Tuesday, December 16, 2008

All the Nathan Lewis's

Here are a collection of people who all share the same name: Nathan Lewis. I wonder if any of them have Nathan's birthday, too?

Nathan Lewis was a ninja in "Batman Begins."
Nathan Lewis has been an Advisory Engineer for IBM for the past 26 years.
This Nathan Lewis is an internationally known energy expert who teaches at CalTech. His face showed up a lot.
Nathan Lewis is also a lawyer.
And believe it or not, this Nathan Lewis is an assistant professor at Virginia Tech.

I guess you have a better chance at being a professor than anything else, Nathan. Have fun with that.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Bus Rides

I have taken the bus a lot. Ever since my family moved to Berlin when I was eleven, public transportation has been my main mode of conveyance. I really enjoy bus rides for a couple reasons.
1) You see more people. I've noticed that here in Utah there isn't a lot of social interaction between strangers. There just isn't a neutral area where everybody goes and sits next to each other. Except church. But that doesn't count because only certain types of people go to church. I guess in Germany strangers don't really talk to each other either, but they are at least aware of each other. You can see how normal and abnormal people interact, mainly due to the abnormal people talking to the normal ones. Usually the abnormal ones are either handicapped or missionaries. What's also cool with seeing people on buses in Berlin is that everyone rides the bus, not just poor people. I remember riding the bus to school one day and there was a homeless woman sitting on one of the seats wearing dirty clothes and had plastic bags on her feet. A woman with a pearl necklace and a fur coat came on and sat down right next to hear. It was bizarre to see them together.
2) You notice people's routines. I remember when I took the U3 subway to Oskar-Helena-Heim and took Bus 110 from there to school, I could almost recognize everyone on the way. There was the Turkish man who smelled like cigarettes selling Doner Kebaps; the British man on the bus with a handlebar mustache reading Penguin Classics; Mr. Rice, who threw rice at me once--hence his name. He was a handicapped kid who also asked me to take apart his Discman for him. I took the batteries out of it and handed it back to him.
I take the bus to work now. During the summer when my schedule was more regular, I looked forward to the morning routine. I would leave the apartment between 7:03 and 7:05 AM and walk to the bus stop. I would arrive at the stop at 7:12 and read the Police Beat and Letters to the Editor in the Daily Universe. At 7:15 the bus across the street would arrive and many people would cross the street to wait at my stop. My two favorite traveling companions were Dennis and LeRoy. They were in their 60s, mentally challenged, and both worked at DI. Every morning Dennis would say to LeRoy, "The big boy! El muchacho grande!" Granted, LeRoy was very tall. I would say he was about 6'3" and maybe 230 lbs. But I heard that phrase at 7:15 every single morning for months on end. I say it now sometimes.
At 7:17 my bus would arrive and Dennis would hold up his fingers like this and say to the bus driver, "It's Tommy, my good ole buddy!" Then Tommy the bus driver with shoulder length white hair and a mustache that when down to his jawline would either say,"Heeeeey Dennis" or "Nope, it's not Tommy today. Someone just dressed up like me." When Tommy would say the second phrase, Dennis would laugh hysterically.
Sadly, I won't be riding the bus much longer. I got a new job for next semester which is within walking distance. I'll be stocking vending machines. Sweet, I know. I'm not happy to be leaving my current job, but my boss is losing so much money with the economy the way it is. Every day he has to ask at least one person to stay home, sometimes two people, just because he can't afford to keep us all employed. He had to let someone go a few weeks ago and he said he might have to do it again, so I started searching for a new job.
On a positive note, Katie comes home today! Yay! I we go to Virginia next week!

Saturday, December 13, 2008


I always get pretty excited this time of the year. Maybe "excited" isn't the right word. In any case, I always feel a lot of emotion. Christmas is coming and it's the end of a semester (only three more to go, plus spring and summer terms--and then more schooling. Sometimes it feels like school will never stop.) With the end of the semester always comes the finals. I don't like finals. I actually don't like big tests. I think I would like schooling much better if they gave weekly quizzes, each worth 7.14% of your grade, and after the fourteen week semester you know exactly where you stand and your entire grade isn't swayed that much by one test.
But life isn't like that. Sometimes I get so worried about finals and study my brains out for a test. Then I take the test and I don't do as well as I had hoped. But it's enough to get an A. I really hate worrying about tests--it feels like cancer. Not that i know what it feels like; I have never actually had it before, but I have been told that I have a 50% chance of getting cancer.
I have devised a technique to make it so that I won't worry about finals anymore. I see where I stand grade-wise in my classes and calculate what score I have to get on my finals to end up with a 90% (A-)and a 94% (A). It usually helps, but sometimes it makes me a little overwhelmed. For example, my freshman year I was in an Advanced Physics course that involved a lot of calculus, and in order to get an A- I would have had to score a 124% on the final.

The nice thing about my major is that my classes are pretty easy. In the majority of my classes, I need a 64% to get an A- and an 85% to get an A.
I was seriously considering not studying at all, but then I thought about it and was worried that I would fail the finals miserably have to redo the classes.
So I'm studying just enough to get my 85%. Maybe an 86% if I feel like it.
That's what I call integrating book smarts with street smarts. They are not mutually exclusive.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Another Embarrassing Moment

I have to tell this story first though, because Alison told me to. There once was a rabbit who lived on Druberry Lane. The rabbits name was Bryan. Actually, Bryan wasn't a rabbit; he was a human. The following is a funny story that happened to Bryan the Human a few years ago. (My life is now fulfilled. Thank you Alison.)

When I was seventeen I babysat for Alison's piano teacher. She had a one or two year old son. I was in charge of keeping him occupied in the attic while the piano teacher taught lessons in the basement. If nobody watched him, he would slide down the stairs and want to be with his mom. One day I was so tired that I laid down on the floor and was playing with the baby. I got so tired I thought that I could put my arm over him to pin him down and I could rest my eyes for a little bit. I know that it sounds very irresponsible now, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. Anyway, I dozed off for a second and the next thing I knew was that the piano teacher was yelling my name. I jumped up really fast and I experienced orthostatic hypotension. It's not such a good idea to run down the stairs when you're about to faint. I tripped and did somersaults down the steps until I landed on my back in front of the teacher. I was so mortified that I was sure it was a dream. It wasn't; I knew that because my back hurt pretty bad. I don't remember what happened after that, but now I have a story when people ask me what my most embarrassing moment was.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Something Amazing

First of all, I would like to say that this post is a little bit humiliating, but quite funny.

Yesterday I was at the mall by myself finishing up some Christmas shopping. I was headed out to the car when I was stopped by a Hispanic woman who ran a kiosk. I usually just ignore those people but I always feel guilty doing so because SO many people just ignored me when I was trying to talk to people on my mission. I felt like I should try to be nice by hearing what she had to say. She said in a very quiet voice, "Excuse me, sir, but would you like to see something amazing?"
Who wouldn't? Thoughts of magic tricks and exotic animals crossed my mind as I said, "Um, sure."
She brought me over to her little kiosk (which, by the way, had no sign stating what they sold) and said, "Here, make your finger do this." She then stuck out her middle finger with her palm facing down. I thought that was a bit odd, but I complied, thinking this is building up to be a great trick. Then then grabbed my finger and something that looked like an Emory board, but it was made out of a type of rubber. She rubbed and rubbed the thing on my finger nail quite vigorously. I was a taken aback and a little frightened. I wasn't really sure what to expect. When she was done, she quickly covered my middle finger with her hand and said, "Don't scream out loud, okay?"
I warily said "Sure..."
She removed her hand and my finger nail was shiny! It was so bad! It looked like a girl's finger!
I said, "Oh man. Um...can it come off?"
She excitedly told me that it can't and even demonstrated that fact by pouring some nail polish remover on a cotton ball and wiping all over my finger. She tried to sell me the complete set for $69.99, but I told her that it was out of my budget, hoping that she'd catch the hint that I wasn't interested without me having to tell her directly. She either missed the hint or ignored it all together. She told me she would give me a special deal and asked me how old my significant other was. I was trying to think of the right answer that would tell her that I wasn't interested, so I said, "I think she's thirty five." She said, "Okay, then I'll sell it to you for thirty five dollars." Who does that? Who sets the price of a gift depending on the age of the recipient? I should have said she was seven.
She tried to sell me the product further by telling me to try it out myself my polishing my thumbnail, when I told her that I wasn't interested at all.
So I walked away.
When I got home, I got out my little key chain pocket knife and proceeded to scratch my nail to make it look more masculine.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Nose Hair

When Katie and I left the apartment about 15 minutes ago, she told me that I had a few nose hairs sticking out. That was an understatement. I don't know where they all came from. I always hate pulling them out because it makes my eyes water and I feel like I need to sneeze, so I usually resort to tucking them back into my nostril if they ever decide to show themselves to the world. Today I decided to solve the problem once and for all--well, at least until they grow back--by pulling out all the hairs that hung low. Here comes the amazing part: I pulled out twelve nose hairs. Twelve! And I didn't even sneeze! Granted, my eyes did water a bit, but hey, beauty has its price. I remember watching the David Letterman show a while ago and he did one of his Top Ten lists about ten things that will never fail. One of those things was that if you pull a nose hair, you will sneeze.

I just proved David Letterman wrong.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Hypothetical Situation

Imagine you are standing by a train track. The track leads up to a hill in the distance. You look at the hill and see an evil man with a mustache up there with an empty train car. He pushes the train car down the hill and it is quickly gaining momentum while the evil man cackles maniacally. You look the other direction and see the track splits into two tracks. You see that on one path the evil man tied five completely random people and on the other one he has tied two completely random people. That is when you notice that in front of you is the switch to direct the path of the train to one side of the track or the other.
What do you do? Do you push the switch so that the train is directed to hit the two people, the five people, or do you choose to not make a choice and let fate take its course?

Some people say that there is inherent evil in making a decision, such as choosing to kill someone. It is evil no matter what and if you push the switch one direction or the other, it is a very serious crime.
Others believe that decisions themselves are not evil, but the intent behind them dictates the evilness of the act. They say it is better for fewer people to die than a whole group of people. They may also argue that it is completely irresponsible to not make a choice when the opportunity is given to you.

Now, let's make it a little bit more complicated. There is a extremely fat man standing next to the track.
You know that if you give the fat man a little nudge, he will fall across the track and when he is hit by the train, the train will only kill him and the people tied to the track will be saved. Would you push the fat man? If you do, only one person would die instead of many.

When you think about it, choosing to push the fat man on the track is essentially the same thing as choosing to move the switch in one direction or the other--you are in effect making a decision that will kill a person or persons.

What do you do?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Answer

I will first address some concerns that people had in the comments of last post.

-The tricycle was supposed to have two wheels in the back. The two wheels lined up so well that you could only see one... also, I was too lazy to draw it in perspective on Paint.

-If there is air resistance, the bird will speed up slightly once it enters the car. What I like to do is imagine the car not as a cage of steel, but as a pocket of air going as fast as the bird. If the bird enters that pocket of air, it would be like entering a slipstream where there is less resistance to it's forward movement. So I believe that if a bird was flying next to your car and flew into the window and kept on flapping at the same rate, it would hit the windshield.

Here's what you all have been waiting for...

The answer to the tricycle problem is:

a) it will roll to the left!

Crazy, huh?

So, I guess no one won...except for kind of Anna. So you get a kind-of prize! You get honor in almost getting it right! Yay!
Is that the answer that you would have said, Chris?

I'll try to explain why it rolls forward.

Imagine that the rope was tied to the bar below the handle bars. If you pull on it, the tricycle will obviously go the direction of the pull. If you tied it to one of the pedals, and the pedal was pointing up, then it will also obviously go forward again. If you keep on pulling on the rope even when the tricycle is moving, it will continue to go forward, even when the pedal is pointing down.
This is the hard part to understand: if the pedal is pointing down and you pull on it with a rope, it will have the same effect as you pulling on the bar below the handlebars. The bike will move forward while the pedal stays in place in the horizontal direction and rises in the vertical direction.
Imagine yourself walking. Your body moves forward when one of your feet is planted on the ground, not moving. If you pulled someones thigh, there body would move without necessarily causing the pulled leg to move.

Look at the flowers in the picture as a reference point. See how the down-pointing pedal stays relatively in the same place until it loops around the top?

Physics is amazing.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Physics Problem

I would like to preface this post with an introduction. I really enjoy physics--I have loved it ever since I took a physics course in the ninth grade. I was actually planning in majoring in Physics until I took the advanced calculus course as a prerequisite to the physics major when I was a freshman here at BYU. I passed the class, but I lost all my free time on Saturdays as a result.
I realized that I loved physics because of the thinking and understanding of the physical world and the knowledge of how things work and are interconnected, not because of the math. That's when I decided to major in art, then industrial design, then construction management.
Anyway, this is a physics problem that boggled my mind at first. After thinking about it for a while, I understood. Let's see how you do. Leave your answers in the comment box and those who answered correctly will receive a reward.

Here is a digram of a tricycle with a rope attached to one of the pedals. Notice that the pedal is pointing down.
If you pull the rope to the left, the tricycle will:
a) roll to the left.
b) roll to the right.
c) be dragged to the left.
d) be dragged to the right.
e) stay where it is.

Monday, November 17, 2008

No legs!

Where the heck are this kids legs?! Are his feet floating in midair?!? Is he magic? WHAT'S GOING ON??
OHHH..... I get it now. He's wearing camo. Huh, no wonder it looked like he was floating. Those pants blend into every surrounding, especially concrete.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Glass House

I checked out a book from the library called "50 Buildings You Should Know." It turns out I only knew 34 of them. The ones I never heard of were like the Horyuji Temple in Japan, Borobudur in Indonesia, the Mesquita in Spain and some other random ones.
One of the buildings that I did know was the Glass House in Connecticut designed by Phillip Johnson.
I remember learning about this building in my Social Studies class in the 5th grade. My 5th grade teacher's name was Mr. Idio, and whenever he did spell check on his assignments it would change his name to Mr. Idiot. He was from Nigeria and he pronounced soap "sap" and pizza "peetzer." When we did spelling tests, I had no idea half of the time of what he was saying.
This glass house is cool. The are no walls in the building, just "flowing spaces." He was a student of Walter Gropius, founder of the International Style.
The funny thing is that it costs $30 to visit the building, when you could just walk up and look through the walls...
Maybe if you closed one eye you would only need to pay $15 to see the building. You are only seeing half of what you would normally see, after all. (That comment provided by Katie)

Maybe you wouldn't have to pay at all if you promised to close your eyes.

Do blind people have to pay money if they go to a museum?

Speaking of art and blind people, I found this picture of braille graffiti.

I'm not sure what it says. Hopefully it's not swear words or something.

Monday, November 10, 2008

a poem by nathan

i asked nathan to write me a poem, and this is what i got. enjoy.

The Tale of the Dog and the Hamburger

A dog once ate a hamburger,

(now mind you it wasn't a lambburger)

It was mashed out of the freshest meat,

not the kind that smells like feet.

After he was done eating it,

he went to the kitchen and threw quite a fit,

for on the box of "hamburger,"

it said "Prepared by the hands of a Turd herder."

So, the dog thought very hard,

and realized "This Turd herder is a tard,

he probably didn't wash his hands,

so now I have Turds in my stomach-gland.

Oh me, oh my, what shall I do?

In order to get rid of all this poo?"

And that dog thought and thought,

and thought and sought after an idea.

Then it occurred to him:"It will just pass through, easy and slim.

There is nothing to worry about,"

and with that he ceased to pout.

i can only say one word: awesome.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

voting like a felon

So it's been a while since I've posted something. I was just keeping you all in...

Actually, my life so busy and interesting, I had no time. Uh, yeah.

I am currently trying to start a club at BYU for pre-architecture students. It's harder than I thought. We had our first meeting this last Monday, but only one other student showed up. Sad day for me. But I have had ten more people sign up since then, so we'll try to meet next Saturday and merge with the already existing Design-Build Club, with the Architecture Club being a sub-club of Design-Build. I like the sound of "sub-club." Design-Build is actually a pretty cool program. It's the kind of company that I would like to start someday. It's where the construction manager and the architect belong to the same company, ao that things happen a lot faster and smoother. It's like the old system of building something, such as the old cathedrals in Europe, with a Master Building overseeing every part of the construction process. That's what I want to be when I grow up...a Master Builder. Doesn't that sound cool?
This week, I have to give a persuasive speech in my public speaking class. I was trying to think about different topics to persuade people of. At first I thought about school prayer, but I wasn't sure if I was for it or against it. I mean, I think it's good to have a separation between church and state--that's the type of government Christ will organize when he comes again, with the Old Jerusalem being the center for the church and the New Jerusalem being the center for the state--but I also believe that the Supreme Court could've taken it a bit too far.

So instead of deep contemplation, trying to figure out what I thought would be the right balance, decided to talk about the voting rights of felons. Did you know that in ten states, once you have been convicted of a felony you become disenfranchised forever? No matter how good of a citizen you become, you will never, ever be allowed to vote again. That's pretty crazy when you think about it because some Senators have been convicted felons. Sen. Ted Stevens has been convicted of seven felonies. And in some states, once you're a felon, you can't become a school teacher, a firefighter, serve on a jury, or even be a barber.
However, in Vermont and Maine, they let everyone vote, even those serving their sentences in prison. That seems a little extreme to me. I think what should happen is that those in prison have relinquished their right to vote (after all, prisons are made to restrict people's rights), but once they are released from prison and have paid their debt to society, their right to vote should be restored.
Political scientists say that if felons were allowed to vote in Florida, Al Gore would've won the 2000 election. That's with the calculatino that only 33% of the felons would actually vote and that a third of them would vote Republican.
Crazy, huh?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

rhymes with orange

i've been thinking lately about words that rhyme with "orange." many people say that none exist, but i beg to differ. here is a list of words that either rhyme somewhat well or very well with said citrus fruit:

-Blorange (a city in Wales)
-door hinge
-sporange (a variant use of the word "sporangium," a botanical term, however, sporange is most commonly pronounced spor-AINGE, but)
-one inch
-...that's all i've got

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

why i think i'm voting for mccain

last week for family night we decided that we would do some research on the canidates to see who we would vote for. i think the questions that were asked on all the the sites that we found are a little biased toward obama, but either way, it helped me a little to get the idea of which issues each canidate supported. i think both canidates have good and bad qualitites, but when it comes down to it, i think my gut feeling is to go for mccain, and this is why:
  • with the age of supreme court justices getting higher, i think that at least one, maybe more, will retire during the next term of the president. if obama gets elected and the liberal congress stays the way it is, which will most likely happen, we could have a majority of the justices be liberal and not support an overturning of roe v. wade or a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman
  • with the economy heading into a recession, i don't think it would be the right time to raise taxes and increase government spending on universal health care and other additional programs, but to increase tax cuts to promote more consumer spending, just like how ronald reagan delt with the crises after the carter administration.
  • i also like how mccain is willing to consider all forms of energy to decrease the amount of fuel we use, such as drilling for oil off the coasts, nuclear energy, bio-fuel, natural gas, and using wind, hydro, and solar power.

i like obama's positions on school vouchers, gun control, and international policy, but i think the other issues outweigh them. i haven't completely made up my mind, so if you have any comments, let me know.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

sometimes i think i have super powers

i had a lot of weird dreams last night. i mean, these dreams were so weird that i even noticed how weird they were during the dream, and that hardly ever happens. i was in the mill were i work, but it was turned upside-down and inside-out and infested with rats so we hired Mausie (my family's old cat) to eat all the rats. then i wanted to knit hats for all the rats. oh and that country song "it's 5 o'clock somewhere" was playing loudly in the background of the mill, too. the next part of my dream was that i could control time. i could make it stop and go back as i pleased. it was very nice.
the problem is that i still thought i had this power when i woke up. i set my alarm for 7:30 so i could go to meeting at 8 this morning (which, by the way, is a very early time to have a meeting on a saturday). but when the alarm when off, i thought i could make the time go backwards by pressing the snooze button twice instead of once. i didn't realize it wasn't working until 8:13. i was very disappointed in my abilities.
i walked over to campus slowly, bitter that i had to go and bitter that i couldn't control time. it made me a little happy to see that the room that was scheduled for the meeting was completely dark and locked. now i'm just doing homework.

if you want to hear some bad german...

then watch the movie "errand of angels." don't expect it to be funny. i did, thinking it would be like the best two years, but it was a serious movie. and the sister missionaries spoke bad german, just like in real life. hahaha.
anyway, that's what we did for our date tonight.
oh and guess what?
so at work, sometimes i hurt myself. not on purpose, it just happens. two days ago, i was hammering down some boards and i was doing it so hard that the hammer bounced back and hit me in the forehead. the funny thing is that the back of the hammer hit me right where my old scar used to be and made a new scar on top. the new scar is shaped like a square and the old scar goes diagonally behind it. katie gave me the suggestion that i should use it as my logo when i start my own company. it will look something like this:

cool, huh?