Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Scary Stories

As a child, I was kind of obsessed with ghost stories. I just absolutely loved them. I had all the Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark books, and I read anything else I could get my hands on. I even read them in a darkened room by myself. I think the illustrations throughout those books are almost as bad as the stories themselves.

You know who had compiled one of the best compilations of ghost stories I had ever read? Roald Dahl. That guy is pretty awesome. Orson Scott Card also has a really cool book of short horror stories.

I don't know what happened, but in the years since I haven't bothered reading anything else from the horror genre. Not until recently at least.

I bought Stephen King's book, Everything's Eventual more than a year ago to read the short story 1408. I loved the story, but didn't bother reading anything else from the book.

Well I started up again. And there are some really great ones. I love how the book is billed as a "nighmarish landscape of unrelenting horror and shocking revelations" when of the 6 or 7 stories I've read, only a couple of them would really be classified as being horror. All the other ones are kind of hopeful actually.

I tried finding my favorite one so far, That Feeling You Can Only Say What It Is In French, but I can't find any full text copies anywhere. I don't think of that one as being of the horror genre, but it's still chilling. I just love that one.

King is a really, really great writer. It's easy to write him off as being an author who overproduces a tired product, but he's so prolific because he's got such an incredible and active imagination. And what's more, he has some amazing stories that don't have anything to do with horror - Green Mile, Stand By Me, and Shawshank Redemption, among others. Yup, those are all based on Stephen King stories.

I think I've mentioned his commentary before on the Passion of the Christ, but I've found the full text of the article that can be found here. Keep in mind that that particular piece comes from the master of horror. It's short, and definitely worth reading.

After some consultation, I've settled on my first Stephen King novel being Salem's Lot. I just really wanted something appropriate for the Halloween season that we're about to embark upon. And this is one of his earliest novels, and it's about vampires. I'm loving it.

I've read Bram Stoker's Dracula, and some of the Rice Interview With A Vampire series, and most recently the Twilight books. I'm anticipating, or maybe just hoping, that this will be the best of all the vampire books that I'll ever read. We'll see.

Buyer Beware!

You know what the problem with buying stuff online is? Let me tell you a little story...

A couple of weeks ago I decided that I was going to buy a Tivo because I had been spoiled the last couple of years having a DVR at my disposal. I looked online and in Circuit City and Best Buy to try and figure out what I wanted.

I settled on a Series 2 Dual Tuner Tivo. The best price I found anywhere for a new one was $150. So when I saw one on Craig's List for $70, brand new in box, I thought, eureka!

I went to purchase the item from the guy and it was just as he had said. The box hadn't even been opened yet, and he seemed to have a legitimate reason for selling it. But the box didn't have a model number anywhere, and of course, the Tivo packaging doesn't feature anything that isn't available, so I didn't know what it was lacking.

Excited, I come home and unwrap and begin to hook up the new addition to his electronic friends TV and DVD player. Not until after I had almost everything set up did I see on one of the booklets that it's the Single Tuner, not the Dual Tuner. If you've had a DVR then you realize how much of a convenience it is to be able to record something on one channel while watching something else on another. It's huge. But I thought to myself that I could deal with it. And as I'm about to complete installation and plug in the ethernet cable into the device I noticed that it only had a phone jack, or a USB connection. Eff.

Now I have to buy a USB adapter, but I didn't want a wireless adapter because we don't have a network setup in the house. We plug in directly to the wall and I didn't want to have to get a router too. The problem now is that nobody even sells wired USB adapters because it's pretty much outdated, so again I'm going to have to resort to online shopping to find what it is that I'm looking for.

I made sure to look on the Tivo website for the right kind of adapter that would be compatible with my Tivo. I settled on one of the D-Link variety because that was the cheapest I could find, and would get shipped the fastest. The problem now is that there is the D-Link DUB-E100 A1 and A2 that are compatible, but not the A4 or B1. Well at the store that I'm looking at, it doesn't specify which it is, it only says D-Link DUB-E100 and nothing else. I was anxious just for my Tivo to start working so I made the purchase, ignoring the lesson I should have just learned with the purchase of my Single Tuner Tivo.

It got here yesterday. I plug it in and...it's not compatible. I look all over the packaging to see what version it is, and only on the manual that comes with the device inside of the box does it actually say it's the B1 type that's incompatible. The great thing about electronics is that you can't really return opened computer items, particularly when you're buying from online merchants.

At this point I could try again, go for a different adapter and just make sure that it's the right one. But I thought I would start poking around on the Tivo website and some other forums to see if I can just find the Dual Tuner for cheap and not even bother with the adapter.

Turns out that on the Tivo website there are refurbished boxes for only $80. I called this morning to see if I could switch the service over to a new box and just get one of those. The guy on the other end says, "Tell you what. I'll do you one better. How about a brand new Dual Tuner Series Two for $70?"

So I thinks to myself, "are you @#$%&! kidding me?!," but what actually came out was a sheepish, "Yes, please."
I'm an idiot.

Monday, September 29, 2008

MxPx In The Venue

Mike Reid and I went to a concert Friday night with the express purpose of seeing MxPx and Lagwagon. I hadn't been to this place (In The Venue) before in Salt Lake, and I had heard good things about it, plus these are two bands that I really enjoy live.

First, the show took us a little while to get there. Turns out that my concert buddy had his first real test of the school year and he didn't do as well as he liked. As a result, I ended up just dropping by his place because he hadn't called me back yet, and I found him in his darkened room, lying on his bed in a pool of self-pity. We didn't end up making it up to Salt Lake until about 8:30pm.

It took us a little while to find the place because it didn't actually have the name listed anywhere on the outside. I was supposed to have tickets reserved for me by the PR person for MxPx because I was going to be writing a review for them. Turns out they weren't there, but luckily for me I had bought tickets previously. We saw Mike Herrera from MxPx outside the venue, but didn't talk to him because we were unsure that was his name. When we got in, it was basically a bar with a corner stage that had metal poles right in middle of where the pit would be. The sound was bad; the people running the show couldn't seem to accomodate any of the band's requests. The lights blinded the lead singer, and the microphones for the backups seemed to be switched.

Lagwagon themselves were good. Joey told some stories that were pretty entertaining. Guitars, bass lines, drums are all really impressive with them. As Lagwagon wrapped up, Mike and I started to get excited for MxPx to get on stage. As it turns out, the lights came on, people started filing out and that's when we realized that we had missed MxPx. So we were especially glad that we didn't stop Mike to talk to him because he had already finished by the time we ran into him.

In any case, I don't think there is anything more fun than live performances. The energy that you feel at a concert, or watching anything on stage for that matter, is just so unique. It's authentic. There's no editing. People hit their notes or they don't, but they almost always do, and I think that's what makes it worthwhile in the first place.

Also, Tat opened up for both of the bands. Obviously we didn't hear anything from them, but I visited their Myspace page following the show and they sound pretty decent. Plus the girl is hot. They had a pretty cool sound, and in the wake of Paramour, it sounds like they will have an audience here in the states.
*Photos are actually from the same show that we were at, which is kind of cool. Pulled them from the MxPx website directly.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bored As Hell And I Wanna Get Ill

That looks more like a roman numeral "III" than Ill, huh? Kinda funny.

So yeah...that's basically what I've been feeling for the last 4 weeks. I can't believe I've been here almost 4 weeks already. Almost one whole month. Crazy. Not that it has passed quickly, but not that it has gone that slowly either. Time has just been meandering.

I haven't been blogging as much, but I think that's not due to time constraints, but mostly two factors: I feel guilty that I'm not doing my homework, and I feel like all my blog posts are journal type entries. I've been following all the same politics, sports, current events, etc. but I just feel like talking about my day or what I'm feeling and that doesn't seem to be all that interesting. Or is it? I don't know, but that's really how I'm feeling these days about my blogging. So then I end up not writing anything at all, and that bugs me. It's funny how much it bothers me when I don't post.

I feel this place that I'm living in - Provo - is Provo in name only. It's definitely not the same place for me now that it was from 2001-2004. My apartment is not my home; it feels more like a hotel. I feel like a transient here. And you know why? Because home is about the people, and the people that I enjoyed this place with during those years are all gone. It's weird to go to places now and have so many memories about every single restaurant, movie theater, street, building, nook and cranny that I see.

I went to see Ghost Town by myself today (which was really entertaining, by the way. I went at Kent's suggestion on his blog) at the Provo Town Center mall and the first thoughts I had as I got over there were about the last movies I saw there with other people. I saw XXX with Dave when we were just killing time one day. I took a nap during Guess Who with Dave and Caitlin, maybe Greg was there too. I saw Wimbledon with Becca and her friends there. She and I also saw How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days there near our first Valentine's day together, and she wrapped her arm in mine.

Being here has made me think a lot about her. Everything that happened in the last two years that I lived here was all about her. I didn't expect that to come up so much. And I hate admitting that. I guess that's pretty personal, but it's the truth.

I play intramural soccer on the same fields, but the experience is so different. I don't have post-game chats about how the game went with Dave. We don't get Pizza Pipeline anymore. I have maybe one person that I feel like I can just call up or text when I want to grab something to eat. I have a bunch of acquaintances here right now, but very few friends. Usually it's the other way around for me, and that's how I prefer it.

What's that line at the end of A River Runs Through It? "I am haunted by waters," I think. I'm haunted by these ghosts. Normally it's fine. The ghosts are always there, but you don't notice them when you're not by yourself so much. I know it's just a matter of time before I find some people that I click with, but it's weird in the meantime knowing I'm on my own. Not just knowing, but really feeling it.

Anyway, if you've bothered to come this far through this dreary post, below is the trailer. The movie is really funny. I laughed out loud, a lot. And I was by myself doing that in a theater full of people. You know what was funny? Being in a movie and hearing audible gasps at the two F-words and G-damn in the movie.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Week 15 - Let The Taper Begin!

I'm trying to remember if I did all the runs last week or not. I think I missed a day. It was the second short run. That's right.

Okay...so highlights...first short run was fine.

Medium-long run was okay, but I did it way late. I think I started at about 11:30 pm and ran 7.6 miles. I covered in just over an hour. It was up to the temple, but not up and around the temple.

The long run. This was the long week. I decided that I was going to run an hour and a half out, and then just come back on the same route. Regardless of how far it ended up being. I assumed that would be put somewhere around 21 miles, given that I ran the 18.8 miles in 2:40. I wasn't sure how I was really feeling for the week, and I miss another run again, even if it was only a short one.

The forecast for Saturday was supposed to be rainy. And it rained lightly for about 10 minutes during the run. When it started to happen I was already at mile 15 or so. At that point I really didn't care if it would have rained hard the whole way back because I knew that I had less than an hour of running left.

Running for time almost made it easier on me. I didn't have to worry at all about my route, or the length. It sounds dumb, but in trying to figure out routes, it can sometimes take me more than an hour to plan everything out and make sure that I'm covering the distance, that I know where I can drop of my gatorades, etc. This time I just planted two in the same spot as I did last time, and I just decided that I would keep running up the canyon trail until I reached that time goal.

I got up to Nun's Glen Park, which is where we used to start longboarding when we'd go down the Canyon. Greg and Dave know where that is, but probably didn't know the name of that place until now. It was about 11.1 miles to get out there in exactly 1:30. I was feeling okay, but didn't know how much longer the run back would take me.

I didn't have any problems with anything. I was mentally there for the run. I got a sufficient amount of rest. Pretty crazy, but for the hardest run besides the marathon, I think I was in the best place I could be mentally, better than any of the other long runs I had ever done. So that felt pretty nice. I didn't forget this time to put on Body Glide on my armpits and nipples. On that 19-miler two weeks ago, I had totally forgotten to do that. The result? Chafed and bloodied right nipple. Poor little guy.

What's kind of strange is the bursts of energy that seemingly come out of nowhere. From mile 13-17 I was feeling great. I felt like my pace was strong, and I felt like I had all the energy I would need to finish the run strong. That happened at a couple of different points. From about 18 on, I was kind of dragging.

The hard part with this route is that the two toughest hills are on the way back. Going from University Ave. up to the temple is actually pretty steep, even if you're not going up and around the temple. And then finishing at my house is hard. It's on an even level with the top of the temple.

I got passed up by a couple of people on my run this time around, but that happened after only mile 18. I had never been passed up on my runs by anyone, so that was a little disheartening, but at the same time...I had already run 18 miles!

On the last hill coming up to my place, another guy had passed me. That last hill was really killing me. About halfway I couldn't stand listening to my music anymore. I had never hated it more. So I pulled out my earphones, and shut off my shuffle, but the climb up the hill felt so long, and each step felt so arduous. I ended up counting my steps just to occupy my mind until I reached the peak. 160 exactly from whereever it was that I started counting.

I finished it all. I was a little surprised at how far I had gone when I had mapped it out. I was even more surprised by the time of the run. I ran the whole 22.2 miles in 3:05, meaning the second half only took my 5 more minutes than the first half. Again, I have no idea how my pacing can be so consistent because I don't do anything to keep monitor it.

With about 2 miles to go I could start to feel the beginnings of cramps in my calves. The annoying part was that I was actually really attentive to making sure I was loaded up with all my nutrients. I had multiple multivitamins, plenty of calcium, and had a couple of bananas. I was reading elsewhere that sodium depletion can be a problem too. I think that might have been the case because I could actually see grains of salt all over my skin.

I was able to finish fine, but my calves seized up worse than they ever had. I tried to do my normal post-run walk around the block, but couldn't make it more than a couple hundred feet before I had to lay on my back and pull my knees up. I sat in that position for about 30 minutes on the grass on the side of the street. I couldn't stand, much less walk at that point. I had never hurt that much following a run.

All in all, I'm feeling really pumped about everything. The pace on that long run is about 8:20 miles, which I think is better than I had ever done for any of the long runs, at least the ones 15+ miles. If I can maintain that pace, that puts me at about 3:40 for the full marathon. Again, I need to not get ahead of myself and worry too much about time. Just completing is the goal for now (although if I'm being honest...I'll probably be at least a little disappointed if I don't finish under 4 hours).

So...now the best part besides actually being done with the marathon - the taper. I ran 8 last night. I'm gonna run 4 tonight. I missed a run earlier this week. I've had a muscle in my quad that has been experiencing a ton of tightness, so I thought it might be better to take another day off. I think the problem is associated with when I hit my knee into the turf in a soccer game a couple of weeks ago. Incidentally, I had another game earlier this week. The soreness in the knee/quad isn't any consideration when I'm running, only when I'm done and stretching afterward. I think I'm going to be bump up the long run of 12 miles this week from the normal Saturday, to tomorrow, Friday, so that I can play in a soccer tournament this weekend. Woo!

But I've got my plane ticket. I've got my hotel reservation. And I'm not missing anything significant for that weekend. I'm so looking forward to Chi-town and getting to hang with Dave and Caitlin and finally get this thing over with.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008


I don't know what my problem is, but the last couple of days I'm obsessed with dance stuff. Like so obsessed. If I could just spend my days perfecting Thriller and dancing like JT and MJ, I think I would be the happiest person ever.

I just noticed this, but that last post was number 500!! Can you believe that? In a year and a half I've cleared that number. I'm ridiculous.

I just found out another friend of mine occassionally jumps onto my blog, and my reaction to hearing that is always the same - I immediately feel a small sense of embarrassment. It's funny.

Anyway...so this is how I hope to dance someday:

And I'm really surprised that this is still available online, but I guess it's been only a few days. Oh, just kidding. But you can go to the link of the dance part of Thriller through this link here.

I just found this website that provides an excellent Thriller tutorial.

Lastly, I've decided I'm going to read a Stephen King novel to get in the Halloween mood. A friend of mine suggested Salem's Lot. Anyone else have any input?

I'm going to write a real post one of these days. Be blessed!

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Brief Me Update

Things up here are alright. You know what's weird? I thought I would feel more homesick. Mostly what I've been feeling is a little stressed at times, but mostly bored. A little lonely. I can handle Utah when I know it's temporary, even if it's a kind of long temporary.

I ran into a friend on Sunday at church, and he was the first person that I've known personally, that's in my age group, that has gotten a divorce.

School is good. I'm still managing to spend a lot of money, but luckily I'll be doing some additional work collecting data for a study that I'm working on with one of my professors that should eventually turn into a publication.

The best news I think (besides the marathon stuff, I'm way excited about all of that) is that I've got my thesis committee chair lined up. And I'll actually be doing the work on sexual harrassment, which at first sounded boring to me, but after reading some of what he's published in the last couple of years it's actually really interesting. And it relates great with some of the stuff that happened at work over the last year or so. Yes, including when the African dude asked me out. He's developed a nI2S scale - I'm Too Sexy Scale, and part of my job over the next year or so will be submitting that for publication. I'll talk more about what I'm actually studying later, and I promise that it's actually really interesting. Hopefully I'll be able to convey it well to you.

This time last week I was really stressing about everything in this program, but somehow I got all caught up, my chair, my topic, everything lined up perfectly. My favorite part after I was done talking to Dr. Ridge this afternoon, was that I noticed on his wall that he had some framed tickets of games from the 1991 World Series, including the classic Game 7 between John Smoltz and Jack Morris. We talked about baseball for about 30 minutes. I never thought I'd have that conversation with a professor of mine, and the best part is that I'll be working really closely with him over the next several years. I'm really excited about that.

Plus! I got in contact with a professor from the Political Science department, and he does work in political psychology, and I'm meeting him tomorrow to talk about some possible research topics. So I'll be able to do this stuff in addition to my thesis/dissertation work.

I can't believe how well things line up sometimes. It really amazes me. All this stuff fell into line within the last several days, and for the last couple of weeks I wasn't sure if anything was going to line up right for me in this program. Anyway, I count myself very blessed.


Amy steered me into this article today. It appears in the LA Times of all places, and is a great op-ed on Proposition 8. Very well written, and the best part? It argues the right perspective, but it comes from a self-proclaimed liberal.

Today in my stats class for some reason my professor just started playing all these videos featuring the safety dance. I kind of loved it.

I wish the Conan O'Brien video allows for embedding, but here's the link.

And below is the actual video. This was actually about ten minutes out of my class today. It was so great.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Week 14 & 15 - Here I Come Chicago!

Here I am, and it's week 15. My last long week of running, but I need to talk about last week first.

I was pretty on last week, I'm not gonna lie. I had a 4+ miler on Monday and felt like I really attacked it. I'm surprised at how quickly I feel like I've acclimated to the environment here for running. I ran the 4 in under 31 minutes. That's about as good as I was doing at home, plus I've got hills to deal with here. It's amazing to me how aggressive my approach can feel on some of these runs. Sometimes I'm just trying to get through it, and others I feel like I'm taking that run and bending it over my knee and showing it who's boss. I'm boss, bro.

Twice I attempted to run the 10 mile, and the first time I got caught up watching some intramural soccer games while on my route. I watched for so long that I got completely cold and my muscles were rigid, so I stopped by Mike's on the way and he gave me a ride to finish it off. By that point at least I had already run 6. I did the same thing the next night, but rather than wuss out, I just picked up and started running even though I had stopped in colder evening weather for at least a half hour. Both times were pretty good, and thankfully, I didn't have any of the same bowel problems as I did the week prior.

Week 14 was a stepback week so the long run on Saturday was only 14 miles. I'm doing a terrible job these days at getting to bed at a decent time prior to these long runs. Nevertheless, I've still been able to turn in some good strong runs and have decent pacing. I have been feeling affected the last couple of weeks, however, by the lack of sleep on these runs. The last two weeks I've been running 14 and 19 miles on about 5 hours of sleep. Can't do that anymore.

Thanks again to those with suggestions for the cramping. I upped my intake of calcium with the calcium-fortified orange juice, popped even more multi-vitamins, had two bananas, and I didn't feel a thing after the run on Saturday, which is SO nice. It makes a huge difference making sure my electrolytes are up, I'm well-hydrated, and I have sufficient levels of calcium, potassium, and magnesium. It's kind of cool learning about those.

I'm not really going to get into week 15 running yet. But this week I booked my flight and today I booked my hotel reservation, so it's official. This week is the last long week of runs - 40+ miles, with a 20+ miler tomorrow. Yikes. But after tomorrow I get to taper, which I've been looking forward to for so long.

So there's only 23 more days until race day! I'm so excited to get to hang out Chi-town. I'll have to see if my boy Kanye is gonna be around that weekend.

Before You Freak Out

It has been a crazy couple of months in the financial world. A number of banks and brokerage companies have fallen or taken huge hits, the stock market has fluctuated pretty violently. But I came across this post by my favorite money guy, Larry Kudlow. I'll include some excerpts:
We can fix this. If nothing else, that’s the message I hope readers take away from this column. Of course, the “this” is the run on the world banking system. Stock markets have plunged globally, gold prices have shot up, and U.S. Treasury-bill rates have plummeted to 10 basis points, the lowest since the 1950s.

We’re witnessing a desperate flight to safety by investors. Folks are running away from financial assets and financial institutions simply because confidence has disappeared.

Well, it’s time for some perspective. The world is not coming to an end. The stock market has tumbled, but it’s still over 10,000. In late 2002 it was 7,500 and in mid-1982 it was 750. Are things really that bad?

With home prices falling, foreclosures and defaults are at the root cause of the run against all manner of mortgage-related bonds held by the banks. But as investment guru Don Luskin points out, foreclosures today are less than 3 percent. During the 1930s they were 50 percent. Or how about the unemployment rate? Today it’s 6.1 percent. Back in 1982 it was near 11 percent and for most of the 1930s it was over 20 percent.

As the oil bubble pops the underlying inflation rate is somewhere between 2 and 3 percent — quite unlike the double-digit hyperinflation of the 1970s. Home prices themselves have fallen between 10 and 20 percent, but they’re still about 50 percent higher than at the start of the decade.

And there are constructive policy measures that can help fix the market’s problems. Investor Zachary Karabell writes persuasively in the Wall Street Journal that “mark-to-market accounting in the aftermath of the Enron scandal makes no sense at all.” Many banks have taken huge losses on mortgage-backed securities and their derivatives because the SEC insists on mark-to-market. But Karabell asks: Why knock down these bond values, sometimes by as much as 100 percent, when the underlying home values embedded in the mortgages have only dropped 10 to 20 percent? And in the long run, the housing market will recover, as it always does.

The pessimists are now talking about the end of capitalism or a permanent decline of America. I don’t believe that for one moment. Specific regulatory reforms can get us out of this fix. And most of all, policymakers must maintain the low-tax, low-inflation, open-trade formula that has propelled this nation’s economy and produced so much prosperity for so long.

I say, never sell America short.

And then today Henry Paulson, Secretary of the Treasury, came out with this statement regarding government action to soften the blow of some of the most recent events. And the market has responded in kind - I think the market dropped about 800 points, only to rally in the last two days and take back what was lost earlier in the week.

The economy is going to be okay, but there are still some rough waters to navigate.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Police Beat

I sat down to eat my chicken bowl with veggies from Teriyaki Stix and I picked up the Daily Universe and read these gems:
  • Sept 11: BYU police received a phone call complaining of a band playing music too loudly at 10:30 p.m. in the Foreign Language Housing. The police arrived and the band was quiet.
  • Sept 12: A custodian reported screaming near the MCKB at 4 a.m. The screams were later discovered to have come from a female student sprayed by a sidewalk sprinkler.
  • Sept 13: Police responded to a call reporting suspicious characters at the OIT construction site on the south end of campus. Upon arrival, the suspect were discovered to be construction workers.
  • Sept 14: Concerned resident reported a suspicious male student in Helaman Halls at 1:30 a.m. The student was knocking on ground level windows of John Hall and then holding a cardboard mask up to the windows. When the police had arrived, the suspect fled.

Tell me you don't miss reading those. Very high on the unintentional comedy scale.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Difference Between Harry Potter and Star Wars

I thought this was clever, and kind of surprising (courtesy of BSPCN):

What Makes You A Fan

I got this tender comment yesterday on my sports post:

I love how you pretend to be a BYU football fan now that you're back in Provo. Faker. At least you know who won.
I was a little irked by this comment. I don't think I ever pretended to be some big time BYU football fan, but I also know that it's not like I wasn't ever interested in it, or worse, that I ever rooted against the team.

What is the criteria anyway for being a fan? Do I have to be some kind of obsessive freak who thinks that if I read my scriptures the sports programs will actually do better because it's a church school? Even if I had never ever even followed a BYU football game in my entire life, does this person somehow own a monopoly over fandom and BYU football? Am I not allowed to even begin rooting for the team because I don't own season tickets, or I won't travel long distances to go and see them play?

In any case, I have always been a fan of the team, but admittedly my dedication was never as fanatical as that of some of the other people who have attended this institution. Still, here are some points for the aforementioned skeptic of my fanhood that should go in my favor.

  1. I have lived in Provo for at least 38 months.
  2. I graduated from BYU and even have an alumni placard.
  3. I have attended at least several games in my lifetime, with one of those being at an opponents stadium.
  4. My trainer from the mission is a coach for the football team.
  5. I watch their games whenever they are televised.
  6. I read articles about the football program, even when I was no longer a student at the university.
  7. I was able to recognize and shake hands of former BYU great Todd Christensen at the Smithfield Field House one Saturday morning, also member of the 1980 world champion Oakland Raiders.
  8. I follow former BYU players in the NFL. I know where Brandon Doman, Todd Watkins, Chad Lewis, Doug Jolley, John Beck, Reno Mahe all play(ed) in the NFL, and in most of those cases, when they were drafted by those teams. Do you even know who all of those guys are?
  9. I considered doing my thesis work using coach Bronco Mendenhall as a case study illustrating transformational leadership within an organization.
  10. I have attended at least 4 firesides of the BYU head football coaches LaVell Edwards and Bronco Mendenhall.
  11. I am getting two more degrees from the university.
  12. I have donated to the BYU Annual Fund every year since my senior year as an undergraduate student.
  13. I pay tithing.
  14. I know the BYU fight song.
  15. I have hiked the Y....I'm reaching now.

You get the point. I think I'm entitled just as much as anybody else to enjoy the program and follow the team. And here's the thing...even if I didn't do any of those things, who are you to say that I'm a faker? Am I just supposed to not follow the team because I don't somehow fit your narrow definition of what it means to be a fan?

A couple of years ago I was watching a documentary on Metallica and their rise to fame. Just like most bands, they started out as some young garage band with big aspirations fighting against big odds. They had developed a local following and then when suddenly (originally, I included the phrase "all of the sudden," but then decided against it because I recently saw the Family Guy episode when Stewie was chastising people for using that phrase, as well as 'irregardless' and 'a whole 'nother') they finally started to make it big with Hit the Lights, people actually started to get upset with them. I loved Lars Ulrich's response, that went something like, "what? are we just always supposed to be some little garage band that only you love and that you keep in your pocket? don't we deserve any of the benefit of playing our music that we created?"

I guess what I picked up from watching that interview was that as a fan it's pretty lame for any of us to get upset at other people who may have not been as crazed about a particular band or team because they are finally starting to appreciate what we always have. I can understand when the person is only a casual observer and then pretends that they were with the team through thick and thin, or they jump on and off repeatedly from the bandwagon. But in my case, I don't think I qualify for either of those.

I have always been interested in the football team, but in my defense I have other teams that I follow much more closely. I only have so much sports attention to go around. And the problem of questioning my integrity as a fan is that I tend to dig deeper than most people when it comes to things that I'm interested in, so I probably know more and appreciate more about BYU football than a lot of the "true fans" do.

So suck on that. But maybe this wouldn't have come up if I didn't question your husband's masculinity.

(The song doesn't actually come on until about 5 mintues in.)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Yahoo Sports!

This was a pretty great weekend for my sports teams.
  • BYU kicked it off with that 59-0 thrashing of UCLA. The part that really highlighted the whole game was the three consecutive possessions/turnovers by UCLA that each resulted in touchdowns for BYU. The most damaging of all of those might have been on the immediate 38 yard strike following the fumble that put BYU up 21-0. From that point BYU took control of the wheel and never let go. In fact, they drove right over UCLA, then backed up over them, then drove over them again. Several times. I guess the next big test will be TCU and then Utah. I'm sort of confused as to what to do with such a successful program now. The best I had it as an undergraduate was in 2001 with Luke Staley and Brandon Doman, but they didn't even end up winning their bowl game that year. This is pretty exciting.
  • The Raiders - I got confused when I first saw the score for this one. What does it mean when the Raiders have more points than the opposing team? It so rarely occurs that I don't really know what to do with myself. In spite of Kiffin probably getting fired before the end of the season they turned in a killer performance. Darren McFadden had his coming out party and rushed for 164 yards and a touchdown. Even Michael Bush got in on the action, accounting for all of the rushing yardage on the game-clinching drive. It was freakin' awesome. I doubt there are going to be many more of these kinds of victories, but luckily we get th Chiefs again, and next time at home.
  • Angels Angels Angels - They had an awesome week. Not only did they clinch the division the earliest ever in the AL West, but Francisco Rodriguez captured the saves record for a season with his 58 save. I guess we have a new kid in the bullpen with electric stuff and he'll probably make the playoff roster. He even got the record at home. If I were there I would have made sure I was at that game. Did you chumps even think of doing that? And what's more, they swept a four game series from Seattle, and took two out of three from the reeling Yankees.
Life is pretty dang good these days. And yesterday in the NFL was crazy. The Colts-Vikings, Chargers-Broncos, and Carolina-Bears games were all televised here, and I stopped watching ALL OF THEM when I saw that the Colts were down 15-0, Broncos were up 21-0, and Panthers down 17-3. And they all came back. This is why it's imperative that you don't ever stop watching a game. You need to tough out all 60 minutes, 9 innings, or whatever. You never know what can happen.

Who's ready for TV next week? Did you guys sign up to be eligible to buy postseason tickets? I sure as hell did.

Friday, September 12, 2008

What's Ethical?

In my social psychology class yesterday we had a really interesting discussion on ethics in research. We talked about some controversial studies that have occurred throughout the years, probably the most infamous of which are the Milgram studies performed in the 1960s. I won't give a lot of background, but the link is there for your information.

In short, the studies were performed looking at how obedient people will be to authority figures, even while causing another person severe pain. The premise for the experiment coming from how people could carry out the atrocities under the Nazi regime during WWII. Even within the immediate vicinity of the person being "electrocuted," people still administered shocks that were equivalent to fatal levels of voltage.

I kind of love the experiment. Yeah, it sounds terrible, but the interesting part about our discussion yesterday was how my professor was talking about how people respond to being deceived for the purposes of research. In his years and years of experience, he had only one adverse reaction and from the sound of it, it was actually the girl's problem and not the experiment. He said that 98% of the time, following debriefing people have little more to say than, "okay, do you think you can fool my roommate too?"

In the Milgram experiment, he followed up with psychological evaluations 6 and 18 months following the experiment and nobody had any lingering effects. In fact, more than 94% responded after the experiment that they were glad to participate and contribute to scientific findings, and that they would participate again knowing full well the intent of the experiment.

My professor also shared a story about how as a grad student he went to go observe a person undergo electroconvulsive therapy to treat a severe case of depression. Prior to the treatments, the elderly woman was catatonic; she would just curl up in a ball in her bed and moan all day long. When Dr. Ridge had seen her it was following a couple of sessions and she was chatty and for the most part pretty positive just before receiving the treatment. He watched as they placed the electrodes on her skull, and her body stiffen as they passed electricity through her brain. It didn't last more than a few minutes.

Apparently the woman had undergone treatment using many different methods including medications, counseling, everything else. In these severe cases, however, they have found that treatment to be effective without really knowing why. And his observation of the woman seemed to confirm what the therapist had said.

When he returned to school and was talking to his advisor about it, the teacher asked the student if he thought it was right that they should administer that kind of treatment. Dr. Ridge had responded 'yes' because the effects were so obviously in the positive, to which his advisor replied, "maybe so, but if they had strapped her down to a chair and beat her with a whip, would it be right to do it, even if it worked?"

Sometimes we get so caught up in the end result that we don't realize that maybe the methods to arrive at that point are entirely too inhumane. It's an interesting question when you consider punishment, or larger issues like war.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Tides Have Turned

Can you all believe the momentum that the Palin VP pick has generated for the VP? Following the Democratic National Convention Obama did get a bounch of several points, but did not widen the gap between himself and Senator McCain to double digits like many had expected him to do. After the conclusion of the Republican National Convention McCain has surged to the lead in most of the national polls. The Real Clear Politics poll tracker shows McCain with a 2.2 point lead over Obama after combining the results of the most recent polls conducted since September 7th.

I've mentioned this site on here before, but Intrade is a website that gives stock-like values and odds to the likelihood of certain events occurring. 50 days ago the odds they were giving McCain to win the Presidency was at about 32, while Obama was up around 67. As of today McCain is now up on Obama 50-48.

On Hugh's website they have posted this audio clip of a woman caller denouncing Oprah for not agreeing to interview Sarah Palin. I guess for the last 8 days the only first time callers they are taking on air have been women supporters of Governor Palin, and the response so far has been unending. Check out the clip as it is only a few minutes long and quite touching.

There is a whole kind of new supporter that is emerging since the announcement of Govenor Palin as the Vice President nominee, and it really has very little to do with the Hillary supporters, although I do imagine that many of those supporters would be coming over given Obama's week of gaffes since her nomination.

There are still reservations that I have about Senator McCain becoming President of the United States of America, but he is clearly a better option given the alternative of an Obama presidency. I download Hugh Hewitt's Letter To A Young Obama Supporter the other day and it's jaw-dropping how bad an Obama presidency would be for this country. I am not exaggerating. With the addition of Governor Palin to the ticket, McCain's has my unquestioned support.

Despite whatever you might think of him, he has run an incredible campaign. I know I'm young and have only really followed maybe 2 other elections, but the success of his campaigning for this election and for the GOP nomination has to be historic in its resiliency. In the summer of 2007 everyone counted him out for the Republican nomination, and just a few months ago everyone knew that him winning the presidency would be severe uphill battle, but here he is, out in front with less than two months to go. It really is amazing.

This is unrelated, but one last item from my favorite columnist, Jay Nordlinger:
I have lots of items for you, friends — on things other than politics — but maybe we should keep this Impromptus all-political. With a few exceptions. Let’s do a little language — in the form of a news item from Britain:

Next day, Hoy [an Olympic track cyclist] meets some Scottish journalists. One puts it to him that: ‘In the last 24 hours everyone has been offering an opinion on Chris Hoy. But what does Chris Hoy think of Chris Hoy?’

Hoy doesn’t miss a beat: ‘Chris Hoy thinks that the day Chris Hoy refers to Chris Hoy in the third person is the day that Chris Hoy disappears up his own arse.’

Adored it.

Guys. I love Jay. Love him and his writing to death. I hope you read his full Impromptu's column whenever I post it. If I could choose any three people in this whole world that I could sit down and chat with over lunch, he would be one of them. And I'll close this post with a typical sign-off that he uses in his own column - Thanks for joining me, dearhearts, and I’ll see you soon! (Go Sarah!)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Week 12 & 13

So...coming up to Utah has totally distracted me from blogging about my running. It also almost destroyed entirely my motivation to continue training. Seriously.

I have been running the last couple of weeks, and I was starting to get on a dangerous trend of missing runs. Up until I came up here, I hadn't missed any of the longs runs at least. The week I left I did end up doing all the midweek runs, and I drove up here on Saturday, August 30th. I thought that I might be able to get in my place by a decent hour (which I was thinking about be anything before 10pm), but then my property manager never got back to me about keys and I got in closer to 11pm, so I decided to scrap it. I even considered doing it on Sunday, but then felt like I should probably restrain myself a bit more.

It was a good thing I didn't try and run 13 miles that day, even if it was a drop back week. When I finally did get back to running on Tuesday of last week, I seriously thought I was going to die. I was sucking air voraciously, and the weather was just so dry, which led to some serious cotton-mouth. I only ran 4 miles, and I think my pace was still respectable, but I also live up against the mountain. The beginning of all my runs start on an incline and they all end on an incline. It was really hard, and really discouraging all at the same time. I played soccer that night, which turned out to be much more fun than I had expected, and I felt okay after the night was over.

I missed my semi-long run Wednesday. Oi. Not to worry though because I did make it up on Thursday. I ran ten from my place by the Provo cemetary, up 9th east, around the temple, back down past the stadium and kind of weaved my way back home. What I noticed the most was that the beginning of all the runs were by far the hardest parts of all the new elevation excursions. After about mile 3-4, I settled into a groove and didn't have much problem.

The worst part about the semi-long run was the fact that I had major bowel problems. At first I thought I was just having a hard time with the climb up and around the temple. When I got to the top, I actually stopped. I never do that. Maybe I'll slow to a walk, but I never even do that for more than a minute or two, even on the long runs. When I began my descent, that's when I noticed it.

I had to have a bowel movement. This baby was coming and I think I was dilated about 10 cm. I was battling with a couple of things when I realized what I was feeling, A) I felt like I had to finish this run no matter what because I had already missed last week's long run, B) I had already pushed this one all the way back to Thursday as it was so I was already cutting it close, C) I've been cutting out too much mileage overall the last 2-3 weeks so I thought this would seriously hurt my training efforts, and D) I was going to poop my pants. There was just no way around that one.

So I started to think of my options as I ran in between the persistaltic waves of agony. My place was easily the farthest of anyone's that I knew. I could run straight to Mike's and unload there - but it was too far. I would have never made it. Run straight onto campus and find the nearest open building with an available bathroom - still too far. I know. Not even a half mile at the most, but I just wasn't going to be able to make it. Go to some stranger's house and beg for entry - which probably would have worked since I'm in Provo and people here are so darned nice, but I was too embarrassed to beseech someone the use of their bathroom room facilities to take a crap when I've also got about 4.5 miles of sweat caked on me. Final option - run down the hill and silently pray that there would be an open chapel, or some public restroom that I might be able to find. Also complicating things, it was already about 7pm when this was going on, so some places were already closing up shop. I even considered running to the MTC, but decided against.

As I was running in some of the most intensely painful strides I had ever made down any street in my entire life, I had the most fervent and desperate prayer in my heart. Hallelujah! I found a chapel!

It was darkened and all locked up. Now the waves were coming with more force and greater frequency. I wasn't going to make it. At this point I was just absolutely sure that I was going to poo my pants. I even resigned myself to this inevitability, thinking that I, too, like Greg would also be able to claim that I had pooped my pants as an adult while living in the United States (because for foreign serving missionaries, this is not all that uncommon).

And then that's when I finally saw it. A porta-potty (porto?) in the parking lot across the street from the stadium where the Olympic torch ended up the night it settled into Provo in 2002.

Brothers and Sisters...I know that God answers prayers. Seriously. It may sound like I'm blaspheming, but in my most serious tone I can testify to you that that porta-potty had no business being in that parking lot. There was no nearby construction. There was a small building that stood nearby, but everything appeared completely vacant. For quite some time, too.

In events that were set in motion probably months, maybe even year(s) ago, that porta-potty was placed there in anticipation to the most tormented and silent of cries I have ever uttered. If it had been placed even 50 feet farther from the spot that it had been divinely placed, it wouldn't have been near enough to answer my desperate pleading. I kid you not. I was going to die. Or be a terrible, smelly mess. Once I got that out of the way, my pace was great!

I ran another short run the next day, so I was right back on track. The problem would come Friday night.

I had a lot of trouble figuring out a suitable path that would allow me to cover the needed distance (19 miles), but also not be too hilly. That's been another big challenge with running in Provo. If the dry climate and higher elevation weren't hard enough, everything is either up or down a hill. Down not so bad, but the up part can be killer.

When it got to be late Friday night, I finally settled on just running from my place up 9th east, in front of the temple to University, down University to the Canyon and back. That course would run 9.5 miles, putting me at just the mileage for the day and week.

Marathon training really is all about overcoming your mental hurdles. That's all it is. If overweight, old people can figure out how to run 26.2 miles in one attempt, then anyone can do it. Late Friday night I had created for myself a serious mental hurdle.

The difficulty with all the Utah runs is that I never really felt strong in any of them. I haven't had trouble with my breathing during any of the runs at any point in my training. I think my cardio-fitness has always been outstanding, but here it felt like I was starting from scratch. Not getting enough oxygen is kind of a big deal and I was feeling really sluggish in every run this past week. I was very discouraged, and questioned a lot whether I would be able to complete all of the training necessary to be able to run strong in Chicago. I had psyched myself out so much that I couldn't even fall asleep until about 330am.

I read until I got tired, turned off my alarm, and just told myself that I would run exactly one hour the time I got up, no matter how early or late it was, and I would finish the run even if I had to walk the whole thing.

I got up at 8:48am. I went and hid my gatorades at mile 6, since it would be up and back it was easiest to just leave them in one spot. True to my word, I was out an hour later.

Despite getting just over 5 hours of sleep, I was feeling pretty good. I had fueled pretty well the night before - lots of carbs, lots of liquids. With the later than hoped for departure time, I thought that the temperature would be more of a factor. Turns out that it couldn't have felt more perfect. It was still going to get into the mid-upper 80's here, but it seems to get warmer later in the day because the sun has to rise over the mountains. In a lot of areas the temperate was brisk, which I absolutely loved. A lot of the run was on a pretty soft asphalt trail along University Avenue. The best part by far was when I got to run in the Canyon. The sheer rock faces are breath-taking, and it's so green everywhere, not to mention that the temperature was very cool, especially in the shade. I had totally forgotten how much of a difference that makes in these runs.

Unlike other runs, I was kind of monitoring my time throughout. I don't know how it happens, but I do a really good job of keeping an even pace. The first half was 1:20, and then second was the same exactly. The second probably would have been faster if it were all flat, but ending on the incline almost destroyed me. I think the last mile or so ended up being almost 15 minutes.

So...I ran about 18.8 miles in 2:40, putting me at a 7.05 mph pace, just slightly slower than an 8:30 minute/mile pace. I'm not gonna lie. I felt like a total stud when I finished on Saturday. My pace was really strong, I survived all the Utah elements, and I had run my full mileage for the week. Now it's another drop back week to 14 miles on Saturday. Then the following week is my final long mileage week (20 miles, but I might shoot for 21-22), and then I taper until the race. I'm buying my plane tickets tonight.

Again, marathons are all mental. I went from feeling like I couldn't do it to overflowing with confidence. At the pace that I was running on Saturday, it's not unrealistic to think that I could finish under 3:45 for my first marathon. I need to not get ahead of myself though. Just finishing it will be great. I don't want to be disappointed with my effort if I don't get under a certain time. Still...finishing anything under 3:45 for a first marathon would be pretty badass. We'll see.

A couple of final notes...the last couple of weeks I had been complaining about some intense cramping following my long runs. I consulted with my buddy Dr. Nick, and he thought that maybe I was suffering from an electrolyte imbalance, so he suggested upping the level of potassium, calcium, and magnesium in my system prior to my long runs. So I ate a banana before and after the run, and also took an additional multi-vitamin that contains a good amount of magnesium before running as well. Blog friend Ann had suggested drinking chocolate milk as this has also been known to offset some of the cramping. I didn't drink chocolate milk, but had some extra milk before and after the run.

This got me wondering if the base level in milk helps to off-set the level of lactic acids that build up over such a long run. Well...thanks to all of your suggestions something worked and although I felt a little tightness, it was much more tolerable than previous weeks had been. I think I've been really blessed to have not really had any major setbacks due to injury or anything else during my training. I haven't lost any toenails, no muscle strains or pulls. I've had some minor obstacles here and there, but again, most of the hurdles are mental in preparing for a marathon. And it's not a sprint, it's a marathon. Not just the race, but the entire marathon experience. Staying on a consistent schedule for 18 weeks is really hard. I'm a little disappointed that I've missed 4 days of running, but at the same time it's like....I've only missed 4 days of running in the previous 13 weeks! That's incredible. And in all that time I never missed a week of soccer, and I hardly ever said no to any social events or fun stuff. Hell...I even hiked around Wild Rivers all day not even 2 hours I had just finished running 18 miles. So while there are some things that I know I can improve upon, I'm still really pleased with my effort. And really that has to be one of the most gratifying parts about this whole experience.

I cannot wait for the next two weeks to be done with because after next Saturday (September 20th), I begin to taper until race day. Then I'll be able to take a break. It's kind of awesome feeling like I'm in the best shape of my life. And I haven't been this low on weight since high school, and I'm even stronger than I was then. I already know this won't be my last marathon.

To Clarify

This is for Matt. They cover-up the box spring. I won't go so far as to have throw pillows. I just think it looks lame to have the box spring exposed and whatever you're hiding underneath your bed.

chintz-y, adj.
1. Of, relating to, or decorated with chintz.
2. a. Gaudy; trashy: chintzy merchandise.b. Stingy; miserly.

And I read this limerick on Jay Nordlinger's most recent Impromptu's. I actually laughed out loud when I finished it:

There once was a poet named Todd
Whose meter was seriously flawed.
His limericks would tend
To come to an end

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Just Some Things I Noticed

This is what's weird about Utah:
  1. People sit in the back of pick-up trucks and no one thinks there's anything weird about it.
  2. Everyone is white.
  3. So many kids. Kids kids and then young adult kids. I actually like that part.
  4. People park on the opposite side of the street all the time. I don't know why it bothers me so much, but it just does.
  5. Grocery stores are so busy on Saturday nights and,
  6. You are only really allowed to go shopping if your significant other is accompanying you.
  7. The hyper-intense marriage/dating culture among a high concentration of mormons. Even program directors make hints about getting the need to get married.
  8. No helmet laws. Isn't that just the worst idea in the world? There are tons of people with scooters everywhere and no one rides with a helmet, even when they're doubled up. No guys ever wear any of the protective gear here on bikes. I've seen a lot of guys in just t-shirt and shorts. So weird.
  9. Everyone is on their cell phones while driving. I didn't realize how effective (and useful) the recently enacted laws in California were until I got up here and pretty much if a person is driving, that person is also talking on his/her phone.
  10. Yogurt places everywhere. Them mormons sure do love their frozen treats. These are the ones I can think of off the top of my head - Red Mango, Yoasis, Happy Yogurt, Spoon Me, Hogi Yogi....and I know there are at least a couple more. That's yogurt only. There's also custard here and ice cream, of course.

Here are some more gay things about me:

  1. I have a candle in my room. So sue me...I like nice smells.
  2. I was talking with Amy about where I should shop for some bedsheets and she had suggested TJ Maxx, to which I responded that they didn't really have anything. Then I clarified by saying that they didn't have anything that matched the comforter that I had purchased.
  3. I got a new bed on Friday (woo!) and it's just sitting on one of those universal metal frames, but now I feel inclined to get a bedskirt. 2 things about that, 1) I know what a bedskirt is, and 2) I feel like my bed needs it, because I think it looks chintzy without it.
  4. That I correctly used the word "chintzy."

Friday, September 5, 2008

David Blaine!

This is the funniest video I've seen in a long time:

Cheezits! Cheezits!

Role Models

First, this movie looks hilarious to me. Second, I love Paul Rudd and Elizabeth Banks. Elizabeth is one of my top 3. Just love her, and I think Paul Rudd does some of my favorite kind of comedy. I saw him on Letterman once and I mostly just felt like he was one of those famous guys that I would really like to hang out with.

My problem is I don't know if I'll have anyone to go see it with me. I could always count on Dave or even Aaron before, but I have been pretty dang bored this week, and I don't know if the people up here would even want to see the movie. Last night, I went to bed before midnight, even though I have absolutely nothing to do today, just because I was bored.

I'm not gonna lie, it's kind of lonely being in an apartment without your friends to hang out with you. I'm supposed to have two other roommates, but one of the rooms is vacant, and my drinking buddy pretty much just goes in his room and closes the door whenever he's home. This is my life right now - go to school and stay on campus for the morning and most of the afternoon, run some errands (i.e. buy stuff), and then come home and read crap. I think I've actually been somewhat lucky this week because Kira is good about making time for me, I was able to play soccer (which was actually pretty fun, and there was a pretty cute girl there), and I'm getting the motivation to run again. More on the running later. Anyway, it's been pretty boring so far.

Anyone wanna come up and watch that movie with me in November? Please?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

GOP Looking Strong

I watched most of Giuliani's speech live and was really impressed with him. He really does have great timing and delivery with his lines. His commentary on Obama was postively biting. I'm sure some people must have been somewhat fearful that he would upstage Sarah Palin's acceptance speech tonight, but she more than adequately did her speech.

I read a bunch of commentary from all over the web and the reaction to her speech is overwhelmingly positive. How can you not love this woman? Watching her speech, you really do get a sense that this is not someone so far removed from their own interests. She is warm, funny, and lives according to everything that she endorses. She does not pander. She's perfectly genuine. I'll bet that many Americans wish that the GOP were flipped, especially after seeing the performance from her tonight.

She took a lot of shots at Obama and to some it might have felt like too much, but the thing to keep in mind is that it's all true. None of it is contrived, and he has certainly given the GOP a lot of ammunition to fire away at him. She's a great orator, and she's beautiful. She's probably the best thing to happen to the Republican party in years.

Anyway, if you didn't catch her speech, here it is:

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Back To School

Okay, so last night I was totally dreading today. I really didn't know how I'd feel about my class(es), the program, or if I was going to like the people I was going to meet. I didn't end up going to bed until about 1:30am, even though I had an 8:00am class just because I didn't want to capitulate. I don't really know what I was thinking, but I just know that I didn't feel like going today. Mostly, I just had no idea what was in store for me.

So class started and as was the case with the last program I was in, most of the first year grad students have the same classes before everyone starts specializing. I guess that's true of any graduate program. My professor for the first class also happened to be the department chair so she opened up some class time to talk about the graduate psychology program in general, as well as let us ask her a bunch of questions about whatever it was that we had on our minds. I just loved how straightforward she was about everything, and BYU is really emphasizing getting students out in 4 years, and making sure everyone starts moving on their thesis work.

The class part won't be hard at all, but the thesis/dissertation work will be a huge pain. I guess that's my bar equivalent for law school. And it sounds pretty intimidating. This semester I have to come up with a research proposal for what I will study for basically the next two years, and then pick a committee of 5 faculty members, and do a defense for why this is a good research topic. Then I have to put together a research project, gather results, and then write it up. Just my prospectus (proposal) alone is going to be about 40 pages. Awesome! Good thing I love writing! Unfortunately, that kind of writing is totally different.

My professor had trained originally to be a nurse, and then years later she went back for her PhD in psychology emphasizing in neuroscience. I think one of the most interesting questions that you can ever ask someone is 'why?'. I don't know how to punctuate that better. It turns out that she had a son, who, as a child had the garage door close on his head and he suffered some brain damage due to a lack of oxygen to the brain. Apparently now he's a fully functioning adult with his own family, but that caused her to seek answers and she was a driven enough person to pursue that interest to a really intense level. She's a really cool lady.

I met another girl that is in my specific emphasis and she was telling me that she was interested in learning more about sexual addictions and the like. I wanted to ask her the why question, but then felt like their might be a possibility that the answer might border on deeply personal. Sad how that can happen.

I love BYU. My department seems very determined to turn out quality graduate students, and from what the professor had mentioned, the school also has a proven track record of helping students get to wherever it is that they want to go if that's academia or the private sector. There are so many really dynamic people here, and I really enjoyed having the whole morning to meet other people, to relate with them on shared concerns that we have, and just to have another opportunity to get back on a career path that I'm really interested in. It's awesome. I'm so grateful for the opportunity.

It's only one day down of at least four more years, but I'm feeling pretty good so far. I've been able to meet a lot of cool people today alone. I even joined the graduate student committee, but who knows what that really means. We'll see I guess.