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.