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.