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


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
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



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: