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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010 Summary

Well every year since probably 2005 I've written a summary of my events of the prior year and my reflections on them now, so here goes :

January - January started interestingly enough. I was at a new years party with my high school friends and a girl I'd met about a week before had decided we were in a relationship already. She seemed interesting enough to get to know, so I reluctantly went along with the decision. We kissed at midnight and then played a board games until my married friends went home (about 12:20 am, they're total party animals...) I had new roommates this semester and they were both kind of strange at first, but they came around and I actually consider them good friends now. As the month progressed I started a set of some difficult classes including Structural Geology and Applied Geophysics. They really tested my abilities as a student. For my birthday Katie came to visit me and we went to a basketball game. The next night Trisha took me to dinner. Later, yada yada yada, we woke up it was February.

February - I broke up with Trisha since I wanted to date all the other womens who were paying me attention at the time. This was probably not a good idea and I did a lot of dating around of people that I didn't particularly like and also dated my friend Katie. I went snowboarding with Matt. It was my second time going, but the first time I really fell in love with the sport, now if only I had a thousand dollars or so do drop on gear... Oh well... maybe one of these years. Nate slipped on some ice and fell into the door which sent James and I into an uproar of laughter. I dated Katie for part of this month and the next. I also spent some time with this girl Kendra who was incredibly cool and attractive when we first start hanging out, but as time wore on these traits became less, but I still like her as a person. She's just on a mission, so it's hard to hang out.

March - I spent most of this month watching college basketball. This is what March was actually made for. It's a little known verse in Genesis that didn't make the final edit, "and on the 5th Day God created March that we may all watch far too much college basketball." I wore my Scotland shirt on St. Patricks day, which is strange since, as far as I know, I'm 1/4 Irish and 1/4 Scottish. The discovery of "Laddergoat" was made. My tournament bracket ended up being in the 97th percentile on Yahoo, which I'm quite proud of. For Spring Break I basically caught up on homework.

April - For April Fools day, Katie and I pretended to be engaged. A few of her family and friends bought it, but not a single person who knows me did. I guess I'm just that predictable. I went on the Historical Geology field trip to Arches National Park and various other geologic points of interest throughout central and southern Utah. It was the first school field trip I'd been on since probably 10th grade and it was a blast. In April I joined a co-ed ultimate frisbee intermural team with some people from the geology department, mainly people I met on the trip. This was a really good decision as I made some pretty good friends with a couple of the people on the team. I'm proud to say I was a pretty integral part of the team and it reminded me of the fun I had playing high school intermural sports. There was a massive (largest in Utah in over 15 years) earthquake in Rich County (by Logan) measuring in at an astounding 4.9. Okay, honestly it was pretty weak. Ironically, as a geology major, I was one of few people in Logan who was completely oblivious to it. I was irked. I also began training for a job being a census stalker.

May - The month started with snow on finals week, I wish I could say this was the last time it snowed this year, but it wasn't. I got my grades the first week of the month and I was quite pleased. I went from the prior spring semester, getting the worst GPA of my life, to getting the best GPA of my life taking just as hard of classes. I guess it really shows how much of a difference having interest in the subject makes. I began working for the census and actually ended up enjoying it quite a lot. I got to meet and talk to a lot of unique people and make my own hours. I hung out with Katie a lot this month. We went to the zoo and saw white crocodiles.

June - During June I continued working at the census for most of the month and dated a few different people. I didn't particularly hit it off with any of them, unfortunately. Towards the end of the month Trisha and I began seeing each other again and I started a second job waiting tables at this pizza place called NYPD. It was a really fun job. The people there were much younger and more laid back than at other restaurants I had worked at. I tried watching soccer for the World Cup and came to the same realization I come to every time I watch soccer. Soccer is boring. <-- period.

July - At some point in July I went to the museum of Natural History at the U of U, the Sandy Aquarium, Raging Waters and to a Buzz game. All things I'd been meaning to do for a while, but actually having a job made me able to do it! The census job ended and I began working more hours at the pizza place until a geologist I'd been in contact with called me and asked if I wanted to go do some field work with him. The pay he offered was great and I wanted experience so I went for it. The job blew so much ass that I wanted to cry myself to sleep some nights, but I was too tired whenever I'd get back from the mountains so I'd just go into my tent and pass out for 12 hours. I kept with it though and made some good money. My cousins ex husband, who I really looked up to when I was in elementary school, moved back to Utah and it was really fun catching up with him. We'd have get-together's at my cousin's house and it was cool, like old times, except we're all older now.

August - In August I got back from Nevada and quit my geology job. I then went on a trip to Southern California with my Grandpa. It was supposed to be a fun relaxing vacation to forget about the hell I experienced as a field geologist, but instead I ended up babysitting my grandpa, staying in a Super 8 motel and doing 1800 miles of driving myself. It was not a fun trip in any sense, but I will admit - compared to a trip with grungy geologists to the middle of nowhere basin and range, it was heaven. Before going back to school I went to Lagoon and it was a blast. I went back to school and the second night up there met some new friends. Trisha broke up with me because I'm not religious enough and so the next night a new girl stayed the night with me on my couch. It was innocent enough and quite cute. Classes started and they were all right.

September - The semester began becoming more difficult than I expected, but I was enjoying my social life too much. I spent nearly every evening with Marlee for about three weeks. I don't recall the last time I was able to do so much of nothing with someone and have fun. Her friends were cool, though very young. My roommate turned into an old man and would complain about the noise quite literally every night, it was annoying but somewhat understandable. My bed broke due to makeouts, I fixed it with a rock hammer and throughout the month discovered that there were very few problems unsolvable by a rock hammer. Anything from killing hobo spiders to burying tiki torches can be solved with a rock hammer. (Also useful for breaking rocks.) I got to know my new roommates Josh and Ryan and they are both awesome guys. Though they had a lot of crap in the front room for about two weeks and it annoyed me to no end. I figured they'd move it eventually, and they did.

October - In October I continued spending time with my roommates (both the new and old ones, I like them all) along with the female sophomore posse we'd become friends with. It was good times, probably some of the funnest I had all year. I went on the geomorphology trip with some of the geology department. It was really fun. I missed a football game that I'd have loved to have been at, but that's okay. The geology trip was more memorable, I'm sure. I also bought a new cell phone. This is an incredible feat for me as I can't buy something if the old something isn't broken. My old phone still works perfectly fine too. I started working harder on school as the semester was kicking my ass. I quit seeing my friends often, but continued get lunch with Marlee every other day.

November - During November I played a campus-wide, week-long, humans vs. zombies game that was pretty intense. It was a lot of fun with the exception of a neighbor of mine pretending it was reality. It was still a lot of fun though. I stayed in Logan all month, going to basketball games with friends and working on school. I began seeing my new friends almost never with the exception of the one I was dating, but we even stopped dating during this month. It was on good terms though and we remained friends. For Thanksgiving I came home and spent time with my family, it was good. We had dinner at my cousins house, pretty much everyone over 21 was drunk except myself and my 80 year old grandpa, but it was still a lot of fun.

December - December was an interesting month. My neighbor, that had been my friend in prior months, decided that she hated me because I was making motorcycle noises and slapped me so I told her off. Marlee and I decided we weren't talking for a couple weeks, but later made up and are cool now. Finals came and went. They messed up my sleep pattern and for about two weeks I couldn't sleep in past 5 am. My grades were acceptable, but nothing to brag about. Another friend pissed me off pretty badly and I've yet to really discuss it with her and at this point don't know that I ever will. I got an xbox 360 for Christmas, which is great since I've not had a new video game system in over 10 years. I've been in love with Final Fantasy 13 since then. Senioritis hit me like a Nolan Ryan pitch to the face. I had been becoming sick of school for a while, but honestly during this break, I've had little to any desire to return to Logan. I've spent some time with my high school friends, and while I've had a lot of fun, realized that I'm just so different from all of them now. I love them though, they're great people. This brings me to now. December 29th, a few minutes until midnight.

Best memory of the year : Getting my Spring '10 grades and feeling an incredible sense of accomplishment.
Worst memory of the year : Wandering the wilderness for 12 hour days with nothing but a compass, hammer, GPS and water.
Best month of the year : July
Worst month of the year : December
Biggest regret of the year : The decision to spend my last week of the summer on the vacation from hell.
Most unexpected event of the year : Probably the first time I kissed Katie way back early in the year. I didn't even expect me to do it until after I did.
Best movie of the year : Book of Eli
Best song of the year : Papa Roach - Burn
Best make-out of the year : This... will remain a secret this year too...
Best new t-shirt of the year : The one that scientifically proves "Aggie basketball is the best!"

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas is cool

So it's Christmas tomorrow. That's cool, we celebrate the birth of our savior and open presents. What a fantastic holiday. Why do we celebrate it though? That seems like a stupid question since I just answered it, but it's interesting really. Was Jesus really born on December 25th? Well the short answer is that no one alive really knows. The bible would seem to suggest otherwise though. In Luke the shepherds watch their flocks at night, which only happens during "lambing" (when sheep give birth to new sheep and shepherds watch their flocks day and night) which occurs during the spring. Because evolutionarily speaking sheep who give birth in the spring when the lambs can be concealed by tall grass are more likely to live. So if the only evidence to the time of Christs birth points to March-May, why do we celebrate it in December?

Because otherwise December would suck. Seriously, that is the real reason. I mean really, finals, snow, short days, long nights. Face it, minus Christmas, December sucks and the Catholic church knew this. No I'm kidding. That's not really why, but I think I have a good point anyway.

Solis Invictus (or the birth of the unconquered sun) was celebrated Pre-Christianity by pagans during the last few days of December on the modern calander. This is because the sun reaches its winter solstice and is "reborn" moving farther north in the sky (bringing heat and light, yay!). Since civilization mostly developed in the northern hemisphere, the sun is considered as being "reborn" at this time instead of "dying" which is how it would appear in Namibia, but Namibia has more Zebras than people, so they don't get to make the rules.

I guess the Catholics held a conference sometime in the 200's to decide on Christ's date of birth and went with late December because of a Latin paper written around this time which decided God created the sun at this time of year (they weren't the best physicists back then since... physics... didn't exactly exist yet.) and logically, to them at least, if God created the sun in late December, God would have sent Christ at the same time. This also coincided with the current celebrations of Solis Invictus and the birth of some Iranian .. something .. that the Roman soldiers liked which were both on December 25th. So back then, it was more like, Why NOT celebrate it on December 25th? Even if the day seems ambiguous now, it made sense then, and it stuck. Then in year 336, which is also the first three digits of my phone number, Constantine declared Christianity the favored religion and Christmas took off, along with the success of retail chains everywhere.

So why presents? Well when Christ was born three "wise men" (which really aren't described in much more detail than being wise and men) brought him some cool gifts. This is logically why we give gifts on Christmas. Though I think most people typically receive more than 3 gifts for Christmas. Maybe we go a little overboard on this presents thing. I'm sure we have those ungodly retail chains to thank for this. You know, with them shoving down our throats the idea that the only way to show love for our friends and family is to buy them tons of stuff, the more expensive the better! Don't get me wrong, I fall victim to this practice too.

Anyway, who were these wise men? Many biblical scholars today believe the wise men were actually Magi, which are Zoroastrian priests whose responsibility was to read and manipulate stars, basically an astrologer. Zoroastrianism is an old Persian religion that I really know nothing about to be perfectly honest, beyond the fact that it's monotheistic and has a standard good vs. evil belief. To me it sounds much like modern Western religions, but probably very different in ways I don't understand.

So that's cool, the wise men were religious people and they came and gifted Christ cool stuff because they believed he was an angel. Then Christ lived an amazing life and saved us all so we love him and want to respect him by having a holiday commemorating his birth. It's kinda cool really.

When I was little my grandma and I used to make Jesus a birthday cake every year. Okay so it was probably just my grandma making the cake with me standing on a chair (I was really short) watching her, but it was my idea okay? :)

So it's pretty much celebrated for all the reasons we grow up celebrating Christmas, Christ's birth and wise men giving him presents, and I like that. We just happened to get the date wrong and the description of the wise men wrong, but honestly I'm okay with that too. I like having Christmas in December. Like I said before, December would be an incredibly dreary month without it. Then the wise men, I think I prefer my idea of these guys being camel riding kingly scholars with money and gold crowns more than the likely more accurate description of them as wandering priests who study the stars. However I do really like astronomy and astrology was kind of like the astronomy of year 0 since calculators couldn't exactly do trig and calculus (which wouldn't even exist for another 1700 years) back then.

I like Christmas because it's a religious holiday that nearly everyone appreciates. Even most non-religious people are happy to celebrate a season of giving during December. Sure you have the occasional bone head who gets offended at being wished Merry Christmas, but they'll probably get kicked in the spirit-face by a spirit-camel owned by a Zoroastrian astrologers in the after life, and that's a fun thought.

Merry Christmas friends.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What I learned this semester.

So I should be studying for my Geophysics final that I have in 3 hours, but I really just don't care. I'm so burnt out of school, this has been a really long and hard semester. I have two classes done Sedimentation/Stratigraphy and Geomorphology, I feel like I made good effort in both of them and will probably get good grades. The last two finals I have are in Global Geophysics (not to be confused with the ungodly Applied Geophysics that I somehow magically got an A in last semester) and Geoarchaeology. These are today and tomorrow, respectively.

I felt like I'd write and get my mind off of plate driving forces and refraction angles for a minute.

So I guess I pissed a lot of people off with my previous blog, sorry. I guess I really shouldn't be so blunt with my thoughts, at least not in a public blog, that's what journals are for. I always justify this by saying, it's not like you're required to read it, but apparently I have these things called friends and they read it because they like me or.. because they're really bored or maybe because I actually write decently. I don't know, I've not asked. Anyway, if I made fun of you or you feel like I made fun of you, and aren't married to a frat boy, I apologize. If you're married to a frat boy.. eh.. there are far worse things in your life. I just request that you try to see things from my point of view on the subject. It can be a bit frustrating at times. I know just about anyone, not part of the majority USU demograph, who read it and said something to me about it, said something to the effect of, "I liked your blog, I feel the exact same way - it's ballsy of you to write something like that." Regardless of it being ballsy or not, it's probably not very kind to some of my best friends. I also apologize that it kind of got misinterpreted into an anti-Mormon blog post. That wasn't my intention at all.

Hmm, what have I learned this semester? Well boring stuff like how to interpret stratigraphic sequences, how to identify landforms and what they mean, why the mammoths all died and how to make heads or tails out of geophysics, but I don't want to go into that. No one wants to read about what I learn in geology classes, not even me... well maybe the occasional stupid kid who sits by me in lab because they don't get it would. Fortunately all of my lab partners this semester were just as smart, if not smarter, than me. So I learned that I'm finally getting old, well maybe old is the wrong term, but I'm finally acting like an adult (sometimes). Take the previous paragraph for an example, when have I ever apologized for offending someone? Psh, my previous take on life was if I offended you, you're pathetic. That's not true though, people have feelings. I also learned that I like to accomplish my responsibilities. In prior semesters if I'd been assigned something I didn't understand or didn't feel was fair, I'd just not do it. Yesterday I did an assignment that I felt was both unnecessary and assigned way too late in the semester to be fair. It's only worth about 5% of my grade in a class where I believe the professor will simply assign grades based on her feelings more than pure stats, but I did it anyway. Did I learn much from it? Nah, but I got it done.

I learned that Lost is an amazing show. I never watched it when it was on TV because it looked dumb, I watched most of the 3rd season with some neighbors, but only did it because they were always up at 2am watching Lost. When I actually followed the whole first season though I was like "Whoaaaa... this show rules." I learned that I like pistachios. I never tried them because they were green, but they're good. I learned that anyone can become whipped... except me of course ;) I'm far too much of a bad ass for that. Haha, it'll probably happen someday - but when it does it'll be mutual. She WILL like college basketball and sci-fi, or at least put up with it like a good sport.

I went on a geomorphology camping trip instead of watching Utah State beat BYU in football and I regretted it at first, but now I realize there are more important things than sports. I made some really good friends on that trip. It's important to be tight with the people in your department. I learned that I really like my department. I know nearly every one of the undergrads on a first-name basis now and I like just about every single one of them. I'm going to miss them after next semester.

I learned just how quickly you can make and lose really close friends. I learned that I really really really don't like one-night flings anymore. Though maybe if it were Michelle Trachtenberg I'd be okay with it still. Yeah, definitely would be okay with it. I learned how to use Adobe Illustrator over the course of two very very very long nights.. wait.. no, that's academic related, scratch that. I learned just how stubborn I am when it comes to shopping at Walmart. With all the times I tagged along with friends or roommates to that evil place, I couldn't have spent more than $20 there all semester. I learned that I love teaching people. I spent way more time than necessary to help people learn freshmen geology simply because the other UTF was never around, but honestly I didn't mind. He did the one thing I didn't want to do more than anything else this semester, make a huge nasty excel file, yuck.

I learned just how much I hate pork. Just a couple nights ago I ate some pork ribs, they were fantastic tasting - but I've honestly been kind of mad at myself for it since then. Like seriously? Almost three years without eating pigs and I gave in with like the most minimal pressure ever simply because my roommate barbecued the most delicious smelling ribs ever? Lame. Hell, I even worked at Chili's for part of that pork-free time. I learned how good of a diet I can make myself have when I try. I can't remember any time in my life when I've eaten so many fruits and vegetables. I sleep like 5 hours a night now and feel fine all day because of it. (Though I do sneak in the occasional nap when I get bored.) Here's a big surprise, but I'm going to say it anyway.. Aggie basketball games just aren't fun anymore when it's a blow out. I think I've become desensitized to it by all the 30+ point wins year after year. The funnest games I've been to all year were Weber State (because we were down by 11 and came back to win by 10) and Northeastern (because it was back and forth the whole game) The huge wins over the U of U and Long Beach... really not that great beyond the just "going out and doing something with my friends" aspect.

I can't go to grad school next fall. This isn't to say I will never go to grad school, but I'm burnt out man. If you couldn't see this by the fact that I'm writing in my blog instead of studying for one of the hardest finals I'm ever going to take, I'm telling you now. I just want to finish my bachelors degree and move. I don't even care where I move or what I do for work (though hopefully it's related to geology and pays 40-50k a year to start, haha) I do want a Masters degree eventually, but if I were to start in 2011, I wouldn't finish it. Maybe we'll shoot for 2012? Hell by then it won't matter, because the worlds ending anyway, right? Wrong, dumbass :)

I guess I should study now. The end.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Utah State, Hey! Hypocrisy all the way!

Go Aggies, Go Aggies, Hey! Hey! Hey!

Okay that's an incredibly cheesy title, but it gets my point across. Utah State is full of hypocrites. No, this isn't a catch all as there are plenty of people who are not hypocrites, but man - so many students here are. This blog is going to sound like it's ripping on females, but it goes both ways and trust me, I know this. Unfortunately the examples I have are all based on females as I'm a guy and that's what I date.

So I was chatting with Ryan last night about girls here and like, I've known this for years, but it sort of hit me like a brick wall. My university is the most hypocritical university not named BYU in the country. Speaking of BYU, let's start there. Utah State students love to make fun of BYU. LDS and non-LDS alike. I feel there is nothing wrong with non-LDS students or even regular laid back LDS students making fun of BYU as making fun of BYU is both fun and incredibly easy. However, the super molly mormon girls and boys of this wonderful community do the exact same thing. I have a problem with this as they are basically just BYU students who moved to Logan to have a sliver of normality to their college years.

Despite what the self-appointed God's children in Provo like to claim about Utah State being a safety school for BYU, BYU is NOT a hard school to get into and I know more than one person who turned down a full-ride scholarship to the Y to come here simply because they liked the atmosphere better and the program they were interested in wasn't business or multi-level marketing.

Anyway, now that that is out of the way - there's a joke, "What did the BYU coed do when her boyfriend put in an R-rated movie? She put her bra and panties back on and left in disgust." Wanna hear a funny story... so a few weeks ago this girl didn't want to watch Saving Private Ryan with our friends, so instead we went to my room and ... "stuff." Fail. Basically the joke applies to Utah State girls too. Of course after a couple months of indulging themselves in the normal ways of life they always feel bad and have to end the normal healthy relationship they've been having with you. Some of them even go the BYU rape route. (BYU Rape is when you consensually fool around with someone in a sexual manner but then pretend after the fact that you didn't want it because you don't want people knowing that you're human and have urges just like everyone else that you occasionally give into. Instead, since you are such a dirt-bag, you think it is better to lie about the whole scenario and try to place all the blame on your partner.)

I love how it's just perfectly okay to pick and choose which doctrines of your religion you want to follow. Mormonism really reflects Catholicism in some respects. In fact I've been trying to do this for the past 8 years of my life. It started when I was 16 and I decided that I didn't need to go to church to be LDS, then around 18 I decided a good LDS kid could mess around with girls and drink now and then, in my 20's I changed and stopped those habits (mostly) but throughout this time no one really considered me a good LDS kid. Even today I go to church semi-actively (maybe not so much the past monthish), I do a pretty good job of avoiding alcohol for a university student and read my Joe Smith literature. I've even avoided excessive amounts of sexuality since basically my west-coast fling. However, because I'm open about my life and don't really hide it none of my friends consider my a good Mormon when many of them read their scriptures less, do just as much with the opposite gender and have tried alcohol themselves. Why do I not understand how being open about it to everyone makes you "less-mormon" than hiding it.

Once about two years ago I dated this girl named ... let's call her Shorty. She was really easy. The second time we made out we had our hands down each others pants and the remainder of our relationship was about like this. Shorty was not a virgin and was quite proud of this fact. On multiple occasions she would try to get me to sleep with her. While it was tempting and she was certainly cute she had cold sores and I'm not taking any chances when it comes to herpes. Seriously, that's like the number one reason I never slept with her, herpes scares the crap out of me. Well, that and despite being really cute, her body looked like she'd never worked out in her life. Anyway, Shorty and I broke up - her citing that she needed a "Good boy, like Greg." Greg was my 25 year old (at the time) roommate who was an RM and married the first girl he ever kissed. What.. the.. fuck..?

Two months later she was dating a frat bro. Seriously, this is the crap kind of element one has to choose from to date up here.

You know, I just went back in my blog and edited out "what the fuck," but then I realized the purpose of this blog is to complain about that kind of attitude, so I put it back. I am sick of people being offended by the occasional appropriately placed curse word. Grow up. Guess what, life is rated R. If you can't deal with it, take the easy way out - move to Provo. It really is absolutely ridiculous though that people will get offended at a word. Now at the expense of possibly adding excessive profanity to my blog post (If you're easily offended, skip ahead to where it says "end profanity" and if you're not - you've been warned.) take this for example. If I tell the average Utah State student, "Yeah, that's fun to do while sexing." They will laugh at my use of the word "sexing." However if I were to say "Yeah, that's fun to do while fucking." They will gasp in offense. Where is the difference? I said the exact same thing. The only difference is that USU culture tells you the word fuck is offensive and you know that you have to react how USU culture expects or you won't be accepted by your friends who do act within the USU paradigm. You have no real reason to be bothered by the word. God isn't bothered by the word. You just had someone you respected at some point in your life tell you that fuck is an inappropriate word and that you shouldn't ever use it. Guess what - if you're in a job interview you probably should not say, "Fuck yeah I'm interested in working for you." because you will sound like a moron. In fact in most conversations there really is no real reason to use the word fuck, but every now and then, the most appropriate word to use is fuck, and you should fucking say it.

//end profanity//

I had a friend tell me the other day, "My bishop always says, 'What is more important right now than marriage?'." (Holy punctuation chain.) Uh... seriously? You're going to ask the top quarter in intelligence of the 18-25 year old demographic what is more important than marriage? *dramatic inhale for effect* How about growing up, learning to live life on your own, becoming self-sufficient from your parents, having a job, keeping a job, doing well in school, staying committed to school semester after semester, finding out what you want to do when you grow up, taking the classes you need to achieve that goal, staying out of debt, eating healthy, staying in shape, creating lasting friendships, creating a professional network and staying away from drugs? Though.. I mean.. I suppose compared to marriage those are all pretty much pointless.. if you're an idiot. Oh wait, no I already pointed out that these are for the most part all incredibly intelligent individuals, hence why they are in a student ward in a town which is home to a top tier national public land grant university.

What is more important than marriage? Sir, you are a dumbass.

You're probably wondering how this all ties into my rant against hypocrisy. Well, have you seen that "Provo, Utah girls" spoof on the Katy Perry song? Yeahhhh... again with the Utah State students acting exactly like BYU students. Hey ladies, if I wanted to date a marriage hungry fiend I'd have lied my way into BYU. Now don't get me wrong, not all Utah State girls are hypocrites - in fact one I've been crushing on the past couple weeks seems quite the opposite of this despite being from Utah Valley hell - just a large enough majority are that it's quite bothersome.

I could go on about stories of hypocrites I've dated, but I'd like to at least stay on speaking terms with some of my ex's and not use examples from their personal lives - so I'll just stick to my example of Shorty who, by the way, ended up marrying the frat bro (dead serious.)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Dear Neighbor

Dear Neighbor,

I told you off tonight and then later apologized, to which you rudely ignored, but it's okay because I was simply trying not to make an enemy with someone I'll likely run into hundreds of time over the remainder of this God-forsaken school year anyway.

I would love nothing more than to tell you off again in a more thought out and considered fashion rather than just pissing you off and telling you to gtfo because I'm irate that you marched into my apartment and slapped me. Just because you are a girl and I am a guy does not give you permission to insult me with a slap for no reason beyond the fact that you are annoyed at my obnoxious motorcycle sounds. However, I'm not going to stoop down to your level. Instead I'm going to hover half a step above it and complain about you in my blog like a 16 year old rather than the 14 year old that you are.

You are a brat. You are probably the brattiest post-middle-school girl who I have ever met. No, I am not exaggerating out of annoyance. What is your problem? How can you possibly be a Sophomore in college and think that it is even remotely okay to come downstairs and pound on my door, while yelling, for 30 seconds until you are let in and then come in and loudly express annoyance at us despite the fact that we are purposely making motorcycle noises to drown out anything you possibly could have to say? Then don't let it stop here, you should probably get in my face and yell at me for your broken window, which I have not had any part in at any point, at all, period. In fact each time your window was touched I was not even outside. I suppose maybe sitting in my chair reading a pdf on blackboard was probably enough to set you off since you have about a 6 millimeter fuse.

Okay I'll admit flipping you off probably wasn't the most appropriate thing I could have done, but there are far worse things that can be done than flipping off someone who is in your face, screaming at you, for something you have nothing to do with. Yet you have to let your rage and complete lack of an ability to control your teenage emotions take over and then physically slap me. Are you serious?

So let's overview this - your window was accidentally broken by my roommate that you threw cupcakes on. I happen to be the ex-roommate of someone who threw a snowball into your broken window tonight and you come slap me? Where is the logic in this? Oh nevermind, there is none. Do I apologize for calling you a bitch? Yes. I quite love dogs, it is incredibly rude to compare a thoughtful and loving creature to one who is rude, immature and acts like the world owes her something. Though in some ways it is appropriate. Sometimes a dog will bite a random person who is doing no harm to the dog because it is annoyed at external circumstances. This is exactly what you did tonight.

Do I apologize for calling you a slut? Sure. You've been making out with multiple people all semester while displaying this image that you are innocent and follow a religion which doesn't approve of this kind of activity. However, it is college and I have been doing the same thing, so I have no room to call you this. I take back my hypocrisy in calling you a slut. You are more of just an unpleasant person rather than a slut though a slut is someone who I could see attacking someone for no particular reason other than pure annoyance.

I do sincerely apologize if I offended you. That is not very appropriate of me to simply vent harsh names at you, however momentarily true they may be, simply because you pumped up my adrenaline by hitting me. I should have simply considered the source.

I still stand by the fact that you are a complete brat. Whenever you are mentioned expressions of dislike and annoyance are displayed by most around. Yes, your friends included. You act like you are special and that people should treat you differently. You pretend that you aren't a completely unpleasant person when you in fact are. You are perpetually pissed off and that isn't exactly something anyone appreciates being around. Learn to accept that, despite the fact that you're an unemployed 19 year old who drives an Infiniti, you're not special and please try to coexist with others around you accepting that we are all on the same equal level.

In closing, slapping people for making motorcycle noises in their own apartment which you were not even invited into is not appropriate. It is in fact quite childish and also a misdemeanor. Yes, I realize this letter which you will never read is childish as well, but it pissed me off and I need to vent. I hope you enjoy telling your friends (and mine as well) how much of an ass I am for calling you a bitch and a slut without mentioning that you completely brought it onto yourself by involving me in something which I never had anything to do with by striking and insulting me.

Sincerely,
Brandon

PS. The world is 4.6 billion years old, humans evolved from other bipeds and there is no physical way in which the entire globe can be flooded by water because there simply is not enough. Please, take a science class.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving

So it is.. or at least was.. Thanksgiving, so I thought I'd make a list of some of the things I'm grateful for. I could go shopping, but I really don't feel like buying normal priced stuff in large mindless crowds because it's supposedly cheaper on Black Friday. This list is by no means comprehensive or in any specific order... other than in the order that they came to mind.

1. Hydrogen bonds
2. My mom
3. Dogs
4. Bikinis (yes, this is the 4th thing that came to mind...)
5. The band Lit
6. Open source software
7. Star Trek Voyager
8. Nerf guns
9. The Earth's magnetic field
10. Sleep
11. The number 11
12. Nuclear fusion (the sun is so warm!)
13. Power steering
14. Goldeneye 64
15. My grandma
16. Mario Kart banana peels
17. Gravity
18. That my ears don't stick out super far like they used to when I was little
19. My metabolism
20. My ability to be better than most people at most things
21. The amusement I get from not being humble ... at all
22. Socks
23. The scroll wheel on the mouse
24. Plate tectonics
25. Some of my friends (what? some of you I could do without...)
26. Orange juice
27. Spreadsheet programs
28. Platypuses
29. The ctrl+z command
30. The Spectrum
31. The Wendy's dollar menu
32. Sight
33. Light waves
34. Trig functions
35. Laddergoat (you so random)
36. This weird duck pencil sharpener of which I have no recollection of owning.
37. MP3s
38. Scooby Doo
39. Utah State University
40. Final Fantasy X
41. My Tiburon (and the fact that after 6 years it still runs fine!)
42. Museums
43. The wheel
44. Satisfying sneezes
45. Handcuffs or rope ... or really anything you can restrain someone in bed with
46. Strongbad
47. Prime numbers
48. Cacti
49. Algae (without it we'd have nothing to breathe or anything to absorb CO2!)
50. The fact that even though it's only the 26th day of No-Shave November, I already shaved.

Now because I feel like it - things I'm not grateful for:

1. The word grateful, I hate how it's spelled.
2. People who disappear when they start dating someone.
3. Country "music"
4. The nasty Orbit gum that tastes like green tea
5. Apple, their products and the douches who buy it right away because the media told them it's cool.
6. Anthrax
7. The Bubonic Plague
8. Mosquitoes
9. Idiots who drive large trucks as their daily commuter vehicle
10. Sub-zero temperatures south of the 45th parallel.

Monday, November 22, 2010

I Stand Alone

What I was listening to the Godsmack song, I Stand Alone. Sounded like a good title..

Throughout high school and the first couple of years afterward I had a pretty close group of friends. Andrew, Eric, Joe and myself pretty much did everything together. We had fun, we were pretty tight. Sure there were boring nights and there were times when I got sick of them, but as a whole they're the best group of friends I've ever had. We kind of began to split ways in 2008. I moved to Logan. Eric got married. Joe and Andrew simply got caught up in life. The four of us almost never hang out anymore.

Eric and Andrew are both (happily?) married and Trisha just sent me a text message telling me that Joe proposed to his girlfriend. That's awesome, it's been far too long and I'm happy for him. Come this summer I'll be the only one of us still single. That's cool, I like the single life for the most part. More time to do what I want, more money to spend on myself, more girls to do what I want with... come this summer I'll also be the only one of us with a college degree and it'll be a 4 year science degree from a tier 1 university! This is me looking at the bright side of things.

In reality I feel like I must be doing something wrong. I've had plenty of girls I've discussed marriage with. Trisha, Rachel, Shelly, Nichole... Rachel and I even discussed it quite seriously. She wanted me to quit school at USU, move in with her and finish my degree at CSUN. I suppose Trisha and I were pretty serious too, but it's clearly never amounted to much. I've dated a lot, I've kissed over 30 girls and had some sort of mutual attachment to about 15 of those, whether you call a relationship or whatever, I don't care, some of them were never girlfriends, but we shared a mutual attachment. So why no luck for me then? Is it by choice? Sort of, if I wanted to change myself I could have married Rachel or Trisha, I'm sure, but I like who I am. I don't want to change myself just yet. They should have simply accepted me how I am rather than wanting me to put out or be Mormon. Though by asking them to accept me I'm asking them to change themselves too.

From what I can tell when people get married, they have to change themselves. They have to sacrifice things that are important to them to satisfy things important to their significant other. I've had friends here who used to be just as avid Aggie sports fans as I am that no longer come to any of the games. My friends at home and I used to have game nights at least once a month, we've not had one since July. Some of my friends, like a roommate I had last year, simply disappear altogether after marriage. I see him on campus, but he just doesn't even look or act like the same person. I guess to a lot of people this is an acceptable sacrifice to make. I'm sure I'll make it someday, I guess I've just not yet met the girl I'd be willing to give things up for.

I don't understand why two of my friends rushed so headlong into marriage. It seemed like they couldn't wait to get away from the misery that single life caused them. I used to feel this way and I'll be honest, sometimes I still do feel this way. I'd love to meet the girl of my dreams and have a wonderful fun relationship that just builds on itself day after day until we get married and have a happy marriage complete with a couple kids a dog and a nice house. It's the hopeless romantic in me. I'd love for that to happen starting tomorrow, but the chances of that are slim to none. One must be willing to make sacrifices in order for marriage to work. I suppose I've just not been willing to make these sacrifices yet.

Though at the young age of 24 should I feel any pressure to? I've experienced a lot. I've had one night stands, long term relationships that ended in a firey ball of hell, I've become an ultimate Aggie, been on a random roadtrip to another state to see someone I'd never met, been to countless Aggie basketball games, met thousands of people, stayed up late playing video games with roommates, stayed up late playing video games with girlfriends, slept in til 2pm with girls I never even think about anymore, played night games, had bonfires, eaten out with friends, finished 4 years of college, become an undergraduate teaching fellow, staked mining claims for Kennecott, stayed out of debt, learned to snowboard, learned all kinds of academia that I never thought I would, killed zombies, been camping with groups of people all over the state, stayed up all night watching Olympic basketball, played on an ultimate frisbee team, broken a bed with someone who wasn't even my girlfriend and countless other things that I would have never done had I tied myself down so early.

Would I trade these experiences for a few more years of marriage? Nah. Not yet.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Signs you go to Utah State

In no particular order :

You have been walking to or from class and passed by a tractor.
You think the "French Fries" are a valid reference point to use when giving directions to Freshmen.
At midnight under a full moon rather than thinking about werewolves, you're thinking about who you could make out with on a statue.
You have no idea what the lyrics to your alma mater are, but you know the Scotsman!
You consider walking to class a workout.
Anything over 10 miles away is too far if you're not spending the whole weekend there.
You've dated someone who won't go out to dinner with you on Sunday night, but will wake up with you Monday morning.
You have shot zombies.
You've been in a class with someone wearing a plaid shirt or leather, who thought it looked good.
50% of females when asked about their major will respond, "Elementary education"
50% of males, when asked about their major will respond, "Well, it was engineering, but now it's business."
You have watched a movie outside in September and been freezing.
It snows during finals week, every year, both semesters.
You know what ward-prayer is.
You have cleaned the sink and greatly enjoyed doing so.
You consider a basketball game a 5 hour event.
You'd rather drive all the way across the state to watch your basketball team, than walk up the hill to watch your football team.
You have or know someone who has ridden a bull naked.
You complain about pollution, don't want your county to enact vehicle emissions standards.
In January you envy places with clean air, like Los Angeles.
You have never legally driven over 45 mph in your current home town.
The Wasatch Mountains are on the west and you actually know that.
The LDS temple in your town is older and far more beautiful than that of any other town with a university.
You have never been drunk at a college party.
Your school has a building for the Geology major, but not a building for any of the Humanities or Social Sciences.
You have absolutely no idea what your mascot is supposed to be, but everyone kind of pretends that it's a bull.
It has been 0*F and sunny at noon.
You think the 500 or so Asians at your school of over 18,000 make it "diverse."
Your schools gym is about as old as the school itself, but it has 3 new engineering buildings.
You have seen pigs on campus.
You like to point out who the winning and losing teams are, even after a 50 point win in which there really was no question the entire game.
Sledding down Old Main Hill is a graduation requirement.
Your friends facebook status updates begin complaining about how much they hate winter in late September.
It snows for 5 months out of the year, but you have only seen 2 snow plows in your entire college career.
You are in college, but you can't remember the last time you went to Denny's.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Zombie Apocalypse

Last week these was an outbreak of a virus on the Utah State campus which spread to the student population turning those infected into mindless flesh eating zombies.

I'm serious.

Anyway, it all started Monday when this kid who was a zombie began uhm.. feeding on humans. No one suspected it at first until the people who were bitten began mindless rampages on others. Many of the students began arming themselves with guns and sock balls throwing knives. On the way to class we would all watch each others backs and always travel between buildings with caution. At night humans would meet up to try and find and accomplish goals around campus to secure resources to combat the zombies. Many humans were turned into zombies and began attacking and trying to eat their friends.

Friday night a helicopter was to arrive on the field behind the towers to extract the survivors, but we had to make it from the block A to the Geology building, past the Ag. Science building, past the fries, NR building and engineering complex. Through the art sector of campus and through central campus housing. This area was crawling with hundreds of zombies. My group of 15 or so survivors began the journey. I shot many of what were once my friends and saw some of my friends become zombies. Once about 10 of us made it to the field we joined other survivors in holding off the waves of zombie invasions as we protected the helipad. A few of use escaped. I was lucky enough to be one of the survivors. Then we went to Village Inn escaped the quarantine zone and celebrated with french toast.

Seriously though, Humans vs. Zombies is pretty intense. It's a glorified game of tag mixed with a Nerf war. What can be more fun that shooting zombies with Nerf guns? That's right, nothing. There were about 800 players originally of which maybe 650 played the game. At the end there were probably 70-80 humans left. I, along with a couple of neighbors, were among the survivors. I must admit I'm quite proud of this. I must have shot no less than 40 zombies over the week (they respawn after a few minutes,) it was rather intense. Sneaking to class, packing a Nerf pistol everywhere you go, meeting up with people for missions, humans vs. zombies is a well thought out and intense game.

Today I went to the Wellsville's to measure section. I found about 10 trilobites and must have stumbled across 100 brachiopods.. of which I only kept a few. There were some amazing fossils in the Spence Shale formation though. Kind of a crap way to spend your Saturday, but whatever. Beats sitting at home or watching Utah State's football team get slaughtered. They actually won today, but had I been there they'd have likely found a way to lose. They can run up a 31-3 lead on BYU when I'm in Wyoming, but can't even score on Hawaii when I go to the game.

On a more serious note (translation : quit reading if you're not interested in my life) I'm sick of being so damn nice all the time. Tonight I had plans with a friend. Nothing specific, but we'd discussed playing on Saturday night the prior 3 nights. I get back from the Wellsville's around 6:30 and my friend had decided something more exciting than hanging out with me came up. I was rather irked, but I played it like it was cool and just got off the phone. I sat and thought about it for a while and how normally I just let things like that go and decided I was sick of being so nice when the courtesy isn't always returned. I thought about it and in a tactful way let her know that it wasn't acceptable to use me as the "in case nothing else comes up" plan. It felt really good.

I wasn't really annoyed, I ended up watching the Jazz game, hanging out with my roommates and going to see some neighbors later tonight. I just felt really proud of myself for being confident enough to express that I am not a backup plan... in so many words... I don't really remember exactly what I said. I also felt proud of myself for being mature and tactful about it. Maybe this is part of growing up, haha. Earlier this week I did a similar thing with another friend that did something to annoy me. I didn't get angry, I didn't get all butt-hurt. I simply let her know that I didn't appreciate how she decided to act towards me and that was it.

If I compare this to how I may have acted in my late-teens or early-twenties I really like how I've changed. I am seriously proud of myself for how I handled a handful of situations this week that I would have reacted much differently to in prior years. It's nice to just stay cool, but let people know how you feel anyway. Totally beats overreacting or ignoring the situation altogether. Now if only I could learn to treat school the same way. Whenever I do bad on a test I either get depressed or just play it like I don't care. What's the alternative to these? blah. Well daylight savings has been good to me, but it's 2:22 (even with my extra hour) and I need to get to bed as I've not slept more than 3 or 4 hours the past 3 nights, though I have cheated and had a nap or two, and apparently my eyes are bloodshot because of it. Bye!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Trying to compare and relate science and religion

Science is great. It's simply observation, prediction, investigation and explanation. Then you do it over and over until you are satisfied. It's one of the few sets of beliefs I know that openly thrives on the fact that it can be wrong. It embraces this as part of its general belief.

For fun lets compare science with religion. It's not a tough comparison as they are a lot alike.

A scientist studies publications of other scientists to learn about how they practiced their beliefs. A religious leader studies similar publications such as scripture or testimony of other religious leaders. They both become well versed in their area of study and great experts. Both science and religion attempt to take what is known by the leaders of the communities and explain the world around them. This is great!

Here is where they differ. The basic belief of science is that you can observe the natural world and attempt to explain why what you observe happens. Then you test your observations to see if your predictions stand up to your tests. If they don't, that's cool. You don't have to question your entire belief system, you simply accept that you were wrong, learn from your mistake and try again.

Now religion on the other hand approaches the world from a completely different perspective. Religion will make a claim based on the testimony of a respected religious leader or what is written in a book. This claim is then fact without being subject to any test, questioning or interpretation by others. This of course assuming we are talking about one religion, I know there are about a million religions who have interpreted the bible (or other religious texts) differently, but let's simply choose one for now - pick your favorite.

Let's say the scientific community sets a belief. Let's use continental drift for instance. If another scientist comes along 40 years later and says "hey, this old belief we had about continents plowing across the ocean doesn't seem to make sense since continents are weaker than the bottom of the ocean." the community will go "hmm.. yes.. maybe you are right, what could they be doing instead? Oh, maybe the continents are shattered into pieces that slide around a ductile layer underneath them and the continents are less dense causing isostasy and this is why they are higher in elevation" Then people are allowed to agree or disagree based on their observations and interpretations of them.

Religion says, "Noah stated that around 5,000 years ago there was a great flood which covered the whole Earth, all animals went extinct except for those Noah saved, so this is true." and then over time people start observing things that don't seem to fit with this such as lack of an index flood deposit covering the Earth and the fact that land animals which Noah would have had absolutely no way of accessing, from the middle-east, still exist such as Kangaroos or Alpacas. Religion then reconsiders their beliefs and states, "Noah stated that around 5,000 years ago there was a great flood which covered the whole Earth, all animals went extinct except for those Noah saved, so this is true and your observations are invalid."

Yet hundreds of millions of people still believe that Noah and his ark contained the sole survivors of a catastrophic flood that wiped the planet clean. Why? Because they have faith in what the top religious figures say.

What is faith? One of my favorite scriptures was written by an ancient North American prophet named Alma. He says that faith isn't knowledge, faith is simply hope. I like that. It's a great and wise statement. He almost seems like he's smarter than most of these religious folk. He's not saying "have faith for it is true" he's saying "have faith because you want it to be true." Well yeah, I want to die and meet God and have him say "Wow Brandon, you really did some good stuff with your life. You became well versed in the knowledge of the world I gave you to study, you treated your fellow man with compassion and you even tried to please me in situations where it was very hard for you." Though I have absolutely no empirical reason to believe this whatsoever. All I have is faith... or hope.

Unfortunately I also faith that Utah State will win the WAC in basketball. I have no empirical reason to think they will, but I sure hope they do. Is my hope of the Aggies winning the WAC the same as my hope that a creator who understands me is waiting for me after my bodies biological functions become unable to sustain what I know as life? Yes, actually it is. Neither faiths are backed by empirical evidence. Both are based on hope and testimony. One has people who make religion their life telling me God created me and is waiting for me in an after-life while the other has people who make sports their life telling me that the Aggies will win the WAC.

One could say that I can observe the past and predict that it is likely Utah State will win their division, but that doesn't mean at all that they will. They COULD finish dead last. Likewise one can come up with all sorts of arguments for me to believe in the LDS church (my personal specific faith) and it's quite possible that it is true, but it's also possible that it is not. A good Mormon is not allowed to believe that it is possible that it is not true. A scientist is completely allowed to reject a well accepted theory if they have reason and data to back it up with.

Is it so hard to see why so many people have become atheist or agnostic over the last few decades? The way we view religion is becoming obsolete.

Why can't religion be more accepting of the observed natural world? Why can't a religion be strong enough to say, "Hey we understand that a catastrophic world-wide flood has absolutely no observable evidence other than a written story, so maybe it was just a parable." or "Yeah, using many different dating techniques we can observe that the earth has been around for far longer than is written in the bible, likely even billions of years."? Religion can't do this because for so long religion has based their legitimacy on the fact that God is omniscient and therefore men of God are omniscient.

Bullshit.

God may be omniscient but men of God are nothing but flawed mortals trying to relay his messages in the best way they know how. Guess what, the Pope can be wrong. Your Pasteur or Bishop or Prophet can be wrong. They are imperfect humans, it is in their nature to be wrong. If a religion were to admit that religious texts and interpretations of religious text are subject to fallacy, they would become far more honest and correct, but they would lose followers. Religion doesn't want to lose followers. They want to save (or collect money from - depending on the religion) as many people as they can. Accepting fault is unacceptable in religion. That is too bad. I wish religion was able to simply observe their set beliefs could be wrong and modify them like science can.

God is right, God is always right. It's his job to always be right. Religion is humans trying to imitate and please God. Humans aren't very good at being perfect and we never will be, hell we're not even that good at being right. Science is a set of beliefs that embraces our incompetence as humans and teaches us to learn from it and modify our beliefs to try and get as close to right as we can while knowing that we can never be fully right. This is why I love science. I also love God who I know exists because of the aforementioned faith I have in him. To quote a man far more brilliant than I will ever be,

"Even if there is only one possible unified theory, it is just a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe?... Why does the universe go to all the bother of existing?"

Well Professor Hawking, the answer to this question is simple. God :)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Mormons vs. Gays v.2010

So everyone seems to bandwagoning either the gays or the Mormons again. A president in the church made a remark about how homosexuality is unnatural, but God still loves you and will accept your repentance and the gay community took offense and decided to demand an apology out of the man.

Here's what I don't get. Why do they care? He didn't say anything mean to the gays. He simply stated his religions viewpoint on homosexuality. Is that not one of the rights of the country? To be allowed to have a religion that has points of view which may be different from another person's? I mean c'mon. I'm not even conservative and I support gays being allowed to be with other gays. I still think they're stupid for getting mad at this. It's almost like they're trying to find reasons to take offense, thinking that if they act like a pathetic little victim they will garner respect. Wrong, you lost my respect. I understand you were pissed when the LDS church gave money to a campaign against prop 8. Understandable. This is a tax free organization and as so should not be allowed to influence campaign funds with their money. If they want to tell their homosexual members that there is hope for them I see no problem with this though. I read that 1/11 people are either homosexual or bisexual. Of the 12 or 13 or... I lost track... ex girlfriends I have, three were admittedly bisexual (though usually in the closet about it.) All 3 of them were Mormon and went to church. Considering there are 13 million Mormons in the world I think this talk was probably nice to quite a few people who have this concern. Dear super-sensitive gays, Quit being so sensitive, no one is going to take you seriously until you quit acting like fags. Yes, there is a difference between bi/homosexuals and fags.

On the flip side of this, I don't like that President Packer compared heterosexuality to gravity. This is a stupid analogy. Gravity is defined as [6.67*10^-11(m1)(m2)]/r^2 . Now please, tell me, what is the mathematical equation for heterosexuality, because I have some friends that I would greatly enjoy testing this on. Fail. This is a terrible analogy whether you're scientific minded or not. Gravity simply exists, you can not deny it. Can you fly against it? Sure, but gravity is still acting on you. Orbit? Gravity is still acting on you, without gravity you could not orbit. Homosexuality is not something which is definable like this. Some people simply feel gay. That's cool. They're allowed to and they're allowed to choose whether to act on their gay tendencies or not. I know for certain that one of my best friends from high school is bi, he's married to a woman and has never done anything homosexual. He made this choice, some people don't. No one has a choice whether or not they accept their gravitational attraction or not. Heterosexuality is not a "natural law," it just happens to be what is the most functional and makes the most sense.

So I guess in conclusion, while the church official made a poor comparison, he's right. The LDS church does not accept homosexuality as right, but accepts homosexuals and even allows them church positions if they overcome their gay tendencies. He should have worded things differently and not gone into the whole "it's unnatural" thing. My Molly Mormon friends will have a hard time agreeing with me on that point because they don't understand that church officials are mortal and sometimes don't word things correctly, but really? If this is going to set off the gay community, then they need to not ever repent and go to hell.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Binary

This made me laugh and I wanted to share:

Katie XXXXX ‎101010 = 42. Yet I still don't feel like I really know the answer to life, the universe and everything...
Nicole XXXXX wtf does that mean? how is 101010= 42
18 minutes ago · Like
Brandon Alger There are 10 types of people in this world. Those who understand binary and those who do not.
15 minutes ago · Like · 1 person
Nicole XXXXX k thats 2 types not 10.
10 minutes ago · Like
Brandon Alger and you are clearly the latter type :-D
9 minutes ago · Like
Nicole XXXXX yeah i have a life
9 minutes ago · Like
Brandon Alger I fail to see the high correlation coefficient between life and knowledge of binary, but that's awesome! Congratulations :)

I love stupid people. They make me feel so much better about myself. Though she did make a valid implication. I have little social life this weekend. (Though to be perfectly honest I probably have more friends than this person despite my knowledge of binary.) You see, this isn't a normal circumstance for me, but this weekend has blown ass. Saturday was all right, but I've spent Friday and Sunday nights home alone... well James is here, but I'm in my room alone at 9:30. I feel kind of unwanted or something. Not unwanted, because that's not true. People like being around me, just like everyone has people they'd rather be around. The girl I was into the last month for example said she'd come play or watch a movie after she went to ward prayer, she then sort of bailed without notice on me. My other roommates are all with people that apparently more exciting to be around than I am. My other old crush started dating her ex-boyfriend. Good choice there, take my advice - it's stupid. Don't ever date the ex. You're ex's for a reason, the same reason will break you up again. Speaking of ex's. I hung out with my ex's ex best friend last night. Cool girl. She was telling me that when my ex made out with my old friend like a day after we broke up she only acted regretful to appease me since I was pissed at her. Kind of hurt me a little, even though it shouldn't being that it really doesn't matter anymore. She's a person of crap character though. I could go on, but since she may or may not read this (likely not by this point, but just in case) I won't. I'm only a person of sometimes crap character. I play nice usually. Okay sorry, huge tangent. The point is I'm feeling down. It's annoying. Especially since it's not even winter yet. Winter is depressing season. Fall is supposed to be happy! Even though everything is dying... but I don't mean like that... I'm not one of them morbid kids that's like yes, death = happiness. Death is sad, I miss Snowball.

Snowball was awesome. She'd be 16 now if she were still alive. She could do various tricks such as sit, shake, walk on two toes, dance, play amazing catch with a frisbee, eat flies and sing along with a harmonica. She was so playful but even more than playful - she was hungry. You could not leave food out with any conceivable way for Snowball to get to it, because she'd get it. Sometimes I'd just be confused as to where something went and then I'd find a sleeping Snowball along with some crumbs. You're not obvious now are you? End.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Geomorphology..

..is boring. Seriously, it's the worst geology class I've taken yet. The professor isn't bad, not great either, but certainly not bad. She's a grad student in the watershed science department, so she teaches it like a Watershed Science class rather than a Geology class which involves more sleeping from Brandon than it probably should, but whatever.

This weekend Utah State pummeled the Cougars of Breedem Young University by doubling their score for their first football victory over them since 1993. Unfortunately I was in the Tetons with my geomorphology class and had to enjoy the game on the radio. The trip was all right. The geology was kind of boring save for just the pure majesty of the Tetons overlooking a beautiful valley with glacial features having scoured every peak and corner of the mountains leaving them rugged and used. We saw a landslide and some glacial moraines,where the glacier ends and drops off a bunch of crap that was inside of it. Contrary to popular belief glaciers aren't just ice, they're full of rocks and debris and all sorts of crap, so when they melt the stuff just drops out of it. Most of the geology part of the trip just involved driving, taking some notes and being bored. There were a couple times where we got to go look through rock float or outcrop and find stuff. I found a few fossils and some really cool calcite geode things. Fun souvenirs of a less than fun trip.

A large part of the trip involved just hanging out around the campfire and partying, Playing guitar, singing, making friends, eating, drinking.. you know the drill. I am proud of myself though. Despite being offered beer on multiple occasions, probably due to the 10+ beers I drank on a trip last year, I didn't have a single drop of alcohol. I don't really know why I'm proud of that as I don't consider alcohol to be a cardinal sin or anything, but God tells me it is, so whatever. I think I'm just proud of the self-control and the fact that I could say no. Also the fact that I was just as loud, obnoxious and had just as much fun as anyone who had BAC levels of 0.1 or higher :) One of the guys did throw a whole bottle of hand sanitizer in the fire which made for an adventure. One drunk girl kept biting my arm (and I'm pretty sure kissed it at one point) which I found quite annoying, but hey, drunk people do silly things. I will admit that being sober made sleeping harder though. Falling asleep with people yelling and sub-freezing temperatures engulfing your tent isn't too hard when you're buzzed. When you're sober it requires headphones which creates a new problem since you need your cell phone battery to last 60 hours. It made it though.

I got a new cell phone! It is a Samsung Gravity T. The T stands for touchscreen ;) I feel so high tech. Really it's no different from my old Samsung besides the touch screen, addition of a GPS and an interface upgrade, but it sure does look cooler! I'm always trying to find excuses to use the GPS on it and love plugging it into my car to listen to music from it since I actually bought a memory stick for this one. My old one had expandable memory, but I was too cheap to spend $10-$20 on a memory stick.

College is getting old. I want to be done, I want to move so badly. I have been talking with a grad adviser about going to the University of Minnesota, but I don't know if that's the best choice for me. I'd love the program, but it just doesn't "feel" right for lack of a better way to put it. I have terrible senioritis. The last geophysics assignment I did, I pretty much just said, "eff it," made some stuff up and turned it in. I'll probably get about 10/25 on it and honestly, I don't care. I'll have plenty of other opportunities to do better on stuff that makes sense and when I'm in a better mood.

You know, there are some things I just can't type in this blog because of its public access. Sometimes I like that my friends can read how I feel if they care to, but other times I do not. I guess I'll just accept it and go to bed. By the way, if you actually care enough to stalk my blog, thanks. You're a good friend :) I hope we see each other often and I express how awesome I think you are.

Monday, September 20, 2010

More things that annoy me

I made a post somewhere on facebook of things that annoy me, such as remote starts and blue turtle shells. I've been in an unexplainable annoyed mood all weekend, so I thought I would make another list of annoying things to see if I feel any better.

Not using your turn signal : Do you have any idea how many accidents you nearly cause? In my opinion you're just as bad as people who talk on their phone or drink and drive. Yes I just compared talking on your phone to drinking and driving. This is why : Most people who drink and drive are about BAC 0.1% (legal limit is 0.08%). You can't tell me that someone who is 0.1% BAC is any less distracted than someone on the phone. About 75% of the horn honks I make are at people talking on their phone.

Aggie Football : Every year I think for some weird reason that this year will be the year when they do good. Then I'm looking at their record of 0-3 or 1-2 thinking, "nope... maybe next year, yeah next year" I need to just accept that it'll never happen. Oh well, at least we look better than BYU this year.

Campfire smell : It's gross. I just want to write a blog about annoying things and go to bed, but nooooo I have to shower at some point between this and I can't wear my jeans tomorrow now because they smell like camping.

People who try to harmonize with rock music : Just... no. You sound like crap.

People who steal your stuff : I've lost track of how much of my stuff has disappeared this semester. Now most of it is out of play and that's cool, I typically get it back soon enough. Right now we're missing 6 tiki torches and 4 cinder blocks though. Really? You're too much of a cheap ass to buy four $1 blocks and six $2 tiki torches? Douche. Actually no, douches are useful, you are not.
I'm still bitter about "someone" having stolen my $300 of change a couple years ago too. Really? It's quarters. What possible reason would "someone" have to take $300 of quarters while leaving my bank and leave a brand new laptop behind? Oh well, at least I still have my laptop.

Guitars : Hey you know what makes a perfect soundtrack for when you're trying to talk with your friends, do homework or watch a football game? Someone playing electric guitar.

My Internet : I get so frustrated when I'm just browsing or trying to do something important on the intrawebs and every 30 seconds I have to wait a minute for the internet to catch up with itself. I don't know what causes it. It might just be someone being a drain on the router or maybe it's just crap internet, but either way it annoys me to no end. By the way, it's doing it right now.

Dating : Why bother? Everyone just wants to play and when they don't they don't like you *for being unique *see: about half my ex's. I've been seeing two, maybe three if I stretch, girls and none of them really want anything serious. While I realize this is hypocritical, none of them want anything from it so I'm not going to stop. Then it's like, why waste money on it if it's openly not going anywhere? While I may have a good bank account for a college student, it is far from inexhaustible. Society makes me feel cheap for not spending money on women, but if they just want to date around I thank them for being honest, and will put about 1/4th effort into it :-D so basically I just have attractive women to spend time or make out with. When I was 17 that may have been awesome, but now it just makes me feel like an ass. As my roommate put it though, most guys would love that and it IS better than nothing.

People who think their phones are instant messengers : They are not. They are phones. They are used to call people. I understand texting is more convenient sometimes, but often it's just inefficient. If you can text me and then not answer the phone 4 seconds later when I call you back, congratulations, you are on my list of annoying things.

Their/There/They're : Their are so many people who do this. There just dumb. You can tell that when these people had 7th grade English they were never they're. They were too busy smoking there weed or something.

How old I feel : I'm 24. I should NOT feel old. Yet for some reason I let the culture here make me feel old. So many people I know now don't even like Blink 182. They came and went pretty fast, but were big enough that everyone who was in high school in the early 00's knows them well. I was complaining about this tonight and my friends were saying I'm too old for a college town. I was like "A 24 year old senior is not weird at all." and one responded saying, "Yeah, but most guys have dropped out or married by their senior year." Can't argue with that. It's true.

How angry my blog sounds : I'm not in THAT bad of a mood. I just needed to rant and I don't really have anyone to rant at since Katie and I don't chat as much as I'd like anymore and my mom didn't answer. Do I even want to post this? Eh screw it, if my Internet works good enough to let it post I'll do it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mid-day thoughts from the Ag-Sci building

So I was walking past the quad (or what used to be the quad anyway, before the tractors took over) earlier today and some young, maybe 20 year old, girls were following me having a conversation about dating. The one was complaining about how she never goes on dates, so she can't get married. The other replied saying how she couldn't wait for "her missionary" to get home next month, that way they could date and even if things didn't work out at least she'd have an excuse of why she wasn't married.

You're 20. Do you honestly need an excuse to not be married? Yikes.

Anyway, now that I'm over that rant. I'm sitting in the Ag. Science computer lab right now waiting for my geomorphology lab to start at 3:30. I've learned something this week, I really enjoy teaching people. No, I don't want to be a teacher, I'm just saying that I enjoy doing it. I held my first SI session on Monday and I got to lecture 20 or so students about rocks and minerals. It was really basic stuff - igneous, sedimentary, metamorphic rocks, what minerals are and how we identify them; but it was really cool being able to teach these people who didn't know about it and have them ask me questions that I knew the answer to. It just makes me feel smart and important.

I was really impressed with myself. Only 2 students left before my hour was up, and for anyone who's ever attended an SI session of a freshman class you know this is rare. Normally everyone is out of there after about 20-30 minutes. I also did a quick lecture today in a geology class about the Tibetan Plateau. It felt so nice to be the one with the power point and laser telling people cool stuff as they tried to stay awake.

Speaking of Freshman, I've discovered a new game that I like to play in my head as I walk around campus. It's called Spot the Freshman. The goal is for me to decide who is a Freshman and who isn't. Now of course I don't go up to these people and ask them if my results are right or not, so it's a rather pointless game, but it is kind of fun. They're just so naive looking. Many of them dress in stupid fashion trends that were cool in high school and just have this look of happiness on their faces like they're in awe to be at a university.

This all changes after your first finals week or your first week that you have 3 midterm exams. You become jaded and something in your mind changes. You quit wearing knee high rainbow socks, tight girl pants and long hair that takes 2 hours to style. You conform to the dullness of the sacrifices you make in college just to get B's. You have that look about you that you just rolled out of bed because you went to sleep at 3am last night since it was the only time you could get anything done. Ah Freshmen, you're so silly. Sometimes I wonder if the reason Sophomores-Seniors all kind of look the same is because of how Freshman year messes you up or if it's because there are certain people who just can't do college life and these are the ones who inaudibly scream "I'm a Freshman" as you walk past them early in the morning, then drop out after their first semester.

I love fall weather in Logan. It's crisp and cool in the mornings, but not cool enough to wear a jacket, then as it warms up and you get the sun beating down on you it feels just about perfect. You're cold outside, but warm inside... or maybe it's the other way around. I can never tell. I just know that when it's 65 degrees, sunny and windy out - beautiful. I got lunch with Marlee today outside and we ate outside the Quadside Cafe, it was about the perfect weather. I could have just sat there for hours taking it in. Few things are better than good bagels, good company and Logan fall weather all at once.

Well it's approaching 3:30 so I better make my exodus to the GIS lab so I can "learn" how to use GIS... even though I already got an A in the WATS 4930 class... Sometimes college can be so redundant. Maybe this is a good thing. I'm already one of those jaded Senior's who scowls at happy little Freshmen as they frolic around campus talking about how great high school was and how much more mature they are now that they live on their own in the grown up college dorm setting. Sigh, I want to be 18 again.. though I suppose I was a 21 year old freshman who still acted 18 so.. I want to be 21 again :-D

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Rock hammers solve all problems.

Well this semester has started out to be an adventure. Few dull moments, even less sleep. Trisha and I quit seeing each other before the semester started.. again.. for good.. again.. (I'm fairly certain it's for good this time though.) I dislike the Mormon female population at times. So many of them are dumb. No I'm not saying this out of spite or because I'm irritated, and no I'm not singling Trisha out either. Despite our differences she's still an amazing woman and I'll miss her occasional presence. I honestly just think there is a very large ratio of dumb Mormon women to smart Mormon women. No, I'm not talking about book smarts. For the most part I think LDS people are a generally bright bunch, they're just so damn close minded. So let me rephrase that sentence more accurately. Many (but not all, just... all the ones I seem to date) Mormon females are close-minded and it frustrates me.

Forget that I'm likely the greatest guy she's had a serious relationship with and maybe even the most amazing person she will date. (Shut up, I said maybe!) Forget that I have basically good morals and never try to get her to do anything she would regret. Forget that I was the one telling her no to sex despite wanting it myself. Hell let's even forget that for lack of better religions classification, I myself am even Mormon and go to church about 50% of the time. She didn't want to date anymore because I don't give a damn about magical marriage rituals in fancy buildings that we're brainwashed by primary songs to covet entrance to since the time we're 4 years old. No, I don't refuse to do one, I just don't care if I do or not. Maybe the arrogance was a turn off too ;) I sound bitter, I'm really not. I'm perfectly fine with the relationship ending and likely would have done it myself in the near future, it's just the reasoning behind it which really bothers me. It just seems so wrong, and I'm so sick of nearly all my relationships ending because of a religion. Sigh, typing this seems very familiar. I think I may have typed this before... bleh, moving on.

Anyway, it's good. I've had fun meeting new people, which is tough to do when you've got a girlfriend. One girl tonight sat down with me to "talk" earlier tonight. I was afraid this was leading to, "we need to be exclusive" since we had quite literally broken my bed the night before. The frame snapped out of place, but don't worry - I fixed it with my rock hammer. Rock hammers solve all problems. I was wrong, she wanted to make sure I understood we were not exclusive. I was quite happy with the conversation: Wait a second, so you're telling me that you WANT to just be friends with benefits? Uhm... deal.

Meh, forget girls, they're boring and a rather pointless endeavor for me it seems.

Another thing attributing to my annoyance of LDS girls is that it's so damn hard to find girls around my age to hang out with. The cute and normal ones are nearly all married by 20 or 21, when their missionaries get home. It's cool, I understand we're all biologically programed to want a sexual relationship, which isn't really allowed in the LDS religion outside of marriage, but it's still super frustrating for me. Every year I just meet new 19 year olds to hang out with. They're always fun and I always enjoy their company for a semester or a year, but then they all get marred, the end.

The early marriage doesn't really just happen to LDS females though, it does to the males as well. Fortunately I happen to have a group of older roommates (older meaning 22-26) who are all single and not actively pursuing marriage, but tons of my old roommates and friends have married off to girls they've only known for a short while, while having yet to really establish a life for themselves. Then they have new obligations and I understand that. When you're married you can't really just bail on your wife every other night to go play rockband or get dinner with your friends. That would be pretty lame. It's just sad. Almost to the point that I want to conform and become a boring married guy, so I can quit worrying about losing friends... almost :)

I got a job as an undergraduate teaching fellow for a freshman earth science class. The pay is almost non-existent, but I'm pretty excited for it. It'll be fun to feel like I'm smart, run review sessions, grade papers and stuff. It'll be way awesome. Not really for the money, but just as something new to do and something else to throw on my resume for now. If I can teach a subject, I must know it pretty well, right?

Utah State football looks awesome this year. Sure they lost their opener, but they lost it on the road to the 7th best team in the country in a gigantic stadium by single digits. The fact that Utah State hung with Oklahoma for an entire game and despite a couple of mistakes had every opportunity to win that game is... holy crap man.

Red Jumpsuit Apparatus came and played last Saturday here in Logan. It was pretty cool, free concert of a band that people actually know? Can't really complain about that. The night before that I went 80's dancing too, so my ears are still kind of ringing 4 days later, haha. The day after the concert I went camping with a group of friends and we all piled into a large tent which I had staked down with my rock hammer. I later used the hammer to chip off pieces of limestone, mostly just because I wanted to hit some rocks with it. It's very therapeutic to break rocks.

This is an incredibly dull blog entry. This would probably actually annoy me if someone posted something this dull on facebook, so I won't. Anyway, I apologize to anyone who actually read it. I think it's more of a journal entry, but being as I'm way too lazy to keep both a blog and a journal .. eh .. goodnight.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Summer wrap up

Last Saturday of freedom and it's closing in on 4am, best thing for me to do? Blog about it.

I suppose next Saturday I won't have school yet, but I'll be back in Logan, so this is my last Saturday in Layton. What a short summer this felt like. Summer sure does last longer when you don't have a job.. or three.. Okay I guess I only ever had two at a time.

So summer started off interestingly enough. I was dating 3 girls at once while working full time with the census, this shortly narrowed down to 0 and working part time with the census. Too bad too. The census job was miserable at first, but as I got good at it and started making conversation and getting to know the random people I'd have to go visit it really became fun and probably one of my favorite jobs I've ever had. Because the hours started getting few and far between there I got a job at a pizza restaurant. I definitely had some fun times there. I worked with cool people and the money was pretty decent. At about this point one of the girls I was dating earlier in the summer decided she still liked me and we started dating again. We did some fun stuff together. Had a Star Trek party, went to the planetarium, the natural history museum, played Mario Kart all night (no, this isn't something dirty - we actually played Mario Kart on the N64 all night). I got a job as a geologist. Oddly enough the thing I thought I wanted most ended up being the most miserable part of the summer. Go figure. Really kind of confused me as to what I want for my future, but whatever, we'll see where it takes me I guess. I went on a roadtrip with my Grandpa, which, may possibly be the last long trip he takes like that unfortunately. While out there I went and hung out in Long Beach and toured what was once the worlds largest boat. Actually I take it back, I think that trip was probably more miserable than the geology job, so the two things I wanted to do most were the most miserable.

Don't get me wrong, I'm happy that I went and was able to spend time with my family and especially Grandpa, but the whole trip was a long nightmare for me. We left early in the morning and drove straight through to Palmdale. I was tired before we left, so my grandpa started off driving. I was unable to sleep because every time I'd get close to sleep he'd veer off to the warning track and abruptly jerk the car back into the lane, so by the time we got to about Beaver I was like, "I'll drive" so I juiced up on 60 oz. of coffee and took over. Yes, I seriously drank 60 oz of coffee on the drive to California. From here I did the rest of the driving to, around and from California as his driving slightly frightened me. We got there and I felt like ass because well, I'd drank three 20 oz coffee's in about a 6 hour period. The first thing we did was get dinner with my uncle, which was nice, and then afterward we went to a Motel for the night, which absolutely sucked for me.

Now I understand my grandpa can't go up and down stairs (even though he did on several occasions on this trip) and they had no where for him to sleep on the ground level, but I can't explain how much it sucks to have to cease enjoying the company of my family that I rarely see to drive to a crappy motel at 10 pm and sit there with a book or try to use the worlds crappiest wifi for 4 hours until I get tired. I went back over one of the nights and hung out, but it still sucked to have to drive my Grandpa there, check in, get my stuff inside, settle in and drive back to the other side of town to hang out for a few hours and return. Having to carry all of our luggage to and from the hotel to the car every night kind of sucked too, my grandpa must have had 3x as much stuff as me. So that first morning, when I thought things could only look up from here, I wake up to the smell of fire. Fortunately it wasn't fire - my grandpa just felt he needed to turn the wall heater on, despite the fact that we're in a mid-latitude desert in August and it was about 85*F outside at the time, he was cold. Later on the trip I woke up to cigarette smoke in our motel room because it was too hot to go outside and smoke, FML. Then on the way home, when all I wanted to do was just get home, we had to drive clear up over Navajo Lake (which really is quite beautiful) and through some crappy little country towns to take the "scenic route" which to me was just like 4-hour-longer-route. Basically I spent 50% of my "vacation" babysitting and despite the fact that I spent a day in Long Beach, didn't even get to see a beach. I love my family and my grandpa and, even though I'm only highlighting the crappy stuff, I really did have some fun on my little trip - it was just not quite as exciting as trips with him in the past have been. I guess we all get old. I don't remember the last time I was so happy to get back to the relatively light Wasatch Front traffic and clear skies and my mom's tiny little apartment.

As I head back to Logan for my Senior year, all I can say is that I can't believe I'm heading to my senior year. When I started college 3 years ago I was doing it because I didn't have anything better going on in my life. I didn't think I'd finish a degree. I want to thank all the people who helped me actually get this far. My mom is so supportive, my grandpa always made me feel so amazing for being smart. My high school friends did the same, by always treating me like I was smart I just couldn't drop out and change their opinions on that. That asshole Shelly for making my first semesters at Weber so much better than they would have been otherwise. The friends I've made in Logan have made living in a town that some people consider boring the most exciting times of my lives. Stew Morrill for having a good basketball team and giving me something to get through occasional long winter nights in Logan. Various girls I've dated for having good bodies and helping me to get through occasional long winter nights in Logan.

Well, that is all - I'm off to sleep now. I'll try to get a few more entries in here next month.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Post 20, impressive

I'd set my alarm to go off at this time so I could text Trisha to go to work. I'd forgotten why I was texting her, so the text kind of just said "uh, I'm supposed to text you, I forget why, bye." Apparently I'd sent the text an hour late as I was supposed to send it at 5 rather than 6. Sadly I got back into bed and, I'm not tired.

I've taken some Nyquil to both curb my headache and hopefully get me back to sleep, but in the 20 or so minutes before it kicks in I thought I'd write.

So I have this irrational fear that I'm going to fall asleep and never wake up. That I'll just die in my sleep. Sounds peaceful I guess, but it scares the hell out of me. I don't want to stop existing. I don't ever want to stop existing. I got to thinking tonight while laying there, just about every religion in the world teaches a form of immortality for us whether it be resurrection, reincarnation or an experience like rebirth into a new world, they all kind of seem to teach that we go on. They are all frighteningly similar:

Islam believes in an afterlife where there are seperate levels of heavan and hell which you can attain based on your deeds in life, sound familiar? I suppose it makes sense for an Abrahamic religion founded by a man called by many a prophet who found some texts in a mountain long after the departure of Jesus Christ to sound similar to another Abrahamic religion founded under similar circumstances.
Hinduism believes that we do things in life and accumulate karma. Based on the goodness or badness of this karma we are brought back to Earth in a situation that could be quite pleasant, or rather terrible. So terrible that you may come back as a chicken.
Buddhism believes nearly the same as Hinduism. You accumulate karma and based upon your karma you can come back as the next Steve Jobs or possibly in a "hell realm" where you would live a life in which you'd attempt to improve. (Maybe Earth is "hell realm, wonder who I pissed off in my last life?) They have a fascinating belief of what happens between life where you are confronted by a light and thoughts of deeds of your life and these thoughts try to keep you from the light which is immortal salvation. If you lived a poor life the light is impossibly to confront, but if you lived one of goodness and service you can follow this path. Many of us are unable to confront the light will be helped by Buddah's to choose a life where we are able to help others so we may have a better chance next time.
Sikhs believe that our soul belongs to a spiritual universe where we reincarnate and store up goodness until we have filled up enough good deeds to meet with God. At this point we can choose to stay with God or to choose to accept a lower class and continue serving our fellow man. There are also lower classes such as plants and even microscopic life, but it's unclear to me how one attains these, I would suppose they'd be a punishment of too many poor lives.
Christianity is where it gets complicated, every Christian sect seems to have their own twist on the afterlife, but the main point is that Christ died and saved us from our sins and we are here to prove that we are worthy to accept his sacrifice. Our life accumulates.. for the lack of a better word.. karma and on judgment day we are assigned a new home based on our works. Some sects of Christianity, Universalists for example believe salvation is for all, you simply start with more in the afterlife based on how you conducted yourself on Earth. Then there are seventh day Adventists, which I won't pretend to understand, but are far more strict than even Mormons on who is and is not saved and basically you and I and everyone we know will burn in fire and brimstone when Satan comes to reclaim the rest of us. Christian Science (whatever that is) believes that there is no eternal judgment of heaven and hell and that we move freely between different states in another plane of consciousness. Honestly that sounds somewhat sci-fi to me, but I can't tell them they're wrong. They teach that we can experience heaven here if we so try enough. All that has to be done is to conquer sin through Christ.

Even looking back at ancient religions in Greece and Rome say that we are judged after death and sent to heaven or hell. After a period in hell we can be reincarnated to try again. Zoroastrian beliefs state that after you die you stay on Earth for 3 days with your corpse chanting some prayer. Then after this you are judged using scales (a term of any measurement, not simply weight) to see if your good deeds outweighted the bad, or if they were more or less equal. Then you are sentenced to one of 3 afterlives.

So extremist beliefs and slight differences aside, those all sound almost exactly the same to me. There is an afterlife, if we don't quite get the afterlife we want, we may choose to continue learning and try to achieve this ideal afterlife. The major differences I believe between religions are more ethical than metaphysical. What is good and what is bad? In India killing cows is bad karma, in America telling your neighbor you won't come to their BBQ and eat a burger is not thought of very highly.

It's comforting to think that all these billions of people who can't seem to agree on anything happen to agree, in a loose sort of way, that the afterlife is basically the same. Our existence continues and it continues in a way that a life of good deeds is rewarded with a pleasurable afterlife and a life of bad deeds is punished with a not so fantastic afterlife. That seems incredibly convincing to me. It makes me want to be a good person. It makes me want to give my peanuts to a homeless guy begging for money and makes me feel good about it for the next week because of the friendship him and I will have now, even if we never see each other again as mortals, and because of the overwhelming good feeling that I had inside me. Good karma feels nice!

Now if people could simply quit arguing about what's good and what's bad. If we could just accept each others differences and share an idea of a God who is smart enough (and he IS smart enough, trust me, he's God.. or they're God.. or she's God, whatever) to differentiate between who was trying to be good and who didn't give a damn, then all 7 billion of us (minus a few scientists who are absolutely convinced that nothing happens at all after death) could agree and get along just fine.

The only problem with this is that it would create a somewhat xenophobic society. We value civil rights and universal suffrage in western society, middle-eastern society will never see this viewpoint and if we concentrate on that, we will fight. Fighting over who's God is tougher, when in all likelihood it's the same God, seems like an incredibly fast way to get bad karma. If we simply accept that we're all trying to just be good people and serve the people most dear to us in the best way we know how, why can't we all end up in the afterlife together? The God that I know exists would be accepting of Christains, Jews, Muslims, Taoists and Buddhists alike, as long as we all gave it all, whenever we could on Earth. He would reward us accordingly. Whether this be with a world of my own or another life on another world where I am someone of power or with some reward I can't comprehend with my human mind in the ensuing rebirth as something greater, I can't say for sure. I like to believe the first, but I can't say that IS how it is. Only that an afterlife must exist, and it must be based on rewards I earned as a human.

I guess I figured after my last blog a nice pacifying "can't we all just get along" blog was a good followup. I really want to believe that when I talk to my grandma she acknowledges it in a way I just don't quite understand. I want to believe those hundreds of funky stories where a dead person is revived and can describe stuff that would have been impossible for them to know because they perceived it through some extrasensory means in the "afterlife." Such a happy thought. I miss my Grandma dearly. I want to be her friend again.