Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My Christmas Present from Lesa!!

This was a great Christmas! Lesa all December has been very excited about the gift she got for me and was extra secretive about it. And so naturally, on Christmas day I was pretty excited to see what I got. Well, I have to say, I am thrilled with it. She got me a tea pot and eight different loose leaf teas. I was so excited that as soon as I could (once we were done opening presents I went and made myself a cup of Rooibus (Roy bus) tea, which is one of my favorites. Rooibus is made from the needle-like leaves of a caffeine-free bush native to South Africa.


(The tea pot Lesa got me).


(Rooibus tea).


I think that day I made about 4 or 5 batches and shared them with Mckay, (the only one that wanted to have any). They were all so good and I was loving brewing each different kind. Thank you so much, Lesa!! It was the perfect gift.

Global Warming

It seems that, regardless of how you feel about the subject, the issue of global warming is very strongly tied to religion. Why is that? It is because religion is a source of moral growth, it is something that can bring about change in massive levels and can help people to grow morally. These morals affect us in our daily aspects and in what we constantly deal with. When it comes to daily issues we are able to make better decisions according to our moral character. Global warming has become a major concern and topic, thus calls on us to act as we see morally fit.

I wish to briefly describe how it is that science can show that global warming is indeed happening at an exponential rate, and how we can see that it is human caused rather than by the Earths natural cycles.

There is a simple method to see what CO2 levels were throughout Earths history. In glaciers we can take samples of air which has been trapped in the ice, (air bubbles). With these we can measure the amount of CO2 in the air at the time the bubble was formed. We can see rises and falls from roughly 150-280 ppmv (parts per million by volume) CO2.  This greatly depends on Earths orbit. The orbit of our planet fluctuates, as well as pivots on its axis much like a top, causing the earths temperature to rise and fall, thus giving us ice-ages and warm periods: low amounts of CO2 create a cooling, and give us an ice-age. The opposite happens with high measurements of CO2. However, since the industrial revolution the level of CO2 has gone from the average of 280 up to 360-380 ppmv. An unprecedented amount. The more CO2 the more heat.

However, there is still doubt that this increase is caused by human interaction. How do we know it is human caused? We can record the types of CO2 in the atmosphere. There are three major CO2 bases we record:  CO2 4, CO2 13, CO2 14. CO2 base 4 comes from very old and dead plants. CO2 base 13 comes from volcanoes, etc. CO2 base 14 comes from newer plants. We can see that in our atmosphere ther eis mostly and high concentrations of CO2 4. CO2 4 comes from fossil fuels, or very old plants. 

This shows not only is there much, much more CO2  in the atmosphere, but that it is human caused.

There needs to be a change. A change that our government can hardly take on. It requires a sense of moral obligation at large levels for any effects to be seen. Moral obligations that should be strongly held and encouraged by our LDS faith as well as many other or all faiths. We are taught that we are stewards of the Earth and it is under our charge. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

My Favorite Books of the Year

I read 33 books this year. So I thought I could pick 5 of them dub them as my favorite of the year. There were a lot of good ones and I've been changed by most, but I need to decide what the best are, and so, in no particular order (because that would be too hard), here are the top 5 books I read this year:


1. Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson







What a great story. A virus in a futuristic cyber world (Snow Crash) infects the brains of those that view it or download it. The book follows Hiro who, through this demolished and dark world and advances cyber world tries to stop the virus from infecting millions. Cool imagery, and very original.













2. A Short Stay in Hell by Steven L. Peck








I have read this book 8 or 9 times and if never fails to chill me to to bone and open my eyes in regards to what eternity really is. A deeply moving philosophical story of a man who goes to Hell and must find the book describing his life to leave and dwell in heaven. Chilling, terrifying, moving, wonderful and real. 











3. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling







I put Harry Potter so I can count them all as one book. These are truly some of the best books I have ever read. This year I read them for the 2nd or 3rd time (depending on which book) and loved every second of it. The third stood out because of the amazing Quiddich final where, while biking and listening to it I began cheering wanting Griffindor to win. (I couldn't remember who one and was getting really into it). What a tribute to the writing skills of the author.









4.  The Scholar of Moab by Steven L. Peck









I just finished this one. I can't begin to describe the imagery in this book. The characters are very real and it is easy to care about them and want to keep reading. It is witty and clever and very moving. After reading it I sat for some time trying to come to grips that it was over and better understand all that I had read. 










5. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman








This had the same feel as Harry Potter, so naturally I liked it. It was darker, though. An adventure had by an unsuspecting man who finds a world underneath London full of adventure and danger. Also, has some of the scariest and worst villains of all time. Mr. Croup & Mr. Vandemar. 












There were so many good books that I read this year. So many, but I think I feel good about these being the best and my favorite of the year. 

A few I'm planning on reading next year:

The City and the City, The Hobbit (again), The Lord of the Rings (again), The New Testament (again), Jesus the Christ, Dune, A Short Stay in Hell (again), Starship Troopers, Hyperion (again), Anathem (again) and a lot lot more, I am sure. I usually like to reread really good books every few years which is why there are some that I will be rereading. The rest, (not listed because I don't really know what they are) will probably all be new books. Should be a good year.

Friday, December 23, 2011

School Update

So . . . I passed all of my classes, with pretty decent grades, too. I was getting pretty stressed about my Math class and I just barely (and I mean barely) passed, but I passed so I am happy. I have to say that my biology class (with Dr. Heath Ogden) was one of the best classes I've taken since I started school 3 years ago. I loved it and learned a lot! Also, he will be helping me with a paper on evolution and the Mormon version of the creation, so that's good. I'm going to be honest and say that my Aesthetics class was a joke. Not because of the teacher, or assignments, I just think the whole subject is not for me. I cannot begin to care what different philosophers think in regards to art and beauty. I mostly disagree'd with most of the essays and just felt as though the whole subject was heavy handed and over bearing. I did good in the class, but boy I did not enjoy it. The only other thing I had was a bio-lab which was fine. I enjoyed it.

This coming semester I am taking Microbiology, Phil 205G (Which is a joke as I've already taken 2050, but this is required for some other random requirement that I need), Quantitative Reasoning (Which is just Math 1050, but sounds more advanced, Haha), and a Yoga class, Power Yoga to be more precise. Oh, and as apart of Microbiology I am taking a lab with it.

In the summer I will be taking Chem 1 and Organic Chem. Ugh. I am really terrified of these classes, but I am taking them during the summer so the classes are over with faster and I can only focus on the one subject in stead of several at a time. If I took one in the fall I think I'd be pushing too hard. Because in the fall I plan on taking College Bio II, Biotech, Genetics, and something else, and adding Chem on top of that sounds like a version of Hell I don't think I would ever want to encounter.

Oh, good ol' school.

Oh, and a shout out to Jaron who passed his Chemistry class!! I hope you remember it by the summer so you can help me.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

New Years Resolutions

This year I did really good with my goals. I read more than 25 books throughout the year, I biked most of the year and stopped drinking soda. I am going to carry these goals over to the next year. I want to keep working on my biking and being healthy. These goals are:

Ride my bike to work and/or school every dry day.
Drink no soda.
Read 25 books.

However, I am going to set some new goals for the coming year. They are going to be hard. In fact after thinking about this for a month or two, I've decided to make twelve monthly goals. One major goal a month. A lot of them are just to see if I can do it and to see if I can better myself from them. Many are meant to grow spiritually, but also to just grow as a better person. Some are easy and some are hard. So, here they are, my twelve goals for 2012:

January: Eat no meat. I'm going to try and become a vegetarian for an entire month. This one will be one of the hardest, I think.
February: Ramadan. OK, this will probably be the hardest. That is why I picked the shortest month. Ramadan is a month in where I will fast every day while the sun is up and eat when it is down... Should be interesting.
March: Be in bed by 9:30 pm every night. This will be harder than I think.
April: Do all shopping at small businesses.
May: Recycle everything that can be recycled. Hopefully, this one will continue on.
June: No surfing the web and no T.V. (I would say no computer, but I'll be in school and will need it for that, however, the important thing is no entertainment from those sources).
July: Listen to only classical music.
August: Read the New Testament.
September: Consume no sugar. This one will be difficult, and I'll probably need to set some parameters because so much stuff has sugar, It'll probably be no candy, drinks junk food, etc.
October: Meditate 20-30 minutes a day. This may not seem so bad, but true meditation is really hard. Just can't clear my head.
November: Write a 50,000 word novel for NaNoWriMo. Also, say a pray of thanksgiving everyday.
December: Read Jesus the Christ and the Christmas story. I need to focus on the meaning and cause of Christmas, and so, I am hoping this will help.

Hopefully I can do them all. Should be interesting and hard, but I think worth it.                

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Biking and Tea

So in the middle of the summer (end of June), noticing that I was gaining some weight, (probably from sitting at a computer most of the day at work and not eating great) I set some goals to be more healthy. The first thing I did was to get a bike. I was determined to bike to work and back (and to school when it started). This would be 18 miles a day, and 22-26 during school. This was my biggest goal and first, so others didn't really come until I was getting use to this. It took about 2 weeks to get the motivation up to bike every morning at 4:15am, to get to work by 5, but buy July 1st I was biking every day and loving it. I was also determined to bike through the winter (not on "wet" days, but when the roads were dry I would). I think this has been a huge challenge, but everyday that I bike (which really is every dry day, I'm determined) I feel great and never regret it. I'm really getting back into biking and am going to be entering some races next year. (For those of you who don't know I use to do a lot of Downhill, Mountain Cross and Dirt Jumping biking when I was younger).


(This is my bike at UVU).

My next goal was to eat more healthy and I think, starting out, I tried diets or counting calories, but none of it worked for me. I did a lot of research at this point in what is health, or good things to eat. I think, through all of this I slowly just got into the mindset of eating healthy. Not dieting or counting anything but just making healthy food choices. I'm lenient with it, also. I'll eat unhealthy things occasionally or with other people, but mentally choosing to eat better helped more than anything else.


Finally, I wanted to give up soda. Not caffeine, but ALL soda. I think this is one of the hardest things I've struggled with. Ever since I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis and Pyoderma Gangrenosum my doctors have told me to stop drinking soda. I did for about 6 months, but feeling as if it wasn't really helping I started drinking it again. From July until about the end of September I went on and off again trying to stop drinking it. Finally, with grand inspiration one night I decided to replace all soda with tea. I had been doing research on health stuff and came across and article on tea's, specifically green tea. That night I decided to give up soda (again) and drink tea in its place. I stick with herbal teas, although, I think green tea is fine too, (in regards to the Word of Wisdom), but there is more variety in herbal teas. So I have 4 boxes of different types of tea at work, and some at home as well. So far it seems to be working wonderfully. I really enjoy going to the store and getting different types and flavors of tea and trying them all. 



(A cup of acai tea at work).


All in all, I feel great. I've lost over 25 lbs., but am now staying at an even 180 lbs as I've been building quite a bit of muscle from the biking. My waist size has has gone from a 33 bordering on 34 to a 31 bordering on a 30. I think one of the greatest days was when I had to move a notch up on my belt. I am feeling more healthy and more energetic, but also (I think this is a bonus) I can sleep almost instantly whenever and wherever I want).

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Books

This year I actually set a new years resolution. This is something I usually never do because I'm just a bad goal setter. However, I decided on one goal that I thought would be challenging but obtainable. It was to read 25 books that year. I usually try to read as much as possible, but with full time school, full time job, a part time job and two kids, it's a little more difficult. But I decided to set it. 25 books, 1 year.

Well, I am pleased to announce that I did not only reach my goal, I surpassed it in reaching 32 books (It may become 33 as I am hoping to finish another book soon). I am pretty impressed. The books have been great and many of which have helped me grow and I'd recommend many to friends and family. There is a list on the side of the blog, but I'm going to put it up here as well with one sentence about each:

01To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis -- Truly a funny and clever time travel book.  
02. Time by Eva Hoffman -- Discussion on times effect on individuals and how we perceive it.
03. Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson -- A great cyberpunk story about a virus infecting peoples brains.
04. Billions and Billions by Carl Sagan -- His thoughts on science, global warming, and the importance of environment.
05. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein -- This is how society should start a revolution.
06. The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss -- Not as good as his first. Too bad.
07. Cosmos by Carl Sagan -- Basically everything he says on his show 'Cosmos' written down, with some changes. 
08. The Forever War by Joe Haldeman -- Shows how war over light years can effect someone, and the stupidity of war.
09. Doctor Who and Philosophy by Lewis & Smithka -- How can you not want to read this?
10. Rendezvous With Rama by Arthur C. Clark -- Human kinds first encounter with aliens who completely ignore us.
11. Science Fiction and Philosophy by Susan Schneider -- Again, how could you not?
12. The Internet is a Playground by Davide Thorne -- The posts from internet troublemaker, Thorne, from 27bslash6.com.
13. The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut -- One of the best passages about freedom I've ever read.
14. In Search of Time by Dan Falk -- The philosophy, physics and history of time and I learned so much from this.
15. A Short Stay in Hell by Steven L. Peck -- the most chilling book that will make you look at eternity in a very new way.
16. The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi -- Probably not worthy of a Hugo award, not horrible . . . just nothing happened.
17. Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone by J.K. Rowling -- Second time reading and it was amazing.
18. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling -- Third time reading and references stuff in book five.
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling -- Third time and the Quidich final made me want to cheer!
20. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fireby J.K. Rowling -- Second time and I hate that Harry and Ron fight.
21. The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson -- Not his best. A bit slow and dry.
22. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling -- Second time reading and it sucks that Sirius died.
23. Discourses in Mormon Theology by McLaughlan & Ericson -- I love theology and so I loved reading this.
24. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling -- Third time reading and it was so exciting.
25. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling -- Third time reading and I was bummed it was all over again.
26. Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein -- Great interpretation of love and brotherhood, "Thou art God."
27. At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft -- Chilling in the details.
28. War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells -- Not as good as I remembered and so that was a bit sad.
29. The Help by Kathryn Stockett -- I loved this and its boldness as well as its great description of the 60's.
30. Reamde by Neal Stephenson -- If you're into thrillers, (which I am not) you'll love this.
31. Origin of Species by Charles Darwin -- Had to reread this for biology class, it's such an influential and important book.
32. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman -- A wonderful adventure wit that same wonder that Harry Potter brings.
33. The Scholar of Moab -- An amazing story tying stories of four different people together, through Hyrum's search for scholarship.

I am also currently reading, (there's usually a few because I have one at work, one at home and one in my bag and so I read them depending on where I am):

01. Dune by Frank Hebert

I also finished my time travel book, Pillar of Salt and am re-editing What Are They to God? (formally know as God's Consciousness, which was formally known as Sad Robot). And I have written about 10 new short stories. One of which got an honorable mention from the Writers of the Future contest. That was big.

And here is a pic of my book shelf, severely depleted in books in an attempt to cluttered. (Sorry, it was taken with my phone so the quality is pretty bad).





Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Finals

Ugh.

It is the week before finals and only on day 2 and my brain hurts. I have been constantly practicing my math, studying biology and working on a 15 page paper for Aesthetics. Not to mention the homework due tomorrow and Friday. For that I need to read 4 chapters of The Origin of Species (which I've actually been enjoying), and write a discussion on 2 of the chapters, take 2 Bio quizzes, and do 4 homework assignments. My Bio Lab Final is suppose to be hard as well and I've been studying that today. (In between looking up scholarly articles for my paper on Dewey's, Art as Experience, and trying to figure out how to take up fifteen pages on a mediocre subject).

Here is my studying paper for my Bio Lab:


Friday, November 25, 2011

Pillar of Salt -- Some Unfiltered Thoughts on God


I am looking out the window at my work as the sun rises. I can't see the sun but can only see it's light hitting the golf course just out side. I feel like, although I've worked here for a year and a half, I have never look like it does now. To the north, up near where I live there are grey clouds. All low to the ground. The orange sun reflects and lightens a tree near the window and the back drop of grey is breath-taking. There are buildings of red brick that shine with such a deep orange I feel like I've never seen them before. And maybe I haven't. Maybe there are a lot of things I haven't seen before.

I wonder often who God is. What is his relationship to us? Does he laugh at me when I do something dumb like not un-clipping my bike pedals and fall in the driveway as I try to step off my clipless pedals? It's funny to me. Does he sometimes look at sunrises, sunrises that he has seen over and over all throughout this universe and still, sometimes, look at it with such new eyes? Or is he beyond that? Is God jaded? After seeing super novae, and blackholes a simple sunset couldn't be as beautiful or awe inspiring? What is it that keeps him going? Is it learning? Growing? Us? I have a hard time believing that it would be us.

 Love is strong, I work two jobs (one full time) and go to school full time for my family whom I love. I love them more than anything. But does that mean that I am happy at work? I would gladly quit and go to school full-er time, if I could. But I can't. Does God sometimes, when seeing the pain in the world feel such sorrow that he wishes he could leave?

Who is God that he should magnify man?

I've grown beyond questioning these things. I feel one thing, I feel that he is a father figure to me. It's hard to be close to him like I am to my own Dad, but still, I can feel that it is there. I can feel that he cares for me and have felt it deep within me in times when I've asked or have needed to hear it. But who is he? Who am I to him? Am I one of billions? of trillions? How could i be special with a daunting number as that? What could make me special? All I am in all this vastness of eternity is a speck on a pale blue dot.

I named this blog for these reasons. Perhaps it was because at the time, over a year ago, I wan't too comfortable with questioning the very nature of God. I compared my self to Lots wife, looking back to that place where all their friends and possessions were and doubted or questioned for only a second. There are somethings that I questions that I don't think there is an answer to. There can't be, because we are all different and I can't believe there is only one road to God. I can't believe the straight and narrow is only one direction in which we line up one by one and walk. It must be different. God is a father and will do all he can to help us and be with us.

I think this is a secret beyond so many others. God needs us. And God wants us to be with him. I think we're lucky. I think we are luckier than we could ever know. And I think there are some among us (maybe me) that take advantage of what luck we feel we understand. Or maybe we disregard this, telling our selves that we need to follow the letter of the law to exactness. That leaders of the church are never wrong and that all answers to life are found in the scriptures. I think we can understand God through the leaders and scriptures. But I think we need to look outward.

I think God still, occasionally, see's a sunset or sunrise and smiles. I think he, like us, needs something simple like that to remind him of some kind of beauty. Some type of beginning or ending. I think that if he saw me fall in my drive way he laughed. He laughed that I forgot to do something so simple and routine as un-clipping my shoes.  He laughed at my shock or surprise. And he laughed at me while I too laughed at me.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mistakes

Why is it that people make mistakes?  In my life I have done so many things I regret. Many I have not admitted for shame and fear. I watched, because of anger at the mission, the fourth Harry Potter with my companion, on my mission. It may not seem like a big thing now, and admittedly, it isn't. But while on my mission I felt a great sense of shame because of that one simple thing. When I was eight or nine my brother and I made fires in the woods, threw trash in rivers and broke windows, all mistakes, all because we were being children and were trying to figure things out. I've lied to my parents and friends, needlessly grown upset at my wife and kids, and crashed my parents van. I once stole a crystal-like thing while in elementary school and sense then have never stolen again. And through these experiences and many other like them I have learned something on what it means to be human. 

I don't write these things as some form of penance, but merely because I feel that most everyone is going to have the same experiences. People grow and learn and mistakes push us to learn in ways uncomfortable, but most likely are the most effective. I feel as is a mistake can be categorized more along the lines of repeated folly rather than one accident.  How is it that we so willfully are blind to our reactions to others? There are times when I am upset with my wife, or am struggling with my kids not wanting to go to bed when something carnal in me wants out. I think it is this was for everyone and part of being human is learning to overcome those things. To overcome those urges and grow from them. When they succeed in escaping my soul, my humanity can feel it. Like some creeping thing worming its way to my skin. Why do I let this happen?

Maybe that is another part of being humane, or rather, being ethical, moral. Seeing the worse we can become, having even a small taste and coming away from it a whole, and still good, person. You see a version of yourself, something ancient, something easy and still choose the higher road.

In this we should be proud of our mistakes. Take joy that it is a mistake and that we have come back from it to recognize it as such. We are beings of mistakes. They build and enlighten us as long as we allow them to. Never forget this.

I love my kids and my wife and family and friends. They are important to me. I think of things I've done and still, years and years later I regret them. I drug my little brother, Nate, out of my room where me and some friends (his included) were hanging out. It was my room and I didn't want him in there. Why? I don't know. I may never know. But I did it. I have felt so sorry for that, but through it, and others, I have learned to be more loving and patient and accepting of others. Once, through excitement I grabbed my wife in a bear hug, while she was pregnant, and lifted her off the ground. I cannot express the sorrow I felt in being so careless as to jeopardize the health of that 7 month embryo. I still regret it. 

I am still unsure as to why I am admitting these things. Maybe it is to prove a point. Most of you reading this know my, and most of you have probably not known about most of these. (Maybe except the fire one, that ones pretty popular). I am a man of mistakes, but through them I have not become a bad person, or an immoral man. I feel that I am a pretty good person, trying my hardest to overcome any hard things, (mistakes or challenges), and trying to find joy in life that is worth celebrating and remembering. Nate and I are close. Extremely close. The same goes for all of my family. We all get along all the time. I've seen many families that don't but we are not one of them. I love my kids and I do everything I can for them. I am patient and loving towards my wife. I love her and will always love her. I do not steal, I help others, strangers, when I can, and I do not catch forests of fire. These and many other things are a result of  my mistakes. 

Take joy in them--in over coming them--I am trying.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Night of Astrophotography

Last night I went with Jeff up between Park City and Kamas and, with his Telescope, took some amazing photos of the night sky. Here are some of the images we captured:


Andromeda Galaxy. You can see the spiral arms and dust in the galazy.

Pleiades. You can see a light blue around a bunch of the stars. These are clouds of dust in between the star cluster and us. (Obviously much more closer to Pleiades).

This is the Orion Nebula. One of the more amazing images taken, we all gathered around the camera and just stared it was beautiful.

This was such a great experience. We left at about 11 and got back at 4am, but it was wonderful to see images that we took of huge objects like galaxies and nebula. I'm excited to go again soon.

Friday, September 2, 2011



Well, mere days (2) after I talked about how my stories never get accepted I got this wonderful email:

Congratulations! You are an Honorable Mention in the
3rd Quarter of the Writers of the Future contest.



There was more, but that's the important part. While it is still not a publication it might as well have been because being an honorable mention by Writers of the Future is huge. It is really huge, actually. I am in the top 50 stories out of 10,000+ that were judged. This makes people pay attention to your stories. 


Here is a link for the list:  http://www.writersofthefuture.com/node/702


Anyway, I am really excited about this. 


Oh, and it was for my story Beacon.


Here is an excerpt:



It is difficult to determine the exact structure of the brotherhood between those on the ship. It was similar to the old Earth days when men sailed around the globe with no other communication or companionship than that of their fellow shipmates. No one mentioned the unannounced brotherhood, but it dwelt in the boat and each man felt—on some level, although small—that it warmed them. They all sat there, all shivering, holding each other against the cold and none spoke. Their weary heads bounced as they each dozed; the fatigue trying to win against their violent shivers. It could not win.



The Captain spoke, finally as he slowly began coughing. “Looks like the O2 filter is starting to die.” The others nodded and coughed in agreement. “Billy,” he said to the Engineer, “we need to do something. I know you can't do the calculations for reentry, but you're going to have to try.”

“Sir,” he began.

“We need to get to the surface. It's our only chance of survival.”

“He's right,” the Correspondent said, “another four or five hours and we'll be suckin' down carbon dioxide and all asphyxiate.”

Without a word of acknowledgement or consent, the Engineer started on his calculations, muttering again about the damn system and how he was not a damn pilot. The other's huddled in the cabin while he worked. Their breath was visible to them as if mocking them with the visible CO2 they each breathed out; letting them know that with each breath they were killing themselves. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hope for humanity.


The Woe's of Writting



I was curious to see how often my stories get rejected and so I looked at all my rejection letters and emails compared to accepted and here are the stats:

26 rejections
2 accepted
(I also have 9 pending).

Ugh. I enjoy it, but it would be nice to receive a few more accepted letters.

If you count the 2 books I've written I have 3 more rejections, also.

But I keep writing.

*I should also add that I almost never write stories on paper like the above image, but rather enjoy its aesthetic value.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Friday, August 26, 2011

Lindsey Robinson-Karr

I've never really known death and so I've never understood how it felt to lose someone. There have been some relatives that have passed and there was always some kind of distant sadness, but I had not really known them. I wish I had.



Today, I found out that one of my friends through Junior High and High School passed away. Lindsey Robinson-Karr passed because of a brain tumor that she had been bravely fighting for so long. She had had them before, and I remember visiting her when I was younger. Sitting and talking with her for some time about simple things. It somehow, back in grade school didn't seem quite real. I never took it seriously because she was always so happy.

It's hard to know how to react. I haven't spoken to her in almost eight years. I can't really claim to know who she now is, what she has done, who she was friends with or even what she loved to do. I know she loved her husband and life and family and that is enough to remember her as the same amazing person I knew growing up.

To be honest I don't know what to write, other then that. I could give the details of the cancer that plagued her, but I can't help but feeling that such a story would be cheapened by my telling. I was not there and in the back of my mind, in reading the updates, progression and digression, I still had the same sense that it wasn't real. That she was strong and that this would soon be over. Perhaps it is because of my ignorance and inexperience in dealing with death. All I needs say is this:

She was a wonderful person who loved life even in the middle of all of her hardships. She made others smile easily and often. She was important to her family and friends and she will be missed by even those like me, who once knew her and could never forget her kindness and love of life. The lives she has touched are many. More than I think anyone could imagine. I am grateful to be one of those lives.


Living Through Laughter.


Please, help her family and donate to help with their expenses. You can go here, and simply donate $2. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

10 tanks = $58,400,000

I've wondered where all of our countries money has gone and found some interesting facts.

There are places our military are stationed in Iraq where 1 gallon of gas costs about $400 to ship there. Now, most tanks guzzle gas at the rate of 4 gallons per mile. That means it is costing us, as a country, $1600 to get a tank from point A to point B, being a mile apart. An average tank holds about 25 gallons of gas. That's $40,000 dollars to travel 25 miles!! This is one tank!! Sure, not all places cost this much, so lets to the bare minimum: 1 Tank in a place that they need to ship the gas that travels... 10 miles a day. That seems extremely conservative. That means, in one year the cost to let this one single tank run costs: $5,840,000.

Almost 6 million dollars to run 1 single tank!! Keeping our stats extremely conservative we'll say that there are a total of 10 tanks in these areas with high gas shipping prices. That means to keep these tanks running for one year it costs $58,400,000.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ugh

Today is me waking up at 4am to bike to work and finding out I have a flat tire.
Today is my iPod's batteries being dead and having to listen to the people around me at work.
Today is not being able to log into my computer at work.

And it's only 6:18 am.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Biking Stats

Sorry for all of the posts about biking, but it is a recent obsession. I've been biking for a few reasons. Mostly exercise, but also some moral sense of needing to do something to help the environment. (I am aware the effect me not driving a car has is basically 0). Anyway, I thought I would put down some of my stats as far as how car I bike and weight loss, etc.

Miles biked in the last month: ~380
Average miles per day: 18
Calories burned per week: 4500-5000
Weight loss: ~7lbs

Also, I've been (roughly) counting calories. Not so much counting as averaging-ish. I want to lose weight and get to about 160. I've been learning a lot about healthy living and am loving it. Lesa and I have been doing a great job with our garden and eating healthy. We set some goals for our eating habits and have been able to stick with them really well. Here's the calorie chart I've been some-what following:

Monday: 1719
Tuesday: 1480
Wednesday: 2063
Thursday: 1719
Friday: 1547
Saturday: 1891
Sunday: 1719

I lose between 4000-5000 of those a week. That's 1000 cal def. So I should lose between 1-3lbs a week doing this. Once I hit 160lbs. I'll probably increase my cal intake a bit to try to even it out a bit.

It's funny. 3 years ago I didn't care about eating healthy at all. But I think it is important to be able to live healthy and self sustaining as much as possible, as well as stay active. Biking does this for me. Today, (because of a crazy storm last night and early this morning) I did not bike to work. I feel . . . guilty about it. Sure, there was absolutely no way I could have biked this morning, but it is sunny now. And that means I could have biked home. It's definitely an obsession. The winter will be hard. I'll be biking the 5ish miles to school everyday, which will help, and will probably start biking on Saturdays to keep the 90-100 miles per week up. But driving to work will suck. But, knowing myself, biking at 4am in January doesn't sound pleasant at all.

But for now. I'm happy biking.

Simple Meeting

In your machine, you fly
and breath
and you call it life
Like God you see through
the use of legs.
Trust is
letting me pay for you
letting me look into your bag
allowing me, or another approach
when your hands can't
understand your brain.
And like a God who knows
pain and suffering
like I have
like you have
I close your bad on your chair
walk back behind the counter
and make you a meal.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Only Few Moments

I will not pretend
that i take my time writing
because I don't
I listen to the poet who
said it took weeks to write a poem
but I
I write in moments, in feeling
As fleeting as dandelion seeds.
There is no time between words
Only empty space meant for breaths
and I leave the spaces
for thought, for contemplation
for meaning.

Global Warming and Cold Morning

I woke up this morning, got on my bike and started biking to work at 4:15am. It was colder than normal and my first thought was, "Oh great, today a bunch of people are going to say 'So much for global warming'". Sure enough, 1 hr and 45 min. into my shift the guy behind me starts complaining about how cold it was. I listened... waiting for it, and after about 2 minutes I heard it. "Whatever, green-house effect. So much for global warming."

I shook my head and wrote this blog.

(For more I've written on global warming go here).

Friday, August 5, 2011

Harry Potter Fever


I can't help it. I have Harry Potter fever.

Any of you who have been reading, or looking at my blog may notice that in the last 3 weeks I've read the first 3 books and am into the 4th now. It's great! Re-reading these back to back has made me fall even more in love with these amazing books. They are so well thought out and written. The early story hints towards so much more that will come books later. I am amazed at the consistency of them. Something I did not notice reading them as each came out, years apart.

I would recommend these books to anyone who really wants a great read or a great book to reread. They are easily some of the best books I've ever read!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Pledge for Biking


I Just signed the pledge. I love biking and would love to see more biker friendly roads. I do what I can to be safe and courteous to the cars on the road, but there are still some scary places I have to bike. 

Guitar


It finally happened.

I use to play the guitar constantly. But sense having kids have dropped it, but something happened during my wife's family reunion, when I played "Flightless Bird, American Mouth" by Iron & Wine. I wanted to pick it up again. I find I enjoy learning other peoples songs more than writing my own, but still. . .I am excited to start learning songs again.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Oh, Books!


I love reading. Yesterday I decided to try and get all of my books onto my two bookshelves. (I had a massive pile of books on the side on my big bookshelf). It didn't work. Now I have books stacked on top of each and crammed in to small places and still a massive pile of books on the side of the bookshelf.

And all I can think about is buying more books.

Biking


Biked 85 miles this week.
Pretty good, I think.
Started 1 1/2 months ago.
Shaved off 15 minutes to work and 20 back.
And my legs are awesome!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Harry Potter & Biking

As the new movie has come out... the last one... I have been on a huge Harry Potter High. (Even though, having 2 kids, both young, I probably wont see it until it comes out on DVD). And so I am rereading all of the books. I forget how good they are, even the first ones that I thought wouldn't be as good as 5-7. I am really enjoying them!!

Also. Biking is easier. Yesterday I took on the hill at University Parkway--the one that use to kill me--and was able to get up it in about a minute and a half instead of 5. I've been taking a different route, going along University Ave., to Center and then up Center St., The whole thing is uphill accept for very small stretches, so I think my leg muscles have been getting some good conditioning. I'm going to try to get up it faster today... We'll see.

Also, I think we're going to get Maddox a bike soon. I'm not sure if he is too little, but he loves my bike and riding it/sitting on it while I move him around, so I think he'd really like his own.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Wild Root Wizard Wands


I have to say, I am horribly excited about the last of the Harry Potter movies coming out. Almost as excited as I was for the 7th book. No, that's a lie, I took 3 days off of work devoted to reading the book and finished it in 2 days, easy. But still, I am excited. 

I recently was able to meet up with Jeff, who is a good friend, at his home to look at the wands. He had about 40 in a box that he had made in his spare time. I was amazed at the quality and detail put into every single wand. They were, amazing!! He has even made a few replicas such as Snape's wand, (as seen below) and even Voldemort's. (Which, by the way, was horribly realistic. I sat there for some time feeling as though I was the Dark Lord, He Who Must Not Be Named). The finish on each wand gives them their own individuality along with the intricate and original designs. 

But if you don't want one of those, just let him know what you had in mind and he can make you your own custom wand. One of a kind!!! As though Olivander himself made it for you!

So contact Jeff (801.971.0361), and let him know what you are interested in, or just do what I did and look through the ones he already has, because they are simply amazing!!

Here is a sample of the quality of his wands. A replica of Severus Snape's wand.


*You will also be able to go to his blog soon, at http://wildrootwizardwands.blogspot.com.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Consistency

So, for the last 3 days I've biked I've hit a consistent 35 minutes to go 9 miles. So that's about a 4 minute mile. (People run that fast!!!) I'm hoping to get that down by a minute within a month. So, Hopefully I'll be taking 25 minutes to get here. When I started I was taking 45-50 minutes, so I can definitely tell I'm getting in better shape.

I am really starting to enjoy riding in the morning as well. It helps wake me up, (which has been a struggle as 4am is just too early). But the ride has been more enjoyable, lately.

Good times biking. I think Ty and I are going to be going sometime soon to the lake to bike half of it or something. I think I want to go with him before school starts again and go around the whole lake. Should be good.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Meh and other news.

So, after much debate, I've decided not to finish the short short stories. I don't feel like they were going in where, or really doing much for me. Meh.

In other news, I have decided to only eat meat for dinner, (that is, if we even have meat for dinner), and it has to be at home, (or my or Lesa's parents house). For some time now I've been wanting to try being vegetarian but the reality in having two kids is that it would simply be to hard. And as it is for health reasons, I figure only eating meat for dinner, (which is about 4 or so times a week) should be really good. This will also help me not eat out at all.

I haven't decided if I am going to count fish in this meat thing yet. But then again, I really only eat fish at dinner... hmmm.

Also, I am going to try (again) to not drink any soda. I had gone about 3 months without it and then just stopped, but every time I drank it I felt like crap and so I am quitting again. Hopefully this one sticks.

I've also been biking a lot more. I try to bike (but have been slightly less successful due to rain and the like) at least three times a week. Basically, because I am limited on time I can do stuff, I decided to bike to work and back. 18 mile round trip. I also try to bike to my other job which is about 1/2 there, and 1/2 back. I bike there 3 days a week, so I get in about 57 miles a week. That is pretty good, I think. It's a good workout. I have a goal to wake up at 5 on Saturdays and bike Provo Canyon--to Vivian Park and back--we'll see if I do it this weekend.

Also, I've been drinking a lot of healthy organic drinks, like Sambazon, Acai. It's good stuff and I definitely recommend it.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Missing Short Short Stories

I have several written, but haven't typed them up yet. Please be patient, but the 4th threw me off in updating this.

Oh wait . . . is there anyone even out there?

Monday, July 4, 2011

What Freedom Means to Me

This means so much more to me in regards to Freedom than any speech, sermon, talk, address, etc. has ever meant. It is simple, different and correct. I wish/hope that as a country we can view lived like this, and view freedom like this. Freedom doesn't need to be about wars fought or us leaving England's rule. It could be about so much more. 


I hope we can all remember this on the 4th of July. It is important.


***


(This is from Kurt Vonnegut's Sirens of Titan).

"You come and tell me the big news," said Boaz. "'Boaz — ' you say, 'we're going to be free!' And I get all excited, and I drop everthing I'm doin', and I get set to be free.

"And I keep saying it over to myself about how I'm going to be free," said Boaz, "and then I try to think what that's going to be like, and all I can see is people. They push me this way, then they push me that — and nothing pleases 'em, and they get madder and madder, on account of nothing makes 'em happy. And they holler at me on account of I ain't made 'em happy, and we all push and pull some more.

"And then, all of a sudden," said Boaz, "I remember all the crazy little animals I been making so happy so easy with music. And I go find thousands of 'em lying around dead, on account of Boaz forgot all about 'em, he was so excited about being free. And ever' one of them lost lives I could have saved, if I'd have just kept my mind on what I was doing.

"And then I say to myself," said Boaz, "'I ain't never been nothing good to people, and people never been nothing good to me. So what I want to be free in crowds of people for?'

"And then I knew what I was going to say to you, Unk, when I got back here," said Boaz.
Boaz now said it:

"I found me a place where I can do good without doing any harm, and I can see I'm doing good, and them I'm doing good for know I'm doing it, and they love me, Unk, as best they can. I found me a home.

"And when I die down here some day," said Boaz, "I'm going to be able to say to myself, 'Boaz — you made millions of lives worth living. Ain't nobody ever spread more joy. You ain't got an enemy in the Universe.'"

Friday, July 1, 2011

A Monsters Meal

The city fled from the attack. Oh, what evil a thing. They watched stunned as the creature, smiling, devoured the city, sitting down happily, munching on metal, concrete and glass.

Short, short story #23, as apart of the BlogShorts Challenge

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Freedom

Freedom, celebrated for our battles. For our ability to choose--to a point. But I found freedom in the saving of a life--worth my own. Small, green and black.

Short, short story #22, as apart of the BlogShorts Challenge

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

To the North

In remembrance of a poem once loved, I sniffed and followed my nose to the north. And found that things were no different than here and only I had changed.

Short, short story #21, as apart of the BlogShorts Challenge

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Boys

I cried when I met you both. It's strange to think, because I've never cried when meeting anyone. But, holding you guys for the first time changed everything for me.

Short, short story #20, as apart of the BlogShorts Challenge

Falling Astronaut

Slowly, he rotated, cursing his god, crew and suit. Probably cursing the Earth, as well. In all of this--this inevitable death--why couldn't he be still, un-rotating, before burning.

Short, short story #19, as apart of the BlogShorts Challenge

Bad Change

Temperature rises. Five degrees Celsius. The Timpanogos glacier. Zeppelins over Russia. Strange currents. So much more. And still you don't worry, because it doesn't matter to you. Not your problem.

Short, short story #18, as apart of the BlogShorts Challenge

Feeding a Family

"Can you throw that sandwich away?" she asked, as I came in. I turned and walked outside, looking for the crusts. Ants had found it first, and so I left it.

Short, short story #17, as apart of the BlogShorts Challenge