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.