Saturday, February 27, 2010

My awesome Saturday night date...

With David Bowie.
Hahaha. You thought I was gonna describe a real date. Unless you know me well enough to realize I don't get asked on very many of those. And when I randomly occasionally do, it's usually either accidental, or the doing of conniving friends who I was planning to hang out with. And by usually, I mean I've in all technicality been on two official dates, and both of them were me planning to do something with some friends, and my friends just "happening" to invite certain guys, and just "happening" to be like "oh, by the way, this is a date". I guess if you want to be particular, I've relatively recently been on a few friendly excursions which follow most of the outlines of being a real "date" but whether they are or not, (which I have no idea) they still would only bring the total to like 4 instead of 2. Wow. I'm so experienced. *cough* Ok, I have to say the blue sparkly tail-coat/jacket thing he's wearing here is really awesome. I am a big fan.

Anyway, this date with David. It was pretty awesome. We started out with some baby kidnapping, and after that we sang some sweet awesome 80's songs. My favorite is Dance, Magic Dance. Then we poisoned this girl, and when she didn't give up we sent hoards of goblins at her. Eventually she got to her little brother and took him back. That was sort of a bummer for David. He really liked the little guy. Wanted to call him Jareth.
These <= accompanied us on our adventures. Curse 7-11 for being only a block away. And that chinese place too. I didn't go there today, but I did in my last nightly excursion. I just have to mention that in this last excursion we almost got run over not once but three separate times while crossing the same intersection. There's only one intersection that separates our apartments from the chinese place, and for some reason it hated us that night. But we survive to blog another day.

In other news, these are the fellows I had to turn down in favor of David for my evening plans.
This first fellow you may recognize. His date idea was to head over to Genovia. He has a title there: Lord Devereaux. Horseback riding across the countryside and a stay in a huge castle. Extremely charming.

You may recognize this second guy too. Yes, Ewan wanted to go to France. Very Bohemian. While there he enjoys singing fabulous love song medleys on top of random buildings. Amazing singing voice.

Fewer of you know this guy, which is a sad, sad thing. Because I'm not even a chick flick connoisseur, and I know who he is. This is Richard. He wanted to tour some cotton mills in Northern England. That sounds kind of random and weird, but far from it. Besides, even if it was weird, the accent more than makes up for it.

So those were all of my potential plans. There was a brief consideration of Patrick Dempsey, but there were too many other choices to really consider his New York trip. I mean with France, Genovia, and England to choose from, who has time for New York? Perhaps next time, though. Many of you may ask, why David over Chris, or Ewan, or Richard? Well, the answer to that is easy. He was already there when I got home from 7-11. All I had to do was just join in the fun that had just begun. I got there just in time for the baby snatching. It was awesome.

Ok, this blog post was originally to do this other thing I had an idea for. I just wanted to trip some people out to make them thing I was dating someone or something. That would be hilarious. At least to me. And it evolved from there to describing in much more detail my dating habits/plans. Now, the original idea for this post comes from my ipod. There are not very many exciting things going on for me right now, but the few things that are happening are kind of important. And by few things I pretty much mean this job application of sorts that I'm waiting to hear from. The problem there is that it's supposed to take like 7 more weeks before I should even wonder about getting their response. Which is seriously KILLING me. *sigh* It could take a shorter time, but the likelihood of that on a scale of 1-10, 10 being very likely, is probably like a negative 4. I know it's good for me to wait. It will strengthen my patience, and help me appreciate it a whole whole lot more if it does work out. That may be true. Or I could just go into a 7 week coma instead. That would be much less painful.

Anyway, a lot of the songs that come on my shuffles kind of describe my life. Especially this whole waiting for acceptance process. And I thought it would be amusing to list off all the recent songs that totally described my life now. It's really more just the titles than the entire song, but you'll get the idea.
This picture is both to describe the first song title, and because it's really cool. No idea what it's supposed to be. Some kind of cool planetscape or something. But I really liked it. Ok, first song title:

Don't Let the Sun go Down on Me - Elton John
Livin' on a Prayer - Bon Jovi
Judgment Day - Whitesnake
Don't Break My Heart Again - Whitesnake
Take a Chance on Me - both the ABBA and Mamma Mia versions
Hit Me With Your Best Shot - Pat Benatar
Patiently - Journey
Don't Stop Believin' - Journey
Stayin' Alive - I should probably find out who really sings this. I have the Chipmunk version, which is hilarious to me.
S.O.S - Abba
Hold On - Michael Buble
Keep Holding On - Glee Cast Version
Takin' Chances - Glee version
I Say A Little Prayer - Glee version
Maybe This Time - Kristen Chenoweth version
Try - Hayden Panettierre
Wannabe - Spice Girls (don't judge me :P )
Don't Go Breaking My Heart - Elton John and Kiki Dee
The River of Dreams - Billy Joel
Don't Forget to Remember Me - Carrie Underwood
Crazy Dreams - Carrie Underwood
Brink of Disaster - Mae
Another One Bites the Dust - Queen
I Will Survive - Gloria Gaynor
Always On My Mind - Elvis
Follow That Dream - Elvis
Come So Far (Got So Far To Go) - Hairspray
Help - Beatles
I'm Wishing - Snow White
Once Upon A Dream - Sleeping Beauty
No Fear - Swan Princess
Under Pressure - Queen and David Bowie
Don't Write Me Off - Hugh Grant

As you can see, that's a pretty decent list. There are even a few more that I didn't add because they only sometimes make me think of this, instead of every time they play. So every time people say to me to try to just forget about it and do other stuff till then, these songs are a constant reminder. Some of them are hopeful, like I'm gonna make it. (Like Stayin' Alive, or I will Survive) But most of them, as soon as I see the title I remember how I'm just waiting right now (like Livin' on a Prayer) or I remember my fear of rejection (Like with Another One Bites the Dust). Let's just face it, these next 7 weeks are gonna be really really slow. But I'll live. "Maybe this time, I'll get lucky". "Sometimes even Crazy Dreams come true".

I will most definitely be making a blog post whenever I do find out about this thing. It will probably come in April. And it may not be a happy one. It may be "Nope. Not qualified for that job either." But hopefully not. Hopefully I'll be able to use at least sixty exclamation points and multiple *freaking out awesomely* 's. Ok, I really should sleep. Because I actually have to wake up early tomorrow. Blech. But it must be done. Latas.

PS. This is really cool... when I use a darker font color like this the pictures kinda look like they're popping out. Like sort of 3-D. Way cool.

Friday, February 26, 2010

What I mean when I say "amateur photographer"

<= My camera and me have a special bond.

I got a new camera today! YAY! New technology is always super fun. Ive been planning to get a new camera for a while, since my old one started having a sticky zoom, and having worn out buttons. Plus its getting even slower than it already was. This is my old camera. => I love it. It's been with me through many an adventure. I will always have a special place for it, but it really is rather beat up. It's been dropped and mashed, and abused for several years, and deserves a semi-peaceful retirement.

This is my new camera.
It is also super awesome. And it is also a Canon. I discovered that I have an attachment to Canons as well. I've messed around with lots of people's cameras, especially out in GA. And I've just always liked mine better. Maybe because that's what I'm used to? Dunno. Probably. Other people's have features that would be super cool, that I either don't have, or can't find on my Canons. But I like everything else about them, like the menu layouts, and the buttons on the back, etc, so much better that I still like mine most. Especially compared to Kodaks. Bleh. Those cameras are crappy AND user un-friendly. Nikons are good cameras, but I always have trouble adjusting to the way the menus are. Canons are my friends. Plus I have one of those super cool print from your camera printers, and its a Canon printer, so that did influence my decision a little. I don't have to worry about compatibility.

There was this other camera that I was trying to choose between. They're both Canons. The only real difference is that the one had more features, and was a little more complex and awesome. It had a 20x optical zoom, which was fabulous. I really really wanted that optical zoom. Like a lot. And it had one of those screens that pops out and twists around. So that was super spiffy. And in the viewfinder, you could see all the display options just like on the screen on the back. That was cool too. I'm sure there were way more things that were different and better about it, but those were the only things I was really able to appreciate at an amateur level. Pretty much everything I was looking at in the cameras besides the zoom was the same, so as much as I really really really wanted that super sweet 20x zoom, I didn't feel justified in spending 200 extra dollars for it.

This is the first thing I noticed about my new camera, and it's one thing that was actually cooler than the more expensive one. Check out that massive screen. Seriously, it's like almost as big as my whole old camera. For real. That silver one is only about 3/4 of an inch longer than just the screen on the black one. And look how tiny its screen is. I put these pics next to each other so you can kind of see the difference, but the scale is different in them, so its harder to tell. Just trust me, though. It's a major difference. And also remember, I have pretty stubby fingers. So in the silver picture, that can help.
This is my new camera closed up. As you can see in the pic, it has a 10x optical zoom, which isn't shabby. That 20x was way cool, but 10x will certainly get me through the tough times. It also has 10 megapixels. The other one had like 12.1 or something random like that. That is a better option, but I didn't really care about it so much, because I'm pretty much never going to be blowing any pics up big enough to see the difference. 10 megapixels is more than sufficient for my needs. In other news, they both have a face finder thing, but I don't really even know what the point of that is. However I would like to mention that neither of those came with those dumb smile and blink sensors. If I want to take a pic of someone not smiling, I am able to without warning lights. The only thing I really dislike about my new camera is that for some reason it will only let you take black and white pics or sepia pics on the manual settings. If I'm in the landscape or the portrait, or the auto setting I can't. I do not at all understand why. Especially because I could on my old silver Canon. (which I just decided to dub Hi Ho Silver). But I guess all I can do with that is just figure out how to use some of the manual settings. *shrug*

This is my new camera open. It's still a point and shoot, and not even close to one of those spiffy fancy ones with the removable lenses and everything. But it's cool enough looking to make me look like somewhat less of an idiot when I have it attached to my tripod. At least people will say "eh, maybe" when they see me, instead of something like "what in the world?" or "hahaha. no idea what she's doing." Which is what it looks like when you have those little teeny, super skinny point and shoots on top of a tripod. Although, according to my photographer ex roommate, the fact that you're using a tripod at all does add to credibility. Even if all you own is a cheapo little slim-line something or other camera. She has also said in the past, good equipment helps, but if you don't have the talent, it doesn't really matter. You can be terrible at taking pics, and the best cameras won't help at all. But if you're really good, you can even get the occasional decent picture out of those disposable cameras they sometimes have at weddings and stuff. Those are pretty not so great cameras, but the point is valid. If you're good, you can work with whatever you've got.

Not that I think I'm good. I most certainly am not. Especially not compared to the aforementioned ex roommate. I lived with her for way too long to ever appreciate substandard work the same way. Because she really is good. She even had issues with this sweet awesome James Dean poster we had up. (His nose was blurry, which I only started noticing after she mentioned it to me). I've lived with/been friends with multiple people since then who are either photo majors, or are trying to break into the model and photo shoot industry, and none of them are anywhere near. At all. I'm not saying they're useless, though. I've seen a couple of pretty awesome pics come out of these endeavors. Especially this awesome one of a stone angel by my old MTC comp. But as general talent goes, they all fall short of my old roomie. For this reason, even if I wanted to pursue a professional photo career (which I certainly don't), I would have recognized greatness and bowed in defeat long before now.

On the other hand, though, I still do really enjoy taking pictures. And I've taken a few in my time that I consider to be actually pretty awesome, even if they'll never be professional. And since I have zero aspirations toward the professional realm, I think that I'm doing quite well. I'm especially excited to try out my new camera on a sunset some time in the near future. I also plan to use it freely at my friend's wedding in May. (No, I am not her actual photographer. I am the trying very hard to capture awesome candid moments on video and in pictures person. Because the pro's don't really do that much. Yes, she did actually ask me to do that, like before she even got engaged.) So funny, random note: This one week THREE of my friends got officially engaged, and another (my sister) is still in the unofficial, but pretty sure it will happen stage. In this same week, another friend expecting a baby made the official public statement about it. (I did know before hand. I'm that special. (:O ) Later in this next week another friend of mine will find out whether they're having a boy or a girl. It has certainly been eventful around here.

Ok, Back to the point of this... oh wait. I pretty much finished telling all about my sweet new camera. OH WAIT! There is one more so cool and awesome thing about it. So look back to the picture of the back of the camera. Notice the little round button thing. Almost all cameras have those, yes. Hi Ho Silver does too. BUT.... how many of those cameras have a button that spins?Seriously, it's totally just like an ipod wheel. You can scroll with it and everything. It's so cool.

K, so if you want to, you can look at my facebook albums to look at pics I've taken. Most of the albums are just random pics of people and things, more for fun and memories than anything. But this one:
is the one that has the pics in it that I like the best. If you're pro and stuff, don't judge me. I don't pretend they're like super art. They're just my own little version of photo art. But I like them. There are also some ok ones in the temple square folder and the 20 xty six folder, but notice I say ok, not super awesome. Hi Ho Silver never did so great with Christmas lights, and the stairs and stuff were just an attempt that I didn't really find much success in. So yeah, I like taking pictures, and I don't totally suck at it. But that's about it. I'm excited to try my new camera out. He needs a name. Suggestions? K, I'm done.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Well, if you must know...

I'm bored and I want to make a post, but I don't know what to make it about. This bunny picture is to take up space, show you a really cute bunny, and trick people into thinking that I might actually have a blog post on some kind of girly subject. They are mistaken. Because this post has no subject.

This is my middle sister in her natural state: Fierce, assertive, always changing her hair, and paying homage to hot men. In this case Hugh Jackman as wolverine. She also worships Johnny Depp and Harrison Ford.

This is my other sister, also shown in her natural state: Hilarious, random, former vampire worshiper. Emphasis on former. After the great movie disaster of '08, Edward is no longer on her Christmas list. She is the youngest, which explains many, many things. She's never been the same since the accident....

This is my brother in his "I am a chick magnet" pose. I gave him that shirt for Christmas. You may also notice the foliage in the background... solid evidence that this picture was not taken anywhere near BYU as his shirt seems to suggest. Actually I really have no idea where this pic was taken. I'm just trying to fill up a little bit of space, because normally I would mercilessly make fun of my brother. That's what little brothers are for. But I actually think this is a pretty decent pic.

This is what Utah is really famous for. Stunningly dry, dusty, and monochromatic outcroppings of rock. Ok, ok. It's not that bad. It's actually really cool looking. Very mysterious and imagination provoking. But only for so long. Once you tour around for a certain amount of time, it all starts to look exactly the same, over, and over, and over, and over, and over....

This is a luna moth. For everyone who thinks that all moths are creepy and ugly, behold exhibit A. Yes this is actually a moth, and not a butterfly. They land on our windows at night in Virginia. Utah bugs are not nearly so picturesque. In fact, every utah bug I've ever seen is either plain old disgusting, or freakishly scary (in a kind of cool sort of way). So yeah, Luna moths are seriously awesome and cool looking. Blue paisley sleeves, not so much.

See full size image This is the kind of freakishly scary I'm talking about. I mean, that thing is like a mini-biological tank. Imagine that being the size of a real tank. Holy Freaking Out and Running Screaming the Other Way. *shudder* And yet there is something strangely super cool about that.

I had a picture of a sword on here, but I accidentally backspaced it, and I'd have to re-load all these pics in order to get it back in the right spot. But it was just a sword. Like Excalibur. And it was sitting in a ray of sunlight against this stone floor background. Pretty awesome.

This is a shark. You are all saying, "Um, yeah. I kinda realized that." This is a Great White Shark. Not the biggest shark, by a long shot. Especially if you consider megalodon, which is basically like a Great White super-sized and on steroids. Fortunately for everyone who likes to swim in the ocean, Megalodon is extinct. If such was not the case, he could swallow you whole. Compared to him, a great white taking a bite out of you is no big deal. You might even survive. :P All the same, great whites are probably my favorite shark. Because they are just super awesome cool. I don't know what it is, but half the things that really fascinate me are super dangerous. And sharks are one of those things. Sharks, and snakes, and tornadoes, and volcanoes, and all sorts of stuff. *shrug* But great whites really do get a bad rep, especially because of Jaws. Actually, shark bites are a relatively rare thing to die from. Sharks are cool.

Speaking of things that are really cool though, check out this picture:
Tornadoes are way awesome. I mean I know they do lots of damage and stuff, but so do lots of things, especially people. This pic is really awesome.

And how is this not cool:

Ok. I think I'm done. Laters.

The Second Kind of Serious

What good is a blog if you don't use it to really communicate? Not only to communicate the random things in your brain, but also things that are actually significant. Once again, if you're not religious, I won't be offended if you don't like what I write. I don't apologize for it. Not at all. I'm not sorry for what I know and follow. I write these things for a reason, and I do hope you actually read it. But my right to speak doesn't mean I have the right to force you to listen.
Oops. Those pics formatted a little weird. Before I start, I want to point out that there are two different kinds of serious. The first kind is the bad kind. It involves ubiquitous amounts of negativity, most of the time. (Sorry, I just really wanted to use that word. Ubiquitous.) This is the kind of serious you are when you are so focused on "being an adult" that you forget what you knew as a kid. IE. how to see life for it's possibilities and not for its problems. Some kids try too hard to be adults. You're really missing out. You'll be an adult for 70% of your life. Don't stress so much about it. And some adults try too hard to be just like Hollywood models, or try too hard to impress other people with your popularity or possessions. Some people care too much about what some random person in the store is going to say about your shoes or your hair. I don't mean about being clean and decent. I mean when your entire self perspective is based on what other people say and think. Or more, what you think they think. Chill out and get a life. Seriously.
But there is a second kind of serious that the rest of the world under-values, oddly enough. Too much of one and not enough of the other. Some things it's important to be serious about... not because you'll be struck by lightning if you aren't, or because you have to be all morose and solemn for it to take. Not at all. Because it's a different kind of serious. It's a seriousness more in how you understand it, and how you value it's importance. Right now I'm going to be that kind of serious. Which means I might still make some jokes (lame though they may be), and I might still call someone an idiot at least once. I tend to not be able to avoid that. :P But I'll try to be nice.
My chosen topic today isn't deep and intensely doctrinal. It's not some random tidbit I suddenly understood from Isaiah (although randomly a verse from Isaiah was involved in my decision to write this). It's not something that you'll only understand if you're a baptized member of the LDS church. It's very simple. God. And how He is there. And my main course of discussion is this: How can anyone possibly look around them and NOT believe?
A lot of you probably either went "Huh?" or "What planet have you been living on?" I'll answer both of those questions. To start with, as cheesy and lame as it might sound, there is a song, and a scripture verse that really inspire and back up this discussion. The song is called "Everything Speaks His Name" and is pretty much based on the verse, which is in Alma 30:44. The song is kind of self explanatory. Everything in the world testifies that there is, in fact, a God. The verse says a similar thing. Basically he is talking to this dude named Korihor, who is arguing that God doesn't exist. And he says (in summary) I've already told you that I know, and I've already told you that so many dozens of people have told you that they know. It's been shown to them. And pretty much you're calling them all liars. Well there's one sign you can't deny, because everything on this earth shows that there IS a God.
I like both of those because that is how I really know. I mean different people have spiritual experiences in different ways. But the times when I feel the most uplifted and awesome, and just like there really is a much, much bigger picture is when I'm appreciating nature. If you've never been out in a remote place where you can really see the night sky, do. It's worth every minute. Turn off all the lights and music, and just look. Just watch it. It's not cool because it's some spectacular singing group, or because someone wrote great words to a story or poem. It goes way, way beyond all that. There's a grand, vast, magnificence in the stars and planets, even though you can't even see all of them with your plain eyes. There is so much amazing, gorgeous, beautiful, complex, vastness.
Or take for example the mountains and trees. There aren't enough adjectives for me to keep describing the amazingness without repeating myself several times over. Think about how you feel when you're absolutely awestruck by a great bit of scenery. That's God saying "I love you". Think about all the millions of plant and animal species, and how they all just happened to be perfectly made for where they live, and how they all just happen to have all these fabulous adaptations and awesome skills. Random happenstance is NOT smart enough to make that happen on such a huge level.
Still don't believe me? Think about yourself. Your eye for example. Think about how much your eye can see that even the best cameras ever made can't do. Think about how some random tissue in the back of your retina just happens to be able to take light waves, change them into a chemical message, send that message to a lump of gray cells that then takes that chemical message and translates that into a vision that you can understand. Tell me that was an accident. These billions of super awesome, super beautiful, super complicated things were organized FOR us.
That's what the scripture verse means to me. You can find evidence of God in everything you look at. And I do see Him everywhere. I can't look at even this picture of striped fish without feeling the overwhelming gloriousness of the ocean, and how just straight up awesome it is, with all the fish, and the plants, and the underwater volcanoes, and how huge it is, and how some fish glow in the dark, and how sharks are so incredibly built for what they do, and I could just go on for pages, just about the sheer incredibleness of the ocean. But I won't. Because I think you get the idea. So try to go sit out observing a sunset, or a meteor shower, or a volcanic eruption without feeling uplifted and awesome. And I don't mean like sitting in a chair to prove me wrong. I mean really looking. Really watching. Really exploring it. Try it. I dare you.
Here's a metaphor for you. Think back to like 2nd grade. Do you remember a day when your teacher had someone come into your class and talk to you all about something that you don't even remember, and then afterwards she made you all write personal thank you cards for whoever it was that came in? What did you do for that thank you card? You probably just like glued a paper heart in it and wrote something really fast with your unsharpened pencil saying like "thank you. love, Bob." You didn't really care so much.
Now think about a time you made something for someone you really cared about. Maybe it was the teacher you loved so much, or your mom or dad, or maybe your best friend's birthday card. I bet you took ages to make sure everything was just right for it. You put in every detail you could think of. You made sure everything was glued straight, and you used your best writing. You made it your best job, because you really loved that person you were going to give it to.
The earth is the same way. In creating the earth, God could have just given us some berry bushes, and a little stream, and a cave to live in. We would have survived. Because that's all we technically really need. But He didn't. He gave us billions of plants and animals, and different landscapes, and different kinds of weather, and colors, and food, and temperatures, and endless things to discover in space, and the different kinds of people even, with different accents and hair colors, and everything. He gave us all of that because He loves us. He gave us quality work, not just throw some things together work.
All of that is why I really can't see how anyone can look at the amazingness of the world around us and NOT believe. And NOT see God in everything. But what about wars and disasters, and all of that bad, horrible stuff that goes on in the world? How could a God that really loves us make/let all that stuff happen?
Well I'll tell you. It comes in a two part answer, and both of the parts have to do with the freedom of choice, otherwise known as moral agency. The first part has to do with things like typhoons, and earthquakes, and things that people can't control. Why would God let hundreds of people die down in Haiti or over in southeast Asia? First of all, I say to you that death is a natural part of living. It comes to everyone in the whole world, earthquake or not. So that part is entirely irrelevant. But yes, sometimes people suffer from these things. But this has to do with one of the reasons we're on earth in the first place. We're supposed to learn, grow, and make choices. Do you learn anything in your easy classes? No, not really. Do you learn anything when everything is just going along at status quo? No, not really. Sometimes bad things happen, even to good people, because bad things happen to everyone. And this is so that we can learn and grow, and become better people. IE more like He is.
Yes, it still sucks. Yes it's hard. Yes it can make you sad. But that's life. And it's not just life for YOU. It's life for everyone. Ever. People all have different hard things they have to go through. But they all have hard things. You are not an exception. And you aren't getting particularly picked on. You're just like everyone else who ever lived. I don't mean any of that in a calloused "Life sucks, so be bitter and move on" way. I mean that in a "Things are never, ever as bad as they seem, and whether you believe it or not, everything in life has a purpose" way. If God kept all the trials away from you, that would NOT be a sign of love, but a sign of disregard. Like he doesn't really care if you ever become more than you are. Like you're just a whatever. He gives you trials because He loves you enough to want you to be a better person from them. If the only thing you do when a trial comes your way is mope around and be bitter about it, that's your epic FAIL not His.
The second reason God sometimes lets bad things happen, is because of the very freedom of choice that people who are against God so highly prize. (so called.) I say so called, because if you think about it in a completely logical way, there is no middle ground. The choices you make are either gonna lead you toward God or away from Him. It isn't about a choice between following stupid strict rules and doing whatever you want. That's the biggest lie of them all. Because God always keeps his promises, and Satan never does. He leaves you high and dry. So the freedom of choice is not about following God, or following your own plan. It never has been. Either way, no matter what choices you make, it's going to end up being one or the other. The freedom comes in here: You have the unalienable right to be closer to God if you want to be. No matter what anyone says, if you follow what He says, you can be closer to Him. And you also have the unalienable right to run away from Him if you want to. You don't have to be with Him if you don't want. He will never make you. But those are the choices. There is no third option middle ground, no matter how much you try to pretend there is.
That much longer spiel than I planned being said, I move on to reason number two why God sometimes let's awful things happen. It's because he DID give us the ability to choose. And sometimes people use that ability to choose very wrong, very bad things. Sometimes they use it to cause a war. Sometimes they use it to murder someone. And things like that are things that everyone knows is wrong. (Which in itself is proof of a God. Because if there were no God, there would be no such thing as something being wrong. So who cares if someone murders someone else? Big deal? But it is, and most humans inherently know that.) But God does give us this agency, and it is SO important to Him that we have the right to pick which path we follow, that he protects that gift, even at the expense of allowing some of His children to choose wrong. And when some of his kids choose wrong, bad things inherently happen.
That's as succinctly as I can put it. And that is why bad things happening does not prove that there is no God. There is no logical argument that you can formulate that proves there is no God, because He's put proof and signs everywhere that we can see. And if you say to me "Prove it with empirical evidence" I say unto you "disprove it with empirical evidence". A cop-out answer, you may say. But no. Because I have just given you my empirical evidence. The entire world and all its splendors combined with the witnesses of countless people are my evidence. Show me one tiny shred that He does not exist. You can't.
Many people would be scared or embarrassed, or ashamed to put such a "controversial" post on the internet where everyone can see it and potentially rip you apart. I'm not saying it's pleasant to get ripped wide open. To have the things you value be trash talked and mocked. But I do say "bring it on!" all the same. Because I absolutely refuse to go on record as someone who was wishy washy. Who choked when the time came to speak. I refuse to meet God when I die and have to tell Him that I was ashamed of Him. That I was too chicken to let people know what I knew. Oh, man. That would suck SO much more than any rude thing any of you could ever say. I refuse to apologize for saying things that some people disagree with, because I happen to know that God does exist. I absolutely do. And I go on record right now declaring that to anyone who will ever read this post. Let the whole world read it, and then they'll know that I, at least, am one person who will stand up for what I know, whatever you say. No matter what.
I might not be really eloquent about it. I might stumble over my words. I might not know everything there is to know about the way God works. No one does. I might not be an anybody in the eyes of the rest of the world. Maybe no one will ever read this at all. So what. I'm saying what I know. And that it that God exists! And that He loves us! We are His children! Yes, even you.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Their adventures while they're there.

Contrary to what many of my facebook friends believe, I don't make posts and statuses like this because I'm irrationally annoyed and irritated by people who spell everything horribly wrong. I grant that if someone sends me an email with more than a couple occasional mistakes, I really just can't bring myself to finish reading it. So in high concentration, yes, it does start to irk me enough that I must remove myself from the situation. But just generally speaking I make posts like this not to express the turmoil of my inner soul caused by such atrocities, but to both make fun of lesser intellects, and to actively work toward correcting the stupidity epidemic that is running rampant through modern society.
Maybe you still think that it's a sad and pitiful existence I lead, where laughing at morons is so entertaining. You might be right. But I really don't care. I do want to make a note, though. Everyone, at least once in their life, makes a grammatical mistake, especially in typing. I do it all the time, especially because of my auto-complete function. You know how most phones have a text option where it can finish the word for you? My fingers totally do that while I'm typing. They get ahead of my brain, and finish words. They're always real words, but not always the right real word. For example, I frequently use "it's" instead of "its", not because I get them confused, but because my fingers go onto autopilot. Therefore, if you occasionally write the wrong word, or you have autopilot fingers, or anything like unto it, you aren't included in the "moron" group. Because that happens to everyone. I might even accidentally do it in this post. When I say moron, I specifically refer to people who pretty much get it all wrong, all the time, and are completely clueless when someone corrects them, because they don't understand what's wrong.
But, like I said before, that's not the only reason I write stuff like this. This is also informative. It is an attempt to make aware those who are not dumb, but simply didn't realize the mistake, so that they don't look stupid in important situations. If you learned something from this exposition, and go forth newly educated, you also do not count in the moron group. The ability to learn new things, and the willingness to change when you're wrong is a highly valuable trait, and is one of the signs of brain cell usage. So, on we go:

The I before E rule:
  • People tend to ignore this one because they think it's too complicated. It's really not that hard. Basically, if you're spelling something with an I and an E next to each other, 90% of the time the I will come before the E. Simple as that. EX. "Friend, niece, tried"
There are two official exceptions. Except after C, and unless it sounds A. These are also not rocket science.
  • "Except after C" just means that if the I and the E come right after a C in the word, then the E comes first. I don't know why. They just decided that. "Receive".
  • Unless it sounds A. Think about it. If the word makes an A sound, like "neighbor" and "weigh" then the E comes first. Not that tough to figure out. Again, no idea why. But there you go.
There are only four words I've ever officially documented that don't follow any of these rules.
  • "Deity" which could technically fall under unless it sounds A, because some people pronounce it that way. I think it sounds weird, so I count is as a random exception.
  • "Weird" This word is just weird. That's all.
  • The name "Heidi"
  • "Their" which again could almost fit under sounding like A, but it depends on your accent.
If all else fails, just use your eyes. "Friend" looks normal, and "freind" looks completely retarded. "Weird" looks normal, and "wierd" looks just dumb. "Tried" looks right. "treid" looks like someone's failed attempt at a fantasy character name.

They're, there, and their:
  • They're = a contraction of THEY and ARE. It is used anywhere that you would normally write "They are", but you feel like making it shorter, or more like colloquial speech. "They're going to the beach today."
  • There = a place. "Where is it? Over there." or "Bob is going to be there today."
  • Their = It belongs to them. "That is their baby." or "Their house is very nice."
Again, just use your brain. You aren't going to ever say "I hope they are dog doesn't bite."(They're dog) Or "The coming over that belongs to them."(Their coming over.)

You're and Your:
  • You're = Just like with They're. You Are. The apostrophe is the give away there. "You're going to the mall right now?"
  • Your = possessive. It belongs to you. "Is that your dog?"
Two, To, and Too:
  • Two = the number 2. "There are two apples on the table."
  • To = Generally used either with infinitive verbs "to eat, to run, to talk" or to indicate place "He is going to the store."
  • Too = Also, as in "I'm going with them too." or quantity, as in "Too much" or "too long"
This one's a little harder to explain in words, and it's probably one of the most mis-used. You really just have to accept the fact that sometime straight memorizing is not that bad, nor in this case that hard, and just suck it up and do it.

Know and No:
  • Know = Knowledge. "I know that already."
  • No = a lack of something as in "There are no more otter pops." or a refusal, as in "I did ask him. He said no."
Its and It's:
  • Its = Possessive. Something belongs to it. "That is its basket."
  • It's = It + is. "It's getting dark outside." Again, the apostrophe is the clue, there.
Like with They're and You're, remember what the two words are (not a genius level feat). It is. You aren't going to ever say "I wish it would stay in it is house." (It's)

Periods and commas:
  • Admittedly, I have no idea where to put commas half the time. It's not actually the most crucial skill when facebooking or chatting. What I'm talking about it pretending like what you say actually makes sense. Or at least says what you think it says. "Eats, shoots, and leaves" or "Eats shoots and leaves".
  • How to use a period? When your sentence is done, put a dot. The end.
  • For example, if I get a comment on my page that says "I really like that i wish i could it's been forever we should totally hang out" it's a little confusing, even with everything spelled right. The "it's been forever" could be talking about whatever you wish you could do, or about how you should hang out cuz it's been too long.
  • "i wish i could run away" could mean "I wish I could do that too. You should run away." or it could mean "I wish that I could run away right now." Periods make worlds of difference.
Ok, so these aren't the best examples ever. I'm not great at coming up with wrong stupid sentences. But the idea is apparent. When you don't ever use any kind of punctuation, no one knows what the crap you're trying to say. You have to read it like 6 times to figure out where the sentences end, and which phrases belong to which thoughts.

These are the ones that are the most commonly slaughtered. I'm sure I'm missing a few frequently mis-used words, but this is good enough for a start. Don't get me wrong. There are some things that I think don't matter at all. Like sentence fragments. (exhibit A). Things like sentence fragments are sometimes horribly confusing, but most of the time they make what you type sound just like how it would sound if you were speaking out loud. This is an example of creative license in writing. Some rules don't have to be followed when you're going for a particular feeling or sound.
BUT there is a massive difference between rules that are bendable for literary effect, and rules that are there so people can decipher your paleolithic cave scratchings. (translation: Your horrid writing) Moral of the story: Some people think that being smart and educated is a waste of time and coolness. Said people usually work at places like the Rustburg Hardee's for the rest of their lives. Don't be one of those people.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Haplopsecas de Muerte

Yes, Katharine, this is your fault. :P No one really reads this who isn't my facebook friend, so you probably already know that my last facebook status was getting an opinion for which of two titles sounded like a better read. Katharine decided Haplopsecas de muerte was a much spicier option. I don't even know if the spanish is right, but whatever.
After not knowing what to do because of spending most of saturday here by myself, I looked up haplopsecas on wikipedia. I knew they were a venezuelan jumping spider, because Kat told me. But it was one of those articles that was literally like a sentence long, with no picture. So I was forced to go to the page for just general jumping spiders. This picture is on it. It was the coolest pic I've seen of a spider. I don't really know why I like it that much. But it made my brain wheels start turning. Everything that follows is a result of Kat's haplopsecas.
"All clear!" Shouted the upper level scout.
"All clear!" repeated the scouts on the mid and lower levels. Sparky repeated the call to the commander.
"I heard them the first time!" He shouted back.
"Sorry, sir. It's just protocol, sir." Sparky said nervously. Sparky wasn't used to dealing with the higher officers. He was just a desk worker.
"I'm aware of that, corporal." The commander said in a much more dangerous voice. "And you would do well to make yourself aware that we are no longer in your cozy office. We are at the front lines here. In fact, this is THE front. We are the advance line. And out here protocol is second priority. As the commanding officer MY wish is first priority."
"Yes, sir." Sparky lowered his eyes to the floor and backed out the door. He still had no idea what possessed central command to send him here. He was no soldier. Not really. He walked slowly down the hallway, silently complaining. Before he made it back to his quarters, the entire compound rocked violently, and a deafening explosion filled the air. Sparky jumped to the ceiling, hanging on with four legs. He kept the others at the ready, and he focused his main binocular eyes, trying to peer down the smoky hallway. All he could see was a faint shadow. A small eight-legged form. But he knew already what it was.
Black widow. The enemy. Sparky had never seen one up close, but he didn't feel like starting now. Black widows were smaller. They were built more delicately. They weren't native to this part of the world. They couldn't even jump. But that made little difference. The proud female warriors made it a point to kill all enemies. They never left survivors. And those who doubted their abilities were killed in a particularly slow and painful manner. An involuntary shudder coursed through Sparky's body, motion that the black widow was quick to pick up on. She turned her tiny eyes to the corner he was hiding in, and hissed loudly.
Sparky had one chance. Slowly he lowered his front legs to the ceiling. He waited as patiently as he could, watching the shiny black spider approach. She readied her webbers. Black widows were known to be deadly accurate with their webs, and even the fur on his body wouldn't protect him from widow silk.
She took aim. He could see her pincer carefully tightening around the weapon. Just as she squeezed the trigger, he jumped. He kept six eyes on the widow, but he focused on his main eyes, so he could land his jump. The widow spun to face him, but he had already landed and rebounded into the commander's room, shutting the door behind him. Before he could even wonder where the commander was, he noticed a dark shadow in the corner. There stood a particularly evil looking widow looming over the helpless commander. He was trapped under a leaf that had fallen loose from the ceiling in the initial explosion. The widow almost didn't notice Sparky's charge into the room. She was too intent on the easy prey.
Sparky steeled himself. He knew he had to save the commander. That was top priority. But engaging a widow directly in single combat was worse than suicide. He backed away slowly, searching the room for options, while he kept his binocular eyes fixed squarely on his opponent. There was nothing useful. Not even a spear. Why didn't the commander keep himself armed? Sparky had no idea, but this was no time to question military policy.
The widow had finally decided to deal with Sparky first. The commander was helpless, and would be there waiting for her when she finished. Sparky was out of time, so he used the only advantage he had against a widow: his jump. He leapt nearly the length of the room at once, a distance he rarely managed at the best of times. The widow was ready for him, but her tiny mass was no match for the larger spider, and Sparky sent her flying out the window. She was so surprised that she didn't send out her silk fast enough, and she hit the ground hard.
Sparky turned to the commander. He knew their time was short. He dragged the heavy leaf away, and helped the commander struggle to his feet. There were only seven, Sparky noted with concern, but it took more than that to get a jumping spider out of play. Especially one who had been in so many battles. They only had one escape route open to them, and they followed the black widow out the window, carefully attached to silk.
The building was tall. So tall that Sparky was sure his silk wouldn't hold out. Even the lower scouting levels were far from the ground. But the webbing held, and Sparky helped the commander into the nearby brush. They watched with horror as the entire compound was over-run. Thousands of widows swarmed in from every level. Sparky doubted if anyone else had survived, and he wondered how the scouts could have missed such a terrible army.
"Let's move, soldier. We've got work to do." The commander said gruffly, wincing at the pain in his torn leg. Sparky nodded, and ran off into the wild, following the commander.

Whether or not you think that was cool and interesting, that's what happened with the jumping spider pic and the haplopsecas title. *shrug* So if you ever see me staring off into space, completely oblivious to what I'm supposed to be listening to, this is probably what I'm doing. Watching random battle scenes play out, or effecting daring rescues.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Lewis Carroll ain't got nothin on me.

Ok, so admittedly," 'Twas Brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe" is pretty awesome. When I think of poems, the first two that pop into my head are Jabberwocky, and the little crocodile.

How doth the little crocodile

improve his shining tail,

and pour the waters of the nile

on every golden scale.

How cheerfully he seems to grin,

how neatly spreads his claws,

and welcomes little fishes in

with gently smiling jaws.

So yeah. Lewis Carroll is cool. But sometimes I think the stuff in my brain can get even weirder. I don't remember my dreams very often, but when I do, sometimes I wake up thinking "what the...?"

The most recent dream I can remember involved my sister Jenny, Kirsten Busse, and some random dude as yet unidentified. This is not even the weirdest dream I remember. In fact, this one actually mostly makes sense, like a real story. It all started with Jenny and me walking into this vineyard for some kind of mini-vacation. The vineyard was like a combination vineyard, park, and track. It had a huge hedge all the way around the outside, so it was closed in. The grapes grew from the hedge and decorative trees. It was oval shaped with this dirt track running around it. The middle was all grass, like a park. You could do stuff like play frisbee or catch in the grassy part. You were supposed to just leisurely walk around the track. The giant purple grapes fell on the track, and you pick them up as you walk around and you eat them.

While we were walking around the track, a guy chased a frisbee over to where we were. He had really dark hair with bleach blonde highlights, and it was braided kind of like dreadlocks, but not gross looking. Him and Jenny had one of those cheesy love at first sight moments. Jenny started hanging out with him all the time, and they were boyfriend and girlfriend. I thought he was cool enough at first. So later on we were at my apartment complex, which was just like the one I live in now, except for facing south instead of north, and it was built into the cliff wall directly below the vineyard. I lived in the same one, but Jenny also lived there in apartment 8 right above me. She was roommates with Kirsten and Bekah Elliot.

I was hanging out with this dude in a large room off to the side of our complex. We we're joking around sending Harry Potter spells at each other like Jelly legs, or Rictusempra, when it just gradually escalated into a real battle. Suddenly I realized he was trying to actually Jinx me, and so I did Protego first, then expelliarmus, and then I shoved him into this old creepy back room that oddly enough looked a lot like this old pantry/cellar/basement place we had when our family lived in Orem. You know, the kind with loads of junk in it that's so old you don't even remember what all's in there, and it's all the same color because of the tons of dust. Once he was in there I locked him in by using Impervius on the door. I'm still not sure why that worked, cuz that's more like a waterproofing sort of protection spell, but at any rate it kept him in there long enough for me to grab this flying green mo-ped sort of thing and get out of there. It was like a cross between Hagrid's flying motorcyle and the Green Goblin's flying green glider.

I discovered that this dude was actually planning to take over the world, and he needed one crucial thing for his plot to succeed: a necklace with a small glass rosebud on it, conveniently owned by Kirsten. So him meeting Jenny in the vineyard was all planned, and he'd been using her to get to Kirsten all along. I tried to warn Jenny, but she was too boycrazy to even realize that her boyfriend was a psycho dark wizard trying to take over the world. I tried to warn Kirsten, but she trusted Jenny that he was ok, and thought I just didn't like him because he was taking my sister away from hanging out with me more.

After several minor struggles where the glass rosebud changed hands a few times, I finally ended up getting it away from him, and I fled on my green flying scooter thing to this place that looked a lot like the cheesy flowery cottages in Jane Austin books. It had thatched roofs, and vines all over, and rose bushes growing up the walls, and everything. I put on some kind of disguise, and pretended to live in this cottage, so when the bad guy came looking for the rosebud, he didn't recognize me, so he didn't know where to look.

That's where I woke up. So it remained unresolved. But perhaps I could make up an ending. Hmmmmmm. OK, here it is. Once the bad guy decided that I wasn't in this cottage, I followed him back to his lair, where he was planning to re-asses his search methods. I had the advantage, because the rosebud could make his inventions work, or they could destroy them completely. That was his big weakness... he not only needed the rosebud to take over the world, but to keep others from destroying him. Using my masterly stealth skills I explored the compound. He wasn't a very clever bad guy. He made a lot of the common mistakes that bad guys generally make. Those things always lead to downfall, but they never learn.

Mistake 1: Dark and mysterious corridors. That made it really easy for me to spy on everything without getting caught. Mistake 2: He liked to kill his generals when they did something less than perfect. The high turnover in command posts led to chaos and disorder. When it was time to strike, I could use that to my advantage. Mistake 3: He depended way too much on his brainless security guards. They were too stupid to tie their own shoes, and yet he didn't even carry a weapon with him. He just sauntered around his hideout like nothing could get in. Mistake 4: Gigantic central, glass enclosed chamber housing the secret weapon that he needs the necklace for. Easy to find, easy to get into, and hard to guard effectively.

Needless to say, it was easy for me as a trained auror/CIA spy to figure out exactly what I needed to do to defeat him. Before he even knew I was there, I was already in the inner sanctum typing self destruct codes into the secret weapon. Before I alerted him to my whereabouts with a giant explosion, though, I hacked into the computer system and sent a virus into the network which destroyed all backup files on the construction of the secret weapon. They would have to start all over again if they tried to remake it.

I set the timer on the explosives, charged with the glass rosebud, and went crashing through the glass into the bad guy's own bedroom. It really is a bad idea to NOT carry your own weapons when you're a bad guy. His guards got into the room only just in time to see the end of my cloak disappear through the window. The ensuing explosion rocked the compound and lit the night as I ran through the woods to safety.

No one really knows what caused his memory loss. Well, no one but me. Some think it was the explosion. Some think it was some secret magic I learned from the grandmaster. I say, a magician never reveals secrets.

The end.

So that was pretty cool, I think. I imagine that if the dream had been allowed to run it's natural course, the ending would have been much weirder, and maybe more interesting than that. Who knows? Whatever the case, that is the story of Kirsten's glass rosebud. Moral of the story, don't own glass rosebud necklaces, don't swoon over dreadlocked guys that you meet in vineyards, no matter how charming and cute, and don't make brainless mistakes if you are ever an evil overlord. That is all.