Gone until 2009

July 30, 2007

I am serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Belgium and the Netherlands until August 2009. See you then!

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Seussical the Musical

July 19, 2007

Last night I attended Seussical the Musical at Spanish Fork Community Theater. It is based on many famous Dr. Seuss books, with quite a complicated plot. It was an excellent production. I have never seen a more intricate or elaborate set; the music was very well written; the actors performed wonderfully. However, it was a little too suggestive for my liking. Some of the actors in the Jungle of Nool and a few other scenes made me, shall we say, uncomfortable. UPDATE: I should qualify this. It wasn’t the musical itself that was suggestive, just the way some of the actors behaved on stage.

But on the whole, it was good. I am surprised but very impressed a company like SFCT was able to pull off a production of this scale and do it so well. Great work!

Has anyone else seen this musical or have any opinions to share about it?


Rediscovered wisdom

July 18, 2007

So last night I managed to revive my 19-month-old Palm Tungsten E2, which I haven’t used for several months. I found quite a lot of good quotes and poems on it and thought I would post them here.

General quotes

Far and away the best prize life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing. —Theodore Roosevelt

A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops. —Henry Brooks Adams

When we do the best we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the lift of another. —Hellen Keller

When the time for decision arrives, the time for preparation is past. —Thomas S. Monson

Wise time management is really the wise management of ourselves. —Spencer W. Kimball

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. —Aesop

UPDATE: Here’s another one:
Try not to become a man of success but rather to become a man of value. —Albert Einstein

Poems

My AP English teacher liked this poem and quoted it to us a lot:

Lad of Athens,
Faithful be
To thyself,
And Mystery–
All the rest
Is Perjury

Emily Dickinson

He also like this one. It is a sad but true tale of life:

With rue my heart is laden
For golden friends I had,
For many a rose-lipt maiden
And many a lightfood lad.

By brooks to broad for leaping
The lightfoot boys are laid;
The rose-lipt girls are sleeping
In fields where roses fade.

A. E. Housman

This sonnet is very well-written. I memorized it for AP English once, and I really enjoy it. The final couplet is my favorite part, as it is applicable to so many relationships we have:

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon these boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare, ruined choirs where late the sweet bird sang.
In me thou seest the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire,
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie
As the deathbed whereon it must expire,
Consumed with that which it was nourished by.
This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

William Shakespeare (Sonnet 73)

This one is a provocative exposition on the constancy of change:

Mark! how all things swerve
From their known course, or vanish like a dream;
Another language spreads from coast to coast;
Only perchance some melancholy Stream
And some indignant Hills old names preserve,
When laws, and creeds, and people all are lost!

William Wordsworth

Well, those are a few quotes and poems I like that I recently rediscovered. What do you think of them? Have you heard any of them before?


Microcosmic intersection

July 17, 2007

A microcosm is a self-contained world, a subset of one’s experiences. But for a microcosm to be completely isolated from all others is hardly possible. In our everyday lives we move in and out of various microcosms, each containing its own people, places, circumstances, and associated ideas. It is this intersection of microcosms I wish to study here.

The most obvious contrast is that of work and home. My work is a much different environment than my family life, which isn’t a bad thing. The people I know at my job are great, and I very much enjoy working with them. And my family is wonderful (which goes without saying :-)). But my family has never met my coworkers, and my coworkers have never met my family. However, I have met all of them; both of these microcosms form a part of my experience.

Now, I look at each person around me and must realize that I am only seeing the part of them that fits within the microcosm in which I know them. My work supervisor has a family life, and certainly many hobbies and interests not related to information technology. And sometimes he does tell us about them. But the perception I have of him is largely defined by his knowledge, behavior, and idiosyncracies as they emerge on and relate to the job.

A similar statement can be made of the friends I roomed with last year in college, the people in my classes, or acquaintances I made in various other situations. I may only have seen a small part of their character or merely scratched the surface of their depth of knowledge. Much more would be evident if I were to see a larger cross section of their lives.

In the same way that I see only a part of someone’s character in light of one microcosm, I understand the people and the world around me through the lenses of all the microcosms that comprise my life experience. One of my friends has taught me a tremendous amount about friendship. I only know as much about him as he has allowed me to see, but I know he has had a great deal more experience than I. As he has patiently shared the knowledge he has gained from his microcosmic intersections, he has expanded my view and helped me better understand myself and others. He is a part of my microcosmic intersection.

My family, of course, has taught me much about life, responsibility, and respectability. Both of my parents are well educated and want their children to be so, too. They have had many experiences that have defined them and made them the wonderful parents they are. I have benefited from their experience and knowledge as they have taught me and helped me become the person I am today. They are a part of my microcosmic intersection.

Reading and writing in the blogging community has taught me much about technology, current opinion, and writing. Certainly the bloggers with whom I interact (however indirectly that interaction be) form the most diverse microcosm of which I am a part, as they span the globe and run the gamut of political and religious belief, interest, and experience. They are a part of my microcosmic intersection.

Religion has always played a major role in my life and has helped me develop the beliefs and values I hold dear. I have met so many good people through my involvement in this microcosm who have taught and nurtured me. The unifying power of religion has brought our separate spheres and ideas into focus and shaped our lives. Religion is a part of my microcosmic intersection.

I think it would be well for us to look around ourselves and recognize the people and the microcosmic intersections that define our views of life. Each person has his own ideas and opinions, beliefs and values, defined by his microcosms. These microcosms contain other people who have their own views and goals. Thus we see the great circle: the macrocosm of the human race is viable only because each of us has vitality and individuality and yearns for interaction with others.

Life is defined by microcosmic intersection.


After the rain

July 12, 2007

It’s a beautiful, cloudy morning here in Provo, and we just got a bunch of rain. It’s been hot and dry and hazy for quite a while now, and this rain is very refreshing. The pleasant “after the rain” smell, one of my very favorite aromas, is distinctly noticeable. What a great day!

In case you are interested, this smell is often caused by bacteria spores released into the air when the soil becomes wet following a long dry period. Read more about this on howstuffworks.com.

Look, Marvin (BYU’s Eyring Science Center unofficial weather center) even has a webcam now!


Tech posts moved to Global Constant

July 11, 2007

I started a new blog today and moved my tech-related posts there. That way I can keep my subject matter separate and you can read just the ones you want to read.

Anyway, go check it out!

http://globalconstant.wordpress.com/

UPDATE: Here is a list of all the posts that are now on Global Constant (in reverse chronological order):


Can religion help deal with addictions?

July 11, 2007

Of course it can! I have long believed religion is crucial to helping people overcome addictions and deal with the challenges of life. I read this article today on Tantalus Prime that indirectly lends support to my opinion:

If you ascribe to the dopamine theory of reward, then you should also contend that replacing drugs with something else that activates dopamine release (a chat with a loved one, taking the kids to an amusement park, strolling through an art gallery) would be essential. Economic opportunity, a sense of community, recreational activities and generally something more to live for than a temporary high would do more to abate drug use in this country than many of the other methods used today. Which I think goes along with Ms. Satel’s opinion that addiction needs a behavioral rather than medical solution.

Trying to reform behavior directly is often ineffective, but helping the people change their environment will have a much more lasting effect. President Boyd K. Packer has said this:

I have long believed that the study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than talking about behavior will improve behavior. –Boyd K. Packer, Ensign May 1997

Another quote is fitting:

The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature. –Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign July 1989