Saturday, October 21, 2006

Goodbye, Blogger!

Well, Blogger has finally failed to meet my expectations. I suppose I should have expected it sooner, but oh well. The specifics aren't important, and I still recommend Blogger to those who have more technical knowledge.

If you still wish to read my blog, it is being continued at I think you'll like it better. There will already be a few entries there, so happy reading!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Sooooo. . . coold. . .

OK, Summer as I have known it went up in a puff of smoke Saturday last. My roommate, who is from North Carolina, and I looked out the window. What did we see? SNOW! IN SUMMER! What the heck is going on??

Now, it's not like we're complaining. In fact, we were both extremely pleased, and we rushed out to try our snow gear out. The people who had lived in snow looked at us with open contempt as we went about jabbering about the snow. Their loss. I must say, though, it's been pretty wet (it's only been raining lately, no snow). I definitely enjoy it, since my hometown would routinely combust during the summer, so this is quite the change.

Aside from the weather, things have been pretty exciting. I am, however, going to stop giving multi-day recaps, since it bores me. I will merely focus on specific events that entertained me.

On Monday, we got our papers back in Civ I. The TAs bled all over my paper, and gave it a "C." My outrage soon turned to embarrassment as I read their comments. What was I thinking!? Oh well, it just gave me inspiration to blow them away on my next paper, which I turned in yesterday. That paper was a bit of a panic, as I went to the Writing Center (WC), and the consultant completely tore apart my logic. I quickly fixed it, printed it out, and arrived at class right as it started. Oy! I'll be going to the stress lab next week, that's for sure!

In other news, I got a Honors Writing consultation with the professor, who told me, in no unclear terms, that I just wasn't a story-teller. . . yet. He gave me some exercises to do, and I went away feeling surprisingly uninsulted, even with the fact that he insisted on listening to my voice mail when my phone rang during our conversation (it's his rule).

Yesterday, my friend bought three pounds of galvanized wire. He says he's going to build a six foot Eiffel Tower statue out of it. He's the first to crack.

There's so much to tell, but I can't bore you all. I just wish everybody could have access to education like this, and I intend to make it my life's work to work toward that ideal. Until then, I'm just grateful!

Right now, I hear the marching band practicing our fight song. My floormates are throwing a football against the wall, and I'm going to a poetry-reading in the mountains in an hour. My life is so much fuller than it has ever been, and I intend to keep it that way! I thought this would be the prime of my life, but my Comparative and International Development professor, who is in his fifties, says that his life has just begun! But, more on him later. And, I'll have pictures too; right now, Blogger's having problems.

Here's my qoute of the lifetime:
"Jesus Christ is like the sun: when the world gets in the way. . .

there's darkness."

Friday, September 15, 2006

Die Sonne Scheint Noch

The title is a quote. These words were the last of Sophie Magdalena Scholl, the only female member of the White Rose, which was a non-violent anti-Nazi resistance group in World War II. She was caught distributing the sixth of a series of leaflets criticizing Hitler and the Nazi party. She, her brother, and Chistoph Probst were tried and executed by guillotine within four days of her arrest. I hereby pronounce February 22 to be White Rose Day, as it would commemorate the first of many punishments doled out against members of the movement. To honor their memory, I suggest wearing a white rose, or at least a white boutonniere.
From left: Hans Scholl, Sophie Scholl, and Chrisoph Probst
I just saw a German film called "Sophie Scholl: The Final Days," which shows her crime, arrest, trial, and execution. It was astounding and left one shocked at what evils humans can commit, but at the same time, left me with sure conviction that hope always survives.

Before viewing the film for the second time, today my Civilization I class watched a movie called "The Triumph of Will." It was, in essence, an old Nazi propaganda film reel, and it made me ever so forgiving of the German people. We were watching it to analyse the impact of language. Truly, it would have been so easy to be sold on Hitler's views; it would have been easy to overlook his extremeness. If I was fed fodder like that film everyday, I wonder if I would have been fooled. I was also shocked to see just how American the whole thing seemed. Sans the swastikas and German language, it could easily have been an Army recruitment advertisement of some sort. Heck, the Hitler Youth looked exactly like the Boy Scouts of America!

It makes one think: How often are we sold on our own propaganda? Do we really think about it? After all, just because this is America does not mean that we won't have our Hitlers. I wonder if a similar fiasco might happen here. What is the common man or woman doing to protect themselves against the lies our politicians will inevitably continue to whisper to us?

I'm currently working on the blog which explains my classes and such, so be patient. It's pretty long. Right now, though, I'm concerned for the welfare of society. The roots for World War III are being laid as we speak. I can't say where they are laid; I can only guarantee that they are. We need to protect ourselves. It would be a shame if, when the thread by which the Constitution hangs finally snaps, America is the chief cause of said war, like the Germany of old.

The title, by the way, means:

"The sun is still shining."

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Some pictures and some commentary

All right, I've got some pictures. I'm going to try and do this chronologically, but it may be off.

This is Y Mountain as I drove into Provo.

This is my dorm room right after unpacking. I assure you, it is no longer this neat.
Here's the sign welcoming one to BYU.

If you can't read it, it says "Enter to learn, go forth to serve."

To the left is one of the coolest hats I've seen worn in public. Where can I buy one?

This is my roommate. In the grand tradition of my life, he is much taller than me. (If you knew some of my friends, you would understand.)

The cheerleaders at the beginning of New Student Orientation. This was a three-day introduction program for new freshman and transfers. The cheerleaders and marching band followed the movie about the very inspiring stories surrounding the founding of BYU. It's very fascinating and can be found here. Let me just say, that Karl Maeser is one of my new heroes.

This is the Maeser Building, which is where the Honors Program is located. More on that later.

This is a statue in the atrium of the Joseph Smith Building. It's very inspiring in there, and I intend to make it one of my study spots. Fun fact: their are baptismal fonts located in the JSB, for those who decide to join the Church while attending BYU.

This bit of hardware is located in front of the Eyring Science Center. Believe it or not, it is the exhaust apparatus of an underground nuclear facility. I'm not joking. BYU has many underground laboratories, such as atom-smashers, etc. At least, so I am told. But this is indeed part of a small-scale nuclear power plant.

This is my Y-Group. They're all in my same area of academic interest. We're all geeks.

This is Professor Sowell. This guy's awesome. He's in charge of the Honors Program. This was taken during a Q&A session at the end of a meeting about the program. We broke the fire code many times over fitting every one into the Varsity Theater. Hundreds of students were interested. I was sold within the first ten minutes. The details and requirements of the program are found here, if you're interested in what I'll be doing for the next four years. Use the links at the left of the screen. After the meeting was a banquet, where a live jazz band played and we were served pork chops and mashed potatoes.

This is from a volleyball match played against Stanford. We crushed them most decisively, with a 15-point lead in the fourth game. It was pathetic. I made the mistake of sitting in the cheering section, where we stood for the whole hour-and-a-half. Then I rode my bike back to my dorm. Not fun. By the way, a moment of silence in grim acknowledgement of BYU's defeat by ASU.

Finally, this is Cosmo the Cougar. He is the single most awesome mascot in all of Athlitismos Kollegioy. I'd love that job! I hope to soon get a picture with him.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Day One

Alrighty! Here's my first day at BYU. Tomorrow I will be taking many pictures of New Student Orientation. For now: visualize!

I said goodbye to my dad at 10:00 AM in front of the dorms. Talk about heart-wrenching! I didn't really expect it to be that hard, but it was. I'm gonna miss that guy. My mom still hasn't gone home, so I can take it one step at a time.

After saying goodbye, I hung in my dorm for a while, then went to lunch. At lunch, in the spacious and luxurious food court called the Cougareat, I sat alone at a table. Then, I remembered: This isn't high school! I'm allowed to talk to anyone I want, now. So, I asked this Black man sitting at the table next to me if I could eat with him. It turns out, he's from Brazil, and is majoring in Public Health. He's married, and his wife is studying Psychology!

Talk about diversity. Don't believe that horse waste about BYU having no diversity. I've met, so far, British, Chinese, Brazilian, Middle-Eastern, and many other ethnicities. What's more, these people are usually from the country of their ethnicity's origin. Awesome!

After that, I showed a friend around campus, which was fun. We pretty much covered the whole thing in the afternoon. Then I dined with another friend at a Greek restaurant off-campus. Then I met my roommate and his friends: all awesome. Finally, a bunch of people met in the lobby for games. This semester's gonna rock!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Yet Another Post

Okay, the reason I'm posting again, is that my previous one was somewhat of a touching, personal one; one that had to be written in the spirit of the moment. You know?

No, you don't. Whatever. I probably didn't mean any of it, anyway.

Anyhoo, I Googled "advice for freshmen," and it came up with a message board chock-full of advice. I want to list the points of advice, with a bit of my own thoughts. Please pay attention if you're pre-college or even in your first few semesters. This is important to me, so you must pay attention.

(not in any particular order)
1. Take electives outside your major. I think this is important, because it will broaden you a bit. No matter how "open-minded" you think you are, actively looking at new interests will definitely challenge that.

2. Join clubs. I wish I did this at my junior college. I didn't really feel connected to my school, and maybe that's why my experience was a little sour.

3. DON'T BE A DRUNK!!! I don't drink. Period. I get along fine. There's a lot of people out there who don't drink or who drink in moderation. You don't have to get smashed every weekend to be popular. You shouldn't get smashed at all. It only takes that one time to absolutely destroy your life. Be responsible.

4. Study abroad. Practically everyone said this. Mormons have an opportunity to leave the country for a time on their missions. If they "go state-side" (serve in America), I think they should take a semester abroad. It's the cheapest opportunity you have to leave the country, see some (foreign) sights, get some perspective, and earn some college credits all at the same time. Live outside your silly box. Everyone who didn't go abroad seemed to regret it.

5. Take every class you want to. This is important, as well. Your major has very little, for the most part, to do with your career. Don't believe all that "career-oriented" learning stuff. My dad majored in Sociology, and is now a sales engineer for a company that builds water wells. Don't be afraid to take Physics if your major is Art History.

6. Find diversity. This is for the same reasons as studying abroad. I don't think people really understand what they think they hold dear until they've met someone with different experiences, culture, or beliefs who shares a common idea.

7. Be yourself. You probably weren't yourself in high school. I still know college students who simply want to conform, refuse to be different. You're liars. I'm sorry, but you're telling us you're something other than what you really are. You don't need to feel pressured into being someone besides yourself. If it means you'll have less friends, then good for you! A loner who's himself is better than a popular poser.

8. Network. Learn to make connections.

9. Declare a minor. I totally believe this. The more distant from your major, the better, especially if your preprofessional (med-school and the like). This will give you guidance for your electives and interests.

10. Don't be afraid of hard classes. Challenge yourself! Don't be a wuss! Don't be afraid to take "the hard professor." That's dumb. It'll give you a greater sense of accomplishment, trust me. I took some classes that were so easy I felt they were a waste of time even though they boosted my GPA. (No one looks all that much at GPA anyway.)

11. Know your professors! This, also, is important. Take advantage of office hours. You don't need to be the fan club. Come with questions regarding the material, your standing in the class, your career decisions, or just go to talk. Professors detest lecturing to a bunch of clearly-bored people; they'd much rather teach you one-on-one, or at least get some feedback. If you don't understand, tell them!

12. Know your professors some more! Professors have connections. They are excellent entries to any kind of network. They sign your letters of recommendation for post-graduate schools, they hire research assistants, they know internship opportunities, and, well, grades are veeerrrrrry flexible in college. If you meet with your professors, they attach a face to your name, and participation points can go a long way in the grading system.

13. If you get a job, work on campus. These jobs can lead to internships. They also tend to give you lots of time to study on the job. What's better than getting paid to do homework?

14. Shun social cliques. Be a floater. You don't need to join a fraternity, or be part of the "cool" crowd. Generally, their influence crashes and burns in college anyway. Be diverse, and you'll get better friends. Just because you were "a stoner punk" in high school doesn't mean you have to be one in college. Loners of the world, that can end right after graduation! There is hope!

15. Don't waste time. I've made it clear how valuable time is. Don't waste time playing those addictive games like WoW! or being hung-over. Make the most of your short four years.

16. Study well. Do the work. GO TO CLASS! Don't ever miss class, unless you absolutely have to! Everything on tests tends to be covered in class. I've been to classes where the textbook was unneeded (but, I wish I had read it, because maybe then I'd have learned more). Also, it's generally accepted that the dorm room is like Dilbert's "anti-productivity pod." Nothing useful was ever accomplished in the dorm or apartment. If you want to study, find a secret place to do it and don't tell your friends where you're going.

17. Go to functions. Go to plays, movie-nights, sporting events, seminars, etc. Use them as dates. You've paid for a lot of them, and there might be free food. Besides, you'll be able to put that down as something you did, rather than as something you missed.

18. Take care of your body. Ever hear of the "Freshman 15?" It's true, and it could be a lot more than fifteen pounds. Exercise regularly, don't just eat the fatty food in the cafeteria, shower daily, get good sleep (try, at least), and watch the snacks. You'll study better. Along those lines, it's harder to retain information and take tests when you're on caffeine. Just saying. . .

19. Look for good teachers. Don't look for easy teachers, but good ones. Ask older students, or check a professor-rating site. I've had some really crappy professors, some who were pretty simple. I wish I had asked.

20. Finally, love school, but don't make it your life. DO VOLUNTEER WORK! That's a great way to unwind, find opportunities, and have fun. Not everything you do has to revolve around school.

That's the advice of many people. I think I've covered the best bits. The site is here, if you want to read the full, unmediated version. Thanks for reading!

So Long, And Thanks For All the Fish!

Yes, that time has come. Time for me to look behind me, and say goodbye. Leaving is hard, but I'm moving on.

My friends are great. I just threw myself a "going away" party. I think people had fun, and I'm surprised that so many people came! I'm pretty happy about it. If I didn't invite you, please don't feel bad. The list was written kind of hurried, and I think I may have forgotten to invite some really good friends. I'm dumb. . .

Anyhoo, my friends are great. They've all been great: putting up with my extremely hard-core strangeness all these years (upon years, upon years). Some people are taking my leaving pretty harshly. This kind of shocked me, but I felt all the more loved.

I just want to say, to everyone I've ever met, if I've offended you, or done anything for your damage in any way, "I'm an idiot." I've made dumb choices, but if you think it hurt you, I can guarantee that it hurt me all the worse. Please forgive me.

To all those who I considered friends: "I'm going to miss you all. Real bad. Right here [thumps chest]." No, don't cry. You'll get over me.

"Tell all my friends I'm dead.
I'm leaving you; this time, it's for good.
Tell all my friends that I'm dead.
It won't be long before you forget my name." (A New Found Glory, "Forget My Name")

I've got another post to write. One that's not as personal.