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.