Sunday, December 13, 2009

Those cool tickers

Everyone has those cool tickers and badges and things on their blogs. And since this is a blog, I feel like I should fall in line.

So, here's my marriage countdown timer:

Here's a stick figure drawing of my family, not unlike the version stuck to the back of SUVs. (Do people take the time to update those?)

Here's my baby timer:

... send in the butterflies!

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Yesterday was Saturday. So was the day before. And so was the day before that. Tomorrow is Monday. Today, when I first remembered that tomorrow is Monday, I couldn't remember what projects I'm working on and thought, "I wonder if I still know how to program..." Time will tell.

One of my family's best traditions is Practice Thanksgiving. Here's a good way to imagine it (remember these from elementary school?):

Practice Thanksgiving : Thanksgiving :: Rehearsal : Performance

After this year's two practices, the real thing went very well. We elected for the "healthy" yams instead of the healthy yams, the rolls were butter-sodden and fluffy...

Aside: I'm pretty sure I'm going to leave this earth clutching my failing heart as it struggles to pump blood through my dry, sealed arteries. Either that, or the butter and bacon grease lubricating my veins will ease my heart's burden to the tune of 40 extra years of life. End aside.

...I made a banana cream pie with a pecan, graham cracker crust (ingredients: 1 pkg graham crackers, 3/4 c. or so pecans, 1 Tbsp sugar, 1 stick butter). Definitely my favorite pie. The turkey, potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce (made fresh by Mom), gravy and green beans all tasted great. And it was fun to spend the day with my family.

No pic today. But the square root of 689 is about 26.3

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Arranged Marriage

I just signed into Family Search to follow through with a request made by my stake. On my pedigree chart there's a link below my name that says "Add or find wife." I clicked on it hopefully, but then it asks me for her name. How is that supposed to help me find a wife?

I'm thinking I might just fill it in anyway...


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Squarish Roots

I love math and I love solving clever math problems. This guy is pretty cool. Well, he's a nerd, but he's a pretty cool nerd. Also, Donald encounters square roots here.

Anyway, for the longest time I've wondered how to quickly find the ballpark square root of a number. The square root of 9 is easy, but what about 10, or 11, or 8,387? Chace once said that his dad knew of a way that was pretty quick, but we couldn't figure it out. Or maybe Chace figured it out and never told me :)

Well, I finally found a way! So.... here we go:

How I figured it out:
What's the square root of 10? It's probably just bigger than 3 because

3 * 3 = 9
Squares can be represented with squares. Go figure. Here's a 3x3:
We'll define
A1 = x2 = 9 (area of square)
x = 3 (side of square)
Then let's define:
A2 = (x + Δx)2 = 10 (area of new square)
x + Δx = ? (side of new square - this is the answer to the original question)
The new square has four sections:

section 0: area encompassing the original 3x3 square
section 1: additional area on top
section 2: additional area on the side
section 3: additional area in the top right corner

Asection 0 = x2 = 9
Asection 1 = x(Δx)
Asection 2 = x(Δx)
Asection 3 = (Δx)2
And here's the cool part! (You didn't think there'd be a cool part, did you?) Δx is less than 1, because otherwise x + Δx = 4 (or more) which squares to 16. And since I just want the ballpark answer, I can ignore the area of section 3. That leads to:
If we set the total area of that shape to 10, then we can easily find Δx:
A2 = x2 + 2x(Δx)
... (math) ...
Δx = (A2 - x2) / 2x
= (10 - 9) / 2(3)
= 1 / 6
= 0.16

√10 ≈ x + Δx
≈ 3.16

Which is close to the real answer:

Steps for any number:
Given any number (let's call it N):
1. Choose a number, x, whose square is just less than N
N = 8,387
1002 = 10,000 (too big)
502 = 2,500 (too small)
902 = 8,100 (perfect)
x = 90
2. Take the difference of N and x2 (and call it d)
d = N - x2
= 8387 - 8100
= 287
3. This equation:
(x + a)2 = x2 + 2xa + a2
tells us the difference effected in a square by incrementing the root by a. For example:
22 = 4

(2 + 1)2 = 22 + 2(2)(1) + 12
= 22 + 5 (so adding 1 to the root increases the square by 5)
= 9 = 32

(2 + 5)2 = 22 + 2(2)(5) + 52
= 22 + 45 (so adding 5 to the root increases the square by 45)
= 49
So choose a to get as close as you can to d without going over (and call that value b):
2xa + a2
2(90)(1) + 12 = 181
2(90)(2) + 22 = 364 (too big)

b = 181
a = 1
Add your chosen a to make a new x:
x = 91
4. If you want more precision (x is already within 1 of the answer), subtract b from d:
d = 287 - 181
= 106
then divide that number by 2x:

106 / 2x = 106 / 2(91)
= 106 / 182
= 53 / 91
≈ 5/9
≈ .55
Add that result to x and you've got a pretty precise answer:

√8387 ≈ 91.55 (estimate)
= 91.58 (real answer)

So here's one done really quickly with even less precision:

√127 = ?
102 = 100
127 - 100 = 27
27 / (2*10) = 1 + 7/20
7/20 = .35
√127 ≈ 11.35 (estimate; not bad)
= 11.26 (actual answer)
On that one, if I knew that 112 = 121, then

112 = 121
127 - 121 = 6
6 / (2*11) = 6 / 22
= 3 / 11
= 3 * (1 / 11)
≈ 3 * .09
≈ .27
√127 ≈ 11.27 (even better)
= 11.26 (actual answer)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

67th Post

My mom rarely paints her nails -- she "doesn't like the suffocating feeling." It therefore follows that my mom rarely removes paint from her nails.

With my mom's help, I dressed up as Frankenstein for my orchestra concert last Tuesday (or rather, to satisfy the prescriptivists, I dressed as The Modern Prometheus). I had the bolts, the dark hair, the dead-looking flesh and blackened nails -- only the fingers; I neglected painting the toes since I'd be wearing shoes.

To complete my getup, I bought a nice suit from D.I. (parenthetically, how does one punctuate the end of a sentence in which the last word ends with the mark you intend to use? It feels a little silly to write it again. People might read it like they're descending a flight of seven stairs expecting six) . The suit fit right about my waist, and fit most of my legs nicely as well. See for yourself:

I enjoyed the concert -- we played some fun "scary" songs:

  • Danse Macabre - listen to this one if you have time for only one song.
  • The Sorcerer's Apprentice - but in real life... not cartooned.
  • Baba Yaga something something - the conductor on this video is funny, though I wouldn't enjoy playing for him. He hasn't always a very pronounced ictus.
  • Pumpkin Eater's Fugue - can't find a recording,
  • and Noon Witch Overture - it's okay... not my favorite.
And I scared some kids.

Finally at home I unscrewed the bolt from my neck, showered out the darkness from my hair, cleaned the deadness from my face and asked my mom to help me remove the blackness from my fingers' nails. She pulled out the bottle of remover (that she probably bought when she was four years old and hadn't used in a decade) and only managed restoring six nails to life before running out. So I went to work on Wednesday as an emo kid. Without the goofy hair.

Contemplative Frank:

Drum-playing Frank with fellow drummers:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hundreds of Thousands of Words

Here are some things I've been working on lately. I'd put them on my more nerdly blog, but I'm not explaining anything technical here... so... here:

This demonstrates a simple watchdog timer thinger. The circuit will activate unless in receives a signal within a certain amount of time.

We (at work) used that circuit to power this fan so that when our website went down, the fan would turn on:

I fixed the dome light in my car. No, this was not the cheapest way to fix it. Yes, it was fun to do. Yes, it's pretty bright. And it makes me smile when I get in my car at night.

(and no, the light isn't just dangling from the ceiling -- this photo was taken before I put it in the cover)

And this is one of my mom's flowers before we pulled them all out before winter:

Monday, September 28, 2009


Originally Emerson's thought, this was Heber J. Grant's motto: "That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do; not that the nature of the thing is changed, but that our power to do is increased."

I nabbed it from the Gospel Principles book. Most often, I've encountered this quote in lessons at church designed to motivate us to be persistent in strengthening weaknesses. And it has been motivating to me. I see it when I practice the piano, or exercise or speak eSpanish -- we really do gain ability in the things in which we persist.

But this last week, I realized that the idea works in the negative sense, too. To rephrase: "If we persist in being a jerk, being a jerk becomes easier for us to do; not that the nature of jerkitude has changed, but our power to be a jerk is increased." Same goes for lying, sleeping too much, plucking the heads off of flowers, not doing dishes, petting cats up their spine instead of down, watching TV, being critical of others, eating chocolate oranges, etc...

I'm not sure I've concluded anything yet from this thought, other than to take pleasure in the little victories of agency well used. In what do you persist?

Unrelatedly, I found this snippet from Ralph whilst searching for the quote up top:

"I hate quotation. Tell me what you know." - Emerson, Journals (May 1849)

To borrow from the Bible: "Amen!"

Sunday, August 30, 2009


What other name comes to mind when I mention the names Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il? Obviously, Jason. Jason, the former Korean Dictator of Mountain View's Italian Club circa 2001, who narrowly (it may actually have been a landslide) beat out our only authentic Korean (sorry, Dan). Jason, the eater of hot dogs. Jason, the both selfish and generous consumer of popcorn. Jason, the Netflix. Jason, the man who-just-made-it-through-this-week. Jason, my (former) roommate.

He's in Texas now, which is weird. I've lived with him for the past three solid years, starting from the time I bumped into him in the Clyde and he asked, "Do you want to come live in the Glenwood?" Jason's great, and I'll miss him. We had fun in high school (ask to see the movies sometime (the jingle was ... ba, da, da Rob or something like that)), and we've had fun in college. He really is a great guy. May you sweat well in Houston, Jason :)

By far, Jason's greatest quality is his salad, which is what prompted me to write this post. I made his salad today for my family. And they liked it. In fact as my brother, Dan, pointed out, today was the first time we've ever heard the sentence, "Can you pass me more salad?" spoken by my dad.

Which leads me to another thought about which I've been thinking recently: generally speaking, I like heterogeneous things more than homogeneous things. This was not true growing up, specifically with food. I used to prefer my food to be consistent throughout -- no surprises. But now, I think I enjoy a sandwich which has a little more tomato in one bite, and a little more meat in another. A couple weeks ago, I had the Big Apple from Gandolfos on Center Street in Provo (it's the best Gandolfos I've found). That sandwich was awesome! Every bite was a little bit different. Random variety really makes life more exciting, and enjoyable.

Similarly, a heterogeneous mixture of humans is generally superior to a predictable section of society. And a picture of asymmetry is more beautiful than symmetry would be. But, and I haven't thought this all the way through, it's a little more difficult to appreciate the heterogeneous. Just like my younger self, if you're unwilling or unable to appreciate the different things, the brilliant flavors, views and personalities will be lost on you. Or worse, you will detest the difference. (Oh, the reason Jason's salad led me to this thought is that it is very heterogeneous -- forgot to mention that)

That is NOT to say that everything which is different is good, as modern relativists claim. Nor does it mean that any crackpot notion of reality or opinion or persuasion is made good by its crackpottedness. It IS to say that the "good" umbrella is an umbrella, not a raincoat.

This is a picture I took of a flower my mom planted:

And in the words of the skeleton: I sleep now.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


I'd like to dedicate this post to Megan. And since this is my blog, I can do whatever I'd like on it. And so I will dedicate this post to Megan.

This post is dedicated to Megan. It became dedicated upon my writing the previous sentence.

I moved home yesterday. Last night, I slept in my old, very comfortable bed with a cool breeze blowing through the wide open window.

As I came into the kitchen this morning for breakfast (bacon, eggs and grits ala marvelous Mom) I noted how different Mom's kitchen is from my former kitchen. There are cookies everywhere! And unlike in my apartment, when a cookie is eaten, the quantity does not diminish -- there are an infinite number of cookies! There's bowls filled with fruits and vegetables. Nearly all the things in the fridge are both consumable and not pickles nor carrots. So, that's great.

I had a mullet on Friday. But my camera cable's packed away somewhere, so the pictures will not be in this post.

Also, I finally joined Facebook.

That's all for now.

Except that, for this post to be properly dedicated to Megan, it must include a playlist:

All the Music on This Computer's Desktop Playlist:
- Major Tom

Thursday, July 30, 2009

This is a real update.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

This is a test

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Edge of the World

I had a really good day last... I think it was Thursday.

After working for a little in the morning I went to Harmons for lunch. I drove to a nearby church, snatched the red checkered blanket from my trunk, chuckled to myself that it was, indeed, a red checkered blanket, layed it on the grass at the edge of a tree's shadow, took off my shoes and slowly ate my lunch. If memory serves, I also had a package of Pepperidge Farms cookies -- either the butter-sodden, shortbread Chessmen or the thin-n-crispy, chocolatey Brussels.

To save the entire package of cookies from extinction, I cut my excursion short. On a side note, I have a goal this summer to purchase a package of cookies -- whether Pepperidge Farms or otherwise -- and to eat only one cookie per day. I don't know if such a goal is possible; my gut says that it wants to eat the cookies, so I'm thinking it'll be difficult.

Anyway, a couple hours later I left work and headed home. But, on my way home, on a whim, for the first time, I stopped at the Edge of the World park and flew my kite. The park has always invited me to visit: it sits atop the bench overlooking University Avenue (as well as the rest of the valley) with no fence or foliage guarding the drop. From within the park looking West it really looks like Earth ends with the lawn.

I don't remember what else happened that day... but at least the remembered was excellent.

I made the following video from the web cam in the testing center. 10:30am is particularly exciting.

And this comes from the Brimhall building's web cam.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Harses, harses, harses

So, I never wrote about a few Tuesdays ago when I went horseback riding with my cousins. I took the day off of work and homework, and drove out to Spring City (near Manti) for a very relaxing and very fun day.

We ended up combing the horses a lot,

galloping a bit, going up a mountainish place and chasing a small herd of deer. Jacob's horse seemed to have asthma... he was wheezing the whole time. But Jacob was breathing okay.

After riding we played a few games then went for a "hike" in one of the local canyons. We only went a little ways up and played a lot in the snow. Here's one of our guides juggling:

Everyone after all the snowball fights:

As I was driving home that evening, I just kept smiling -- it was so fun. I love my cousins (and my aunts and uncles).

In other news, I graduated from BYU last week:

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

You're invited

Tomorrow (Thursday) from 1pm to about 4pm in the Garden Court of the Wilkinson Center:

That's my senior project. The car uses a camera to navigate a course of pylons. Come see!

Also, this is my FHE group's video:

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Three years ago

Wow... I can't believe it's been almost three years. In October, right around General Conference, it will have been three years. Time really has flown, and so much has happened to me since that day.

Nearly three years ago, I bought this bottle of hair gel:

Now the goo's depleted. Goo. I guess most of it's... on my pillow... huh... that's a strange thought. Some made it down the shower drains of the 'Oood and my current bathroom. Campus has received a fair dusting, as have California, St. George and Arizona -- though in very small, very dry flecks. My usual strategy is to gloop my hair up, let it harden, then run my hands through my hair until it's soft.

The stuff runs at about $3 per bottle. As a diligent saver, I would have needed to put away 5 cents from each pay check to save up enough for the next bottle. That's neglecting earned interest and inflation. Supposing a 4% annual savings rate and 4% annual inflation, I would then need to retain 5 cents from each pay check. Still pretty cheap. I suppose I could devote one day in 15 scouring parking lots and sofas for a nickel. And if luck turned up a dime, I'd be set for an entire month.

On two unrelated notes:

I've been studying like mad for my EcEn 451 midterm, and as I've been studying, trying to learn (and succeeding in learning) various things for the class, once in a while, I've been struck by my overuse of commas, and I've also had feelings of, "Hey, you're learning something that you could actually use to find employment -- you're learning useful things." You might say that this contradicts the last sentence of my previous post... but the feeling is more of "this is useful, you're putting good things in your head." It's similar to learning some Spanish, then being able to speak to someone in Spanish -- you know? that satisfying feeling of accomplishment?


We spoke today about Post Modernism in my English class. It was kind of eerie. Post Modernists (should that be capitalized? ... well post modernists wouldn't care) are relativists... and don't believe in convention or standards -- reality as we perceive it isn't real... it's just become real because of how we perceive. Anyway, it's all very circular and makes only half sense. Following it to its end seems to lead one to atheism... and don't-believe-or-stand-for-anythingism.

BUT, it was eerie because a lot of what I do follows post modernist thought -- the things I think are funny. I'm rambling... so, you know how your having a conversation amongst a group of people, and then you start conversing about yourselves conversing -- that's post modernism. People of earlier ages didn't ordinarily do that. Or when you make fun of singing in a song. Or when you mock dating conventions as you date. Or speaking conventions as you speak. Or blogging conventions as you blog!!.

Okay, enough of that.

That's a daffodil from two nights ago.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


One day this week I wore white shoes, my fancy blue jeans, a brown belt, a grey and blue sweater over a brown shirt with a black jacket. Is that okay?

(This picture depicts how we went to the BYU-Utah basketball game. Ammon's year is accurate. Steve's and mine are not)

Also this week, in my favorite class, Dr. Talbot read aloud T.S. Eliot's poem, The Wasteland. Dr. Talbot speaks Latin, German, French and Spanish (as best I can tell -- I have a feeling he started with Latin), so he had no problem switching to the various languages as he read. It was so nice to go to a class and just listen to poetry. No PowerPoint (aside: PowerPoint is to education as Agent Orange is to forests). No equations. No code optimizations. No bickering about points on homework. And in fact (this one deserves another paragraph)...

Dr. Talbot revealed a great secret just prior to reading the poem. He spoke for a minute about how intellectuals and professors find all kinds of symbolism and meaning in The Wasteland. They find great ideas and wisdom. It was truly a revolutionary poem. "But," he said, "do you want to know the reason I like it?" (he actually repeated this question several times during his explanation of the poem's intellectual merits)

"I like it because it sounds nice." He enjoys it in much the same way that we enjoy good music, not because of the words at first, but because of the sound and the feeling it evokes. "In fact," said he, his love of literature and poetry in general is primarily not from intellectual study of the works, but whether or not he likes it. What a relief! Since my first English class in Jr. High, I've wondered what's wrong with me! All these teachers naturally find all these deep meanings and expect essays to be written in comparison and contrast. Find the theme, find the point, find the technique, get inside the author's head. Finally I have an English teacher who's honest enough to admit the true reason he likes literature -- and it's the same reason I like to read: I just like it! I enjoy reading the stories. It's fun. I like the puns and the tricks. I like meeting characters and watching them go about their lives. I love alliteration.

After the initial draw, secondarily he enjoys an intellectual perusal of the literature. So, stop it, all you English teachers. Stop making me feel like a dolt for just enjoying the "music" without listening to the "lyrics." I don't mind learning deeper meanings, but don't pretend like you read it primarily for those deeper thoughts.

No one will have made it to this paragraph... I usually stop reading posts that are this long. But one more thing I noticed. During Dr. Talbot's reading of the poem, I noticed one kid, in the back of the class -- a kid in my major with whom I have a class or two -- doing his homework. He couldn't be bothered to care about dumb English. He's too cool for that, I guess. How could English possibly help in real life? I'm just glad that I have been trained to enjoy things that aren't redeemable for cash.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Three things

So... if you want to have all your clothes clean at once, you've got to be risk sitting around naked while they are washed. If you don't have a washing machine, completely clean is impossible (or not worth it at best). Life's like that: you've got to live with imperfection ... or be naked.

Whilst still lying in bed this morning soon after I awoke, out of nowhere I realized how to fold those flower-like games from elementary school. So I grabbed a piece of paper from my backpack and folded one... and it worked!

I don't know what made me think of it, but I was happy that the design in my head worked in real life. Usually twilight thoughts don't translate to reality.

This week, I've been eating fresh strawberries cut into strawberry yogurt infused with pecan bits. I like it a lot.

And I can't take very much credit for this because my duties on our Senior project team haven't dealt much with vision or navigation yet, but I'm still helping out. The car in the video below is following the green water noodle with a camera mounted on top of the car.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Bijana, Bijana

Happy Valentine's Day!

My dad shared an interesting article with me about Joshua Bell, violinist extraordinaire, playing as a street performer during a D.C. rush hour. Only a handful of people paid any attention to him. (I think it's interesting that the most consistently interested demographic were the young children). If you've got several minutes this article is worth reading, not only for the content, but for the fact that it has at least these GRE words in it: cupidity, banal, castigating, mendicant, august, coalesced and encomium (I never thought I'd see "encomium" used).

Someone else shared another article (through Google Reader) about alone time. I'm very much guilty of constantly being connected. With my iPod, I can always get my email or chat with people whenever I have Wifi -- and all the places I tend to be have Wifi. With my little EeePc, I can use my computer in class and connect to the ether.

Driving home a day or two ago, I listened on the radio to a discussion about watching TV -- about what people think is okay for kids and adults. The "expert" pointed out that TV viewing has become less of a family activity (as it was decades ago) and is now an individual activity. He refuted the claim that TV-watching habits can be reduced to "hours watched;" the content matters too!

And then I saw this commercial on TV for Dentyne. Yes, I was lazily watching TV after listening to the radio program on bad TV-watching habits.

So... all these combined have given me a desire to interact more and compute less -- to unplug.

And so, today we fixed an old PlayStation (thanks Amanda!) and were playing Grand Tourismo. You'll note that the PlayStation is running sans cap, like an fusty turn table.

(Using "fusty" was a stretch... yes, I know)

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Things keep changing in my life. Some of the changes I welcome... some I do not... but my life's history leads me to believe that even the undesirable changes end up being good after some time.

But in another vein: some time ago, I was washing my hands in a restroom in the Wilk. As I was rinsing, another guy came up to the sinks to wash his hands. He startled me as he furiously pumped the soap dispenser for his soap. He must have pushed the thing 6 or 8 times. "Sheesh, man... a dab'll do ya," I thought. My mind continued: "I'll bet that he..." and sure enough, he ripped out 4 or 5 paper towels to dry his hands, then chucked them in the trash. That's a little excessive.

Two or three years ago I realized that one paper towel is sufficient to dry one's hands, and I made the switch from my customary two to one. From my casual observation, I think most people take two towels -- there's something satisfying about the roll turning over twice, I guess. Kachunk. Kachunk. Anyway...

People -- Mr. President -- talk about great changes that need to happen to "fix" things. I'm eager for him to try. I feel like he's a good man and has both the clout and the desire to cause change to happen. I just hope he doesn't use the rubber from the back tire to fix the front tire. And I hope he doesn't feed the lazy with the bread of the worker. Sometimes we need to trust that the invisible hand will move things where they need to be. And sometimes we need to move them. I think now needs a little of both without an excess of either.

So back to hand-drying:

What if everyone started drying with one towel instead of two? Kachunk. Our paper towel consumption would be reduced by 50%. And who needs hard numbers? Using half as much stuff is better than using twice as much as half as much stuff. Extend this to water usage: a 10 minute shower uses 33% less water than a 15 minutes shower. A sink filled up half way with shaving water uses 50% less water than a full sink. What if, instead of regulating and redistributing, people were conscientious in their own lives?

You can effect change from the top down or from the outside in... or you can cause change from the bottom up and the inside out.

Just some thoughts. No pic... sorry :)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

On the Morality of Conspicuous Espionage

Today in the library, I saw a girl with her laptop (a Mac) on it's side opened toward her. I thought it might have been a new kind of computer... or a book dressed as a computer. I approached her from behind the computer, then circled around to the user side and discovered that she was reading a PDF that a teacher had photocopied sideways. I would have spent hours researching how (and likely writing a program to do) to rotate a PDF. Good for you, girl... and thanks for the laugh.

On Wednesday, I was sitting in one of the alcoves of the JFSB writing an essay for my English class. Those alcoves are prime spots for sporadic people-watching -- the traffic isn't heavy, but very noticeable. Anyway, I heard a girl approaching, chatting on her cell phone -- it sounded like she was leaving someone a message. And when she came into view, I remarked to myself that she was quite attractive, quite tall, and ringless. As I was remarking that to myself (and here's the point of the story), she started saying her phone number into the phone! I retained it in memory just long enough to think, "What are the rules about getting a girl's phone number... from herself speaking it in your presence?" But I tossed it away instead of writing it down, deciding that my calling her could only lead to the police beat. Gave me a good laugh anyway.

We've been using colored pencils in my class about processor/gate design and manufacturing, so I snapped this photo (and the one up top) after sharpening my little, little pencils that my wonderful mother got for me. Hey, if the CivEs get to play in sandboxes, then the EEs can color!

Wish me luck on the GRE this Saturday!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

UN Nukes

This deserves a post :) Thank you, Onion.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

distrub be gone

So as not to distrub Barb any longer, here's a quick post.

Christmas (both the day and cushion of no school surrounding the day) was really, really good this year. Lots of times, I feel completely useless and unproductive during school holidays - but I actually did things this holiday which made it fun. And I got to spend it with my friends and family, which is always nice. Here are a few highlights from the past few weeks:

1. Mo.. Santa got me a nutmeg grinder. I love fresh nutmeg! I'm eager to make some spice doughnuts to try it out.

2. Also, we got these really cool helicopters (my brothers and I got them). When mine's repaired, ask me to fly it.

3. I went with Martha to a Utah Jazz game. We inherited some really nice seats, which is what motivated us to go. They were playing the Mavericks, and they won, which was good. But the best part of the whole night was Art, the man sitting next to us. As soon as we sat down, he heartily shook my hand as he introduced himself. He's a wizened man with a hoary head (I'm studying for the GRE), hearing aids and a nearly blind wife at his side. He was as enthusiastic as any other fan -- I think he lives to attend these games. He gave me a few high fives after some excellent plays and was generally just enthusiastically fun. He also liked it everytime the dancers came on :) Thank heavens for enthusiastic people.

4. I saw Valkyrie -- very good.

5. We made Godzilla in the snow:

and finally, two of the best things:

1. I went shopping for clothes with Martha, Ashley and Tresa. (Coincidentally, the first letters of their names spells Mat, which is the root word of Matt, which is my name) I've been wanting to buy clothes for myself for a long time. Except for a few shirts from DI and my $15 jeans, I can't think of ever buying clothes for myself. And yet, I budget a part of my paychecks for clothing. So we trucked around the mall and found some great clothes. I'm pleased with my purchases. I'll see about posting some pictures of Stylish Matt ... our runway is currently broken, but when it's fixed, you'll get a peek. Oh, Shawn came too -- I can't forget Shawn.

2. I made pasta and chicken-flavoured white sauce from scratch tonight for dinner. Making the noodles reminded me of my mission a bit -- when I learned how easy they are to make. And I wish I had that machine my mom has for flattening them. I think the noodles could have been a little flatter and the sauce would have been extra nice with some chicken in it. But it was still good.

Also, I finally met my nephew, Lincoln. And he was awake and everything! I'm glad I have married brothers.

Ladies: Don't worry... Scruff Matt can still be found below. You'll just have to scroll down a bit.