding of one of my old high school buddies. All of these trips were what would be termed 'successful'; I managed to accomplish all that I planned, and was even surprised by many fateful occurrences.

Washington, D.C. was not at all what I expected. I accepted my internship early in the school year, and anticipated a short lonely summer. However, due to the extremely high cost of housing in D.C., I ended up staying in BYU student housing and taking two political science classes through Washington Seminar. This turned out to be a great experience. I made new friends that I would never have made had I been alone in D.C., or not been given the internship opportunity in the first place. I had a similar feeling as I had on my mission - that I was in the right place, doing the right thing.

I always find it interesting to list the items that I remember clearest from a trip. Sometimes, they are things that are not very unique or special; but, for whatever reason, these are the events I remember most vividly:

The National Zoo - 8 hours of walking, looking at every animal available. Who else did that on their DC trip? (I only know one other such person).

The Hirshhorn Museum - A rounded museum, perfect for looking at works of art by Anselm Kiefer.

White House at Night / Brick - On one of my first nights in D.C., I decided to catch a film at a well-known cinema for independent films called 'Landmark E Street Cinema.' I took the metro to the film, exiting at the Metro Center stop and walking one block to the theater. However, late on a weeknight (Wednesday, 11:00 PM), no one else was there. I bought my ticket, entered the theater, and watched the film 'Brick' entirely by myself. At the conclusion of the movie, I left the deserted theater by walking through a completely empty and almost entirely dark hallway. I reached the escalator and ascended to the street level, only to find that the Metro was closed. I elected to walk home via Pennsylvania Avenue, thus passing the White House on my journey. This walk took only an hour; the streets were completely deserted. A weeknight in DC affords quite the quiet peace on a mid-night walk. Even behind the White House, a street usually filled with tourists, no one was to be seen. I stood and looked at the White House alone, and had quite the rush of Potomac Fever.

Foggy Bottom School of Art - A couple of friends and I decided to become painters. We bought cheap acrylics and canvases at a local art store, and walked to the Jefferson Memorial, where we proceeded to paint the scenery. This event was captured forever by a group of tourists, who snapped a secretive photo on their camera as they passed. The flash of light from the camera caused me to turn my head, and I received endless pleasure from knowing that I am going to be in someone's photo album with a caption that says, 'Local artists paint by the Jefferson Memorial.'

Movies - I'll probably best remember sitting in the basement lounge of our building watching various films. My friends and I watched one nearly every night, and stayed up very late. These were very great experiences to see good movies and discuss various things with one another.

Mount Vernon - I went there twice, and had a great experience both times. The beloved home of our nation's first president is an incredible place. I wrote a whole paper on it for my class, so I'll just post that later.

There are really too many experiences over the course of three months to list them all, so I'll stop here. I could talk more about: The Safeway Run, Georgetown at Night, The Bar Band, One Fish Two Fish, A Walk to Remember, The Lincoln Steps at Night, A Museum Adventure, A Capital Tour, A Walk to Jefferson. But, there's even more than that. Really, it was a great trip.

Ukraine proved to be quite delightful, and I made a post about it when I returned, so I'll let that suffice. It was a lot of fun to be able to return to a place so far away and know that I have friends there. This world is amazing.

The travel to California was a great experience, from which I returned only yesterday. I almost agreed to travel with some of my friends to Missouri, which would have required me to leave almost as soon as getting back from California, so I'm glad I decided to opt out of that adventure. However, California was great. 11 of us in all made the trek to view the wedding of a good friend/close acquaintance/friend's friend, depending on who you were. For most of us, he was a good friend. We took two cars down; I rode in the backseat of the minivan, which held seven of us. It was a very fun ride down (half the fun, really). We noticed a sign for Historic Cove Fort on our ride down, and made sure to find out what it was through wikipedia. On our return trip, we made sure to stop by and take a tour, thus fulfilling our quest (actually, it was more on a whim of boredom, not a need for quest fulfillment...but, still).

In California, we went to the beach, the Getty Museum (the best museum I've ever been to, actually), Hollywood Boulevard, Mel's Drive-in (an institution, literally), and a number of other fine restaurants. This was the first time our entire group of friends has been together for such a length of time, and in such an exotic locale, that it was very interesting to see the dynamics of our friendship. I really see this as a sort of bonding experience to bring our whole group together - sharing in a common life event. Oh, and it was really funny too, since our sense of humor is hilarious.

The wedding went off without a hitch (thank goodness, since that movie sucks). They had a temple wedding, or are going to have a temple wedding (I wasn't too clear on when that was to take place), but the wedding we attended was the one for the fiance's family, since they are not members of the LDS church. It was great, because there's a rich Scottish heritage in the family, so they did a full out Scottish wedding at the Presbyterian church. Our friend wore a kilt, and so did all of the men who participated in the ceremony. The woman who conducted the ceremony had a thick scottish accent, and it was really fun. The girls all had very large tattoos on their backs, which I thought looked absolutely terrible with a wedding dress. That's just one more reason not to get a tattoo, I suppose.

The reception was fun. We were promised an all you can eat buffet, and instead were presented with gourmet plates (you know, the kind that are almost completely empty except for the lavish display of two carrots and an asparagus stick waving out from the sauce spilling over from the morsel of meat laying atop the succulent scoop of potato mash). That was a disappointment, but a tasty one, at least. They also had a bar where we were served Mountain Dew, Coke, Sprite, etc.

The return trip went by quickly, and we divided up the expenditures amongst all 11 people evenly. With the price of the wedding gift, the total came to $50.00 for each person. I was surprised by the cheapness, and quite pleased with it.

Now I'm back home again, in Provo. I'm ready to start school with a fresh new perspective on life due to my many travels this summer. I hope I've only changed in ways to make me more interesting. In any case, I know I have good friends.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Top 5 Cities

In reading the 100 hour board today, I stumbled across a question concerning this site. Supposedly, after you complete this detailed quiz, it can tell you exactly where in the United States you would most prefer to live. So, I took the quiz, and here are the results (well, the top five, anyways). I think they're pretty interesting.

1. Grand Rapids, Michigan (That's right, Jacob...maybe we can move to Michigan together!)
2. Duluth, Minnesota (Cool name...Duluth. I could get used to that.)
3. Great Falls, Montana (I don't know...Montana? We'll see.)
4. Rochester, Minnesota (Looks like Minnesota might be the place for me.)
5. Ogden, Utah (Hey, that's really close to Provo! I could move there easily.)

The other cities are all very interesting as well. In short, I think I could live in any number of places in America and be quite content. I enjoyed my stay in DC very much, even though it doesn't land anywhere on my list. All the same, I recommend you check it out yourself. You might find out about a city that you never knew existed -- and it may be the perfect city for you. Go to

In a related note of interest, Salt Lake City, Utah landed at number 9 on my list, while Provo-Orem, Utah also made an appearance at number 11. It looks like this is the place for me after all.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


I just noticed that I never bothered to upload a picture into my blogging profile. I suppose it doesn't matter since anyone who reads this blog most likely already knows me well enough to not want to see me while they peruse through my randomn creations and experiences, but all the same, I promise to get a picture, of me, up on here for ya'll. Ain't I grand?

City of God

So, about a year ago, a good friend of mine recommended that I see the film "City of God" because it was really great. I had so many other movies that I wanted to see at the time, that I just sort of told him, 'yeah, I'll have to do that,' and rubbed it off my inner list of things to do. Well, I have now seen it, and it was really great. This is by far the best movie I have seen all summer. I highly recommend it. I won't go into details, but suffice it to say that I like the camera work, the editing, the story, the acting, the style, and everything. 5/5, or 4/4, or however you want to say it, it's great.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Somewhere in the Dark

A firefly glowed ominously bright, as the last drops of sunlight disappeared beyond the horizon. The night continued to proceed as the bioluminescence of the invigorating creatures continued to explode in rays of radiation-like brilliance. Somewhere in the dark, a small group of youngsters in the up-and-coming Foggy Bottom Art School painted striking visuals on their mini-canvases using acrylic paint (purchased for a small sum at a local supply store). In the end, the fulness of the Potomac atmosphere was captured on two small and palpable palettes, while the finished products managed to recreate the vibrant scene witnessed by the modern-day tourists paying homage to Jefferson.
I am now an independent artist, and I need to let my artistic light shine, much like a firefly. I've been told that fireflies glow in order to attract mates; perhaps they glow because they are prettier that way. The idea makes me glow inside, deep down where no one can see it...and that's a special thing.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Crosswords, I saw wordplay today. Good documentary about people who are really into doing crossword puzzles. Enigmatologists join forces with former presidents in this exciting romp through the multifarious facets of the English language, which shows us that by enclosing words into tiny boxes and forcing us to feel incomplete until we solve the clues which allow us to place the words into a logical order, the editor-in-charge at the New York Times, and unelected leader of the crossword community, Will Shortz, has brought together a diverse and eclectic bunch of people. Well, not so diverse. Sure, some are young and some are old. Some are gay and some are not. But, all are white, all are word-lovers, and all have nothing else to do. It is always interesting to see people who put such passion into their hobbies. It's also fun to see the Bill Clinton smile when he knows that the manitee is a sea creature on the florida license plate.
This film would undoubtedly have been interesting even if I had never seen a crossword in my life. However, due to the fact that I've actually acquired a certain interest in completing the daily crossword myself, I found that I felt a very similar feeling that many of the people featured in the film felt. It is amazing that, even though you may think you're stuck, if you look at the crossword puzzle long enough, and try enough options, eventually you get it. We seem to know things that we didn't even think we knew. It's pretty cool.
So, I'm going to do a crossword every day, because I think it's pretty cool. But, I will never get to the point where I'm timing myself to see if I can get below two minutes. And I'll never be able to do that. If I could, I would certainly time myself. However, I'm usually happy just to finish the puzzle. And even for that I usually need help. But, that's part of the fun really. So, good luck to all you other gamers, and I hope you all see this movie to understand the beautiful art of puzzle making a little more.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Phish: Live in Brooklyn

I had the wonderful opportunity of attending my first Phish concert in over 4 years. This is partly due to the fact that they haven't been touring since 2004, but, I also haven't seen Trey or any of the others play individually since that time either. In fact, I haven't been to many concerts at all since before I left to Ukraine in October, 2002. I did see Moe. on New Year's Eve in Las Vegas in 2003. And I bought a ticket to Moe. out here in Washington, DC, but couldn't go due to my being in Ukraine again at the time.
I was expecting a fairly excited crowd for the Phish concert last Monday at the local Movie Theater. This show was the Phish: Live in Brooklyn concert that was apparently broadcast to movie theaters around the country simultaneously when it first aired, and now, due to it's release on dvd (which I have also purchased) was being shown again in select theaters around the country. Washington DC being the large city that it is, saw fit to show the concert at 9PM in a Regal theater in the Ballston Mall in Arlington, VA. I knew the crowd would be excited, because obviously only a true phishhead would buy tickets for $12.50 a piece to see a pre-recorded performance of a concert that happened two years ago.
But, I was just happy to be able to see my good friends Trey, Mike, Page, and Fish playing again. Up close and personal. The sound was incredible in the theater, almost better than seeing the band play live because there weren't the bad acoustics that come with some venues (like I'm sure a baseball field would have). It also didn't rain in the movie theater, which was nice. The audience was spectacular, dancing in the aisles and cheering the band on, even though I doubt the band could hear us (but maybe they did hear us...two years ago...there's a thought).
I was very impressed with the filming of this concert. It did well at focusing on the main points of the music, and highlighting Trey's magnificent work on guitar as well as Page's piano playing.
Overall, I was overjoyed that the evening went so well. Also, I thought the mall looked really great, and I think I'll go visit it sometime soon to do some shopping and 'chillin.'
After the show, my friend and I went to catch the 12:45 AM bus, which never came. We then ate at IHOP to appease my stomach ache. I thought a glass of grapefruit juice would help (I know, contradictory logic...I'll have to explain that later), but it didn't. In fact, I think it made it worse. I don't know what was going around, but when I got home that night, Glenn, my roommate, also had a bad stomachache, so, maybe it was something we ate. In any case, my friend and I decided not to attempt the 6 mile walk home, but rather, catch a $10.00 cab ride home. It was delightful and exciting and I would highly recommend the experience to anyone else. However, it was a one night only experience, lose.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Okay, Here I Am

Alright, it's official. I've posted a little note on my MySpace blog that I would no longer frequent that site, at least not for blogging purposes. This site will be sufficient for all of my blogging needs. I'm more than happy to field any questions at this point; just submit questions in the form of comments, and I'll be happy to get back to you as soon as I can. I'll give you a little while to ask your questions before I post anymore to this blog. In the meantime, please check the back posts at That's my old blog, for anyone that's new to my life.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

A Second Chance

Okay, my friend thirdmango has convinced me to give this blogspot thing a second chance. My first post here will be what Novel Concept suggested: a listing of all things that confuse me about this site. If you know of easy ways to reduce the stupidity of the site as a user, let me know.
1) There was no way to title individual posts, and that caused me to highly doubt the usefulness of this site. I mean, without a title, there is no post, in my opinion. However, thirdmango showed me that in the settings, I simply had to set the title option to yes. Well, why in the hell did blogspot assume I wouldn't want a title? The fact that that's the default really upsets me.
2) The fact that each user has more than one blog causes me to question the whole concept of a blog (not that I haven't been questioning that concept since day one...I mean, blogs are really silly things). My idea of a blog is one that ranges in its topics from harpooned seals to interesting spots on the skin, and to give an option to bloggers to make a blog dedicated to just one topic seems to go against what I think blogs should be.
3) This is probably the biggest problem, and if there's a way to fix it, please let me know. I want to be able to see my finished post on the actual page, and read the comments, etc. as if I was not signed in, and just looking at my blog page. However, if I click to look at it, I am then taken to my blog with no link to return to my home editing page area, and have to sign in again from the start page of the site. This is completely annoying. I know, I could open my blog in a separate window, and alternate windows, but that's just not the way I usually work. It seems like it would be very simple for this site to include a link back to the signed in page from the blog page, or give the option of signing in again from that page.
However, overall you're absolutely right. MySpace is much less cool in it's layout, and is much less appealing to a person who wants to read a blog. Who really wants to sign up for myspace with all the hassle it entails just to be able to read a blog. However, I really like the subscription options, and the ability it has to link you to a page dedicated to the person who writes the's much more personal than blogspot in that way. However, it is clear that MySpace is more about relationships between people, and since I hate that, I really should switch to blogspot. Thus, the second chance.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Nevermind that post....I've decided to stay on myspace. I like it better, for numerous reasons. This site is meg confusing.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

I have decided to adopt this website as the home of my official blog. This is due to the fact that I often write these little short stories, that I enjoy having other people read even though they don't particularly enjoy reading them. So, I need a place to post them, and myspace just doesn't cut it. Most people that blog do so on a blogging site, so it's high time I joined the bandwagon. So, enjoy (even though you won't) reading through my various theories and ideas, as well as some of my short stories. Many of these first posts will be directly transferred from my myspace blog so as to accomodate the change more efficiently. If anyone has any suggestions, feel free to post a comment. Until then, have fun reading anonymously.