Saturday, December 23, 2006


I have to preface this post with a comment about my writing utensils. I usually find pens and pencils around the house, under the seats of the car, abandoned on desks at school, and places like that. So the quality of my writing utensil is always a little questionable.

A few weeks ago, I was taking Hydrogeology test. I was a little nervous, because that's the class that I seem to have left by the wayside this semester. But I was confident in the quality of my mechanical pencil which had served me without fail for at least a week. Since the quality of your writing utensil can spell the success or doom of your testing endeavors, I felt pretty good about things.

As I pulled my pencil out of my pocket my eyes widened because I noticed that the plastic tip had bent over to one side. I bent it back foolishly thinking it would right itself, but the entire tip broke off in my hand. D'oh! I quickly assured myself there was nothing to worry about, I would just write with the lead sticking out of the pencil, it still pumped and worked otherwise, no worries.

Well, I don't know if you've ever tried to write with a mechanical pencil with an inch and a half of the lead sticking out the end. It tends to break with the slightest bit of pressure. After four or five times of this, I almost panicked. The test had already started and all I could hear was the scratching of pencils on dry paper and labored breathing (probably mine). I didn't want to disturb anyone to borrow a pencil, and I knew I couldn't use a pen because of the math involved and I knew I'd make a mistake that I'd need to correct.

I took a few deep breaths to calm my nerves. With bitter resolve I told myself that no blasted writing utensil would get in the way of my success. So with my options severely limited, I bravely pinched a short piece of mechanical pencil lead between my index finger and thumb and rocked that test.

For good or for awesome,


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Christmas Traditions

Lucky me! I get to chose between two blog topics. Family Christmas traditions or "What was the most random thing you were doing during class time instead of listening to [Kirsten's] lesson?" I think I'll hold off on that second one until after grades are submitted. :->

When I was a kid, we always woke up early to look at our presents and stuff. As a rule, we could rummage through our stockings and open our "Santa" present. The Santa present usually wasn't fully wrapped either. Maybe just a bow and tag or something simple. We always ate coffee cake (sans coffee of course) for breakfast and had to wait for the whole family to gather in order to open our presents. Boy was it an ordeal. There was no wild ravaging of wrapping paper or anything. We each waited and watched and commented as each person opened one present from oldest to youngest. We went round and round until there were no presents left. But I enjoyed and savored every minute of it.

One tradition that I'm sad I can't follow every year any more is going to the beach every Christmas day. I grew up in Puerto Rico and beaches were plentiful and beautiful even in December. That's probably the thing I miss the most about living there, beaches.

In our stockings, we would always get a new toothbrush and a LifeSavers storybook. In the days and weeks preceeding Christmas, my Mom would cook Party Press Cookies and Chex Party Mix. I'm sure she cooked other yummies, but I can't think of what they were just now. One treat I had as a missionary was that my Mom would send me some of this stuff. Boy was I in heaven.

We would also often go caroling, but caroling in Puerto Rico is a little different. It's called a parranda and it's more of a party. You go over someone's house, sing to them, invite yourself in, and eat all their Christmas type food. Then you take the people from that house, visit someone else and repeat the process. The carols aren't really what most people think of as carols either. They've generally got much more beat and rythym than traditional carols. We usually just sang and brought our own treats to share, making it a combination of the two caroloing breeds.

My Puerto Rican Grandmother would always cook a heavenly meal and we'd eat it in the late afternoon. She'd prepare arroz con gandules (rice and pigeon peas), lechon or pernil (roast pork), pasteles (Puerto Rican version of tamales), and a garden salad. My mom would always furnish the flan. Man, I haven't had a better flan anywhere. Everytime I eat a flan (even a not so good one) I'm transported back to my Grandmother's kitchen (even though my Mom was the one who cooked it) because we always had it there on Christmas.

My wife and I are about to celebrate our second Christmas together (the first with any kids). So we're trying to figure out what our own traditions are going to be. We don't have much, but we've decided we're gonna open up one present each on Christmas Eve. I'm looking forward to that one. I don't know if this is gonna be permanent, but we each have our own wishlists on Amazon and we've secretly bought stuff for each other from our wishlists.

I'm excited that Christmas is coming so close. It's gonna be a lot of fun.

Freedom has a scent like a newborn baby's head,


Monday, December 11, 2006

Least Favorite Non-Geology Class

The least favorite class I've taken at BYU is a topic of current debate. I didn't enjoy Physics 121 or Computer Science 142. Zoology 101 and 102 are vague memories because I've mostly blocked them out. Spanish 321 was a pain because of the teacher. PE 191 (Weight Training) was enjoyable, but the grading policy was entirely arbitrary and unfair. It was more like living as a peasant under the feudal system than attending a college PE class.

But all of those were pieces of cake when it comes to the BYU Math Department. Living as a peasant under the feudalism is like a vacation in Disneyland compared to math classes at BYU. I'm not the only one who feels this way either. Yes, there are people like my former roommate, Keith who like the Math Department, but they are the ones who got 5's on their AP Calculus BC exams and didn't have to take any 100 level class at BYU. The rest will chime in with me complaining about the ineffectiveness of having graduate students who have no training in actual teaching at the front of a class everyday and a book that was written without effective communication in mind by the head of the very same department.

I can't decide which is worse the first time I took Calculus 1, the second time I took Calculus 1, or the time I took Calculus 2. I don't think that I can accurately answer this question because I still have to take Calculus 2 again in an attempt to get better than a D+ to be able to graduate. So this next time might be the worse. I'll have to keep ya'll posted. (Sounds like an empty promise to me.) Sorry for the bitter tone of this post, it's a touchy subject with me and I've got a lot to do this week.

You can dress up like a sultan in your onion-head hat,


Sunday, December 10, 2006

The trouble these days

When I was a kid, I can honestly say I can hardly remember actually getting in trouble. I do remember quite distincly being sent to my room when I was smaller, but that ended as I got older. I'm just gonna claim right now (and who's gonna dispute me?) that I didn't get into trouble. Mainly because I just covered up and hid anything I'd done. So nobody was the wiser. Sorry Mom and Pop for the years of deception. :->

This brings up a new point. One which I've either forgotten or never had in the first place. Sorry to everyone else for that little deception.

So you'll be an Austrian nobleman,


All I want for Christmas

I think for Christmas I would enjoy any of the vehicles featured in my previous post. Since that's probably not gonna happen, I'll drop my request to a new computer. Or maybe just a new mother board and DVD burner.

I also think I'd enjoy a Nintendo Wii. Or maybe I'd settle for a 2 Gig jump drive. Here's something I never thought I'd like for Christmas: clothes. Mine are getting a little ratty and worn out. I guess that's what happens when you work with rock dust and chemical fumes everywhere.

But all that other stuff is probably just a trip. Something I have a strong suspicion I'll be getting from a reliable source is Mario Kart for N64. Faith and I will have a lot of fun with that.

Birds fall from the window ledge above mine,


Wednesday, December 06, 2006


If money wasn't an obstacle, what vehicle would I have?

I don't know much about cars or anything, so I had to do several Google searches as research in order to be able to answer this blog question fully.

This little number is quite the eye-catcher.
But it probably isn't making good use of my unlimited funds. So I found this one.

Yes, it looks good, but look what it can do.

But let's be realistic, how often am I going to want to cross a body of water. How about something more useful.

Now, that's what I'm talking about.

I get the feeling it was different here before we came along,


Monday, December 04, 2006

What's that smell?

Smells are interesting things. My sense of smell isn't that great so I probably miss out on some pretty good ones. On the other hand, I miss some of the not so pretty good ones too, so I try not to complain.
Hypothetically speaking, there is a Great-Grandmother who is a great cook and she has her grand and great-grand kids over regularly to eat. The only problem is that the next day said offspring are plagued with quite pungent flatulence. Even those with the worse sense of smell are afflicted. I guess that's the price you have to pay for great food.
Hypothetically speaking, this same Great-Grandmother will never admit to having ever had a flatulent episode. She'll always blame it on the youngest person present, usually a baby. I know babies can be flatulent, but there's no way a baby can do what she claims.

I suggest that Colonel Mustard killed Mr. Boddy, with the revolver, in the Billiard Room,