Monday, December 31, 2007

Goodbye 2007, hello 2008

As I thought about 2007 coming to a close, I began to reminisce a little bit. This year has been so great to me. From Chatsworth to Cambridge to Brookline, I have had amazing roommates, made stellar friends, and made a lot of progress in some of my life goals. I also feel excited for what 2008 has in store.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

New philosophy on dating

Dating is lame

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Jazz vs. Celtics

Since I've moved here to Boston, I've started loving Boston teams. Let's take a look so far at some of this year's Boston teams' accomplishments:
Red Sox - World Champions
Patriots - First NFL team to ever go 16-0 in regular season
B.C. - Champs Sports Bowl champs
Celtics - Dominating the NBA thus far with a record of 25-3
You can see that it's been a good year to be a sports fan in the Boston area.
But my dilemma is that I am a pretty big Utah Jazz fan. I've liked them for a long time, when they were good, when they were bad, when they were old, and when they were sad. (Sorry I just had to rhyme that) The Jazz haven't been that impressive this season, but to prove that I have really experienced a transition in my team preferences, I checked just recently who won the Jazz/Celtics game tonight and I was pleased to see that the Celtics won! I didn't expect it, but my Jazz loyalty somehow flew out the window. This means that I am either a fair-weather fan, or a true Bostonian already.

I like New Hampshire

I have very little going on this Christmas break so I decided to do something worthwhile with my time. Today I volunteered for the Mitt Romney for President campaign. I'm not sold on some of his views, but some things about him intrigue me. I think that he would probably do a good job of fixing up our country as president. I felt like volunteering on the campaign would give me a unique experience, especially at an exciting time as this. The Iowa poll is in 5 days and the New Hampshire is in 10. I was excited to talk politics with people. As I was making phone calls and knocking doors in New Hampshire today, I was impressed with the people I talked to. I know how hard it is for people to talk to strangers. I've already tried talking to people about religion and satellites. Discussing politics was different and I'd like to think it has something to do with the area I was in. A common phrase up there is that Iowa picks corn while New Hampshire picks presidents. New Hampshire has a long history of standing for freedom, dating back to our forefathers.
The people I spoke with seemed to be interested and well-informed with their politics. As an added bonus to Mitt, most of the people I talked to either supported him or were on the borderline.
I was also impressed with New Hampshire country. There is so much land up there. Living in Boston for 8 months has given me a craving for wide open space. In short, I liked it, even if it involved trekking down an icy quarter-mile driveway only to not find anyway home. I could see myself living there someday...

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Dec. 25, 2007

Soft light penetrated my sleepy eyelids. I rolled over on my bed and peered at my cell phone: 8:00 AM. I thought back briefly to the night before. I was not excited for Christmas to come. This year had been financially straining on both me and my family in Utah so I wasn't able to fly home. However, everyone else I knew apparently was able to make the trip home so I spent my Christmas eve in solitude. No roommates, no friends, no nothing. As I sat thinking last night I realized that as enjoyable as watching TV is, it can't compare with spending time with close friends and family. I had gone to bed on that note, but as I arose from sleep, I could tell that something was different. Something was in the air. Could it be that it was Christmas? 'Well,' I thought, 'Christmas is just like any other day when it boils down to it.' I was to find out how untrue that thought really was.
After getting out of my warm bed, I noticed a stocking hanging in my room. 'That clearly was not there the day before,' I thought. I started looking around and discovered a box in the corner. Upon opening it, I beheld all sorts of candy: Baby Ruths, Charleston Chews, M&Ms, Jelly Bellys, and Tootsie Rolls. Also included was a movie never before seen by Trent: Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventures. A pack of UNO cards also stared back at my rapturous eyes. At the bottom of this box was a carefully wrapped present. Upon opening it, I beheld a beautiful blue Polo sweater. 'This was too good to be true.' I thought as I made my way out of my room. I glanced briefly at my desk where 6 candy canes were stacked. I couldn't help but think that this was the most bizarre situation! I was completely alone in this town, (probably as alone as I've ever felt post-mission) and I was getting all these good presents. But from whom?
In the kitchen, the bread immediately caught my eye. I couldn't tell if it was zucchini bread, or banana bread or what, but a fresh loaf of something along those lines was sitting on the table inside a ziplock bag. I tasted it and it was even better than I expected. While eating the bread, my eyes were drawn to another surprise on the table. One of my roommates had left a practically full package of OREOs on the table when he left and I never moved them out of the way. I noticed two things out of the ordinary. 1) OREO crumbs surrounded the package and 2) an empty glass was situated next to the OREOs. You may wonder why I noticed such seemingly normal kitchen items. In the most non-arrogant way possible with experience living with and without my roommates two truths are as follows: 1) When I am living by myself, the house is clean. 2) When my roommates are present, the house if often not clean. It was weird for me to see the kitchen a little out of the ordinary like that. I also noticed that a residue of milk coated the bottom of the glass signifying that the user had his drink only hours before.
At this point, memories of childhood flashed through my mind. I thought back to the Christmas Eves where I would stay up to gaze out my window in search for Santa and his reindeer in the skies. Since then, I have been reminded of Santa's existence by movies such as Elf and Santa Claus. I guess my doubting and skeptical nature had always overruled my desire to believe. But as I looked at all the gifts I had received, I realized that I did indeed believe in Santa Claus. There was no other possible explanation for such great presents that satisfied my Christmas wants and needs. I was glad that I went through a humbling experience so that I could come to know the truth. I needed a situation where I couldn't attribute Santa's existence to anyone else in the world, a true sack-cloth and ashes experience. Santa Claus, I salute you this Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A new feeling

On my way downtown tonight, I initiated conversations with not one, not two, but three different girls on the train. They were good conversations too, and the girls were good-looking as well. This got me excited to start the next phase in my life: the date non-LDS girls phase. My reasoning is as follows: you're only single once (at least in theory) so you might as well live it up, right? Imagine the missionary opportunities that await me. I got asked why I don't drink tonight and I didn't know what to say. I eventually said that I think it's stupid which probably wasn't the most effective answer. You may be thinking to yourself, 'But wait Trent, you suck at approaching women.' Don't worry, I have a plan. It involves using a combination of tactics from the mission, facebook, and email. I don't think I can reveal any more than this or else the word might get out to all those cute, T-going girls that I will soon meet.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

BBQ sauce and charity

I feel a need to reminisce briefly on food items that I have fallen in love with over the years:
Homemade cinnamon toast - I discovered it in junior high and have since stopped making it, but it's easy to make and GOOD.
Spaghetti - I've always loved spaghetti and I can't get sick of it no matter how often I eat it.
Macaroni and cheese with salsa - My friend Rich Millar showed this combination to me when we sold satellites together in Vancouver. This dish sustained me through the remainder of my college days.
Buttered toast with honey - A high school obsession, I couldn't believe my taste buds when I first found out about this gem of a snack.
A few months ago, an experience eating lunch on the steps with Rachel Martinez helped me discover yet another treasure. Rachel had an extra package of barbeque sauce while I had a tuna fish sandwich. I decided to do a little bit of experimenting by dipping my sandwich in the BBQ sauce. It turned out so good that I poured the remainder in my sandwich. Whereas before I was settling for mayonnaise on my tuna sandwiches, now my eyes were opened and my taste buds jumping for joy.

Allow me to explain why I am contemplating some of my favorite foods. CS Lewis in 'The Four Loves' describes how we have need-pleasures and pleasures of appreciation. For instance, when we are thirsty we experience a need-pleasure when we drink a glass of ice-cold water. But if we unexpectedly experience something wonderful, then it is a pleasure of appreciation. Lewis shares an example of the smell of a row of sweet peas on your morning walk. I think it is the mark of a refined individual to appreciate and value the finer things in life. I know that my example of BBQ tuna is a lot more shallow than the smell of sweet peas, but it at least got me thinking. Interestingly enough, I started thinking more about charity. When one has charity, he can love ANYONE with a perfect love. How is this possible? I believe it is because they have diversified their pleasures of appreciation to the point that they can value others' attributes more than is natural. An example may clarify. I've participated in a lot of running throughout my life. Whether by running myself, or by watching others, I have an interest and appreciation for runners. When I meet someone who is into running, I naturally like this person because there is a natural pleasure of appreciation that I can relate with. My theory is that the more one can appreciate, the more charitable his potential.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Bad days may be a good thing

You may be thinking to yourself that having a bad day is purely a matter of choice, but through many years of experience, I have learned that you can't always be on your A game. Even if you were to have complete self-control and a lot of determination to always have a great day, I doubt that it would be possible to never have a bad day. Sometimes your jokes aren't understood, your topics of conversation may not be appreciated, or uncontrollable forces may bog you down. It's just part of life! It's like a roller-coaster with ups and downs a part of the ride. I've thought about why we are made like this and I've come to the conclusion that it may be for us to connect with other people. When I am feeling good, I am in the position to reach out and build other people up. Contrarily, when I am having a bad day, someone else may lift me up.

Why do I speak of interconnectedness? In the Brothers Karamazov, Dostoevsky (one of my favorite authors of all-time) poses the same question. In the chapter entitled 'The Great Inquisitor', Christ appears again in Spain in the 1400s and is arrested by the church for interfering with its goals. The great inquisitor stands before Christ and starts explaining how there is no need for a Savior. He uses the three temptations as a basis for his argument. Christ rejected Satan's temptations in favor of freedom. According to the great inquisitor, humankind cannot handle the freedom that Christ was willing to die for. The chapter leads into a powerful and thought-provoking discussion about agency. One of the reasons why I love Dostoevsky is because he always answers difficult questions that he brings forth in his works. Later in the novel, he uses a monk Father Zossima to challenge the arguments that the great inquisitor posed to Christ. This old, Christ-like figure urges the fellow monks to pray for and support those that are weak. Everyone is responsible for others. Father Zossima outlines a very active principle that encourages each to do all in his power to reach out and help those around him. He explains that salvation entails being responsible for every man’s sins. One reason why Zossima thought so poorly of the upper class of society is that he saw how riches led to isolation. This then led to people not watching over each other. As a result, he asks, “How many depart from this world in solitude, unknown, sad, and dejected?” The Inquisitor tells Christ that the weak exist for the sake of the great and strong. Father Zossima looks at this with a different light. He agrees that through the weak, opportunities are provided to give help. However, Father Zossima believed that through such examples of helping others, the “weak” people would in time become strong.

Friday, December 14, 2007

A source of opposition in all things

Women are like a double-edged sword. When you hew this figurative sword in the right direction, they make life for you so amazing. (And when I say 'they' I of course mean women and when I say 'you' I mean me.) You can enjoy their companionship, feel inspired to be a better person, and have great conversations with them. The truth that 'it is not good for man to be alone' becomes a reality. However, women can also be a source of much frustration and grief. I guess this goes to show that in order to taste the sweet, one must inevitably partake of the bitter. But partaking of too much bitter is a bad idea as it leads to a preoccupation with negative thoughts. Speaking of negative thoughts, I would like to start avoiding them to the extent possible. Psychologists have determined through experimentation that the average individual thinks about 15,000 thoughts a day. If you are a deep thinker, this number can reach upwards of 50,000 thoughts! The interesting thing about thoughts is that a majority of thoughts that we entertain are negative. Now I'd like to think that I'm an optimistic person, but we're still talking about thousands of negative thoughts every single day! I doubt that such negative thoughts are helping me out very much, so I am going to start thinking positively. Girls are amazing!

Saturday, December 01, 2007


So today has been quite the day already. I was nervous that I wouldn't be able to fall asleep last night, but with my handy earplugs and cozy blanket, there were no problems-I slept like a baby. Until 6:20 that is. I had two alarm clocks poised to go off at 7 so I figured that I should get some more rest. I casually went back to sleep. Then I woke up several minutes later and realized that today I was going to take the LSAT. I remember my heart start thumping and beating with excitement. So much was going to ride on one flippin' test! I was able to drift back into sleep, but not long until I was awakened by the alarm. Because I planned on taking the T, I needed to get out there soon, so by 7:20 I was out the door and heading for the Brookline Village T-stop. Here is me in all my unshowered glory a moment before I left home.

I got a glimpse of how flippin' cold Boston can get. I also found out that the wind here can get INTENSE. For future reference may I remind myself that I need to buy a beanie, gloves, and a scarf for the upcoming cold climate. I got there at 7:50, 40 minutes before the recommended arrival time. I took the stairs up to my room on the 14th floor of BU's law school. I figured that it would be nice to get oxygen flowing to my brain at such an early hour on Saturday. I don't know if that helped though. But on an optimistic note, what a great view of Boston you can get from such a height! But back to my pessimistic perspective, BU definitely loses in the toilet paper competition.

So maybe you're wondering how I did on the test. Well, you'll have to understand that everything I say concerning this is largely speculation, but in my opinion there are two possible scenarios: First I did OK, second I didn't do OK. I'll explain.

In the LSAT there are a total of five sections, but one of the sections is a dummy, you just don't know which one is the dummy. In my case, I had two reading sections so I know that one of them was a dummy. I'll discuss these reading sections at the end. The first section was logical reasoning and because I was slightly nervous at first, I didn't get into a good enough rhythm to complete the section. But I think I made up for it on the second logical reasoning section to make up for it. The games was fine, I kind of botched the final game just because I forgot to set up a good diagram. Worst-case scenario was that I missed 3 on this game though which still isn't that bad. The bad part is coming up. Now back to talking about the reading sections. The first reading comprehension section was fine, I felt like I did a decent job. The second reading section was the 5th and final. As you can probably imagine, my brain was done. It didn't help to start this section off with a piece-of-junk Hawaiian poet that I was 0 percent interested in reading about. After mostly guessing on the 6 questions in this section, I kind of lost control by the second as I noticed that up to that point, 90 percent of my answers were D. I then finished the section strong with a cool passage one species of mites and one of their predators in strawberry plants. But because those first two passages drained my time, I didn't even have time to look at the last passage. I think that the best-case scenario, even if I somehow managed really lucky guesses, is that I got half of the questions right in that entire section. So here is the breakdown of the two already-talked-about scenarios: the final reading section was a dummy in which case I did average Trent good. The other scenario is that they included the last reading section for real and it dropped my score by upwards of 10 points. That makes me sick even thinking about that scenario. OK, enough speculation. I did fine on the LSAT and here is proof:

So now you may be wondering how I'm feeling after its all over. It's funny actually. For the past long while, I've dreamed of the day when I'd finally be through with the LSAT. I envisioned this climactic moment when I would come to a realization that it's over and the relief would be overpowering. Strangely enough, no such moment has happened yet. I feel good, but nothing special. It's as if I wanna go back to my desk and do more analytical reasoning problems. Sick I know.

So what's next? Since I've already sent in all my applications, all I do now is wait. Boring I know. I think in the meantime I should pick up a new hobby. I used to play guitar a little bit when I was in Provo. Maybe I could buy a cheap guitar and fine-tune my skills. Or better yet, maybe I could get me a girlfriend. Novel idea Trent, novel.

Friday, November 30, 2007

I'm bored right now

I took the day off today largely so that I could clear my mind for tomorrow's exam. A lot about where I will be going to law school for the next year is going to be dependent upon how well I do tomorrow. (Not to put any additional pressure upon myself or anything.) So I spent the majority of the day getting ready for tomorrow. I charted my course to BU. I redeemed a free Qdoba entree coupon which made for quite the delicious lunch. Try the pork quesedilla if you have a Qdoba in your area, it's AMAZING. Then I gathered supplies. LSAC is downright stringent about what you can and cannot bring to the test. I have a zip-lock bag full of all the allowable goods. I have 6 sharpened pencils and a pencil sharpener included. I'm amazed I'm being so prepared. And now I'm all done with my preparations. LSAT here I come. Speaking of law, when I was in high school I used to read John Grisham books. If you're not familiar with the said author, he writes novels about lawyers. Apparently he can legitimately do so since he used to be a lawyer. Anyway, in one of the books I remember reading about a group of lawyers going out to lunch and paying $30. Back then I thought to myself that paying $30 per person for lunch was ridiculous. If I paid $5 for lunch, that was a lot. Well, last week our lab went out to a Brazilian BBQ buffet place, where they bring around all these meats. Don't ask me how, but I ended up walking out of that place having dropped $30. I had a bad feeling in my stomach (not from the inordinate amount of meats I ate, that feeling was to come the next day) because I felt like I could have eaten my peanut butter and jam sandwiches instead and saved myself $28.70. But it was good to bond with the lab members a little bit more. There are always advantages and disadvantages of doing things. Well, I'm going to take the rest of the evening off of difficult and mind-straining activities. Not that this activity is difficult or mind-straining by any stretch of the imagination, I meant after I finish this post. I figure that if I scratch my brain's back, tomorrow morning at 9AM, he'll scratch mine.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I fixed a very satisfying bug today at work

Part of the reason why computer programming is such a love-hate relationship is that sometimes your program does what you want it to do and joyful feelings abound. But there are other times when your program does not do what you expect or want. Negative feelings of hate, envy, despair, and doubt are therefore also associated with programming. The process of aligning the two wills of you and the computer program is called debugging. Well, today at work I was trying to figure out a certain bug that had taken me quite some time, I'll have to admit. But eventually, I was able to come out on top. My relationship is now very much on the love-side. =)

Monday, November 26, 2007


Recently I went to New York City for the first time.

Lauren accompanied me.
One of the highlights of the trip was checking out Chinatown. I've loved bartering with people ever since I first tried it out in Moscow. The first item I bought was a 3.4 oz bottle of Curve for only $20! It's legit too.

This is me in the act of bartering.
The crowning purchase, however, was my watch for $40. It's an Omega Seamaster professional. She started the bidding at 65, but I managed to whittle that price down in no time. I thought I was getting a decent deal at the time, but I didn't know for sure because I didn't know how to get the thing working. But I fixed it up on Sunday and it's motion-powered. Today I looked up the watch online and found the same one retailing for 1750 Euros! That means that I can maybe sell my watch on Ebay and make bank. Oh wait, I suck at selling things on ebay, silly me. I almost forgot about that.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Another thanksgiving down

The more I age, the more I seem to like sweet potatoes.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The parable of the hungry pigeon

Recently I was with a friend whom I respect and whose company I enjoy. For the sake of anonymity, I'll refer to her as Heidi. She asked me point blank why guys focus more on looks when evaluating prospects than girls do. She also asked me to answer it without using biology. I was at first defensive, thinking to myself that I wasn't like the typical, superficial guys that only care about looks. But after thinking about it, I knew this wasn't entirely true. The harsh reality was that I was similar to many guys out there: a sucker to the beauty of women. I then reorganized my mental faculties and explained that external members of society influence us. I've found that I want to be with a girl because I like being around her, but yet I still value what my friends and family think of her. And oft times, what they think of her is dependent upon her looks at least at first. However, even as these words were spewing forth from my lips, I knew this couldn't be the sole reason why men emphasize beauty. Why couldn't my family or others that I craved validation from spend some time to get to know my girl, rather than base everything off the first impression of how she looks. Now after this point was cleared up, I felt like a dog with his tail between his legs. I thought to myself, 'Why is it that I go for pretty girls when they in many cases have so much less to offer?' I didn't know, and without a biology perspective I still don't know. I'll spend some additional contemplation time on this subject, and report my findings soon. In the meantime, allow me to share a parable that explains all I know about this topic from a biological perspective:

I was walking to work one morning a couple weeks ago and I saw a woman feeding a pigeon. She threw a piece of bread onto the cold pavement road. At the same time as she threw it, another pigeon arrived onto the scene, swooped in, and grabbed the bread. I could tell this wasn't the first time the second pigeon had done this because the woman expressed frustration and scared the second pigeon away, trying to give the bread to the first pigeon. I thought to myself how unfair that scenario was to the scared-away bird. That woman was denying traits such as speed, agility, and aggression that have been selected for for millions of years. Maybe she thought she was being fair by putting both birds on an equal playing field. But that isn't fair to the more progressed bird and it certainly isn't fair to their posterity. Let's take the first pigeon's posterity for example first. If he is equal to his more advanced friend, his posterity is going to have to rely on the same kind of generosity that woman provided. But we live in a cold, harsh world and rarely can birds rely on others' benevolence. Birds evolved certain characteristics for these very reasons. If the second pigeon's posterity had no advantage over his weaker peers, even though in a natural environment he should, it would negate all of his commendable and worthwhile skills. If only this woman knew that she was being the opposite of fair. I walked past her anxious to start my day at work.

Monday, November 19, 2007

An interesting trend

I am not writing this because I have anything interesting to say. I noticed the other day that my posts are becoming much more frequent. On the sidebar, the number of posts have actually increased linearly and consistently since June. So because I want this trend to continue, and have not yet surpassed last months number of posts, I am writing this.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Perfection, a daunting task

Perfection is something that sometimes seems unattainable to me in any area of my life. What would it mean to be perfect at my job? It would probably involve me performing to the best of my ability every minute I'm working. Another example is living my life according to my beliefs. I think about this more often. Try as I may, by myself I can't seem to live with my body perfectly aligning itself with my ideals. One reason why I feel like perfection is hard for me is because I tend to not focus on one particular aspect of life, rather I like doing a lot of different things. This also crosses over into interpersonal relationships. I don't tend to become friends with people on a really deep level, rather I tend to do the superficial friends thing. I also tend to not get into serious relationships that often. But I wasn't thinking of relationships when I first thought of this topic, rather of interests. I have tried a lot of different things, and I am quite good at the game "Have you ever." My major at BYU bioinformatics was exactly suited for me in that it covered a broad area of topics, but not going too deep into each individual one. I think that my approach to life is both good and bad. Good because I can relate to a lot of different people and their interests. Bad because I'm not that much of an expert in any one field. To be perfect in any area of life involves intense training and practice. I look at any professional, whether they be athletes, musicians, construction workers, comedians, or even chefs. While some professionals might downplay how much they trained to get to their current level, citing natural ability as their biggest ally, I know that they must practice A LOT to achieve. I have been forced to focus my efforts into one interest for the past few months: LSAT. Today I achieved perfection in a very small element of this endeavor. The final section of my practice LSAT this morning was the analytical reasoning, or games section. I rocked this section with a perfect 22/22 score, boosting my self-confidence which was under distress at the moment. Now if I can only master the logical reasoning section...

Friday, November 16, 2007

I am selling the Trentmobile on Ebay

It turns out that ebay motors is the place to sell automobiles. Craigslist and other free forums for selling stuff can't even compare to ebay's setup and style. I opted for the risky approach. I'm the kind of guy that isn't afraid of taking risks in life, at least until I get burned. But I figured that the way that I can get people interested in my car is to do three things: 1) Feature the car with all the available ebay upgrades, 2) Start the car as low as possible and 3) Don't have a reserve price. I did offer a Buy Now option at $18,500, but I reasoned that by following these criteria, I'd get that auction price up at least close to that figure pretty quickly. It's now been 2.5 days since it has been on Ebay with 7.5 remaining. Already it is at $5300, but I am starting to get nervous. Maybe I should have included a reserve price. That would be the worst if I had to sell my car for $8,000 or something. OK, this is what I'm going to do. If you are reading this right now, and you are even mildly interested in owning a 2005 Honda Civic Hybrid, I am about to offer you an offer that you can't refuse. I will sell the car to you for $17,995! You can consider it a discount for reading my blog, although I have no idea how many different people out there read my blog. Every once in a while, I get a comment by somebody unknown to me. Then there are all those people out there that don't comment, they just read, and ponder, and come to conclusions... To all of those out there, now is your chance to comment for the first time. You can start out like this: "Hi Trent, I'm interested in your car. Do you accept checks?" Okay, I'll even admit that was borderline desperate sounding. A little off topic, may I add that Dispatch is a good band. Okay, back to the topic, you might be thinking that it might be a sad moment for me to sell the trentmobile. I know what a good car she is. Besides her sleek design and fuel-efficient practicality, she is very reliable and fun to drive. I hate to part paths with her, but it's not economically feasible for me at the moment. I am experiencing feelings similar to a breakup-you know you need to do it, but it's still hard to do. Check out the car here

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Quote of the day

Josh: "Mormons can play drug wars?"
Me: "I've played drug wars in my day."

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

One of my favorite stations

Currently, does not have a classical music station available, but they promise that they are working on it. Until that time, I do believe that the best pandora station is Hans Zimmer radio. Check it out here

Sunday, November 11, 2007

An interesting question

"So how long has it been since she asked you?" my aunt asked as we were all gathered at her house on Christmas day. "7 days," I answered aware that there must be rules and logistics associated with asking and answering school dance dates. "Yeah you need to answer her," she replied. Soon I was driving over to my future date's house with a box full of chocolates with one containing the paper slip with the word 'yes' on the bottom of it. I placed the box on her porch, rang her doorbell, and took off-classic high school style. I felt pretty excited about going to preference. This was actually going to be my first date ever. Although I was nervous at the same time. Missy Lunt, the girl I was going to preference with, was totally out of my league. Out of all the guys out there, I had no idea why she asked me. A couple days later, I was at my cousin Erik's house with my other cousin Stan. We were engaged in things that adolescents do during long, boring, Christmas break days - playing video games. Erik, who was older and more experienced with girls than I was, informed me that I needed to call my date to figure out some additional details: what the color of her dress was going to be, when she was going to pick me up, et cetera et cetera. I didn't want to make the phone call, in fact I vaguely remember a sick feeling in my stomach as he was explaining the task I needed to perform. But because I wanted to comply with the rules, I decided to bite the bullet and make the call. It was decided that I would call her up then and there at his house. Stan and Erik both agreed to leave the room with the phone empty for me to perform the deed. I finally found her in the phone book, picked up the phone and dialed the number. My heart was beating fast. "Hello." a boy's voice answered. "Is Missy home?" I asked. "Yes, just one minute." My heart was pounding. 'Oh crap, what am I going to say?' I frantically thought. But I knew what I was going to say. My mind momentarily went blank when I heard the soft sound of 'Hello?' 'Hi, [awkward pause] Missy?' 'Yeah.' 'Hey this is Trent.' 'Hey Trent.' '[another pause, slightly more awkward] Hey.' Now I really needed some material. What could I say at this point? Nothing was coming to mind, nothing at all.

I'm not going to say that I am now an expert in conversing with girls over the phone, but at least nowadays it's not as embarrassingly bad as it used to be. This topic brings up an interesting question about dating. Should someone use external razzle-dazzle to make him appear better than he actually is, or should he just approach girls as he is at face value?

When I was 18, I had a weird relationship with a girl. In some contexts I would classify it as a relationship, in others I would just say we were good friends. Her name was Jen. I would often think of things to say to her during the day, but when it came to talking to her over the phone, I would draw blanks at times. I found that I could write all my topics of conversation on a piece of paper, and then in the lull of the conversation, I could glance at my paper of conversation topics and I was set. After a while, however, I started doubting this approach. My question at the time was, if I need a crutch (in this case my crutch was the piece of paper, but other crutches exist such as a nice car, a cool hair style, a nice bod, or fashionable clothes) to woo a girl, is that healthy for a long-term relationship? Shouldn't the girl accept me for who I am at face value despite such trivial things? At the time, I thought no, I needed such crutches. I thought that you should use every advantage you possibly can to attract Miss Right. But after gaining oodles of experience, I now ponder this question again. My conclusion: I think that everything that you do or use to attract that special someone should illustrate the person you really are. Suffice it to say that I do not make lists anymore for phone conversations and lately I haven't been styling my hair in a cool manner. But I still do sit ups every morning. And who knows, maybe I'll start the hair thing back up soon too. But that is a long and complicated story that should be discussed at another time.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Seee ya

So long social world as I know you. I've got some business to take care of for the next 25 days. Peace

Thursday, November 01, 2007

A flashback almost 6 years ago

It was bitter cold as we stepped outside our apartment building. A strong gust of wind momentarily took my breath away. I looked around. All around me, I could see Russians doing their everyday tasks notwithstanding the -30 degree temperatures. It was as if, this was normal for them. I had only been in the country for 3 months and this extremely cold weather was something I was not used to. I rolled up my scarf and started catching up to my companion Elder Pratt.

We were off to our first appointment of the day. We had been meeting with Nadezhda for a couple weeks now, an older woman living relatively close to us. I was grateful that she kept inviting us to come back after each discussion.

We began our discussion of what would be about Jesus. We were very excited about this discussion as we had prepared most of the morning to get ourselves ready. At least content-wise, we had this discussion down pat. The delivery, though, was another story. Between the two of us, our control of the Russian language was not so firm. Putting up with our Russian, I could tell she was a patient woman. Elder Pratt had only been in the country 5 months.

For the most part, our discussion seemed to be going well. Nadezhda was answering our questions and even asking some questions herself. There were times when she didn't understand what we were saying. Despite Pratt having 2 months of seniority on me, Nadezhda would often look at me and express confusion. I liked to blame his Californian accent as the culprit which prompted me to repeat what he had just said. In the past month of being with him, my knowledge of Russian had grown considerably. I thought back to my previous companion who spoke Russian so confidently and powerfully. I never felt comfortable speaking to Russians around him. I knew that he was analyzing my word choice, counting my grammatical errors. and critiquing my accent. With Pratt, I had become much more fluent just because I had just as good a chance of saying it correctly as he did.

Now it was my turn to talk about the resurrection. I decided to use a little object lesson which involved me representing ourselves as a hand inside of a glove. I found that Russians related well to object lessons that involved familiar items.

I had to give it to myself: I did a pretty good job with teaching that object lesson of mine. As I took off the glove, representing death, and put it back on to represent the coming together of the body and spirit, I felt very confident in my Russian speaking abilities. With such a difficult language as Russian, one could only hope to have a good knowledge with years of experience. But I found that in very specific contexts, even I could communicate effectively.

We finished our discussion and thanked her for the discussion. As we made our way to the marshrutka, Pratt and I talked about how it went, in Russian of course. We stuck to a program that our mission had implemented in which we spoke 100% Russian all the time, even around Americans. It definitely helped out, as frustrating as it could sometimes be. For the most part, we agreed, the discussion had gone over really well. An empty marshrut pulled up and I took the seat by the driver, an easy way to talk to someone. And since the driver couldn't run away from me no matter how bad my Russian was, it was a foolproof idea. I had learned that the best way to learn Russian is through practice with real people. Sure personal study of the language helped solidify concepts, but until I stuck myself out there and used it in real conversation, I knew I was never going to be fluent.

As we made our way into our next area, I thought about all the progress I had made in learning this new language. Sure I had a long ways to go until mastery, but my progress so far gave me confidence that I would continue to improve.

Monday, October 29, 2007

unfortunate news

today while at the doctor's office, i weighed myself. with my shoes and clothes, i was a meager 158 pounds. it's been 4 months since i quit going to the gym and it is very apparent as i've already lost 7 pounds! i'm thinking that once i take the lsat i will reclaim those lost pounds and maybe even put some more on. in fact, i maybe i could look like this someday: just kidding, i'm not ridiculous. well in the meantime, i'll just be wasting my body away. peace

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Red is not my favorite color

It's not that I'm opposed to red, I just think it's not the best color out there. Blue is a great color. My eyes are blue. Gray is a cool color. Black. I like white. But red? I don't know. I'll give red some pluses: the Red Sox are red, my Marines water bottle is red. But on the other hand, let me tell you something else associated with red: blushing. I am not talking about the act of applying blush, which females oftentimes do. I am talking about having a red face from embarrassment or shame or agitation or emotional upset. I hate it when I do stupid things and subsequently blush. Doing stupid things is normal and I'm fine with that. But to then have a color on your face that flags you as a moron is quite another thing. The worst is when someone mockingly calls you on it, which furthers the blushing. Blushing is something that I've come to accept as beyond my realm of control. I can't stop it from happening. So instead, I'm going to try and figure out why it happens from an evolutionary perspective. Maybe it made predators think that the idiot caveman was angry and stopped messing with him. I'm pretty sure our faces turn red when we're mad. Maybe it used to be attractive to see those cheeks on fire. I'm going to stop hypothesizing. Green is another cool color. It reminds me of wildlife.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Sleep dep

I used to go to Orem High School, home of the tigers. My junior and senior year I did policy debate. My partner in my senior year was my cousin Stan Nelson. We named our case that we ran "Sleep Dep." short for sleep deprivation. It focused on how our society needs to get more sleep. For more information about this topic, please refer to this wikipedia article here. Since high school, I have run across different people with differing needs of sleep. It turns out that a large part of someone's sleep needs is based on genetics. Some people honestly amaze me at how little sleep they can operate on. I am not the type who sleeps in until 11:30 by any means. In fact getting more than 8 hours of sleep is a rare thing for me indeed. But I need a decent amount of sleep! I have learned this lesson a lot lately. If I get 4 hours of sleep for a night, I get sick the next day almost automatically. Then there are those who can pull all-nighters, or get by on a consistent 5 hours of sleep per night. When I encounter such people, deep down I wish I had such an ability. But I can't blame myself for my physical inadequacies, that's obviously my parents' fault. What I can do is do everything in my power to enable my future children to be endowed with these advanced traits. You may be thinking to yourself, "Why Trent, you are advocating Nietzsche's superman philosophy! How dare you?" I may have to agree with that astute observation. But to my defense, may I cite a true principle that explains a lot about life: evolution. It is because of continually advancing our genetic makeups that we are alive today. Why shouldn't I strive to produce a competitive posterity in today's world? In the meantime, I am going to keep on the lookout for a certain girl. In addition to the three qualifications that I have maintained for a long time, she's going to not need very much sleep. Is it selfish of me to do this? Well yes, [pause] and no. I'm going to bed.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

And the winner is, [drumroll please]

I remember reading an editorial in the Daily Universe last year about how BYU has bad toilet paper. I want to say that the toilet paper here at Harvard is worse. You'd think that with a $35 billion endowment, the toilet paper wouldn't remind me of Russia, but it does. In the toilet paper competition, I declare the winner to be my own sweet home.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Don't even go there

By being single, you get to meet and associate and even date a lot of members of the opposite sex. As we are all built differently, we each have different preferences for what we like and don't like about others. One question that I sometimes get asked, or led to answer is the following: "So why don't you like her?" or "What about her don't you like?" There are two types of people who ask this question. 1) Those who really want to know the answer to this question just for curiosity's sake. 2) Those who have ulterior motives and secretly want to refute your answer so that you appear judgmental, too picky, and charity-less. I rarely run across type 1 and hence do not usually disclose reasons as to why I'm not interested in someone. As a result, I have a lot of thoughts that are just bubbling inside, with no one to go to. Someday I'll find me a psychologist and the secrets will then end.

Monday, October 15, 2007

We're going global

So recently I was introduced to Google Analytics, a web tool that allows you to track the in depth statistics on any website that you are in control of. It's only a 2-3 line javascript snippet that you copy and paste into your html. I was impressed with the tool. I was checking out the stats for and I noticed some pretty remote countries that have visited the site: Australia, Thailand, and even Iran. That's right, I have no idea what the city of Yazd is like, but someone there apparently accessed my site in the last month. I'm already thinking of potential global growth, especially in the middle east. I can see it now:,,, hmmm we'll keep on thinking about this idea...

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The most disturbing dream...

Sigmund Freud believed that dreams provide a key to understanding our subconscious mind. If this is the case, I don't know what's going on deep down in my mind after last night's dream.
So there was a women's baseball game between Pakistan and India. Pakistan was pitching and the pitcher nails the Indian batter. As this stunned batter tries to recover, the catcher stands up and kicks the batter in the back area, dropping her to her knees. The catcher then takes the bat and hits the batter in the head. This leaves the poor Indian woman sprawled across the field. You would think that would be the end of the catcher's abuse. Something very interesting then happens. The catcher starts rhythmically hitting the head of the already unconscious batter with about a 5 second delay in between each hit. The rest of the team is joining in on some chant which resembles some Tongan dance or something. They aren't doing anything to stop it because it seems like they approve. Then I start seeing those who don't approve of this ma lay. From the stands come running Indian fans to the field who want to stop this from happening. The are running, but since they start running from way across the field, it takes them a long time. After that dream, I was trying to figure out if the catcher lived or died because of that experience, but it's just a matter of speculation. I have no idea. One thing is sure, Go Red Sox.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

charity is key

As I was in the shower this morning, I thought about people that I don't like. I realized that the reason I don't like a lot of them is because they don't have charity. Paul said it well, "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing." This was an interesting moment as I made this realization for two reasons: 1) It made me realize that I need to work on charity myself. 2) It made me realize how my preferences for people are changing. I used to like people on the basis of their physical attributes, their interesting personalities, and their sense of humor. I still evaluate my friendships with people based on these qualities, but increasingly I base it off of charity. This assumes that I can judge if someone has charity, which I know I can't always do perfectly, but at least I'm looking for it; and when I find it, I like it.
I just used a semi-colon. I'm so proud of myself!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Give it to me straight up

There's something to be said of frank, candid honesty, especially in regards to how one can improve his or her life. We don't take constructive criticism very well as human beings, but there is another way: anonymous suggestions. If people don't tell us some of the things that we can be doing better, how are we to know how we can improve? I'd like to think that by looking at the good examples of others, we can improve ourselves, but that oftentimes isn't enough. A couple examples hopefully will illustrate.
My friend over last summer was interested in a girl, but one thing about this girl bothered him. She had some fuzz going on above the lip. You would think that a guy interested in a girl would be able to overlook such a seemingly trivial characteristic, but he couldn't bring himself to taking the relationship to the next level with this girl. A couple of my friends intervened. They used facebook to send her an anonymous message through "The honesty box" explaining how she should wax her upper lip. The amazing thing is that she shortly thereafter did, my buddy and her hooked up, and they've been dating ever since.
My other friend likes girls to have good breath. This is especially important in the kissing aspect of dating. I mean honestly, who wants to touch lips with someone with rank breath? No one I hope. Well, my friend was interested in this one girl and that was one of the relationship barriers he faced. He told me the situation and we came to the conclusion that at his stage in the relationship, there was no way for him to talk about it with her. You can't go up to a girl that you've only been out with a couple times and tell her about bad breath. That upgrades the status of the relationship to "way too serious" in one conversation. So we decided to send her a text message from my phone about the subject. The text went along these lines: "You don't know me, but I know guys that would be more interested in you if you had better breath." Because of that text, she was in a position of knowing how she can better herself in an increasingly more competitive world. I don't know the rest of the story, but I share this example to illustrate the point of how cool anonymous truth is.
I'm not advocating for fault-finding, but genuine criticism with the intent to improve someone else is healthy to an extent. I'm grateful for my brother who sat me down a month or two after my mission and told me, "Trent, you're weird." Even if you don't pursue their recommended course of action, at least you have another perspective.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Some of my favorite conference 177 speakers

1) Elder Callister
2) President Eyring
3) Elder Scott
4) President Monson

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Listen to your heart

I read the book the Alchemist a couple months ago. In case you haven't read this book, the message that it drives home is that you should be in tune with your heart and it will tell you what you should do. As I was reading the book, I realized how in certain moments in my life I have done certain things because I was following my heart. And while I can't say that I've found my personal legend yet, it's interesting to see where I've come so far in my journey. But that is another story. The point that I was trying to get at was this: I believe that my heart just told me to stop speed-reading. Yep, just flat out stop. How did it tell me that? It gave me a very lazy feeling, sapped all the motivation out of me, enlightened me with other things I can be doing with my time, and directed me to this wikipedia entry which rags on the comprehension of speed-readers. Because I'm obedient, I'm going to comply to my hearts wishes. Maybe another time in the future when the timing is better I will pick up this skill. But for now, on to continue my personal legend quest!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

A strange disease may be in my future

Something interesting about me, I like to chew on pens. I've found that it doesn't matter whose pen it is, I'll chew on it if it is in my possession. This may be annoying to friends that don't like their pens chewed up as I've found out. A couple days ago I got off work and was heading to the T to go pick up my car from its inspection. I absolutely love doing sudoku on the train because it keeps my mind working and helps me become more logical. I realized, however, halfway to the T-stop that I didn't have a pen on me. Not willing to walk all the way back to my work area, I decided I'd scour the streets on my way over for a lost pen. I finally found one (a black papermate) just as I was nearing my stop. I made a mental note, 'You don't know where this pen has been so don't chew on it.' By the way, that was a great sudoku day as I completed all three levels in the Boston Now. Later that evening, to my dismay, I noticed that I was putting this new one in my mouth. I had to back up, put another one in my mouth, and inwardly rebuke myself for a lack of foresight. In that moment, I kind of felt like a baby. Babies always put things in their mouth without thinking where they have been. Maybe I should grow out of this habit of chewing on any available pen, or I'll get werewolf syndrome or something.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I like 'em all dang it

Last night as I was watching the Democratic debates, I couldn't help but have the utmost respect for each of the candidates especially the front-runners Barack Obama, John Edwards, and Hillary Clinton. These are individuals who have gone through a lot in their lives to get to where they are in life right now. I like John Edwards because he is just so darn upfront and honest about himself. He also has that Southern accent going on. Barack has such a professional voice. He comes across as educated just by talking. Hillary Clinton is really intelligent. I can also tell that she used to be cute. Do I agree with all of their policies? Certainly not. But could I see myself living in a country run by one of these three candidates? Yes. Does that mean that the country is going to be more vulnerable to terrorist attacks? Probably. Is our economic system going to more closely resemble France after the next four years? Perhaps. But I like each of these candidates and I've noticed something very interesting about human interpersonal relationships: when you like someone, you're willing to overlook a lot.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The status quo should change

A few months ago when I still lived in Provo, my cousin who was engaged at the time, set me up on a date with his fiance's former mission companion. If you are a guy reading this, I know what you're thinking: there are many red flags in that previous sentence. I was skeptical myself, but I figured that I had never really interacted with my cousin and his fiance in a social setting before (they got engaged really quickly), so I decided to go out with them. I was shocked when I first saw my blind-date that she was beautiful, not what I expected in all honesty. According to the dating rules, you can't come across as too interested in your date or else she'll think that you're some creepy guy. I've learned that this rule especially applies to women who are really good-looking. So I was just trying to be myself the whole night, but at the same time maintaining a bubble that I deemed appropriate for her. She seemed a little bit quiet to me, and at the time I interpreted her actions as being standoffish. I respected that, for there's no point in acting interested if you are not. The whole night was fun for me as I got to see my cousin as previously explained. But my date and I never seemed to attain that level of connection that warrants a second date. To put my case in point, towards the end of the date I didn't even feel like walking her to the door and doing the whole door-step scene. But I did anyway and gave her a hug, but didn't get her number. On the way home, I thought to myself that there was a girl who had her heart elsewhere and that maybe a guy was on her mind somewhere else, because she didn't seem to be giving it up to me. The next week I was over at my cousin's house just chillin' and guess who shows up? That same girl whose name will be anonymous for now. It seemed to me that she came to visit Brooke that Sunday evening. I stayed for only a few minutes and briefly chatted with her, but then left shortly thereafter. I never really kept in touch with this date of mine. Just last week, as I visited Utah, I talked with Brooke about this girl whom she set me up with many months back. She asked me what I thought about her. I told her what I honestly felt at the time, that I was getting uninterested vibes from her. Brooke countered that she was shy and that she liked me. I was shocked at that comment and skeptical. She furthered that that one Sunday, she came to visit Brooke at my cousin's to visit me. That was very unexpected. She then went on to explain how good of a companion on her mission she was. After that, I started thinking about the limitations of dating. First dates (especially blind-first dates) are lame in that in essence the two participating parties judge the other person on the basis of very superficial and in many cases short-term elements. The basis of this is that we are naturally superficial people at first. After time, the important issues surface. This has its advantages, but one big disadvantage is that if two people are not on the same page as each other in very trivial matters (as was the case with me and this girl that night) I never get the chance to see if we are on the same page in long-lasting and important matters. I think dating needs to make a change if it's gonna be any more effective at putting more people into relationships. Instead of focusing on the petty details, which people could easily work out with more time together, what if more of a focus was on the important issues? For instance, if the whole time the only topics of conversation is on music, fashion, and movies, it's difficult for me to comprehend how valuable information about the other person was gleaned other than physical attraction. There seems to be another option on the web. Internet dating seems to be picking up steam. I don't know if this is the solution. Despite the number of deep questions that you can ask someone online, it is always different than asking them in person. That way the the questionee can see the questioner's face and gauge his or her sincerity. Alas, I'm idealizing again. Shoot.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

For my own sake...

let me list the law schools that have peaked my interest. the following are in the top-25 according to us news and world report in the order in which i am most interested:
1) uc berkely
2) stanford
3) duke
4) minnesota
5) washington u
6) boston u
7) harvard
9) george washington
10) fordham

other schools that are also on my list include byu, george mason, utah, and franklin pierce.
so over the weekend, i visited utah as my brother returned home from japan. as i was here, i figured i'd attend my registered for lsat-prep course on saturday morning. we collectively took an official lsat: test 51. i felt good about the test as it was much more consistent across the sections. i scored a 162 which is decent, but not where i want it to be. i have been studying a lot lately, but still have a ways to go. may me listing out these law schools inspire me to study for the lsat so that i can get into one of these stellar schools. isn't there a general authority quote somewhere along those lines: study study study? there has to be.

Monday, September 17, 2007

If you're gonna do it, you should probably do it right

The countdown until when I'm supposed to take the test is 12 days, but I have felt that instead of going into panic mode like I am prone to do, I am actually feeling pretty good with myself. "Why?" one may respectfully and honestly ask. Well, I just barely came to a sudden and startling realization: I am woefully and dreadfully ill-prepared for the LSAT. It was an interesting moment that I just barely had as I was finishing up my speed-reading drills. Keep in mind that this was also after taking a practice LSAT this morning and not doing that well on the said test. I began realistically thinking to myself, "Trent, you probably won't do that well come Sept. 29th. There is a chance that you might get lucky, but come on and let's face it. For as big a thing as this is for you, do you really want to leave it up to chance? You might as well push the test to December and that way you can prepare yourself more." Rather than having a spirit of defeat or pessimism, I feel a renewed sense of hope and purpose. Just a side note of background information. The Law School Admission Test is an interesting exam in that it covers enough material to stretch anyone thin thin thin. You can effectively study for one section, such as the logical reasoning, and think to yourself that you have the concepts down. Then, while taking a practice test, you find another section bites you in the butt. The process can continue over and over. I have mixed feelings right now as I think about putting this test off for 2 more months. On the one hand I really want it to be over with. But on the other hand, I really want to do it right. There are so many practice problems for me to conquer and so much room for improvement in my reading comprehension. I can't wait for the fun to continue! December 1st is the new destination date and I am going to rock this test!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Tight like unto a dish

If I had a top-5 list of my favorite types of candies, the following would probably comprise that list:
1) Candy Corn. Since I was a little kid, I have loved the rush that these nuggets of seemingly pure sugar give. After making the transition to adulthood, one would suspect this craving for candy corn would die down. After just stopping at Walgreen's and seeing a pack hanging on the shelf, I realized that the sugar beast inside me has not died. The pumpkins that they make are pretty much made out of the same ingredients and have the same flavor, so I'd group both candies together on this list.
2) Swedish Fish. Give it up to the Swedes for inventing Swedish Fish. You can buy them big or small, multi- or uni-colored. So good! I used to doubt the Swedish origins of this candy, thinking perhaps that it was some American marketing scheme to get people to buy. But recently I visited an Ikea and what did I behold besides the amazing selection of good quality household furnishings? You guessed it.
3) Cinnamon Bears. I've always liked the flavor of cinnamon, since I was a little kid. Those atomic fireballs gave me my highs growing up. Cinnamon bears not only provide the necessary sugar that a growing individual needs, but also the sustenance. The next time you have the opportunity, look carefully at the nutritional labeling of cinnamon bears. You will see that there is an ingredient maltodextrin. This compound when combined with peanut butter and pretzels form a molecule that can be used as a substitute for protein and fat. If you doubt me, go talk to the Army. They use pills of this form to feed soldiers in extreme conditions. Together with the sugar, your caloric intake is covered, unless of course you want anti-oxidants which many fruits and vegetables contain. In which case, you can always take a multi-vitamin. I learned of the value of cinnamon bears a couple years back when I used to live in Provo. While shopping one evening, I saw a huge bag of cinnamon bears for 5 bucks at Smiths. I was skeptical that I would get sick after eating large quantities of the bears. After taking O-Chem, I now know why it never happened: maltodextrin.
4) An M&M variety of some sort depending on my mood. Nowadays there is a type of M&M for every mood of mine. I used to like the plain M&M's the very most. But on certain occasions, peanut butter can be very tasty. Also, peanut hit the spot just right.
5) Peppermint candy canes. I am the type of person who gets excited for the peppermint ice cream to come out around Christmas time. There's something magical about the peppermint flavor to me. It leaves your mouth feeling cool and refreshed.
I think there's a reason why I go to the dentist so often. The first time I met Dr. Cho, she told me that I need to stop eating sugar. If she only knew the love that I have for these five candies, she wouldn't have recommended such a harsh regimen for me. In the meantime, I'm just going to continue brushing my teeth and flossing and waiting for the day when my good friend graduates from dental school. His name is Nate. He'll give me free service, he already agreed to.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

That's the secret

Oft times, you might despair at your own inadequacies and wonder about the injustices of life. I believe that it was Spencer W. Kimball who said, "Work, work work. There is no satisfactory substitute." Although I wasn't engaged in missionary work per se, today I felt the rewards of work and right now, in the words of Incubus, "I am happy."

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Blogging for another day

I have recently realized that the quality and overall level of interest of my blogs has been very much lacking as of late. This may be due to the LSAT, a standardized test that I have been recently killing myself over. The aforementioned test is scheduled in exactly one month: Sept. 29. I envision getting off the T-stop and entering Northeastern University brimming with confidence and ready to take this test down. In the meantime, I am abusing my brain. If you are a brain-rights activist, don't get me wrong. I don't mean for the unnecessary suffering of my brain. All I want to tell my brain is this: "If you scratch my back for the next few weeks, I'll scratch your back later down the road. Mark my word." Farewell society, and I will see you in a month.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I know the meaning of life

I love thinking through difficult and controversial issues especially from a religious standpoint. Strangely enough, I have been thinking about the topic of homosexuality as of late. Maybe this is due to recently moving to the only state in the United States that legally performs same-sex marriages, or because of my interest in biology, but I find the topic very interesting. By thinking through this topic, I feel more confident reconciling this topic with my faith. But I have also found that the topic of homosexuality has a deep underlying issue that pretty much encompasses the meaning of life. Now I'm not going to claim that I know everything about life. (That would be silly to claim as life is very complex.) However, I have a ballpark idea of what this life is all about and I can think through many of the weird nuances of life so they at least make a decent amount of sense to me. I was listening to an NPR program about transsexuals the other day and it was quite interesting hearing their perspective. I thought to myself, "I would really be confused if I didn't understand the meaning of life."

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Things I've learned recently

Having a girlfriend is a good thing. See Genesis 2:18

Kissing with glasses is not a good thing, and is more difficult than you think. I've found that it's easier to ditch the glasses. In such situations, glasses are not necessarily crucial as I am nearsighted.

Even though I believe that dating should not be taken too seriously, you still need to base your relationship on longevity. I believe that you must be on the same page as the other person in three categories: level of fun, interest, personal values. You can't start off your relationship on things that you don't feel good about.

I like flirting with sister missionaries.

Friday, August 03, 2007 gets popular

In case you didn't know, I am the co-creator of the website When Rich Millar and I started this last summer, the original url was, which many are already familiar with. Because of legal technicalities, (It turns out that the acronym BYU in the url is a bad thing if you are not affiliated with BYU) we felt it would be a better idea to change the url to as it is simple, easy to remember, and involves no numbers. Since then we have added a lot of cool content. This includes, but is not limited to, a comprehensive calendar of events that allows anyone to post events, fun and addicting flash games, and a list of fun date ideas to do in the area.
Last Friday, we had a favorable article published in the Daily Universe about our site. Click here to read the feature. I was excited to see this article published because I knew that it would help increase the traffic to our site. However, I didn't expect the intense spike in traffic that we experienced that day. It generated triple the normal traffic from one article on page 4 of the Daily Universe during Summer term! Unbelievable. If you have never visited, do it. You won't regret it. You don't need to have any ties to Utah Valley to appreciate it. Who knows, you might have a better idea of what to do the next time you're in the mood for fun.

Monday, July 02, 2007

3 funny words

As any English specialist may know, English is a fun and very diverse language. I personally like learning new words. It fills my soul with joy when Google texts me back the definition of a previously unknown word. Every once in a while, a word comes along that makes me want to laugh for some reason. When I am engaged in such conversations where these words are being used, I find myself trying to get others to use the words more so that my entertainment continues. I am listing a few of such words in no particular order: group, packet, cleave. There are many others, but I can't think of any at the moment.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Boston is the coolest

I thought I'd take some time to write about why I love Boston. I tell everyone I talk to that I like living here, but I haven't really gone into the reasons.

First off, it has a very diverse populace. This is very refreshing after living in Utah valley for so long where it seems like 90% are white/caucasian. Also, diverse population equals diverse restaurants. You can go out for any type of food you want (except for Cafe Rio). Last week I went to an Ethiopian restaurant and the week before I ate at a Cambodian French restaurant. You run into people of all ethnicities. In my lab alone, there are over 10 different nationalities. I am also beginning to consider Bostonians as a race foreign to me. They've got that strange, but interesting accent going on. Allow me to demonstrate. "I need to pahk the cah next to Hahvahd." Not everyone speaks like that here, but when I do come across it, it catches my attention.

I have discovered the joys of public transportation. I ride the train to work everyday. It is very refreshing to take a power nap coming to or from work. The train system is called the T here in Boston. When I ride aboveground, I feel like I'm back in Russia riding around on a tramvai. Underground, I kind of feel like I'm in a movie. Especially when I'm waiting at a stop, impressions of Ghost or Matrix come to me. So far, thank heavens, I've managed to avoid running into Agent Smith.

There are a lot of opportunities to talk about your faith with those who may not have heard that much about it. On the one hand, it's fascinating because people out there are often times simply curious about what you believe in and what you do. Sometimes this can be scary as the cold truth sets in that you are not that good at answering basic questions. For instance, in my lab Richard and I were talking about going to the temple later that night and someone else overheard us and asked point blank, "What's a temple?" I honestly could not answer that at that moment so I left it to Richard. It's one thing to answer those kind of questions as a set apart missionary, but to answer something like that in a casual setting is a whole different story. I definitely have room for improvement as far as talking with outward onlookers about the church.

It's a very transient place. I don't know if this is a good or bad thing, but you ask someone where they are from and they usually will tell you where they currently live. I kid you not, I went to a dance at MIT and one of my default questions is "so are you from around here." Almost all of the responses were along the lines of "yeah, i've been going to MIT for 2 years." or "yeah I live in suburb x of boston." The reason why, as I've come to find out, is because there aren't too many people who have spent their whole lives here. To avoid complications, they interpret this question differently than what I'm used to.

There are less hangups here about age, I've noticed. One thing that I've noticed in this area is that single people engage in activities regardless of how old they are. For instance, I went to a swing dance the other night which included all ages. I loved going up to older women and asking them to dance. (And I'm pretty sure they loved it too. ;)) Contrast that with girls and guys in their early twenties in Provo flipping out about not being married yet. haha But on a more serious note, there is less of a tendency in this area to over-focus on marriage. To a degree, I think this is a good thing.

The precipitation and humidity results in quite the green surroundings. You seem to hear the same descriptions about humid climes, so much that they may even seem to get trite. But they are so true. When it is hot and humid, you sometimes have a feeling that you're in a greenhouse. It's this sweaty, wet feeling that's only going to increase as the summer progresses. I've also experienced a couple cold days, nothing like winter. But technically, in degrees it doesn't seem that cold. But because of the humidity, it chills you to the bone. I don't know if I necessarily like the humidity, but the advantages of lush, green vegetation is definitely worth it. I was standing outside the Boston temple, (without my camera :( ) and I just saw miles and miles of packed, green forests. I even saw a raccoon that day, which was cool. I'm excited to get more familiar with the New England outdoors this summer.

Boston also has some interesting smells. First off, tons of people smoke. I kind of thought, living in Utah for so long, that smoking in the United States was kind of dying off. At least here on the east coast, it is alive and well. But the smell of cigarettes actually doesn't bother me. I am not addicted to it, but I don't mind the faint or lingering smell of tobacco. The smell of coffee is also omnipresent. You can see either a Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks on almost any block in Boston, and that is no over-exaggeration. Also, because this city is so old, (founded in 1630) it's got some interesting odors on the streets. I have smelt some smells that I thought only wafted in Russian stairwells. This is good though as you can then better appreciate clean air.

Finally, this city has some history in it. Where else can you drink a Samuel Adams while looking at his grave? Or visit the tree under which General Washington first took command of the American Army? Or visit Paul Revere's house? Besides the plethora of historical sites to catch in the Boston area itself, there are also lots of sites in surrounding areas such as Pennsylvania, DC, etc.

To sum it all up, Boston is cool. Come and visit if you have never experienced it. I'll leave the light on for you.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Buff Woman

Last night, I was working out at the gym and I saw the most interesting human being. At first glance, it was clearly female. The earrings, long hair tucked in on itself, feminine facial features gave this away. However, I couldn't help noticing the bulging muscles. This individual had biceps, triceps, and shoulder muscles that I would be proud to tout. I couldn't believe that this person was a woman so I found myself staring at her intermittently, trying not to come across as creepy. I would casually glance over at her and hold my gaze for a few seconds at a time in disbelief. As to his/her age, I would guess around 40. It was evident that she had spent many years working on this powerful figure of hers. Previous to this experience, I thought such ripped, burly mamas are only to be found at body-building competitions. Apparently they are sometimes in your neighborhood gym.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Mitt Romney's blunders

I don't want to be too much of a critic, but I saw a couple things in the second debate that I didn't really like about Mitt Romney. Don't get me wrong; I think that he is the best Republican candidate. I also think that he did a fabulous job in the first debate. But the second debate was more competitive and a lot of more difficult issues were raised. Let me tell you what irked me in the second debate.

On the hypothetical terrorist situation, I don't think that Romney's response would lead to a better America. I will have to say that he did a good job of prefacing this botched answer with an approach to prevent attacks from ever happening. That would be the ideal situation. I am no expert on international relations, but I certainly liked Ron Paul's insight. By the way, I found each of his answers well-educated and intelligent. There is some truth to what he said about the US provoking attacks towards itself. Instead of us clinging to the notion that we never make mistakes, and everyone else in the world should fall into place with our ideals, maybe we should look into some of the underlying reasons why some other countries hate us. To me, this is going to the heart of the issue. If you follow Mitt's policy on doubling Guantanamo and continuing to use enhanced interrogation techniques, I don't believe attacks against us will stop. We are all human beings on this earth and we as Americans should start treating others with the respect that they deserve. I attended Dick Cheney's commencement address and he talked about being grateful for second chances. I believe that many of these terrorists are in need of second chances. We know that many of these terrorists are simply brainwashed patriots believing that they are doing the right thing. To the extent that we can rise above the terrorists in baseness, the world will become a better place. Senator McCain, as an experienced veteran, understood this fact and did a good job of explaining his views on torture. Also, I didn't understand how Romney can claim that we don't torture, but yet it is fine to engage in enhanced interrogation techniques. Some techniques that I found included in this category seemed like torture to me. Check out this article if you want to see the 6 techniques that fall under this category. Torture is defined by the United Nations Convention Against Torture as "any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. If, through these interrogation methods, one can die, (as has happened in Iraq) I don't think it is appropriate for us to continue.

In conclusion, I don't want to be inconsiderate of those who have been affected by the terrorist acts in recent years. We all want justice for those behind such deadly attacks. However, in our pursuit of making sure that this doesn't happen again, we can't stoop to their level. I feel like this is something that the infamous VP Daniels on 24 would do and it would only lead the United States to be more isolated and hated in the world. We must rise above the terrorists in our treatment of others in the world. I believe that through diplomacy and international talks, the world will rise above terrorism. TO

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Moving to Boston

I accepted a job offer far away from home in a magical land called Boston, Massachusetts. My job title will be a research assistant in a lab at Harvard Medical School. I am so stoked. It is well known that much about getting a job is in connections you make. This job was no different. Richard Carey, the current lab assistant whom I will be replacing, was my connection. He graduated from BYU in Bioinformatics a year ago. Undoubtedly, he did a great job as he was able to recommend me to Dr. Gygi. Steve Gygi, the professor in whose lab I will be working, is in the Department of Cell Biology. He gave me the unofficial job offer a week or two ago and I was excited to accept. I will most probably be working with a team of bioinformatists in his lab writing programs and analyzing his database. The kind of work is right up my alley and I feel I will do a stellar job. I want to work in this capacity for a year and then go to law school. It's gonna be sweet applying a lot of the things I learned at school to real-life problems. What also makes me excited about this transition in my life is that I will be living in Boston, one of the coolest cities. This city is home of the Red Sox, tons of historical sites, and Harvard. There's gonna be so much to see and do! I plan on making the trip over there by car as this is the cheapest mode of me getting over there with all my stuff. Because I am expected to be there on the 14th of May, I will probably be leaving Provo next Thursday. If anyone wants to accompany me on my trek across the United States feel free to let me know. It will take at least 40 hours of driving, but on the bright side, we will check out scenery from all across the United States.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Is Provo Really for Lovers?

Recently, I've been thinking about something interesting that's going on in Provo. What first sparked this train of thought is me thinking about leaving Provo single. As I'm wrapping up school here this April, job opportunities and graduate school may entice me to leave the surroundings that I've called home for so many years. I've thought about how and where would be best for me to find Miss Right. The obvious answer that I initially thought was right here in Provo. However, after more contemplation, I've come to an interesting conclusion. You could even call it a hypothesis. This is what I've noticed: While Provo is probably the best place for a young Latter-day Saint to find someone with whom he or she is most compatible, I believe that the setting is counterproductive in many situations and actually creates a problem for students to get married.

My first argument in support of this is that BYU students don't get into relationships very often. I believe this is due to commitment issues induced by Provo. I used to have false perceptions about BYU when I first started. One perception was that the majority of single BYU students have a girlfriend or a boyfriend. You always see students holding hands across campus and making love to each other at random locations. However, the more I've gotten to know the student body here at BYU, the more I've noticed that this is only the minority that gets into these kinds of "official" relationships. I've wondered if there are such cool people in Provo, why couples don't happen more often. The answer is probably complex, but may have to do with commitment. I have noticed that because of the caliber of prospects in Provo, the commitment level goes down as everyone is keeping their eyes out for their eternal companion instead of someone to date. This in turn lowers the motivation for people to hook up into relationships. I've heard girls say they won't kiss a guy until they know she's sure she'd marry him. It may be, however, that by being so uptight about dating, students are missing out on valuable experiences. By 'holding out' for that special someone, there are probably a lot of good relationships that are being passed up. Consequently, without people getting into relationships, another step up the romance ladder gets whacked—marriage. I know many students who got married or are getting married to their first relationship. First off, I think that is weird. Second, I think it is unwise. I honestly don't believe that you are doing your future spouse a favor by 'holding out' on getting into relationships. Depending on the person, it may just make things awkward when you really do find that special someone.

A certain frame exists in Provo that is harmful to initiating relationships. I haven't socialized that much outside of Happy Valley, but I imagine the process of getting into relationships would be a little more conducive. A hypothetical situation will illustrate my point. Imagine a guy living in some city with a relatively small LDS population. Let's say he comes upon a beautiful girl. They start talking and he finds out that she is LDS. This peaks the guy's interest. At this point, the guy would probably be trying to qualify this girl, looking for reasons why this girl is good for him. On the other end of the spectrum, let's picture this same guy in the Provo scene. He meets a beautiful girl in Provo randomly (it's not hard to do this on any day of the week.), they get talking and the whole time he is critiquing her, disqualifying her due to trivial things, and in the end isn't feeling it with her because he knows that there are plenty more where she came from. Provo is a setting that makes it hard to fall in love, because your frame is all whacked from living in Provo so long. We have certain ideals, and we get good at disqualifying people. I imagine it's easier to fall in love with someone when they are not so quick to rule out candidates.

The Provo scene is good if you know what you want. Recently I conducted a survey to 33 female individuals with the intent to confirm my hypothesis. One interesting result was that by far the majority of girls had their personal expectation bar in guys raised while living here in Provo. This is to be expected. Staying in Provo tends to raise the bar. Therefore it should make sense that those who have spent the least amount of time in Provo should be least inclined to follow these trends. I believe to a degree it's true. Freshman girls and returned missionaries I supposed would have the lowest expectations. I remember when I first got back from my mission and I got excited at any decent looking girl who showed interest in me. But it has since elevated. Because I already assumed the overall expectation level was being increased, I was interested in finding out which things are becoming more important. One of the most interesting parts to my study was that girls are looking for impressive attributes in guys more than I expected. This entails exterior and interior traits. Girls want someone impressive for them. Although I don't have the data to support this, I believe the exact same is true with guys. Part of the reason why expectations rise in us is because we find out interesting things in others that we like. For instance, a girl could become enthralled at a guy with another language under his belt and hours of missionary stories. We are continually discovering our interests. When we come in contact with others of the opposite sex with impressive skills, attributes, or traits, we are drawn to them. Provo is interesting because some of the most creative, interesting, and talented LDS single adults are here. What a blessing to have such selection in such a predominately LDS community as Provo. I believe competition can bring out the best in us. We become interested in more things, look better, and are more interpersonally intelligent by living here. However, the longer you stay in Provo, the more you may realize that there are impressive people all around. You might even notice that impressive attributes become less impressive the longer you live in Provo. It's not that someone's bar has been raised too high, it's that the bar for Provo has been raised too high and this individual is going along with it. Instead of wanting what is best for him or her, many just want what is best. Our generation has been classified as the generation me. I think that we Provoites can be called the 'Mormon generation me.' We have been called the greatest generation until our egos are off the charts. I feel that because the selection and prospects are so good here in Provo, it can confuse many of us so that we don't really know what we want.

I have noticed that people nonetheless do seem to get married and I have noticed three ways in which this happens. A lot of times it only takes one person to really like the other person for this 'love thing' to get rolling. There is something to be said of showing interest to another person. For the most part I found that girls find that attractive. Here are the three types of people that get married in my eyes:

1) Those who find someone who meets their ideals. I previously stated that Provo hinders this from happening; however it does not altogether halt the process. I know plenty of people who fall in love and get married to that special someone. It seems to me that these couples are very good for each other.

2) Those that hook up and marry young into their tenure in Provo. Such individuals go for an unsuspecting freshman/returned missionary who hasn't been indoctrinated in the Provo grass-always-greener-on-the-other-side-of-the-fence mentality. This point shows that a lot of times, people are ready to get married, all they need is someone to fall in love with. Many times, when young, logic goes out the window and love takes place more easily.

3) Those who throw away some of their ideals. They ask, "Why expect my future spouse to be amazing at everything?" Provo has been compared to a candy bar aisle with so many options. Some of us like a lot of styles of candy and rarely does one have all that we're looking for. I respect people who realize what they can get, and go for it. I give props to those who fall in love with someone who is good for them and not necessarily good for their friends, good for their parents, or good for their ego. To their credit, it should be acknowledged that there are very few who have it all. There is also a life time ahead to grow and develop together.

In conclusion, if you are a guy or a girl who wants to get married, but it isn't working for you here in Provo, don't feel bad about leaving. You might find that you are looked at in a more positive light, have turned into a better person after being here in Provo for so long, and more marketable to someone suited well for you. I love the notion that I can "shoot for the stars" and I also love Provo. What a blessing it is to be able to interact with and meet so many amazing people. I just wonder if the atmosphere and attitudes of Provo are destructive to potential relationships. If it's happy marriages that we're shooting for, maybe upping the number of relationships formed rather than dates is the key. Why can't getting into relationships be more casual? Challenge to all: Don't let the marriage paradigm occupy your mind until you are in a relationship.