Wednesday, March 31, 2010

In No Particular Order

It's no secret that this blog has been neglected recently. I've been pretty busy these days. School is picking up over these last few weeks (sort of) of the semester so that's been a little hectic, but even outside of school, I've had a lot going on. I feel like I've been saying that for a little while now, thinking that things will slow down, but they just haven't. At all. Just last week I went to a friend's birthday dinner, saw a production of Shakespeare's As You Like It, went to a Grizzlies game, and then the Festival of Colors, on top of the regular things I have going on - FHE, bowling, etc. This week I have a concert in Park City on Thursday, snowboarding Friday, General Conference all weekend, and then going to see Muse(!!!) on Monday. In the midst of conference weekend I want to squeeze in an 8 mile run, the driving range (weather permitting), post-priesthood social at my bishop's, maybe a hip hop dance performance Saturday night, dinner up in Kayesville on Sunday, and rush back for another birthday party that same night.

Last night I was going over my calendar and my next five weekends are all pretty much planned out, with the exception of the Saturday the 17th. I'll be heading home that first weekend in May (1st and 2nd-ish), so Reids, if you're planning on Mason's or Dave's birthday party for a weekend, I suggest it be that Saturday the 1st. It looks like I won't even be able to run the Thanksgiving Point Half Marathon on the 24th because I'll probably be camping that weekend, not that I'm complaining.

I guess I feel like I owe it to you to give you some kind of explanation about my whereabouts. There have been plenty of blog posts a brewing, but I'm short on time these days. This is what's on the docket - posts about the stuff I've been doing, more health care, some thoughts on dating, social costs of pornography, baseball opening day, and whatever else I fancy.

Since I started this blog almost 3 (really, that long?) years ago, I have tried to avoid talking about my dating life in the present tense or at least I've worked towards that end. I think that practice will largely continue, but that aspect of my life, more than anything else, is probably the root of my time deficiency. And I really kind of love it.

This has been my theme song since I heard a cover of it a couple of weeks ago, but I still prefer the original. Plus, how awesome are the suits these guys are wearing?

That is all for now.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sorry, Blogging

I suck at it this past month. And the weird thing is, I don't really even care. Here's to a cop-out Impromptus style post:
  • March Madness - I created seven brackets, and not one of them has a single Final Four participant. A lot of people could have picked Duke, but they've been piss-poor the last several years and I didn't expect them to get past the Sweet 16. As for the the other guys, two 5 seeds and then West Virginia as a #2? You kidding me? I wonder if there is one person on the entire planet who picked that Final Four.
  • UPDATE: I had a really mean comment here, and even if I think it's true, it's not something that I should be expressing aloud. I'm still working on not thinking it about this person, also. If you knew who I was talking about, you'd agree that she's just a huge you were...
  • Which reminds me, last week we were talking in one of my classes about how anonymity removes all need for normal social conventions, the internet being the prime example. The next day a friend of mine was telling me about a blog-post that she wanted to comment on because it really bothered her, and she was going to post as Anon, but decided against it. The end result was a much more positive outcome than would have been otherwise. So the lesson is this - standing by your opinions requires you to say things that are defensible, and that in turn requires you to be reasonable. It encourages decency, which unfortunately, is too often short-changed.

    The ironic part of this comment is that in the bullet point just previous, I was totally indecent to that girl because I know she'd never see this post, or even be able to identify herself as the culprit, but it's precisely because of that that I'm able to say something so harsh that I'd never say to her face. This just further illustrates my point - anonymity removes accountability, and no accountability allows you to say/do idiotic (or really mean) things. And again, if you knew who I was referring to then you'd agree with me.
I'll put up a real post soon enough. I have plenty of great insights the world (you) is dying to know about, and lots of great things to report on from my own life. But today I have to read Lord of the Flies and then write a paper connecting it to principles from my Org Theory class. Gag.

See y'all later!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Implications of the Health Care Reform

You know what's funny? For some people, I've become someone that they ask for my opinion about health care. Between last night and this morning several people asked me what I thought about the health care reform passage. I was checked out over the weekend as far as keeping up on everything that was happening in current events so I didn't have any firm ideas or thoughts about what all transpired. (That is, except for Kansas losing to UNI. Seriously? I had them in the Final Four in all seven of my brackets, and I think I had them winning in like five of them. I was so sure of them having a great tournament. The funny part was thinking about my old roommate and how that loss probably ruined his weekend, and the rest of the tournament. Although, knowing him, he's probably now rooting for Not-Kentucky. He really hates those guys. Consequently, I do too, and I share his disappointment about his team, but I digress.)

Fortunately for you guys, class got canceled this afternoon so I went on a crash course of reading various opinions about the legislation. This is what I've learned:
  • So the current reform is mostly absurd. My friend, Dr. Nick, I think put the whole debate in really simple terms: Health care comes down to a triangle of three things - quality of care, quantity (coverage of the population), and cost. Changing any one of those variables has a dramatic effect on the other two. Democrats have been pushing the notion that you can improve coverage of health care without drastically driving up costs while also maintaining the same quality of care. Obama keeps touting the Congressional Budget Office's projections of few increases in costs of additional coverage, but the biggest flaw in those projections is that expenses for Medicare (or is it Medicaid?) will remain stable over the next decade, but that has not been the case in all of its years in existence. Plus, they purposefully pushed back some of the biggest expenses of the coverage several years so as to limit the budget projections. Sneaky...
  • This sort of health care reform will most likely cause the economy to continue to languish and stay mostly stagnant over the next several years. Overhauling the health care system in this sense will force the government to cut expenditures in other areas, and where this mostly takes place is in national defense costs. For Democrats, this is not a big deal because they don't perceive that there is a real threat by other nations. In other countries where they've resorted to similar universal health care packages, this has been the case, and it will most likely be the same here. There will be other far-reaching effects that we can't even really fathom just because nobody really understands the breadth of such far-ranging legislation.
  • As far as costs for health care, a lot of the tab will be picked up by the highest income earners. The biggest problem with that is that they are the ones who create the most jobs. Deincentivizing industry is a great cause behind economic stagnation. Eventually those costs will be passed on to the middle class, but the effects of that may not be felt for several years.
  • Costs to consumers. The reform does not allow for pre-existing conditions to be a restriction for providing coverage, meaning everyone else has to absorb those costs, which is kind of crazy. What if car insurance were done this way? That means that overall rates would rise for everyone and good drivers would have to insure bad ones. That means your clean driving history will be expensed because someone else is reckless in their driving, speeding, getting into accidents, DUIs, etc. The idea is well-intended, but will have far-reaching consequences for everyone else that has bothered to take care of themselves. The comparison is not perfectly applicable, but is a good approximation.
  • Costs for enrollment are pretty high and depend upon your income level. Not enrolling results in a penalty that will be assessed by the federal government. However, those penalties are not enough to deter people from not enrolling, so costs will escalate as people will pay the penalty, but enroll as soon as they do have any kind of real expenses. The problem here is that it will cause a glut of people to not contribute money to the health care system, and further exacerbate the problem of funding the reform. I didn't explain that in very clear terms, but I don't want to elaborate further.
  • Opinion polls favors those opposed to the reform. Obama is less popular in his second year as President than even Jimmy Carter and GWB. Opposition to the bill has remained steady at more than 55%.
  • The legislation cleared the House by a total of four or five votes. What is encouraging is that not a single Republican was in favor of the legislation, and about 34 Demcratic representatives also voted against it. No bill of this magnitude has ever passed with so little bipartisan support. This is significant because the tide that swept Democrats into office in 2006 and 2008 will most likely sweep them right back out of office in the 2010 and 2012 elections. Obama may have sacrificed his opportunity to win reelection, although running against the incumbent is always a daunting task.
  • If there is any hope to repeal the damage done by the reform, it will require majorities in both the House and Senate, and probably a Republican president, meaning that nothing will really change until 2012 at the earliest. Change meaning repeal. This is a little scary, but not insurmountable. Additionally, it may also require super majorities in both Houses, and even then, legislation is usually worked well enough that there is built in insulation to protect against that sort of thing.
  • Paul Ryan (R) of Wisconsin has begun to emerge as a leader within the Republican party. The guy is an articulate, red-blooded conservative, and will be an all-star within the party. All of the developments with this health care legislation has put him at the forefront of the party because of how doggedly he fought against it, but in a manner that was both completely intelligent and passionate. We will be hearing more from this guy in the future.
  • What I think is really interesting and has received little attention, is how this kind of legislation not only changes how business is done, but also changes the minds and attitudes of people residing within the system. I have to develop my thoughts further on this, but this could potentially be one of the worst consequences of this kind of thing.
Here is some reading if you're interested: 20 ways Obamacare will take away freedoms; a bleak perspective from Victor Davis Hanson here; 5 reasons not to despair by Rich Lowry; Obamacare is not inevitable; Paul Ryan is not ready to give up.

But you know what? Things will work out. Maybe I have an annoyingly cheery temperament these days, but doomsday still has yet to arrive. There are a lot of factors favoring anyone opposed to the reform, and things will balance out somehow. We emerged from the Great Depression in spite of FDR's reforms, we'll somehow emerge from this. But do stay current. It does matter that we stay up to date on what's going on, and having an idea of what things we are in favor of, and opposed to.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Celebrating Terrorism

I know that most of you who come around here don't really care for the political stuff so my content of that ilk has largely moved away from that sort of thing, but sometimes there are things worth knowing about, right? I was reading Jay's Impromptu's column from yesterday and thought these tidbits were quite eye-opening:
We all know that the Palestinian territories -- or whatever expression you prefer -- are divided in two: The extremists, Hamas, control the Gaza Strip; the moderates, Fatah, control the West Bank. But what do you say to moderates’ naming a square in a town outside Ramallah after a terrorist? A mass-murdering terrorist?

They have just named the square for Dalal Mughrabi, a woman who led a team committing atrocities in 1978. Their atrocities are summed up in the name “Coastal Road Massacre.” I will quote from a column about this matter:

On a Saturday in March 1978, the squad of Palestinian terrorists led by Mughrabi entered Israel by boat from Lebanon and made their way to the main road between Haifa and Tel Aviv. . . . By day’s end, they had murdered 38 innocent men, women and children.

The first person Mughrabi and her gang of terrorists encountered was Gale Rubin, an American photojournalist taking photos of birds near the beach. They killed her and continued on their deadly path.

They then hijacked a bus full of happy families returning from a Saturday excursion. On their way to Tel Aviv, the terrorists shot at passing cars and killed more innocent people.

The terrorists tied all the men’s hands to the bus seats. When Israeli security forces stopped the bus, the terrorists ran out while throwing hand grenades into the bus, setting it on fire. The men inside were burned alive.

And so on. If you can bear to read this column in full, go here. And can you bear this? It was written by three Israelis whose children were killed by a terrorist in 2003.

Question: How can you make peace with people who celebrate those who kill you? How? I am very patient with the Israelis: They are in a difficult position, to put it as mildly as possible.

I think of the Sbarro attack in 2001. Do you remember that one? A terrorist blew up a Sbarro’s restaurant in Jerusalem, killing 15. Okay, you say: Every society has its extremists, its murderers. But what do you do with this? At An-Najah University in Nablus, they created an exhibition celebrating this massacre. It was a diorama of sorts -- a mock-up -- showing the restaurant. The walls were drenched in blood, and body parts were strewn all over, along with pizza slices. Palestinian students -- the best and brightest in that society -- filed by reverently. It was like a religious rite.

How do you make peace with such people? Maybe you do. But can you grant it is hard?
I thought this was especially interesting in light of what the Obama administration has been doing recently to try and coerce a peace accord in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Maybe you have or haven't heard about it, but VP Joe Biden and SoS Hilary Clinton have been trying to force concessions on the part of the Israelis and in the process it feels like they are villifying our one clear ally in the Middle East. It's shameful.

And why are they doing it? Because how can you try and speak reasonably to a society that celebrates mass murder? You're left with no other option but to go to the other side and ask them to abdicate because the ones who should be acquiescing simply won't. Instead they do things like name a parks after Timothy McVeigh and build dioramas of the Columbine school massacre. When you put it in those terms it sounds absolutely insane, doesn't it?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

March Madness Cometh

I just spent the last 40 minutes filling out seven brackets. Stupid, right? I don't know why, but I hate filling these things out, even though I'll spend so much time reading and researching for other fantasy sports teams. But I always end up succumbing because I freakin' love racking up the points. One of these days I'm going to insist that we do a pool and winner gets all the cash. It's already fun as it is, but how much better would it be if you could win $50? Yeah, yeah, yeah, gambling...but seriously...who's interested?

It's so ridiculous that I would spend all this time on it. I think it also has to do with the fact that I have nine items currently on my list of things to do today, and I am strongly opposed to two of them in particular, and those two are the most important ones.

One of my old roommates was a huge Kansas fan, so I think I'm going to be sticking with the Jayhawk faithful. Plus, they're wicked good. Aldredge and Collins are pretty dang awesome. I'm surprised I picked BYU to win their opening match in nearly all of my brackets.

Don't disappoint me, Cougars.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Flowers In Her Hair, Flowers Everywhere

It's finally coming around. Daylight savings has lengthened the day. Temperatures are starting to creep up. I'm starting to go with my summer footware of choice - sandals - every day. There are some trees along Slate Canyon by my place that are about to blossom and are really fragrant, and I'm excited to start running by those again. My runs are more consistently outside now, rather than on the treadmill.

You know what's funny also? So many of my friends are starting to date and get involved in relationships. And come to think of it, it was about this time last year when things started to develop for me in that respect also. Wait a second...come to think of it...the most fruitful time of dating for me throughout all my life was always March. Weird....

Anyway, I'm excited. I'm excited for hikes, barbeques, camping, running, sun, for my complexion to finally darken, shorts, t-shirts, and barefeet. March madness is upon us. Opening day for Major League Baseball is less than a month away. These are happy times, people!

You know what else I started thinking about the other day? The 4th of July...summer Christmas. The t-shirt design portion of the year is upon us. Freedom Dawgs. That's right.

This video is hilarious. And that dude has one crazy gap tooth smile.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Human Nature

A few years ago some random guys helped out a girl I was dating when she was moving some stuff into her place from her car. (I wasn't there. Where was I? Not being a good boyfriend, I guess. I don't remember...) I asked her if she thought I would do that type of thing for a stranger. They didn't seem to have an ulterior motive because they didn't really try and get to know her, or get her number or anything - they were just being really nice. Then, as delicately and nicely as she could, she told me that she didn't think that I was the type to yell out from across the street and just help out a random person. That bothered me.

Since that time I have tried to be more conscious of those kinds of things, help out where I can, even with people I don't know. I've still got a lot of work to do in that regard, but I think I'm better than I was.

It's kind of interesting to me the idea of reactance - where you tell a person to do one thing, and then they do something different or even the complete opposite thing just because he/she is reacting against your declaration. This shows up in a lot of ways, and for me, it popped up in a big way earlier this week when I was bowling.

If there is anything I just can't tolerate, it's people being bad sports. I hate sore losers, and sore winners are just as bad, if not worse. We were about 40 pins ahead of the team we were playing against and for them to win their last guy had to hit four strikes in a row. The guy hit three (and it might have even started before then) when one of our guys started yelling out for him to get a gutterball. It just boiled my blood. I looked straight at him with daggers in my eyes and told him, "that's not cool, man, you don't do that." I think I'm too competitive to want to beat someone when he's not playing at his best. When I win, I don't want that other person to have any excuse as to why I beat him. I also kept thinking that if my kids ever ended up being poor sports that I would beat them mercilessly. That is just such low class behavior. I can't stand it.

(The guy hit the fourth strike. It was actually quite the spectacle. I was very impressed.)

It's funny how there are those little incidents that occur that just make me want to do anything but be the person that I'm reacting against. I don't want to be the person who just stands by and does nothing while watching someone in need. I don't want to be the person who is so low class that he would try and win by being a moron to the people whom I'm playing against. Sometimes those kinds of things really just make you sit up and take notice.

Never be uncaring about people. Never be a poor sport. Still working on both, but at least I have some direction about how I'd like to handle things.

This is just for your listening pleasure. I'd love to see John Mayer live. The guy is so talented.

Have a great weekend, dearhearts!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

F(physical proximity)=emotional closeness

Basic attachment theory suggests three basic styles of attachment - secure, avoidant, and anxious-ambivalent. Secure is the healthiest and I think pretty apparent; avoidant is characterized by distance from others and a cynical view of others as untrustworthy and undependable; anxious-ambivalent is characterized by a strong desire to be close to others, combined with a fear that others will not respond to this desire.

When people find out that I'm a psychology graduate student they always have the same reaction - so are you analyzing me right now? What am I thinking? Other crap like that. What am I supposed to say to that? So are you saying that when you meet someone you aren't automatically formulating your own opinion of that person also? Doesn't everyone do that to some extent? That's my typical thought process when that comes up. But then there are other times when I'm learning about something in one of my classes and my focus will be directed on certain topics, and then yes, I am, in fact, analyzing you the through the lens of a particular theory.

I have been thinking about this idea for the last few weeks to varying degrees - closeness to people. I was talking to a friend of mine the other day who is in the Marriage and Family Therapy program, and she mentioned how one of the first things that she looks for as a therapist when working with couples is just how close they sit next to one another when they come in for counseling. Even before talking with this friend, I had been noticing it a lot with all of the people that I hang out with. I guess there are some cultural and personal preferences that people have that make them react differently, but it's a pretty safe assumption that when someone is feeling emotionally close with you, he/she will want to be physically close to you also.

I kind of think that this is a rule that generally applies across the board. It's easy to say that some people just aren't built that way, but of the people I can think of that don't exhibit that tendency, I would also characterize their relationships as being more distant than others. It's easy to see this in people that you're dating or in a relationship with, and I can also see how it is exhibited in friendships and other loose associations. With girls, it's super easy to tell when they are feeling close to me because it's pretty acceptable for them to sit right next to me, sometimes touching to a certain degree. Even with my closest guy friends, we'll sit right next to each other without any kind of awkwardness about it. With some people I know, it's a dead giveaway. And in a way, I'm really grateful for it because it's something that's so easy to read. When so and so sits right next to me, I know that things are just fine between us because this person is right here with me. I think my attachment style is pretty secure because I feel like I'm always craving closeness with the people around me, in one form or another.

I think the causal arrow probably only goes in the direction of emotional closeness leading to physical closeness. There are no broader implications or insights with this post. It's just an observation.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Loaded Answers

There are about a million things I want to say and write and do, but having so much in front of me sometimes paralyzes me and I end up doing nothing at all. It's a little bit annoying. A lot a bit, rather.

There are several feelings that I just love and don't think I'll ever be able to live without: the feeling of snowboarding and feeling the tension in my legs as I'm turning toe-side and pushing against the mountain and extending my legs from the crouched position to straight while my momentum carries me downward; running for an hour and still feeling strong and like I'm gaining momentum by the end of the run; feeling completely at home with another person and having full confidence in myself and in my position with that other person. Those are all feelings that I just have to have.

Yeah, so running yesterday...I'm surprised at how good I felt throughout. I ran 7.5 miles under an hour, and I feel like I could push that up to 9-10 next week. I want to run the Thanksgiving Point Half on April 24th, and I feel like distance-wise, I can work up to that mileage in two weeks, and I love feeling that kind of capacity when it comes to my fitness level.

Running definitely isn't for everyone. For a little while following the Chicago Marathon, I kind of took to trying to convince people that they all could do it too, but if someone just doesn't believe they have the capability to do so, they just won't, right? But if you really get me started on it, I can't think of one person that I know that is physically unable to cover that full distance - including no dying - provided that he or she puts in the work. Honestly.

I love the principle of repentance, if only because it means that I don't have to resign myself to my weaknesses. For the past 23 weeks I've been keeping track of every expense that I have, and I'm still far from perfect at it, but my spending and use of money are so much better now than they were back when I first started tracking everything. It's so empowering to feel like you have control over your life, and this is one small thing, but those are the kind that count, says me.

I want to sing praises to Progressive Auto Insurance. I used to have Triple A when I was in CA, and me being a moron, just kept that coverage when I moved out here to Utah. Last year my policy was an absurdly high $1800 for the full year. No accidents, but in a three month span I managed to rack up three tickets with one being covered by traffic school. Anyway, I shopped a few different insurance companies here this time around and even with a couple of additional violations (damn that California to Utah drive), I'm saving about $1000 off of any other insurance company. Unreal. So now I feel like I'm several hundred dollars richer. I could go into some behavioral economics stuff, but I'll spare you the details except for this one - I've framed this scenario as a gain so I'm flying high.

I don't even think I mentioned last week that I got out of another speeding ticket. There are all kinds of Ws all over place for me lately. Some people never get tickets, and I'm kind of a magnet for them. I attribute it to my minority status. I hate you white people.

...come to think of it, I do always get pulled over by white cops. I was just kidding before, but now I'm thinking maybe there's some validity behind that theory....

Although I get pulled over a lot, I think I get out of a lot of tickets for a guy. (Guys and girls aren't on the same playing field when it comes to getting out of traffic violations, not even close.) I think I get out of tickets about a third of the time that I get pulled over. I attribute it to how nice I am when the police officer comes up to my car. I pretty much resign myself to my fate of getting a ticket, and so when the officer comes up and sees me whimpering and completely vulnerable, it must thaw his icy cold heart and prompt him to not give me a ticket. It's surprisingly effective.

Back to Progressive...I have no idea what it's like on the back end should I ever get into an accident, and maybe that's where I'll wish that I ponied up a little more dough, but on this end where I'm saving about $700-1000, I'm pretty stoked.

Example of Progressive's awesomeness: Geico wanted to charge me $1700 for a full year, and knocked another $100 off for going from a $500 deductible to a $1000 one. I'm still at less than $800 with Progressive with a $500 deductible. And I've got emergency roadside and rental car coverage with that quote. Un. Be. Reeve. Able.

I would gladly be one of those real life customers they have on media campaigns who talk about how they saved over 60% by using their services....and they gave me this free bumper sticker with my purchase, too!

Not really, but you get my drift.

I got some variation on this very typical question yesterday: how are you? Answer: very good (well, rather. Sorry, third grade teacher, Mrs. Phelps). This guy really couldn't be any more happy than he is right now. I haven't been elaborating on the whys, and I won't bother to here either, but things are just great.

I just realized how much emphasis I've been using in this post, and I'm not even going to apologize for it. And with that, I hope you all have a great start to your week!

Friday, March 5, 2010

My Misadventures

I've gotta kill some time while I wait for one of my professors to fill out his evaluation of my performance last semester so I thought I may as well do something blog...

The last two weeks have been really interesting. I've been able to make some good headway on my thesis, I've had several midterms, and I had two presentations to give. Yesterday I had a 45 minute presentation for the other students and the faculty in my department and I winged the whole thing. Granted, I was only talking about how I got to where I'm at now in the graduate school and then some of the research I've done and what my current interests are, but I guess what's really weird to me is thinking that I've become a person that is so at ease now in front of large groups, even ones that should be intimidating like a bunch of people with PhDs or who are pursuing graduate degrees. I have to give thanks to the church for that one, however, because I've had so many experiences now in front of people giving talks or teaching classes that it's now something that doesn't even faze me. I wish you would have known me when I was a kid because I was deathly afraid of public speaking, but now it's something that I really kind of relish. It's weird to think about the ways you grow through the years. Thank heavens for that.

Saw The Princess and the Frog last night, which was a pretty cute movie, but what I really enjoyed was the real cartoon animation. There's something much more Disney and inviting about that, isn't there?

I had a nice little chat this morning with a friend from the place I worked at back home and I had forgotten how much I had missed her. Reminded me of that Lincoln quote, "The better part of one's life consists of his friendships." The people in my life comprise everything that makes me happy. I'm lucky to know the people I know, including all of you.

I love the 80s. You should know that by now, but it's really true. We have an 80s roller skating activity with my ward tonight and I couldn't be more excited. I even made a compilation of songs to get myself in the mood.

I'm surprised at how lazy I've gotten with this lately. It's not at all substantive, and for that, I apologize. I'll come back with a vengeance next week. Promise. Until then, have yourselves a merry little weekend, and enjoy this ditty by Sublime:

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Confucius Say...

Do you ever look at your fortunes from fortune cookies and realize they actually kind of excited you? Or you feel like they're offering real words of wisdom?

I think the wisest fortune I ever got was the one that said, "The secret to getting ahead is getting started." Amen to that. Nobody has a bigger problem moving forward sometimes than I do, and I ended up taping that fortune to the wall right in front of my desk. I wonder if I still have it somewhere...

I've gotten a variation on this fortune a couple of times, and ain't no lie, but they always come to fruition immediately after: A treasured friend, not often seen, will soon visit you. I guess that's not of the earth-shattering variety, but I still thought it was kind of neat.

And these are two that I've gotten in the last month or so, and surprisingly enough, it seems like they're coming to pass - "Success will come to your plans," and "A new relationship is about to blossom. You will be blessed."

It's probably kind of dumb that I even hold onto those, but I think it's kinda fun. If I opened up a Chinese restaurant, I think I'd have anti-fortune cookies, just to mix it up a little bit. Maybe they wouldn't even be bad fortunes, but something that's either totally ominous like "Don't drive the next time it rains," or "You forgot to close your garage door this morning," or "Make sure to call your mom today."

Plus, how good is this song? The actual video doesn't allow for embedding, so you get a pretty decent cover of it by Howie Day.

Bonus: You've heard that they're doing a remake of Karate Kid, right? I hated the idea of it, until I saw the trailer. They changed enough, and I like Little Willy Smith enough to think it's kind of cool.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Logic Games

In my personality class we've been talking about two basic methods of reasoning - dialectical and demonstrative. Dialectical is basically finding an understanding through contrasts. You understand what black is because it's not white, that kind of thing. One example that he gives is when he was teaching at Baylor University in Texas, the preacher's kids were always the wildest kids around. They understood that being commanded not to do something in the first place also means that there is an option to do it as well. You understand what something is by also understanding what it is not. Does that make sense?

Anyway, I've been thinking about this a little more since I had a midterm on the stuff last week. So much of our understanding comes from the dialectic - trial and error. The converse of the dialectic is the demonstrative, which is consistent and true. Jesus Christ is the demonstrative example of the way to live our lives. It can be said that Paul or Alma the younger are the dialectical examples of how to live our lives - they are so good now, in part because they were once so bad. The ideal would be to avoid mistakes altogether and just live a consistently righteous lifestyle, but having the dialectic at least affords me the opportunity to live the kind of life I'd like to lead.

I know what it's like to be a good friend because I know what it was like when I was a bad one. I know how to treat people the right way because I've treated them wrong way before. It's kind of abstract, and maybe a little weird to think in these terms, but I think it helps me understand myself a little bit better, and also cut me some slack on being my own biggest critic. Sometimes that's a really hard thing to do.

I dunno. I was just kind of thinking about this lately as I've gotten closer to different people, and also I needed something to blog about since I've been neglecting you fools for so long. Last week was pretty busy for me, but I have a lineup of posts a coming. Don't you worry!