Monday, January 31, 2005

Interesting thought

As a rule, I only pass on the very (very) best chain letters. So I didn't forward the one that my grandpa just sent me, which complains about atheists trying to tell the rest of us that we shouldn't pray. But I thought I'd share a brief, potent quote from it:
Our Bible tells us to pray without ceasing. Now a handful of people and their lawyers are telling us to cease praying.
Think on it.

You can hear God crying

I'd like to leave you with a quick thought before I head out to work. Several employees at a radio station in New York put together a parody of "We Are the World" that mocks the Tsunami victims. It's tasteless and disgusting, and now those employees have been suspended. Now the important question: what kind of music does that radio station play regularly? Because there are a lot of songs out there that are just as bad, if not worse, that are played by popular radio stations. The lyrics are disrespectful toward God, women, and just about every other sacred thing that there is. I wouldn't be surprised one bit if their music regularly uses racial slurs and offensive ideas. But when the world hears that they're making fun of Tsunami victims, that's suddenly an un-PC thing and we're all outraged. It's not popular to stand up and shout down stations that play songs that are offensive on many levels to a wide variety of people, but when the station's DJs make fun of Tsunami victims, that's gone too far. Interesting.

Sunday, January 30, 2005


When I did my home teaching this morning, the girl we visited asked Joel and me to give her sister a blessing after church. Then right after church, I was asked to help give a blessing to one of the other women in our ward who's having tough times. Today was only the second day I've participated in giving blessings (actually, so far I've just annointed the oil; I haven't done the actual blessing yet), and I got to do two at once. It's weird how those things work, isn't it?

Someone at church today also asked Dan and me to come to church this evening because according to the rules they have to have at least two priesthood holders present to be in the ward house. So Liz is going to go there with me and we'll do scripture study. So much for the 8 PM bedtime, but I think it's worth it.

Playing around with Picasa's editing features. So cool!

My brother Kaden.

Black and White

My little brothers have been playing an old(er) game called Populous, where you try to become the most powerful shaman in your little corner of the galaxy by traveling from world to world gathering followers and defeating other tribes. They liked that game so much that I figured they'd probably like Black and White, by Lionhead Studios. In that game, you're a God and you try to win over followers and such, but you also have a pet that you lead around and teach to work miracles and such. So I installed it so that they could play it. Unfortunately, I got sucked into playing the game too, and spent a couple of late nights wasting time on it. It's not even that incredibly fun as a game. In fact, it's kind of annoying because your animal can learn to cast miracles, but he can't seem to learn to take a nap when he's to the point of exhaustion, or grab something off of the ground next to him to eat when he's starving. So you're off trying to manage your various villages and such, and he collapses from sheer stupidity. But the game is addictive enough regardless, and I'm suffering because of it. I play stuff like that because I figure that I need to relax, but I end up playing it into the wee hours of the morning and lose sleep, plus it doesn't help me to reduce my to-do list (up to 19 items now, with 5 high priority), so what's the point of "relaxing" if it just makes me more miserable later? So I decided last night that I need to shift my focus back to the important things, starting today. I'm going to spend my day putting my focus back on God, and go to bed at 8 o'clock. Tomorrow I'll get up at 6 AM, plan out my week and get a fresh start.

I got to listen to John Bytheway give a talk at our stake "Education Weekend" yesterday. It was a great talk. He had some very interesting insights, and of course, made everybody laugh quite a bit. One thing he said that really struck me was this: in Ephesians 6, Paul makes an oft-cited metaphor, comparing the various aspects of our faith with armor to defend against Satan. He talks about the loins girt about with truth, the breastplate of righteousness, feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, and the helmet of salvation: all defensive gear. But the only weapon that he mentions which we have to fight back the forces of darkness is "the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." So think about this: if you're in battle, what is the most effective way to capture your enemy? You take away his sword, right? It only makes sense, because you can quench all the fiery darts you want with a shield, but if you don't have a sword, your enemy can walk right up and begin attacking you without fear of retribution. So, the way John Bytheway puts it, when we're going to see a movie, Satan tells us, "You have to check that sword in at the door; you can't take that thing in here." I really think I need to change my outlook so that I look at this life like the battle it is, and refuse to participate in activities that require me to give up or set down my only weapon--especially when I'm preparing to go on the offensive.

In parting, let me leave you with some Newsboys lyrics:
As I lay me down
I confess
I'm a fool for you
No more, no less
And in this world turning gray
Strikes a chord when I say
There is black, there is white,
There is wrong, and there is right

There is no alibi
If it's not the truth, then it's...

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Liz's mom microwaved this syrup for ice cream, and the bottle warped to make a really weird-looking face thing. Bizarre.

I have a dream...

I had a dream last night--more like a nightmare really--where for some reason I had taken a part-time job down in Draper or thereabouts and I was late to it on my first day and so busy doing other stuff that I didn't even show up on my second day. If dreams can reveal our subconscious fears, then apparently my greatest fear is not performing well in my commitments. Weird.

On another note, some deranged fellow decided he wanted to kill himself by getting hit by a train while still in his SUV. Then he changed his mind, but instead of driving away, he decided to get out and let the train run into it anyway. The train derailed, killing 11 people and causing God-only-knows how much damage in terms of hospital, emergency response, and rebuilding expenses. Now he might face the death penalty. I guess suicide is something you just don't play with unless you really want to die. I can't help but wonder how it would have been different if somebody had been able to "save" him, and bring him back to Jesus. I mean, if the guy was able to clean up and get off drugs and live a positive, upstanding life, his wife wouldn't have had to issue a restraining order and none of this ever would have happened. And the weird thing is, we'd never be able to look back and say, "Gee, it's a good thing that one guy found religion, because otherwise he might have killed 11 people by wrecking a train." Nobody would ever have had any idea that his life might have come to this. Who knows how many lives are saved each day by the simple, everyday good works of the many? It's no wonder that the angels of heaven rejoice whenever a lost soul is brought back into the fold. It really gives new meaning to the phrase, "There, but for the grace of God, go I."

I met an atheist once who thought that Christianity was the worst thing that had ever happened to the world, because at various points in history people have done terrible things in its name. The thing is, there is really no way to gauge the profoundly positive impact that Christianity is having on the world every single day. I can point to somebody and say, "After he converted, he stopped beating his wife," but I can't point to somebody and say, "If he hadn't converted, he would have killed almost a dozen people in a failed suicide attempt." All we can do, really, is to keep fighting the good fight and have faith that the influence we're having on the world is far greater than it appears to us now.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Most Depressing Day of the Year

A scientist apparently decided that today is the most depressing day of the year. And if a scientist says it, it must be true, right? Seriously, though, I'm a little inclined to believe it. We haven't seen the sun in days. It's cold and dreary, and we don't even have any snow to show for it. Just murky, gross air. And I've got a nice, long document due tonight. I started working on it last night, but left it when Liz showed up, and later in the night Mom told me that the computer was having a problem. I came in to find the notorious BSoD. So I got to get up early and basically redo what I did last night. Then I went to work. And now I get to work on it again.

Oh, and here's a nice, cheerful news story for you. Parents, please be aware of what your kids are watching.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

ULX 2005

As you can see (below), I went to another Lindy Exchange. They had a fun one-lead, multiple-follow (polygamy) competition, plus a really rockin' jam, and probably the best live swing band I've ever seen. That was awesome! Now I just need to figure out where I'm going to find the time to do homework. I'm getting kind of worried about that.

Polygamy Lindy winners, from Colorado

Polygamy Lindy competition

George Gee and the Jump, Jive, and Wailers

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Lindy and Toilets and Ben (oh my!)

Hey, everyone. I just thought I'd share a few pictures of the Utah Lindy Exchange. Of course, I'm not a die-hard, as you can tell by the time-stamp. The real dancers are still out dancing. Apparently they found a loophole so that they can get away with dancing after 2 AM. There were rumors, though, that there was a cop car waiting outside the late-night venue. So I'll just have to wait until morning to find out if anybody got arrested again. Good night!

Mom is afraid of toilets. This is why.

Ben & Liz doing an arial lift

Bryce and his daughter, Katie

Thursday, January 20, 2005

What a day.

We had a company meeting this morning at work that they forgot to tell our department about, so as I was showing up everybody got shepherded into building 2 to listen to doctors and the company president tell us how great our products were. Then we got free bagels and went back to work. Fun stuff.

Now I need to get ready for the Utah Lindy Exchange!

It suddenly got really foggy today. I took this pic in the parking lot at work.

What a community

Man, I feel like I've just moved into a very friendly neighborhood. I've already had two people welcome me to blogging and comment on my photos. It's kind of nice. :-)

Wednesday, January 19, 2005


I just got an email from my Senior Project professor, telling our team everything that we're doing wrong so far. For instance:
Comments (Tom): Did not follow guideline (Subject Line)
No joke. We didn't have the right information in the subject line of our email. The whole thing was kind of like that. And there's some stuff where they say we don't have information that I was pretty sure we have. I'm not sure if they missed it, or if they need more info, or what. But now that I look at it, it turns out we have to have a log for our project and a personal log, and an enormous sum of documentation for every action we take. It's not pretty. Anyway, so I'm frustrated about that. Just thought I'd let the world know.

The other picture didn't seem to make it. Still testing. Posted by Hello

I'm testing Blogger's integration with other Google software Hello and Picasa. This is a picture I took yesterday up at the U of U. Posted by Hello

First BlogSpot posting

Hello everybody! ("hi Doctor Nic!")

Well, as you can probably tell, this would be my first Blogspot posting, on what is actually my first blog ever! Up to now, I've been using my own website to write updates on the events in my life, but there's no history that way, and my website will only stay in the same place for as long as I use the same ISP. My website address, by the way, is I've got a lot of information about me there, so you'll probably be able to learn more about me that way.

I suppose I'll be posting now and then, so keep your eyes to see what's new.