Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Really? $1.29?

So, I went to Wendy's the other day.  I usually get the Junior Bacon Cheeseburger (JBC), a five piece chicken nugget, a small fry, and a small frosty.  It's usually a little more than I need, but includes all of my favorite things and is all on the dollar menu.  When I went, the JBC was no longer on the dollar menu... it was $1.29.

Now, I recognize that $.29 is not much, but it still irks me a little that Wendy's is trying to gouge me.  The JBC is not a large sandwich.  It does contain bacon, which adds a little to the price.  I know that economicly times are tough, but really, Wendy's? Are things really going so poorly that you had to take it off the dollar menu?  Didn't you try this a few years ago and realize that $1.29 is just not what the customer wants to pay?

                                  "The JBC is not a large sandwich"

I have no delusions that any Wendy's Executive will ever read this, but how companies operate does bother me a little.  I'm a poor college student.  I probably eat out more than I should, but I really can't afford to do it much more than I do.  Will $.29 break me?  No.  If EVERY restaurant raises the price on my favorite item $.29, I may have to cut back on my restaurant visiting, and I don't think I'm alone in this.  I talk to college students every day, and many of them are worse off financially than I am.  Corporations, I know that money is nice to have.  I have a little and I enjoy that little, so I do see where you're coming from, but please try to think of the rest of us who thoroughly enjoy the joys a JBC off the dollar menu.  If prices keep raising, we may not be able to enjoy life as much.

This all sounds a little melodramatic, and it is.  I won't die without my JBC for a dollar. But isn't life about the little things?  Even just a nice hamburger when your day isn't going so well?  Anyway, just thought it was sad the price raised.

Monday, November 29, 2010

It's Due Friday?

So, if you read my blog from last night, you know that I had a huge paper due today and that I didn't really get to start it until about eight thirty.  I worked on it all night long, literally.  My head hit pillow at about four thirty.  It was the proper length, ten pages, and it had more than the minimal amount of sources, thirteen.  I was exhausted, my head hurt, and I didn't want to wake up in the morning, but knew I had to.

My alarm goes off, and my wife calls me for good measure (because I occasionally sleep through alarms).  I pour myself out of bed and into my attire (sweats and a hoody).  I make it to school, and at the end of class I notice that no one is handing in their assignments.  I walk up to hand mine in, just as one other student hands his in and my teacher says, "You have it done early huh?  Well that's great."  Early?  It was due today.  I read it on the syllabus: "Final Paper Due Monday, November 29th."  The teacher had extended it for people meeting with the writing scholar, which I had, to Friday.  I turned it in anyway, because I have so much homework due in other classes that I won't have time to work on it again and I'm hopeful that he will grade papers turned in early more kindly.

Why can't I listen?  A similar listening issue happened previously, but in the exact opposite way.  I was under the impression that a paper was due later than when it said on the syllabus, but found out it was due the next Tuesday.  Luckily, I still had my finished product, but missed five points of extra credit thinking it was due much later.

Oh, well.  I'll try to learn for following semesters (which will not be nearly as hard as this one), and hopefully scrape by this one.  I'd like to blame someone else for all of this, but I know it's me.  I'm the culprit of my own demise.  It's no surprise to me, I am my own worst enemy (Blink-182 reference anyone?).

On a happier note, my mom is coming to visit me this morning, so that'll be nice to vent to her.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I Hate Papers that are Due After a Holiday Break

So, this one needs to be quick because I have a huge paper to finish by, guess when, tomorrow.  It's eight thirty and we got home about fifteen minutes ago because we hit some bad weather coming home from Richfield.

It is never fund driving in the snow, but I really only have a couple of human annoyances to complain about.

1. The guy who decides to move his horses at seven at night, on the highway, in a snow storm.  I can cut this guy some slack, because maybe he was in a bind, and had not other choice, but if he had another choice:  Wait until tomorrow guy.

2. The van who apparently missed what "fast lane" meant in driver's ed.  I would guess that five of us passed him on the right simply because he was going ten under.  I have no idea how long it took him to realize he was in the wrong lane.  The cynic in me believes it was at his exit.

Anyway, I'll quit complaining and get to my homework.  Hope everyone had a good Sunday.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Black Friday, Part II, "Small Town's Revenge!"

Yesterday I posted our Black Friday escapades and received empathetic words for the distress it caused.  I appreciate everyone's concern and kindness.

That same day (just after I posted)  we drove to Price to visit my sister and her husband.  Upon arrival, we decided to go to Wal-Mart (because we're masochists).  Almost no one was there, and lo and behold, most of the stuff we fought for earlier that day was there, still in stock, still ripe for the picking.

My obvious question:  Why did we not just come to Price in the first place instead of trying to fight the crowds in Orem (because we got FF13 for seventeen bucks, that's why).  I should have seen this coming because I had a similar experience last year, when my wife and I spent Thanksgiving in Richfield with her family.  We didn't wake up until nine or ten, slowly made it to Wal-Mart and Kmart, and found what was on for the "best"  sales still there.  I'm not sure why small towns are this way.  Fewer people fighting for the stuff, less materialism, and hard working folk valuing sleep all make sense to me, but regardless of cause, small towns are the way to go on Black Fridays. 

In our house we often argue about where we want to end up when we finally settle down entirely.  I like cities, my wife likes small towns.  Talk about scoring one for small towns come holiday season.  Cities still win overall (so if my wife reads this, don't think I'm succumbing to your small townism), but small towns do have their upsides, which I'm willing to say.

Anyway, if you hate the Black Friday rush, try small towns next year (or don't, so there's less competition for me).

Friday, November 26, 2010

Materialism at its Finest

So, we went shopping this morning.  I know, this makes you question my sanity, and I don't blame you.  Now that the incident is over I question my sanity too.  We started the evening at Wal-Mart at midnight.  We picked up the Band Hero bundle for seventy five, along with a couple of blue rays and a present for my father in law.  We didn't get out of there until about three.  Then we came home, chilled for an hour and  hit Target, where we waited in a line outside for an hour.  All we went for was FF13 for seventeen bucks.  I literally got the last one.  It was awesome.  Than came Toys R Us, where we saw a guitar hero guitar was on sale, but it turned out to be only for the wii, lame.  Then off to Kmart where we saw that a guitar hero guitar was on sale (but only on Thanksgiving Day)  and NHL 11, which sold out on Thanksgiving Day.  We hit 2 out of 4, but some of the experiences were classic.

Experience 1:  The Scene, Wal-Mart.  We've got out stuff, we're standing in a three mile line.  My Aunt is in a line next to us a good distance back.  I've made a friend, things are going fine.  Then the line stops.  We look ahead and see a woman with an ad out.  She's price matching.  On Black Friday.  What the hell.  She had a whole cart load and must have price matched the whole things for like fifteen minutes.  My Aunt passed us.  People, if you are one of the price matching individuals, wait in the store until the majority of us are out.  I know this sounds crazy, but your time is not worth more than mine.

Experience 2:  The Scene, Target's outside line.  We've been waiting for fifteen minutes and here comes the Target Security man.  He says that people cannot get into line after three thirty, and if they do, we need to snitch on them.  We found that a little funny, but whatev.  As the line starts moving we get to the front of Target and this guy is shouting at people and physically throwing them out of line.  The two I remember most are him yelling at a young woman while pushing her and telling her to get out of the parking lot, and him physically throwing a man out of line who then tried to chest up to him, and the security guy calling a policeman over.  I didn't know what happened next because I was madly trying to get to FF13.

Experience 3:  The Scene, Any Time I Needed to Ask a Sales Associate a Question.  Every time, I was met with a blank stare and an, "I really don't know..."  As they rifled through the local ad (Which I could download from the Internet).  Shouldn't these people know what's going on?  Is there no training meeting?  I'm trying to figure out the store manager's thought process...

Biggest Selling Day of the Year
Lots of People
Sales on VERY specific items strewn about the store
These lots of people will have questions they will ask my workers
How to prepare for this?
Certainly my workers need no training...

Absolutely ridiculous.

So, I can say that it was real, and it was fun, but it certainly wasn't real fun.  I'm happy we got some good deals and I'll probably do it again next year, but I would like to send a shout out to a few people out there.

All of you who are price checkers:  Try to think of others.

All of you Security Guards:  I may have found the Target guy funny, but he did his job, and it made Target one of the more orderly stores.

All of you store managers/workers:  Figure out what's going on.  Few things are more frustrated than a worker who is as clueless as you are.

Everyone else:  Isn't Black Friday the best way to start the season?  Let's all try to kill each other while fulfilling out materialistic wants.  Fa la la la la, la la, EL-BOW.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Natural Disaster?

It was a cold winter's night.  We huddled in our living room, food storage waiting to save us from the worst.  The light from Juno on the television danced on our condo walls.  The weatherman said this would be the worst storm in seven years, another weatherman said twenty.  The wind howled, summoning a sinking feeling inside of each of us.  Would we see our families for Thanksgiving?  Would we even be able to leave the house?  We live on the top floor, will we need to dig out others?  Amid these thoughts we waited for Juno to suddenly stop playing and to find ourselves in total darkness.  Flashlights sat, easily accessible as weapons against the impending black.  Moments seemed like hours as we calculated how fast the storm must be coming.  It hit Ogden at seven.  When will it make it to Orem?  Eight o'clock came and went, no snow.  Nine o'clock, no snow.  Juno got over.  My sister-in-law's boyfriend and I played Halo 3 until about two in the morning, no snow.

In short the storm was supposed to hit, but the best we got was a couple of flurries.  Talk about your let downs.  My wife's family lives in Richfield and they said the grocery store was out of almost everything because people were getting ready for the worst blizzard ever.  In a lot of ways I'm happy.  I don't like the snow, or at least I don't like shoveling/driving in it.  In some ways I'm thinking, "What's the deal weatherman?  You had one job to do."  After my meteorology class I realize we can't be too mad at them.  Even with the best equipment weather can be a bit dodgy.  I do think it's funny that almost all of Utah got shut down, and at least in our valley, nothing happened.  I know it hit Ogden pretty hard, but I don't think it was the worst blizzard in seven years.

Anyway, just thought it was funny.


  What it was supposed to be                 What it was

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Does Anyone Enjoy Fruitcake?

I was standing in line last night at Wal-Mart when a Christmas song came over the loud speakers.  I tried to erase the horrible experience from my mind (which is why I can't remember the song exactly), but I do remember the realization that I came to:  They are TRYING to make us think of our need to buy people stuff this early!

I know, not a real brain buster, but a few things suddenly fell into place for me.
They want us to think about buying people stuff
They want to make money off of our purchases
They want us to remember every single person who MIGHT give us a gift so we'll "remember" them this year
Our brains will overload with the shear number of people we should probably buy for
Christmas will, once again, be stressful and difficult for everyone
Being Poor only amplifies the stress
Having kids only amplifies the stress
Wal-Mart doesn't care

It's no wonder suicide statistics sky rocket during the holidays, we're reminded of how little money we have and are socially obligated to spend it.  Some people even feel they need to go into debt to buy everything they should, and I have a hard time blaming them.  No matter, it won't change, and I may as well grow up and deal with it.

On that happy note, I cannot think of what to buy my wife.  We decided on a budget of $100 (I don't know if this is too telling of our personal budgeting), but she's told me she wants:  A tile vacuum from Costco ($100 in and of itself), warm gloves (my wife's tiny, so she'd need to come with me to get them), and money to buy clothes later (which is "super fun" to open, are super fun the right words?).  I've been racking my brains to think of some kind of surprise, but nothing is coming.  She has no hobbies.  She said she might take up cross-stitching, so I thought I might buy her stuff for that, but I'm not sure if she'll really enjoy cross-stitching all that much (I know I wouldn't).  So I'm at a loss.

Do you have these people in your life who have no hobbies and are therefore really hard to buy Christmas for?  What do you get them?  Fruitcake?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Allergies... Why?

While I was serving a mission for my church in Minnesota I developed allergies.  I'm sure they are to some kind of mold or fungus because every time it rains, I don't even have to go outside to know, my nose just starts running.  It's usually the worst in the summer (allergy pills sit right next to my heartburn meds every morning), but this morning is especially bad to.  I would guess it's because it snowed and isn't cold enough to keep everything frozen.

I'm pretty grateful though.  My nose running is the only real reaction that I have.  I also know about people who have allergies to peanuts, and almonds, and water, and air, and bananas, and toothpaste, and silicone and bees (which should not be hugged by anyone).  I also know that they break out in hives, and their throats close, and their eyes burn, and they die.

So, I can't complain about feeling/looking like a "snot nosed brat" every time it rains... but sometimes I still do.  Life's been good to me so far.  (obscure Eagles' lyrics joke anyone?)  And, even with my ailment of nose runs, I'm happy that I only have to deal with my trials and not everyone else's.  People often say that if we'll just look outside or ourselves and look for someone else to help, our problems won't seem so insurmountable.  This morning, I'm just saying that's true.  Not just with allergies either.  I know a lot of people who have to go through things that I would never want to, because I'm not sure that I'd make it out okay, and they're some of the same people who look at me and say they wouldn't want to go through what I go through.

This morning I'm just trying say thanks to everyone who is going through something I don't want to go through.  You make life a little easier for me, and I hope to return the favor some day.  We're all in this together, so let's act like it. :)

I was going to put some pictures of allergic reactions on here, but I decided not to, some of them are gross...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Something Positive

So, my wife and I just got back from Ward Choir (Wards are what we call congregations in my church).  It's always hard to wake up on time to get to it, and they just made it an hour earlier than it used to be.  Granted, it's at nine thirty, which shouldn't be that hard considering when we wake up on week days, but it's the weekend, so cut us some slack.

We're singing "The First Noel,"  but with some Pacabel's Cannon accompaniment.  Some of the parts are really hard (specifically measure 70 for me), but it sounds VERY cool.  I'm always amazed when I hear all four parts separately and think, "how will this ever sound good with anything else,"  and then we all sing together, and to be honest, it gives me chills a little to know that my voice is a part of that.  Maybe my voice isn't a big part of that, and it may not sound very good, but it's still a part.

My wife and I were discussing how we sing some pretty difficult pieces, and how we weren't sure how good that was, but every time we hear the finished product, we realize why we worked so hard on such a difficult piece (well, difficult for me anyway).

Anyway, I just thought I'd throw in something positive this morning, it seems like so much on the Internet is negative. :)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

It Begins

It's official, my wife is ready for Christmas already.  This morning, she came up behind me, hugged me, and sang, "He's really a victim of fear and of pride, Look close and there must be a sweet man inside... NAH!"  At first I was a little hurt, I didn't know what she was singing and thought, "wow, well if that's really what you think of me..."  Then she went on giddily singing, "There goes mister humbug, there goes mister Grim!"  And then she said the Muppet Christmas Carol had been in her head all morning...

If you've read my previous posts you know that I have beef with Christmas in America, and especially with Christmas music (though I really don't have a prob with The Muppet Christmas Carol, it's delightful... I would say all year round).  To say the least, Christmas, and its music, has been the main source of light hearted strain between my wife and me.  I can't stand it, and she loves it, as early as she thinks she can listen to it (though she'll argue that it's only after Thanksgiving, this morning proves otherwise).

We have discussed my feelings about Christmas several times, and I usually bring up that the "Christmas Tree" was really part of the Pagan holiday Saturnalia, and that evergreens were brought in to collect the spirits of dying plants, it had nothing to do with the everlasting life of Jesus.  I then explain that Constantine was really the ruler who decided he wanted Christians to get along with Pagans and mixed the two religions by saying that Christ's birthday was near the winter solstice.  She always gets really mad at me.  :)  I then say that I won't have a Christmas Tree in our house, but a picture of Jesus, to help us remember why we celebrate this time of year (no matter how inaccurate it is).  That makes her more mad.  Now, I know that we will have a tree because my wife wants one and husbands have little to no say of what happens concerning holiday decorations, but it sure is fun to mess with her.

My Theme Music:

When a cold wind blows it chills you
Chills you to the bone
But there's nothing in nature that freezes your heart
Like years of being alone

It paints you with indifference
Like a lady paints with rouge
And the worst of the worst, the most hated and cursed
Is the one that we call Scrooge
Unkind as any, and the wrath of many
This is Ebenezer Scrooge

Oh, there goes Mr. Humbug
There goes Mr. Grim
If they gave a prize for being mean
The winner would be him
Old Scrooge, he loves his money
Cause he thinks it gives him power
If he became a flavour you can bet he would be sour

There goes Mr. Skinflint
There goes Mr. Greed
The undisputed master of the underhanded deed
He charges folks a fortune for his dark and drafty houses
Us poor folk live in misery
It's even worse for mouses
(Please sir, I want some cheese)

He must be so lonely, he must be so sad
He goes to extremes to convince us he's bad
He's really a victim of fear and of pride
Look close and there must be a sweet man inside
(Nah . . . uh uh)

There goes Mr. Outrage
There goes Mr. Sneer
He has no time for friends or fun
His anger makes that clear
Don't ask him for a favour cause his nastiness increases
No crust of bread for those in need
No cheeses for us meeces

There goes Mr. Heartless
There goes Mr. Cruel
He never gives, he only takes
He lets his anger rule
If being mean's a way of life you practice and rehearse
Then all that work is paying off, cause Scrooge is getting worse
Every day in every way
Scrooge is getting worse

Friday, November 19, 2010

Saying Goodbye to Some Old Friends

Have you ever tried to revisit a beloved item from your childhood, only to find it lacking in the luster that you once believed it had?  Spaghettios immediately comes to mind, ramen, songs that require actions, etc. I think it's pretty clear what makes that happen:  We find things that tast better than spaghettios (just about anything), we find things more nutritious than ramen (again, just about anything), and we find songs we can understand and enjoy without making one of our arms into a handle and the other into a spout.

The things that I have found lacking in luster lately are from my late adolescence though, and if you want to do some quick math, I'm 24, so my "late adolescence"  really wasn't that long ago.  What I'm writing about here are many of the comedies that I thought were hysterical.  I'm talking about Tommy Boy, Black Sheep, Night at the Roxbury, Dumb and Dumber, and a few others that I'm sure I'm forgetting.  I thought that I would find these hilarious until the day I died, but I recently watched many of them and decided to sell them to FYE to help pay for Fable 3.  Most of what I'm having an issue with is that I loved these movies.  I remember watching and having my sides hurt from hysterical laughter.  And it wasn't too long ago that I loved them, but now I just don't.  Am I becoming an old person already?  I do grant that most of the humor found in said movies is a little crass, but why don't I appreciate that like I used to? 

I'd like to believe that, like in the case of Spaghettios, I've found entertainment that is a little more pleasing.  Maybe I've just found things that are better and the late 90's comedies just pale in comparison.  Or, maybe I'm just a snob now.


Either way, I'd like to take this moment to bid those movies adieu.  You served me well for many years, and like the old tree in Silverstein's "The Giving Tree,"  you gave your all at the end, which gave me Fable.  Thank you for your sacrifice.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Where Did Thanksgiving Go?

I have beef with Christmas in America.  There, I said it.

It isn't the idea of Jesus being celebrated, or the gift giving, or the crowds.  I'm ok with the crowds, and gifts, and I really do like Jesus.  What bugs me is how soon we start doing stuff for Christmas.  I'm amazed that radio stations and stores are already playing Jingle Bells.  I'm amazed that stores already have a tree up and are selling ornaments.  I'm astounded that Costco already has their Christmas toy aisle.  What ever happened to Thanksgiving?  It's a holiday too.  Granted, it isn't much different than what we do every day (eat a lot), but it needs to be celebrated none the less.  If nothing else, we need a moment to slow down and think about how much we have.

I think what really bugs me is what it seems to say about our country right now.  Thanksgiving is supposed to be about being thankful, and after talking to people and reading blogs, I think it is still about that.  Let's be honest here, in many homes, Santa and Jesus are thought of equally as much, and the cynical part of me says Jesus is getting rubbed out.  Christmas is supposed to be about Jesus, but it seems to be more about - gimme, gimme, gimme.  What does this say about Christmas already being on my radio and in my store?  That we are bypassing being thankful and moving right into gimme, gimme, gimme.

I can't tell the direction of causality.  Are we materialistic because the stores are doing this, or are the stores doing this because we are materialistic (and let's not forget that stores might be ran by materialistic people).  It would be in their best interest to bypass the thankful holiday because the more thankful someone is for what they have, the less they want, so let's make sure children aren't very thankful so they'll keep wanting more.  The whole enterprise makes me sad.  I know Christmas is exciting, especially for children.  I'm not saying to throw Santa out the window, he stands for kindness and giving.  I'm not saying we can't play Christmas music, though there's a strict rule in my house that I don't want to hear it until after the 15th of December.  What I am saying is this, let's celebrate thanksgiving (and for some stores, Halloween) before we celebrate Christmas.  I would say we should all boycott stores that have Christmas decor up, but we'd all starve.  I really don't know a fix, and I doubt things will change, but it doesn't mean I have to like it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Feet Itching

So, my foot was itching last night, so I scratched it, but the more I scratched it the more it itched.

Has that ever happened to you?  Isn't it weird?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

One Moment I Remember

Are there  moments in your life that you remember vividly, but don't really know why?  When I was in second grade, we did math problems on little worksheets with pictures of apples and baskets.  I assume my memory comes from one of the first.  I finished early, very early.  I wanted some recognition, so I went to stand in line with the people who were going to the teacher for help.  When I showed her my finished project, she violently drew a star on my paper and then whipped it off of her desk and I watched as it slowly drifted to the floor.  I remember feeling ashamed.

Looking back, I know why the teacher did it.  She assumed I was a cocky little boy who wanted to show how smart he was.  That wasn't my intention, but I'm sure it came off that way.  I often think about that incident when I say things to children.  I wonder if it is that moment that they will remember about me.  I'm not sure how healthy that is, but I can't seem to not do it.  Anyway, just a thought.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Samuel Langhorne Clemens Does it Again


So, there's a Mark Twain quote where he says something like:  "I never hated a man whose story I really knew," or something along those lines (I plan to amend the quote and change it once it is found).

There is a guy in one of my classes who has bugged me for a couple of years now. He is one of those guys who has a story for every topic, but the story never really fits the topic.  He never seems to get to the point, and each of his stories end with him asking the teacher if what he rambled about for five minutes applied.  The teacher I have with him now, and the one I had with him last semester were too nice to say, "No.  No, that didn't apply at all."  Instead, they do the, "Well, in a way..."

It's gotten to the point that when he starts talking, I start day dreaming.  Luckily, I haven't been called on to comment on what I think about his situation, or profession, and I doubt I ever will.

So, I assume we all know where this is going, since I have ol' Samuel's picture at the top of my post.  I got put in a group with this guy, and the more I get to know him, the less I dislike him.  He's had a rough upbringing, and he's trying to fight through some of the anger issues his dad gave him, but he is fighting through.  He's determined to be a better father than his dad was, and he seems quick to offer a compliment where it is due.  I still notice his faults, and since he's in a group with me, I notice more of his them (I think we all know how group work goes), but I'm learning more and more to hate him less.

I guess what I'm trying to say here is, as long as someone isn't abuse, maybe we should all give them a chance, maybe they're just a little weird and need a closer look to be fully appreciated.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Little Caution to the Single Guys Out There

When my wife and I started dating, I made the mistake of letting her know that I was pretty okay with picking out outfits.  As the reader might be able to imagine, I was a little proud of my ability and liked showing it off to my new girlfriend.  It was pretty common that she would ask me to pick out what she should wear to various activities.  It was fun for a while, but slowly, it turned into me having to okay every single thing she wore.

Now that we're married, she is always asking me to pick out her outfits, and when she has them on I am asked to stop whatever I am doing to look at what she's wearing, and okay it (even though I've okay'd many of the outfits previously).  It gets a little old, I'm not gonna lie.

I definatly don't want anyone to get me wrong.  I love my wife, she's great, she does a lot for me.  What I'd really like to do is throw this out to all the young guys out there:  be careful what you show the girls you date, because she may fall in love with it, and you may not be able to stop doing it.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

"My Goodness, Does this Dude Ever Shower?"

So, my dad gave me some money last night to go and get my haircut this morning (yep, it was that bad), and I just got done washing my hair.

Have you noticed that when you wash your hair just before a haircut, you wash it better than any other day?  It was once thirty seconds in a twenty minute shower and suddenly becomes ten minutes in a fifteen minute shower. There were times when I felt I was trying to do a Head and Shoulder's commercial with the way I got that stuff into my scalp and out to every time of my thick, curly hair.

No, but seriously, I do wash it better.  Mostly, it's because I don't want the poor girl at Fantastic Sam's to be doing my hair and think, "My goodness, does this dude ever shower?  This is the greasiest head I've ever felt."  So I make sure it's as squeaky clean as I can get it.  Either way, just wondered if anyone else ever felt the judging eyes of a stylist while in the shower just before going to see her.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Make a Choice, Utah's Finest

When I was 22 I got pulled over for rolling through a four-way stop.  My beef with the officer who pulled me over is not with his reason for doing so (I did roll through the intersection), it is with how he treated me after doing so.

It all started with the normal questions, "Do you know why I pulled you over?"  I honestly didn't, so I said so.  He then proceeds to go into a ten minute monologue where he explained the dangers of rolling through intersections and how that is how people get hit, etc. etc.

I listened patiently and nodded at the appropriate times, and then he gave me a ticket for like, sixty bucks or something (I opted for traffic school, so I don't recall the amount).  This is where my beef lies.  If an officer pulls someone over, he/she has two options: 1. Give a speech, in which the dangers are laid out, and behavior change should follow or 2. Give a ticket which speaks for itself, in which the expenses are laid out, and behavior change should follow.  That's it.  Giving both should be considered overboard.

Let's look at Operational Conditioning, because that is the construct both tickets and lectures work under.  Giving a lecture is Positive Punishment, because you are giving information that you hope will change behavior.  Giving a ticket (which really stands for taking money) is Negative Punishment, because you are taking away money that you hope will change behavior.  You don't need both.

Either way, I'm still a little ticked about the whole situation.  As usual, I'm sure it won't change, but it doesn't mean I have to like it.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

You Got me First

So, I was walking from my car to my class yesterday and saw at least five people that I sorta knew.  Do you know what people I mean?  There's a good chance I don't remember their name, or even exactly where I know them, but they look remarkably familiar.  And I see that they're thinking the same about me, and their also thinking, much like I am, "Oh, please. For the love of all that is good and holy, do not try to talk to me."  Because we both know how it'll go down:

"Oh, hey."
"So, I think we had like a class or something together right?"
"Yeah... so what was your name again?  I'm totally spacing." (this is the REALLY brave one)
"It's Tim. And what was yours?  I totally forgot too."  (feeling good about being let off the hook)
"It's John... So, what's knew in your life?"  (doesn't really care, John's not aware of what was old in Tim's life).
"Oh, nothing really.  School and work, living the dream."  (I honestly say the words, "living the dream," in every one of these encounters hoping for a laugh and never get one).
"I hear ya. Well hey, you have a good day huh?  We should do lunch or something some time." (Doesn't really mean it, but has absolutely nothing else to say).
"Definitely.  We'll see you later."  (you'll notice they both stopped using names there at the end.  It's cause they both forgot the other guy's name already).

Isn't this awkward to READ?  Now think about the last time you lived this.  Didn't that suck?  Well, my friends, I have the answer: Think about it.  What is the real issue with this conversation?  You've got squat to talk about.  I'm going to assume that you are a nice person, one who would like to say something because you know that it's nice when people recognize you.  They don't really need to know your name, just recognize you (this is why they head nod is so awesome).  The only really bad part is when talking follows the head nod.  So what we really need in these situations is, The Water Gun.  Some of you will scoff at this (I can hear you scoffing through your keyboards now), but let's run through a water gun scenario.

Inner thought of Tim: I totally know this guy, take aim, BAM!  right on the chest, awesome!
Inner thought of John:  I think I know this... Dang, he got me first.
John:  You totally got me first!  I was thinking, I totally know this guy and you beat me to the draw.
Tim:  Yeah, I swear we had a class together or something, but I saw that look in your eye like you were deciding if you knew me, so I thought I'd take the shot.
John:  And it was a nice one.  Talk about aim.
Tim:  When this water gun thing was instituted I got a good one and started practicing.
John:  What model do you have.
Tim:  The Friend Finder 2000
John:  Oh, I've got The Acquaintance Hunter 990.
Tim: That's a good model.
John:  Nothing like The Friend Finder though.
Tim:  Yeah, well....
John:  Well hey, I'd better let you go, was it...
Tim:  Tim, and what was your name?
John:  John.  I'm the worst with names.
Tim:  Me too.  Anyway, see you later John.
John:  See you Tim.

Didn't that exchange rock?  Now, I am assuming that all of us will be cool and stay away from being jerks (aiming for eyes, shooting over and over, soaking us so the December air will give us pneumonia).  But do you see the conversation starting ability here?  We would ALL have guns, so we'd have at least one thing in common.  We would ALL be trying to be the first to notice people we know, so we'd all be a little friendlier.  Water isn't that expensive, so it wouldn't be like my friend who would huck candy bars at people for fun.  Don't get me wrong, I see the possible pit falls, but if we were all in this together, I think it would make it possible to be friendly, without feeling so awkward.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Yet Another Post About Bad Drivers: It's Cliche, but That Doesn't Make it Any Less True

I can't say that Utah has some kind of corner of the market on bad drivers, because I don't drive out of state enough, but my goodness, I know we have our fare share.  I know because I drive with these people everyday, and I don't think we could handle many more without rivaling third world countries for accidents.

Let me start with the least complained about and move on to the most.  Parking at my University is a joke, and not a very funny one.  I know this is a common complaint, and it's not the parking in and of itself that bothers me (in every life, a little rain must fall).  What drives me crazy are people who park in non-parking spots.  The lines have been repainted a number of times that I am aware of to award maximum occupancy to the lot.  In other words, if you don't park in a painted stall now, you're screwing up traffic in the lot.  I drive something of a beater and am not ashamed to say that there have been times when I've wanted to "lose control" of my vehicle and scrape by one of these offenders, or in lesser moments, walked by, key in hand, and by a power that I can only explain as divine intervention, not scratch the side of their car.  I recognize that finding parking is frustrating, but none of us have a corner on human suffering, let's not act like we do.

Moving on, but not past the parking lot.  I get to school a little early occasionally and do the flight of the vulture.  This flight is taken when you really don't want to park out super far so you drive around the lot over and over, sometimes slowing WAY down to follow someone walking to their car, only to watch them switch backpacks (why do they have two of these?) and walk back into the school.  It's not these people I'm bugged about though, far be it for me to be annoyed by people who can't gesture that they aren't leaving, the people who bug me are those who park in unassigned spots so that they can wait for cars to pull out of stalls down a particular row.  Who are these people?  I have the same issue with them as I do the folks who park in non-stalls: they hold up traffic.  We're all trying to drive around them, in hopes that some magic person will suddenly pull out and we'll get a spot (the way were supposed to do it).  What I've always wanted to do to these people is this:  pull out in front of them, and then back up until my bumper almost meets theirs and wait in front of them.  I think that would be hilarious.

Just two more.  Let's all look at the speed limit sign, it's 35.  I drive on the same road to school everyday, and it's 35.  That isn't terribly fast, and for the most part I leave the house earlier than I need, but occasionally I'm a little late.  Regardless, I plan on driving 35 on that road in order to get to where I need to be on time.  Several people (mostly in trucks) drive 25 on the road.  For a certain stretch I can understand that.  Two cities converge and when they do the limit changes between them, and if you drive the wrong speed in one for a block or two I understand, but you should have noticed the change after that block or two grace period.  In short, you should not be driving 25 when we get to the University.  I've noticed it's trucks a lot.  And this is by no means making a blanket statement about all truck drivers, but I've noticed that many people who own trucks seem to feel some kind of entitlement when it comes to the road, like they are the Big Dinosaurs running around and us Lesser Beings need to just get out of the way because rules and even mediocre driving skills are below them.  I have a lot of family who own trucks, and for the most part they don't seem to be these people, so let me just say again that it is not ALL of the truck drivers, I'm just saying a good percentage of truck drivers fall into this category.

Last, but certainly not least, roundabouts... what the hell people?  Roundabouts are not that tough.  For starters, we'd remove half of the problems if we'd remember something we learned in driver's ed: when your car is going to change direction, use your blinker.  If I'm going into the roundabout, but plan on turning right immediately, my right blinker should be on, so the person getting in knows it's safe.  If I'm not turning right immediately (this means going straight too), my left blinker should be on, so that people know that I'm not in la-la land and am entering the roundabout, until I am past those who need to see that I'm staying in, and then I should put my right blinker on to signal my leaving.  None of this is rocket science.  Now, near my college there is a roundabout with two lanes.  I know this is confusing, but let's try to figure it out.  If you are turning right immediately, and only if you are turning right immediately, start off in the outside lane, no one cares if you get in and get out because you're not in any one's way.  If you are doing anything else, you should be starting in the inside lane, and should not leave said lane until you are past the turn just before yours, and you should be using your blinker so the person in that lane knows what you're doing, then merge into the outside lane and leave.  Every time I drive in this round about I think of driver's ed and echo the words of Sheldon Cooper, "Yet another child left behind."  Things are so bad that I am forced to drive poorly in this roundabout so that I'm not driving in the inside lane all day long.  If you get on the inside when it is busy, either plan to be an ass by butting in to the outside, or get ready to get motion sickness from driving in a circle over and over.

I hope this wasn't too much of a downer, but I drove around the parking lot for about thirty minutes, nearly escaping the loss of paint about three times, and this was after I was late because people didn't know the speed limit.  I bypassed the round about, which is good because my head may have exploded if I hadn't...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Emotion or Ability

Being that I was sick, I watched Dan in Real Life yesterday. This requires no spoiler alert, but just enough information to get to my point.  In the movie, Dan's daughter is fifteen and has a little boyfriend named Marty.  The two of them say that they are in love and Dan does not believe them.  In one particular part of the movie, Marty says something pretty profound, "Love is not a feeling.  It's an ability."

This quote made me reflect on a conversation I had with a friend of mine a few days ago, about how we thought we loved our wives while we were dating, but how we love them so much more deeply now.  Did we really love them when we were dating?  Was that love?

In the conversation, I shared something that I have believed about love for a long time, and it was backed up by Dan in Real Life yesterday.  I believe that we are always able to love, but our capacity to do so grows over time, so when we look back, what we thought was love looks so shallow that we question it.  For example, when I was sixteen I had a girlfriend.  I told her that I loved her.  We argued a lot, hurt each other a lot, and I ended the relationship in one of the rudest ways possible, but I did love her as deeply as I was able to at the time.

Since that time, I have been one of those guys who probably said the dreaded three word sentence several months before he was supposed to, but I never lied when I said it.  I have loved several women, but only as deeply as I was able at the time, and I refused to hide it.  With each relationship, and with each break up, I learned to love more and more deeply until I met my wife.  I noticed that I loved her "more" than anyone I had ever loved before.  She made me feel great.  So, I proposed, and we got married.  We both look back and say that what we had was wonderful, but it was nothing compared to what we have now.  I think about that, and I disagree with us.  What we had was true love, as true as what we have now, just not as deep.

I also remember being in Junior High, and having a teacher talk to us in a class about the difference between love and infatuation.  They even gave a hand out (that I wish I could find).  I do remember two columns though, one labeled love, the other, infatuation.  Words were written under each, separated by a dark, thick line.  What was in the columns is pretty easy to guess.  Under infatuation were words like, jealousy, needing to be together all the time, and high emotion.  Under love were words like, commitment, joy, and trust.  They then went through a series of scenarios and we were supposed to label which were love and which were infatuation.  Basically, if it was a Junior High relationship, it was infatuation, if it was a marriage, it was love.  The line seemed so clear and distinct.  So clear, distinct, and crushing to every relationship I would have in Junior High or High School, because each would be labeled "infatuation."

So, going back to Marty's profound statement, "Love is not a feeling.  It's an ability."  I agree with Marty.  Love, in and of itself, is not an actual emotion.  It may bring on other emotions, like happiness, joy, frustration, sadness, peace, euphoria, etc., but Love is an ability.  The more we allow ourselves to love, the more capacity we will have to feel the feelings that come along with that skill, until we start feeling the need to commit.  When that feeling comes we marry, and in a few years, look back at how naive and young we were.  We look at how our love has blossomed into feelings we didn't know were connected to love, like worry, protection, and grief.  We put our foreheads together, tears running down both of our cheeks, and whisper that we love each other, and somehow, that whisper is a million times more powerful than when I yelled it from my car to your window, and you yelled it back.

Once again, this makes me think about Marty, and when I have teenagers.  Marty and Dan's daughter yelled I love you as Dan's daughter drove away, and then again when Marty drove away (trying not to give spoilers).  Their love seemed to ooze passion, and the more cynical of us, like Dan, saw it only as infatuation.  He knew what it was like to hold a woman's hand while she gave birth, to feel the responsibility, fear, and joy that love brings.  He didn't see Marty holding his daughter's hand in a delivery room, he saw them yelling through glass.  What I propose, is that what Marty and the daughter had was, in fact, true love.  It was as much love as what any married couple feels.  The difference comes in the depth.  Their love was a puddle, while our love is an ocean.  Neither is necessarily better, because puddles can become oceans.  The real challenge in life, is to be in an ocean and see the relevance of the puddle, and to be in the puddle, and see the wisdom in the ocean.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Caution: Illness is depicted in this post in mildly graphic details, reader discression is advised.

My illness from yesterday has carried over to today.  I threw up what I can only guess was phlegm this morning.  It was clear, and consisted mostly of my saliva bubbles.  My body feels achy, I keep sneezing, and I couldn't fall asleep last night. I would guess I got a total of three hours and that's me being generous.  My head is pounding.  I can't sleep now.  And I'm going to miss school.

When I was young my parents were very strict about me not missing school.  There were very few excuses that did not involve my death bed that worked.  That is really all for the best because I have a hard time missing school now, and I think my grades are buoyed because of it.  The only issue it has left me with is that when I really am sick I feel kind of lame staying home.  I told my wife that I didn't want to get the other students sick or my teachers, which is true, but it reminds me of excuses I used in high school. I may not actually get anyone sick, my snot is clear, but I do have a slight fever too, which I thought was another sign of being contagious.  Regardless, I don't think anyone would appreciate my coughing up phlegm in the middle of the lesson.

I don't know; maybe I am being a wuss about all of this.  Maybe I should just deal with the fact that I feel like my brains will push through my skull at any moment, and maybe I should just make sure to have a garbage can handy for when I cough until I puke.  The thing that is really keeping me home is the shivers.  I feel cold, cold enough I shake, and I don't want to face the day's freezing air.

Before I shuffle back down the hall to bed, I should recognize my wife this morning.  She's our bread winner and whenever I'm sick she always wants to stay home and take care of me.  I'm not sure what she would do, which is why I still have her leave me, but it's nice to know that your wife wants to do whatever she can to make you feel better.

Anyway, I'm tired of being sick and would like to get better, so if anyone reading this has any magic potions, throw some my way.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

People Exhaust Me, but They don't Exhaust My Wife

I'm an introvert.  People I say that to are often very surprised.  I talk a lot in classes.  I have friends.  I sing karaoke at family get-together's, but I am an introvert.

My wife is an extrovert.  People are surprised when we say that because she is very shy.  She never talks in classes except to read.  She has a few very close friends.  She never sings karaoke at any get-together, but she is an extrovert.

The issue that we have is that Introvert and Extrovert are terms that are improperly operationalized.  Introvert and Extrovert are Psychological constructs, meaning that they are made up words to describe something that can't actually be measured or seen, but exist none the less.  So, we are forced to operationalize, meaning that we set up a set of things that we can observe that together equal the two constructs, but this is where issues arise.

If a person takes a personality test, he/she will be asked a series of questions and will likely be told his/her level of extroversion, the problem with the test is that half of the questions are often invalid when asking about levels of extroversion.  To understand why, we need to lay out what introvert and extrovert mean.  Both of these words point to where someone gets his/her energy.  Extroverts get it from others, introverts get it from being alone.  So when the tests ask: "Are you considered the life of the party by friends or family?"  My wife is going to say no, and I am going to say yes, but guess where the scores will fall.  So, in taking the tests both of us often fall in the middle when really, she gets her energy from others, and I get it from being alone.  I just happen to talk and she doesn't.

How my wife functions is actually kind of funny, and her family can attest to this.  My wife can't do anything alone, somebody else must be there.  Like, when she cleans the house: I don't actually need to be helping her for it to get done, but I need to be next to her.  Whereas, if I need to clean the house, I'd rather be alone with some music; that's how I get the most done.  At parties with a lot of people, she will sit with me and say nothing while I talk to everyone who approaches us.  It looks like I am having a much better time, but at the end of the night, she is invigorated and feels great, while I feel absolutely exhausted.

So this is me, calling for better operationalization of the words introvert and extrovert, but I doubt they'll actually be changed.  That doesn't mean I have to like it though.

On a more personal note, I have a sore throat today.  We have been out of town so we haven't visited our home church lately and I was kind of looking forward to it.  Oh well, better luck next week.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Faith in Science

Lately I've been talking with people on a particular forum about religion vs. science, and after a class with Matt Draper and some of my own thoughts, I've come to the conclusion that you have to believe in science in just the same way that you have to believe in religion.

Let's take gravity for example.  We know that if we throw something in the air it will eventually fall to the earth.  We can try that experiment as many times as we'd like and it will be true.  We can also notice that bodies will move toward each other.  What we cannot empirically notice is a force called "gravity."  Calling what we see a gravitational pull is us taking a leap of faith that a force called "gravity" is doing what we observe. No one can explain how gravity actually works, or that it really exists at all. What we can do, is notice that things we throw up come down.  It is just as viable to say that a God is pushing down on things and pushing other things together.  We could even say that the God doesn't think about helium as something that needs to be pushed down on, so He doesn't.  One is just easier to believe because the "smart" people in our society say it's stupid to believe in God doing anything. 

Evolution is much the same way.  We notice fossils of animals that we don't see anymore.  We notice that some look similar to each other.  So we fill in the similarities by saying that they must have evolved from one into the other.  It takes a leap of faith to believe it.

It should be said here that scientists who are worth their salt will say that they prove nothing and even some laws (like gravity) are only observations with a fancy explanation that may or may not be true.  Most that I've talked to merely cling to the theory as if it's Gospel and metaphorically put their hands over their ears and say "I'm not listening" in a high pitched voice, but some do understand the limitations of their field and understand that their assumptions can be compared to those of religion.

I must say that I am not trying to knock science off of its semi-know-it-all throne. I've taken leaps of faith when it comes to gravity, evolution, medication, computers, and lots of other things science has given us.  With that leap of faith, I also realize that science may be wrong, and there are other plausible explanations for all of the things I take for granted.  I've merely had a few observations of my own and it is easier for me to believe in those things than not, but my belief is still a belief.

What I really think science and religion need to do is come to an understanding.  Religion has personal revelation, brought on by observation, where they find truth, and science has observations and make hypothesis that often cannot be truly falsified where they derive truth.  Both are valid.  Both are similar.  Both bring about good.  Let's just get along.  We can BOTH be right.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Where did I put that...

"I lost my virginity."  I think that is one of the strangest expressions we have in America. 

"How was your day Bill?"
"Not too good.  First I left my wallet on the bus, then my keys fell out of my pocket, and I lost my virginity somewhere."

What does that mean?  Usually if you lose something it can be found again.  I'm quite certain that my virginity is never coming back to me.  I think a more apt statement would be: I gave my virginity to so-and-so, or, my virginity was stolen.  One way or the other, it's not like you're implying that it was some accidental thing and if you look hard enough you might be able to find it in the couch with your loose change.

I'm not really sure what got me thinking about it, maybe my human sexuality class, maybe a post on a forum I frequent, maybe both and some other things, but something got me thinking about the phrase and what it might mean about our society.  It made me wonder if how we view sex lay somewhere inside phrase.  It's almost like we're trying to not blame anyone for something.  I do think the phrase hints at virginity being precious, because we wouldn't "lose" something we weren't trying to hold on to.  Something in there seems to denote shame if we have it no longer, with the possible hope of getting it back.  Like, when you tell your parents you "lost" the keys to the house.  Somehow that sounds better than, "I was throwing the keys to the house around wildly and have no idea where they landed."  One way or the other, it seems like us no longer having it is something we don't want to be entirely accountable for; we want it to be an accident so that it being gone isn't so shameful.

I'd like to pose a new paradigm.  Let's keep the idea that virginity is a sacred, precious thing that we want to hold on to.  I think this is a good starting point.  Now, instead of viewing its loss as shameful, let's shift its loss to not being a loss, but rather a gift to be given to someone we care deeply for.  "I had my virginity, but then I found my wife, and wanted to give it to her, because I knew she'd take care of it."  Doesn't that sound better?  It does to me anyway.

Maybe I'm wrong though.  Maybe "losing" it makes the most sense, and that's why we use it.  I just don't see the logic.  Either way, it will almost surely stay the way it is, so I'll just have to get used to it.  That doesn't mean I have to like it though. :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Carving Pumpkins and Being Grateful

I love carving pumpkins.  I like taking the most complicated pattern I can find, pinning it to a pale orange pumpkin that is perfectly shaped, connecting the dots with the cheapest knife ever invented, putting a candle inside of it, and looking at it in the bathroom with the lights off with my family.  Halloween is wonderful.

I know this post is a little late, but I got to thinking last night about things that have made me happy in the past little while, and carving pumpkins was the first to come up.  Halloween has always been my favorite holiday (except in high school when I said it was St. Patrick's day because my last name is Irish and I thought telling people the Irish holiday was my favorite sounded cool, and even then it was Halloween).  I'm not much for getting scared, but I do like dressing up, I like seeing kids in their costumes, and I've always liked carving pumpkins, but not in the way I like it now.

This post is in no way a knock at my parents.  They made growing up a blast, but pumpkins weren't really their forte, and who can blame them?  To turn out a truly respectable pumpkin can take an hour (and that's just carving; forget about mucking out a pumking, choosing a pattern, and cleaning up after the fiasco).  My TRUE love of carving came when I married my true love.  My wife grew up carving intricut pumpkins every year she was able (she even did George Washington praying by his horse one year...).  Her mom is really crafty, saw carving pumpkins on a tv show or something, and started drawing their own patterns because, as she said, "They didn't make patterns back then, we just had to draw our own."  Now it's a big tradition that I'm even getting my family in to.  Every year we all pick either hard, or the centimental pattern(s), carve them and either have a neighbor come over to judge them, or take them to an uncle's house to display.  With my inlaws, we deided to have a Tim Burton Halloween, so we carved characters from The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Alice in Wonderland, along with Herman and Grandpa Munster thrown in for good measure. We got out patterns at http://www.zombiepumpkins.com/. It didn't cost much (especially compared to getting the little books at the store) and our pumpkins turned out great.  My mother inlaw put them on Facebook and when my mom had my dad look at them he thought it was a display for the company!  Really good times.

After I thought about this for a while last night, something occurd to me: Inlaws get a really crumby wrap that I don't think they deserve.  Don't get me wrong, I don't always agree with my inlaws, and there are times when I understand why someone might feel the stereotypical way about them, but I think we just don't give them a chance.  Getting married is wonderful.  You get to learn a bunch of new things, and acquire a bunch of new traditions that can turn into your favorite things, like carving pumpkins for me.  I don't know as I'll ever agree with my inlaws perfectly, but I'll always try to remember pumpkin carving, green olives filled with easy cheese, and my beautiful wife.  They started all that stuff for me and a whole lot more and I should be a little more thankful.  So I guess, in a way, this post is right on time: wrapping up Halloween and heading right into Thanksgiving. I guess my take home message is be thankful and if you didn't carve pumpkins this year, do it next year.  If you did carve pumpkins, but were lame sauce and chose a wussy pattern, choose a cooler one next year; it'll take more time, but you'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Giving this a Shot

So... I've decided to be a writer (or at least give it it shot) after I get done with my undergraduate.  I'm getting a Bachelor's in Behavioral Science with a Psych emphasis because I wanted to be a therapist. The more I learn about the field the more I realize that if I want to go with the way the field is now, I will need to throw common sense out the window, and if I don't want to throw common sense out the window I will have to fight an uphill battle that I'm not particularly passionate about.  On top of that, I was watching LDS conference and got a strong impression to go in another direction, but no impression as to what direction.  My wife and I talked about all of this and decided that I had always loved writing; I may as well try to write as a career.

I've read a lot about writing, and in the reading I've several references to using social media to help in the process, so I'm starting this blog.  I also heard that blogging can be a nice way to relieve stress and get feelings on paper.  I want to do both of those things, so I thought I'd give it a shot.

On a more personal note, I have a Literature Review due tomorrow, and I still haven't read more than half of my sources.  I'm sure tonight will be hell.  Not really sure why I've procrastinated for so long.  I guess I do know why: writing this paper will suck and I've always known it so I've found more enjoyable things to do... like watching television, and playing Xbox 360.  It also didn't help that in the middle of my research I realized I didn't want to do this for a living, so it was pretty hard to maintain what little passion I had about the assignment to begin with.