Thursday, May 28, 2009

Every Freaking Year

I think that's what EFY should stand for.
I heard that from a guy doing BYU's version of stand-up comedy, and it's so true. Thousands upon thousands of teenagers wandering around campus flirting incessantly with each other, clapping and doing the cheer at random times, everyone so annoyingly chipper. . . maybe I'm just jaded from my experience working for the Registration department.

I learned something new yesterday. When police are interrogate you, they can make up evidence against you so that you will confess to committing a crime. The only stipulation is that the police can't promise a more lenient or more stringent punishment if you confess once hearing the "fake" evidence, and the police can't threaten you physically.
This seems really, really disturbing to me. There was a murder case of a 12 year-old girl and the police thought that the 14 year-old brother did it. They interrogated him for 11 hours and he eventually confessed to killing his sister when later they found the actual murderer on the streets with the girl's blood on him. Why did the boy confess to killing the girl? The police told him that they found her blood and a knife in his room (which the police just made up) and when the boy said that he can't remember killing her the police told him that it is a possibility that he could have blacked out after murdering her. After that, the only possible solution to the situation that the boy could see is that he was the murderer and confessed to the crime.
The police weren't necessarily bad police officers. They genuinely thought that the boy did it. They even taped the whole interrogation; if they were doing something shady they wouldn't have taped it. There was no sign of a broken lock or window, which led the police to believe that the murderer lived in the house. I don't know, the whole thing seems pretty crazy. The boy was released once they found the actual killer.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My new pastime

While working at the library purchasing the sometimes exotic and rare but usually boring and technical books for professors across campus, I am given the luxury of being able to listen to anything I want. I have never had this freedom at a job before and immediately took advantage of it by listening to the online radio, Pandora.com. However, I often found myself quite bored. I had heard most of the songs before and when I heard a song I didn't recognize I often didn't like it. Then I decided to listen to white noise online, but that was even more boring because the work I was doing was inherently dull. I figure that white noise is only good to listen to when you have some intense thinking to do.
I then discovered talk radio. At first I listened to the conservative talk radio, but they repeated themselves a lot of the time and got angry a lot, too. I didn't like the way I felt while listening to it. I wanted something that talked about the lighter, more interesting side of life.


That's when I discovered This American Life. It's a weekly broadcast where they select a theme and invite writers to address that theme with a story. They usually feature three or four stories in each episode. The themes can be basically anything; from telephones to politics. I usually listen to two or three episodes while at work and it has made work so enjoyable.

I don't know if any of you have heard of it or have listened to it, but I highly recommend it. The internet address is ThisAmericanLife.org.


I think my favorite one is a story about babysitting, mainly because the things the older brother did in that story remind me of things that my older brother would do to me, or that I would do to my younger brother. I also enjoyed the story of the woman who trained herself to become a superhero. And then there is the story of the 10 year old American girl who became pen pals with Manuel Noriega, the drug trafficking, murderous general of Argentina.

In any case, its worth trying.

In other news, I have had a change in my career choice. A few weeks ago, sometime last month, I had a dream. In that dream, I was an optometrist. I often have weird dreams involving things that seem to be all out of order and make no sense, but this one was different. With my other dreams, they are often ignored and/or forgotten. But I couldn't get this dream out of my mind. In order to ease my mind and hopefully put it past me, I decided to research optometry a little bit. There is a pre-optometry organization on campus and they provided me with a lot of information and internet links that provide more information. The amazing this is that the more I learned, the more excited I got. I went into an optometrist's office and shadowed the optometrist for a while and asked him some of my questions. I then prayed and fasted about it and it really felt like something I want to do and something that would benefit other people's direct lives. The only problem is that my major is construction management...how many more years of schooling would I have to take? Overall, just one. Turns out that my baccalaureate degree can be in anything I want, as long as I take all the necessary prerequisites. These include things like anatomy, physiology, lots of chemistry, microbiology, and other things. After graduating from BYU, there are four years of optometry school, which is similar to medical school but only pertaining to eye related things.
I was worried what Katie would say in response to all of this, but she was very supportive and wanted me to be happy. I think she was happy to learn that optometrists generally have very stable jobs and work schedules with enough money to support a family, and with only one more year of schooling compared to architecture, it doesn't make that much of a difference (except when you look at the price of schooling these days...).


Friday, May 15, 2009

Pants




I always wondered why the words "pants" is plural. I mean, we always say "My pants ARE ..." instead of "My pants IS ..."

Is each leg a pant? So if you wore some pants with only one leg, would you refer to it as a pant?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Racism

When I was serving my mission in Switzerland, I came across quite a few people who were racist. It was really strange to meet them because I thought that racism was a dead issue. I had never met a racist person before. I totally floored when one person totally ignored the African investigator we had with us and then told in private afterwards that we should be teaching only Swiss people and that we should avoid Africans at all costs. It left a really bad feeling.
In order to demonstrate how absurd racism was, I decided to be prejudiced against people with brown eyes for a while. I called them "poo eyes." Anyway, a third-grade teacher had the same idea I had. I saw this video for my Organizational Behavior class. This was filmed right after the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. When she told the kids that blue eyed kids were better than brown eyed kids, the blue eyed kids wouldn't let them play games with them, use the same drinking fountain, and more. The teacher than reversed the role and told them that actually brown eyed kids were better than blue eyed kids, and the brown eyed kids immediately started treating the blue eyed kids even worse.

video

It's pretty sick to think that this problem still exists today. And not only Switzerland. There are still some Americans that I know that are racists. Luckily, it's only a couple.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Things I love about my mom

1. She is one of the most mannered people I know. For instance, here are some table manners that she tried to drill in our heads: sit up straight at the table, chew with our mouths closed, take little bites of food, stay seated while others are still eating, don't start eating dessert until the server has had the first bite, and so on. And that's just concerning food. We had a whole other section concerning the usage of language (never say stupid; only say things that are true, necessary, and nice; etc.). I always thought that these things were a nuisance when I was younger, but I am grateful for them now. I hope to be as good an influence on my kids.

2. She isn't scared of what other people think of her. She is super outgoing and can speak her mind in a crowd of people, sing a song in a busy place, and then she tries to motivate us to do the same. At times I was really embarrassed, but now I admire it. Sometimes when I want to ask a question and I am too embarrassed to raise my hand, I know that my mom wouldn't be afraid and that motivates me to ask. I remember in Sunday School she could comment on anything and she had to remind herself not to comment so much.

3. She really applies the Gospel in her life. I remember getting up really early some mornings when I was younger and seeing my mom sitting in the armchair in the living room reading her scriptures. She taught us the importance of praying every day and reading the scriptures every day, even if it is just one verse. She is always trying to become a better person and always corrects herself verbally if she did something wrong. She bears her testimony often. She was my Seminary Teacher for one year and I got to hear her teach and bear testimony every morning.

4. She is very adventurous. For example, when we moved to Germany, the only one in my family who could speak German was my dad (from serving a mission there when he was younger). We didn't live on a military base--we had to learn the language. I can't imagine what it would be like to move to a foreign country with six little kids and have to do the shopping and drive around the city and a million other things while everything is in another language. She can speak fluent German now and I can't remember her complaining once about the circumstances. On the contrary, when we visited Berlin after my parents picked me up she said that it was "like returning home."

I could go on and on with literally hundreds of other points (healthy, smart, compassionate, loving, wise, ...) but it would never really suffice. Thank you for raising me so well , Mom. I hope that when my daughter is born in just a few months I will be able to raise her just half as well as you raised all of us.