Thursday, April 30, 2009

Noise and Concentration

When I read a textbook for a class, I go crazy when my environment is silent. I need to have some sort of audible distraction to keep my mind focused on what I'm reading. However, when I listen to music I often find myself focusing on the music more than on what I am reading. This is problem. As I was listening to my Coldplay radio station on while trying to read Creating Effective Organization, 5th edition, I remembered my mom saying that I used to fall asleep listening to the vacuum cleaner. I wanted to find some white noise to listen to so that I could zone out out my surroundings and focus on my reading without being distracted by melodies and lyrics. I found this site,, that creates three different types of noise: white, pink, and brown/red. I prefer the brown/red noise, put on oscillating volume. It reminds me of an ocean, but deeper and more predictable.
I discovered that my reading speed has at least doubled and my comprehension has increased as well. Try it out yourself and let me know if it helps out you with your concentration while reading. I want to know if this is just a weird thing that helps me or if it is a universal thing.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Labor gigs

My last job ended on Wednesday and my next job starts Monday. I was trying to think of what to do on my two days off so I checked Craigslist for any jobs that someone needed done on Thursday and Friday. Under the "labor gigs" section I found that a guy here in Provo needed some help doing some landscaping on Thursday and Friday and that he was paying $12/ hour plus bonuses. I called him and worked for him on Thursday for half a day because I had some errands to do in the morning. We unloaded 5 pallets of concrete blocks, used a pick axe to rip up the sprinkler lines from the ground, and roto-tilled the hard clay for grass to be planted. I hadn't worked that hard in such a long time. My body ached so bad. The great part was that I got paid $80 for 4 hours of work. The unfortunate thing is that I just overcame the flu on Tuesday and working so hard made it come back. I thought I could tough it out on Friday so I started to walk to the guy's house early Friday morning, but I got exhausted from walking so I had to stop in the library to rest. The library is a tomb in between semesters. I saw maybe five or six other people in there. I called the guy and said I'll try to come in the afternoon, and then promptly fell asleep in one of the soft chairs. I slept for about 3 1/2 hours and woke up with one of the biggest cricks in my neck. I hobbled back home and slept on the couch for the rest of the afternoon. I was kind of bummed that I couldn't make some more sweet moolah, but I'm glad that I'm better now. School starts again next week....not enough vacation.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Job Hunting

You would think that the fact that I was a male model would make finding a job a cinch. Turns out, the Afternoon Traffic Officer Dispatch position did not need someone who was really, really, ridiculously good looking. Too bad for them.

I just had another interview with the Acquisition Department of the BYU Library. The lady I had the interview with will contact me within the hour as to whether or not I got the job.

Press your thumbs for me! (As the Germans would say...)

Monday, April 20, 2009

For Polly

So, rather than trying to describe in detail the alarm clock that reminds me of my mission, I decided to post a picture of it. Two pictures, in fact.

This is a picture of the alarm clock in Fahrenheit mode.


I think the company name is MoonPhase, but I'm not sure. I bought this while I was in Switzerland, at a store called Migros, so it might be a stretch to imagine that Eric had the same one. But you never know...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Sounds and Smells

Two finals down, four to go. I have two finals today than I'm not looking for to so much.

Katie has a runny nose. It mostly leaks when she is trying to lie down. In order to accommodate her, we set up camp in the living room last night and she slept on the couch with 40 pillows behind her and I slept in my sleeping bag with a foam pad underneath. It was pretty fun for me until I got up in the night to get something and I smacked my forehead on a door handle. There's still a mark.
In order to get up on time I took the clock that usually sits on top of the microwave and set the alarm to go off this morning. This clock is the alarm clock that I used all throughout my mission. It's really cool: it tells you the temperature in Celsius or Fahrenheit (I still understand Celsius way better. Hurrah for the metric system!) and it even tells you the moon phases. The only use I could think of for knowing the moon phases is if you were a werewolf, but it's cool either way.
When it went off this morning I thought for an instant that I was on my mission because of the sound of the alarm was so uncannily familiar. I first felt guilty for wanting to press the snooze button and then I was dreading doing my morning exercises. And then I heard Katie on the couch and felt a huge wave of relief come over me.
A similar thing happened a while ago. Katie bought me some new shower gel and the morning I used it, the smell took me back about seven years ago. It was the same shower gel that my mom got me to take with me for EFY. I remember using that gel and these feelings of excitement and worry about trying to impress the ladies were all flooding in. It was the most bizarre thing in the world.
I just think it's pretty crazy how a simple sound or smell can trigger so many emotions and memories.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I saw this and had to post it

I received this image from my Grandpa Lewis. Ha! Talk about an ineffective Prohibition Promotion...

The lady on the left with the light dress looks especially scary. I wonder if this ad ever made anyone not want to drink?
Click on the beer bottle for some fun facts on prohibition.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


When I do my daily vending routes in the morning, I usually grab a copy of the Daily Universe to read in between stops (except when it's my turn to drive). Yesterday, there was not a newspaper to be found. The newspapers had all been delivered early in the morning, but then someone noticed a little typo on the front page and called the editors. Every copy of the Daily Universe was recalled and recycled and new copies were reprinted and redelivered by noon. Everyone was wondering was the typo was. Luckily, there were a few people who had picked up some newspapers before they were collected and we searched for the typo. We found it on the caption of a photograph of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles sustaining someone (the article was a review of General Conference). This is what the caption said:

Members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostates and other general authorities raise their hands in a sustaining vote.

Over 18,500 copies were recalled, and each copy was 14 pages long. Thats 259,000 pages. Using a calculation from this website, that would be cutting down 3.2 pine trees. Maybe less because newspaper sheets are bigger.

This was the first time in over 30 years that the newspaper had to be recalled because of an editing error. If you want to see the Daily Universe's explanation and apology, you can look here.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


I applied to take the test made by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) to become a LEED AP (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, Accredited Professional).
The USGBC is a non-profit organization who has set up a point system to rate buildings on how "green" they are. By being LEED accredited, I will be familiar in the point system and can assist owners and builders in order to give their buildings the highest buildings possible.

There are a total of 69 points possible for a building to have. For a building to become a certified "green building" it needs at least 26 points. 33 points will get the building the Silver rating. Gold buildings need 39 points, Platinum requires 52 points.

The points include things like having places for bikes to park, reusing an existing building, reduced water usage by efficient landscaping, and redeveloping a brownfield. (A brownfield is an area of land that has been condemned, such as an old refinery, a gas station, or a landfill.)

Anyway, I have until June 30th to take the test. I have been attending study sessions this semester on Saturday mornings. Hopefully I'll have more time in the summer to study before I have to take the test. This is definitely the way of the future (the way of the future, the way of future, the way of the future).

To see all the buildings that have been certified in the United States, you can look here.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

It's a...



i was trying to post the video of the ultrasound, but it wasn't working. I'm not sure why. Once we do figure it out, you can be subject to 10 minutes and 38 seconds of bliss (I think that's how long it is.) We kinda had to take the nurse's word for it when it came to the gender. We couldn't see anything there (maybe that's how she knew it was a girl. Ha.)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Boy or Girl?

We find out today!

YAY!!! and AAA!!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Grameen Bank

I had an assignment last week in my Accounting 200 class to research this bank online for at least 1 hour and then write a two page report about what I found out.

This bank is amazing.

Maybe you've heard of it. Last month's Ensign mentioned it in one of its articles on self-reliance. (I only knew that because Katie read that article and when I was telling her about it she said that she already knew about it. Way to go, Ensign...stealing my thunder like that...)

Anyway, so this bank was founded by a man named Muhammad Yunus who is from Bangladesh. Basically, the purpose of this bank is to give very small loans (maybe $20) to poor people who have no credit or collateral and they will pay it back with a small amount of interest ($2-3 dollars). These loans are primarily made to women (97%). He does not require any sort of written contract since most of the people he does business with can't read anyway. He works on an honor basis. To get a loan, you need to join a group of five or so people and take out a loan together. That group motivates and encourages each other to pay off the loan. If someone can't make a payment, the other members of the group usually help her to make the payment, although they are not required to do so. If someone chooses not to make any more payments, that doesn't affect anyone else in the group.

The people who take out the loans are also required to adhere to the Sixteen Decisions, which are basically rules of conduct created to socially engineer the people of Bangladesh to live a better life style. These decisions include agreeing to repair their own homes once they become damaged; sending their children to school; building and using a pit-latrine; growing vegetables year-round, eating plenty of them and selling the surplus, and much more. You can see the whole list here.

This bank is a huge success. He has one of the highest payback rates of any financial institution (over 98%), which is quite astounding since his clients have no credit and not written contract. He believes that human life and honor should be credit enough. Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his efforts to alleviate the predicament of the poorest of the poor. With these micro-loans, poor people can jump start their businesses and provide for their families. Many other banks around the world were founded that have similar policies.
What I really like about this idea is that its not some humanitarian effort and he is just donating his money to poor people. He is earning money and letting poor people help themselves. When he sees a poor person, he doesn't think of welfare; he views them as a client.