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.