Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Oh Lord, My God

Here's a little poem/song lyrics that I started way back on my mission and just recently finished up the last stanza.

Oh Lord, My God, as I struggle through this pain
I feel the need to ask, is it really for my gain
and I think of Lehi, and I think of Alma too
and remember that like me, prayer is all they had to do
they cried, Oh Lord, My God, my son has gone astray
in this dark and dreary world, he has simply lost his way
As he wanders this night, in the darkness all alone
I pray that thou wilt help him, find his way back home
I plead, Oh Lord, My God, Where’s the lesson for  me?
is it to help me, gain understanding of Thee?
and how thou must have felt, when Thy son rebelled on High
choosing to fall from grace, and eternally to die
Oh Lord, My God, how did thou stand the pain?
The earth must have been flooded, as thy tears fell down like rain
and then sent thine other son, to die for my son’s sin
that through choices he might triumph, the victory to win
Oh Lord, My God, thou whose love know no bounds
whose mercy and compassion, are one eternal round
I thank the this night, for the comfort of my soul
and pray through thy grace, that my son may be made whole

Monday, December 5, 2011

Please take the survey

Hi Ben fans, if you would please take this very quick survey for my research paper on superheros that would be so great.
Click here to take survey

Why do 9 yr olds need cell phones?

So I think that is a pretty good question. Actually come to think of it no, it is not a good question. Why are we asking this question at all, why are we even considering it? You may now prepare yourselves for a rant by Ben. Having recently attended several cultural events I have noticed again something that began to strike me on my mission and especially after I got home. Why do small children need cell phones? Having grown up in the era of cell phone development and followed it closely I can tell you that small children, and, in fact, teenagers do not need cell phones of their own.
Now don't get me wrong, I have been using cell phones since the days of the Commando Walkie-Talkie phones, at which point I was a very young boy. But I didn't have my own phone until I went to college, despite the fact that I would have liked one very much. I had a tracphone in high school that I shared with my brothers and sisters, but I like to pretend it was mine. So I do understand that sometimes even young children need the use of a cell phone. But their own phone? why in the world? Aside from safety or communication with parents when they are out with a group I can not think of a reason. Everyone should note that in order to fulfill that reason a child needs only the most basic of cell phones for occasional use. The don't need texting in order for that purpose to be fulfilled, and they don't need internet, and they don't need cameras, and they don't need anything a smartphone does. So, if you are making the argument that kids need cellphones for safety, but they have all this other stuff your argument is ridiculous and you need to rethink it. There are plenty of options out there to give kids the safety without giving them all these functions they don't need. Fireflys, Jitterbugs, and basic tracphones are all useful alternatives. Kids don't need to be in constant communication with their friends or be online. Parents should really be moderating that kind of communication and activity anyway. And then kids would not be on their cellphones at cultural events being annoying to other people.
As I've previously advocated, parents need to be more informed about their children's use of electronics. Parents may not know how to use all the functions on a smart phone so they may be unaware of the dangers of handing one to their child. And when children do have to use cellphones instruct them in proper etiquette of how and when to do so appropriately (of course this only works if the parents practice this themselves).
So there's my rant for the week, hope you all have a good one.

"now, go do the right thing" Dr. Laura

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Redeemed

I had a wonderful thanksgiving back home, but I didn't have time to write a new post so here's and old one from the summer that never got posted to this blog.
The Redeemed: A cross literature analysis
Throughout literature we often find these potent characters which I like to refer to as “The Redeemed” those who have traitored the cause of the hero, which is sometimes themselves, and then seek to return. How right Lewis was about his character, for all of us so quick to judge and condemn those who have betrayed our trust in the story, so quick with a cries of “an eye for an eye,” stand desperately in need of redemption. Having all at some point traitored to that cause which we so valiantly clung to in the preexistence we seek in desperation to be returned to that state from which we came, to have the consequences, and even the very memory of what we have done blotted out from the books of angels and the minds of men.
Today I would like to look at several of these characters: Severus Snape, from Harry Potter; Jaggar, from Haldu; Edmund Pevensie, from Narnia; and Anakin Skywalker, from Star Wars. 
There are commonalities that bind these four men together, they all betrayed the hero’s cause in an effort to gain power, and later they all return to seek forgiveness and redemption for what they have done, and then they become a necessary and integral part of the defeat of the Dragon in the Heroic Cycle. Of this group of four, three of them sought power initially for the sake of a woman, two of them are maimed in their quest for power, two of them are relatives of the dragon defeating heroes, and all of them by virtue of their betrayal caused the deaths of others.
The initial hero phase: The redeemed generally begin a story (or a back story) as the hero or part of the heroes’ company. Are best example here is Anakin, the boy with power beyond that of any Jedi, the child of prophecy come to bring “balance” to the force. Obviously Anakin is meant to be the hero and, at least in Episode 1, he is. Edmund of course is also a child of prophecy and is to be one of the four kings and queens crowned in Cair Paravel. Jaggar is a trusted member of the royal families guards, he is princess Elens protector, and for all we are told he is valiant in the Valley War. Snape’s connection the hero phase is the weakest and is really only evident when we learn of his friendship with Lily.
The Seduction phase: After their initial time with or as the hero our characters enter a phase of seduction by what ever “darkness” happens to pervade their story. This phase usually begins when they become associated with the main antagonist of their story. This also is often, but not always, the point at which someone dies. Our four characters all have different ways in which this took place. Anakin’s is the longest and most drawn out as it begins essentially the moment he meets Senator Palpatine and continues until he assists in the death of Mace Windu. It takes place across years of time and we see that Mace, while his death concludes the seduction phase, is not the first to die, an entire Tusken camp is decimated by the enraged Anakin under the dark side influence, and Count Dooku (Darth Tyrannous) is decapitated in another dark side rage. Anakin’s seduction is the slow poison administered by a patient assassin. Anakin, remember he was the hero, is first intrigued by the dark side for reasons he feels are noble, unlike some of our other heroes, these involve saving his mother and saving his wife. But eventually the seduction takes him in the completely opposite direction until he is consumed with the lust for power. As previously stated the death of Mace marks a clear choice in Anakin’s mind where he steps completely out of the hero role and the seduction phase is completed.
Edmund’s seduction phase begins when he first encounters the White Witch (Jadis) and partakes of her food and drink, to which he becomes addicted. This addiction in addition to his search for power over his siblings, especially Peter, which is nursed by the witch in this first encounter, eventually drives Edmund into his betrayal. Unlike with Anakin it only takes Edmund one encounter with the antagonist to begin his seduction and when he leaves the Beaver’s home and arrives at the witch’s castle the seduction is complete, in this case, added by addiction, taking only a matter of days as opposed to years. Nobody dies in Edmunds initial betrayal, but they could have as Fennris (Maurgrim) acts on the orders to go to the house of the Beavers and kill whatever he finds there. There are two other important pieces that Lewis puts in to show Edmunds seduction, the first is the leaving of the coat, representative of warmth and family which shows the driving power of the addiction, the second is the defacing of the lion, the symbol of Aslan and Christ, showing the canker of his character.
The beginning of Jaggar’s seduction is not clear to us from the story but we know that by the beginning of Wizard of Ulpan he has determined he will do anything to obtain Elens. What we see of his seduction is bookended by two deaths, those of Grontow and Qanta. In between these two deaths he encounters the main antagonist, as in Edmund’s case, a witch, and she speeds the seduction along. In this case there is little of sneakiness in the seduction, Jaggar, as the witch notes, has already given way to himself, he knows what Dark Elves can do and he knows what he’s doing when he joins her. 
Although unknown to the reader Snape’s redemption has essentially already begun by the time they enter the story and most of what we know of him as one of the Redeemed we learn in flash back from his memories. It appears his seduction, like Jaggar’s, was a slow one spurned on by himself as he nursed hurt and anger and was really only completed, not initiated by Voldemort. Snape is a follower of the dark arts from the beginning of his education and, aside from Lily, pals around with the wrong crowd at school. After school we do not know much except that he quickly joined the Death Eaters. We are not aware of any direct killings by Snape during his seduction but we can infer that they are likely, considering his place as a Death Eater. 
In the final analysis then we find that the seduction of our characters generally begins within their own heart and it is then speeded on its way through the interference of the antagonist. The seduction generally is finished in a betrayal or death of some kind, and often both. Another note is that there is often some change by which we can identify that the seduction has taken place, Anakin is renamed Darth Vader, Severus acquires the Dark Mark, and Jaggar’s ear points reverse. Edmund alone of the four undergoes no such change. 
The Missing phase: Now bear in mind that these are not the damned, but rather the Redeemed of which we are speaking, however, despite redemption there will always be something that they missed because they were not there for it and they cannot get it back. This phase can often overlap with both the phases both before and after. This phase generally involves a gift and/or experience of some kind that will never be regained by the individual. For Edmund in this phase he misses the crucial event of encountering Father Christmas and receiving a magical present to aid him, this point is struck home in Prince Caspian when the other children reclaim their presents from the treasure chamber. Everything else the other children gained eventually becomes Edmund’s as well, but this one thing he can never get back. This is probably the most clear of all the missing phases. Anakin however always claims the longest section as it took him longer to be seduced and also longer to be redeemed than any of the others. His missing phase is therefor also the longest. What Anakin misses here is the childhood of his children, along with sacrificing the majority of his life to the dark side. Despite redemption in the end Anakin will never get those back. Similarly due to one moment of drastic mistake Snape loses Lily forever. Jaggar’s missing phase is rather obscure as there is no particular event or object we can be sure he would have gained, we only know that his time was misused.
Sometimes the missing phase also involve direct loss on the characters part. We find that during this phase both Jaggar and Anakin are maimed in ways they will never recover from. Jaggar emerges with a hook in place of his right and and Anakin as a mostly robotic individual. These serve the reader as physical reminders of things lost or missing.
The Recognition and Escape phase: During this phase something happens to our characters to jolt them into a sense of what they have done and remorse for it. This generally involves them seeing that the lure of the darkness did not bring them what they thought it would. They then begin to wish for redemption and to search for escape.
While everything else about Anakin is longer his final phases are actually quite short. He begins recognition when he first realizes that the Emperor is really after Luke and after that will have no need for Darth Vader. This gives him somewhat of a jolt but he does not seek escape until the very end so that his final phases get rather lumped together.
Edmund’s recognition phase comes quickly after his seduction, when he realizes that he will never be the white witch’s prince and that his appetite for Turkish Delight will never be satisfied. This phase, and the need  to escape, are spurred on by the witch’s new desire to kill him when the spring thaw begins. Edmund’s escape is accomplished at the hands of Aslan’s army. 
Jaggar finds recognition similarly to Edmund as he sees the witch will not deliver on her promises and so he has become traitor for no reason, realizing that he can go no lower and lose no more than he has, he makes his escape from the amazon camp to do what he can to set things right.
Snape’s realization appears to have come upon him in a similar way. He sees that he can never gain what he wants no matter how powerful he becomes and that he has delivered the information that will hurt the one person he actually cares about. This jolt followed by the actual murders his information led too, cause him to seek escape.
So the commonalties here are that the Redeemed are generally shocked into looking for escape by finding that the promises they thought the darkness offered are not real and that the darkness views them simply as tools.
The Redemption phase: this phase may happen in a moment, or in a lifetime, but always it must involve forgiveness from a character who, in some measure, serves the story as a Christ figure. This is most visible in the case of Edmund, Aslan is one of the most potent Christ figures in literature. It is interesting that we never know what happens in Edmund’s private interview with Aslan after his rescue, that is not for us to know, the dealings of Christ with the Redeemed and the terms of that redemption are between them and no one else. Even Edmund does not know what the price of his redemption will be when the White Witch lays claim upon his traitor’s blood. What we know is that Aslan extends forgiveness to Edmund and asks the Pevensie children to do the same. Then Aslan delivers his own blood in place of Edmund and thus the boy is Redeemed by the Lion. This is the most potent and most biblical redemption of the four. It is a fairly quick redemption but very involved and Edmund will never forget it nor will it ever cease to effect him.
Anakin’s redemption is the fastest of the four, it happens during the final battle and after that is over during the final moments of his life. The Christ figure here is Luke, whose eligibility for that role can be discussed else where. Anakin begins his redemption when he kills Darth Sidious, and it is completed when he is forgiven by Luke and then becomes one with the force.
Jaggar’s redemption takes more time than Anakin’s as Jaggar’s redemption involves making more restitution for his wrongs. It begins when he chooses to be swallowed by the void by revealing the Witch’s plot. The Christ figure here is Haldu, except that it is really Haldu choosing not to be a Christ figure and deferring judgement to the Great One. Jaggar then continues his work of Redemption by leading Vensul and Kimberly to the Master Tome. His Redemption is completed when Kimberly forgives him and marries him.
Snape has the longest Redemption phase of any of our characters as it essentially takes place during all seven Harry Potter books and began before that. Upon  escape Snape immediately seeks help from Dumbledore who acts as prophet/Christ figure in the books. Dumbledore extends a measure of forgiveness to Snape and allows him to teach and instructs him in what he must do to work at restitution for his crimes. Snape spends the entire series watching over Harry’s well being and fulfilling Dumbledore’s commands, all this plays into his Redemptive process. He works against the forces that once seduced him. His Redemption is not complete though until the main Christ figure, Harry Potter, forgives him after his life has ended. 
The Dragon’s Defeat phase: This final phase is often part of the Redemption phase, but deserves its own time. The dragon in the Heroic cycle is the main antagonist or problem that has cause the Hero to leave home and search for a solution. In essence the Dragon and Redeemed have generally had a close relationship at some point in the story because the Dragon played some part in the seduction of the traitor. The Redeemed always plays a key role in the defeat of the Dragon, they know the dragon and having once succumbed to it, they abhor it. As part of their redemption they seek its destruction so it can not do to others what it has done to them.
In their moments of Redemption: Anakin hurls the Emperor into the pit, Edmund breaks the White Witch’s wand, Jaggar stabs the Witch, and Snape dies without allowing Voldemort mastery of the Elder Wand. It is in this moment of final battle with the Dragon, when the hero has past the trial but is most desperate for help, that the Redeemed are able to make recompense in some measure for their betrayal. The Redeemed are not the Heroes, they have given that up, but they are Redeemed and they make the defeat of the Dragon possible, and so; Luke escapes the Death Star II before it is destroyed, taking Anakin’s dead shell with him; Peter and Aslan defeat the White Witch over Edmund’s wounded body; Vensul burns the Master Tome as Jaggar slays the Witch; and Harry Potter defeats Voldemort with the power of Snape’s sacrifice and memory. The dragon is defeated by our Pure and Valiant Heroes, but it could not be done with out the help of the Redeemed.
And so, what have we learned here? Hopefully a great deal, for as was said before, we are the Redeemed, we would fancy ourselves the Heroes of our stories, but that is not the case, Christ is Hero, it is he that defeated death and hell and freed us. No, we are the Redeemed. We who, Initially stood with the Hero; we who, in some measure were Seduced into sin and wrong doing; we who, have Missed or Lost something because of our betrayal; we who, have Recognized our mistake and seek to Escape; we who receive Redemption and Forgiveness through the blood of Christ; we who then turn to aid in the Defeat of the Dragon; we who, are The Redeemed.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The problems of privilege (a pre-thanksgiving post)

Of recent date I have had some occasion to complain about my life. You know, because I have real problems, like tests, group projects, people not wanting to secure and clean the church, having to apply for internships, and figuring out how to get home for the holidays. In essence, my life, which is approximately better than than lives of at least 99% of the world's population, is just chalk full of problems.
This has caused me to reflect some on the problems of privilege. The problems we have are problems other people would kill for the opportunity to have and often I don't think we, myself especially, take enough time to enough time to really consider what our problems say about how privileged we are. Let's take those problems I listed at the beginning for example and see what the tell us about my privileges.
Problem #1: I have tests, and my tests are fairly difficult, I think. Particularly this last logic exam. So what does this tell me, well it tells me that I happen to be in academic setting at an age where most people have been in the full time work force for five years or more. It tells me I'm privileged with finances and intellect that allow me to even be taking tests at BYU, a school which by virtue of my getting in means others did not. Essentially this is actually not a problem at all, taking tests literally is a privilege. And the end result of that test which was a 96% is that I know that you can find God in the testing center.
Problem #2: Group projects. The big problem here is that I get upset when things aren't ready in a timely manner and I don't like being the leader because then I feel responsible. This problem of course implies some of the same privileges as the former one. But it also shows that I've been blessed with leadership skills that put me in charge as referenced in an earlier post. Ultimately an increase in responsibility is directly coordinated with an increase in agency which is the power of the gods, so really probably shouldn't complain about this one either.
Problem #3: people not wanting to secure and clean the church. Well this really is a problem, but it been getting better. But even this problem says a lot about my privileges. The first one is that I have a calling, which is nice because it keeps me engaged in the Lord's work, by implication this tells me that I am a member of the restored church of Jesus Christ which is probably the greatest privilege of all and it was just handed to me by being born in the right place. That being said the fact that I am trying to fulfill my calling tells me I have a testimony of my own which is a great privilege. Also, my ability to communicate with others to get the work done not only shows the development of interpersonal skills but also my affluent position in technology. Really while this may be a problem the fact that its here at all highlight a position of privilege.
Problem #4: Having to apply for internships. No this one has been taking a lot of time and added a lot of stress to my life. But really, lets face it, I asked for it. And it is an extreme privilege to be part of the Washington Seminar program for spring summer. I was one of only 45 people selected for thee program out of a record number of applicants. This is truly a blessing and when I'm not thinking about the workload right now but about the experiences of next summer I get really excited. I was also blessed to receive a spot in the BYU housing there which is a huge blessing without which I could not have gone. So again here's a problem that not just people far away 3rd world countries would want to have, but people right here at BYU would gladly take my spot in this problem.
Problem #5: Finding a way home for the holidays. So it can be a little frustrating to do this, but the truth is I am very blessed to have a family to go to for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, and ways and means to figure out how to get there. And really the point of this next holiday is to be grateful. So that's the spirit I'm trying to get into in this post, yeah there are some hard things, but they only highlight those things that I should be thankful for. Maybe you have some problems to, maybe with a little harder look you can find out what privileges they come from.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Style Me Free

Well I have now decided to give up law and start and my own reality t.v. show. This brilliant change in life goals came to me yesterday when I realized that almost everything I was wearing to the football game I had not paid for. Obviously I'm amazing at dressing for free so I have decided to start a fashion show entitled: Style Me Free! I will take poor helpless fashion wanderers and show them how to look almost great, for almost nothing! Here's the rundown of my swank football going outfit, lets start from the bottom.
Gortex lined boots: probably the most expensive part of my wardrobe at its original purchase, but I received these as a Christmas gift my first year of college. They're perfect for those cold or wet or both days when you have to get between classes or sit at an outdoor sporting event.
Cost to me: Free
White ankle socks: perfect choice for just about any activity besides a formal occasion these socks are versatile and breathe well in the cold or the heat. They were purchased at Buy Low by me.
Cost to me: $0.50
Cargo Pants: These nice multi-compartmented khakis have virtually unlimited storage space especially useful for carrying large amounts of previously owned electronic gadgets. I received these through hand-me-down from my brother Gordy (consequently they are a little large around the waist for me).
Cost to me: Free
Black Belt: not the kind karate masters wear. Just a normal black belt, perfect for those nonchalant occasions. This was bought on my mission, I think for about $10.
Cost to me: approx $10
Blue Crew T-Shirt: A very nice Navy blue t-shirt featuring the word's blue crew across a basketball and the the Y logo in on the shoulder. This shirt is received for free when a student joins the Women's basketball fan club (for free). The color makes it perfect for almost any BYU sporting event especially if you feel like promoting the women's ball team.
Cost to me: Free
Imitation leather jacket: A nice addition for any cold day or night this 100% imitation leather jacket has deep pockets for storing extra warm winter paraphernalia. And the hood is a nice feature not found on many leather jackets. This particular article was found by some missionaries doing service cleaning out an attic of some member in Scranton Pennsylvania. The members told them to take it and I happened to be the only one small enough to wear it. It was featured on Elder Nielsen's Christmas card 2009.
Cost to me: Free
Pink BYU Breast Cancer Awareness Beanie: Completing this styling smart outfit is a capstone of a pink beanie featuring in the front the Y symbol and in the back very nice sponsorship from intermountain health. Not only does it stylishly offset the color scheme but it also lets everyone know that you support a good cause. This item was received for free by attending a soccer game during October: Breast Cancer Awareness month.
Cost to me: Free
So there you have it a stylish outfit fine for taking your best girl out to the game.
Total cost of outfit to me: approx. $10.50
Style Me Free, where free looks good and so do you.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Trip to Bridal Veil Falls

Yesterday Meagan and I went to Bridal Veil falls to see the autumn colors. It was a beautiful morning and we had a wonderful time up there. Here are some pictures, an example of the good influence Meagan is on my blog (they were all taken by her).

iPod tenth anniversary review of iPod touch 4 and iOS5

Well its been 10 years since the iPod was first released and it seems appropriate for me to write my review on the iPod touch 4th generation and the new operating system iOS5 today. First though just a few reflections on the iPod: I remember the first time I heard of an iPod, Gordy was telling me about an amazing new gadget that Bro. Weber had, it played music and all the music, a seemingly unlimited amount, was stored directly on it, there were no cassettes or CDs to switch out, it was all right there in the palm of his hand. I remember going down to the foyer at church to see it. I was pretty impressed let me tell you. But it wouldn't be until my freshman year of college that I would finally acquire my own, my first iPod and the only one I have ever payed full price for was a nano 3rd gen. In the intervening years from the time I saw Bro. Weber's first iPod until the time I had my own I would poses several Palm Pilots and mp3players, but the iPod touch finally brought these two items together for me and the 4th gen just improves on that.
Although the 4th gen has been out for a year I only recently acquired one last Saturday for well below retail through BYU's lost and found sale. I quickly updated the OS to iOS5 which was released a few days before. The improvement was quite remarkable to me, but that may be because I was coming from a iPod touch 1st gen running iOS3, so I got all the hardware improvements at one time. The external speaker, the side volume control, and the microphone are all nice, but the best hardware improvement from the original touch is the front and rear facing cameras. The say the best camera is the one you have with you and the 4th gens camera is far superior to the one on my cell phone, plus it shoots video as exhibited below. Other hardware changes are the more responsive touch screen and what seems to me to be a much faster processor. All of these make for a better experience (although I loved my 1st gen and it was very use full).

The software changes are also great. Because I could never update to iOS4 on the 1st gen some of the software changes like multi-tasking have been around for over a year but I didn't have them. I really like the new notification center which is unobtrusively lets you know when you receive messages or updates. This way if I'm making flash cards and Cousin Jamie solves my word in hanging with friends I am not interrupted by a large blue box but just a simple notification in my status bar which will I can then drag down to access. Another old feature that is new to me is pretty simple but really nice, that is the ability to make folders on my home screen to organize my apps. I have a lot of apps and previously I've had to scroll through page after page of them to find what I want. In iOS5 there are several small feature updates that just make things a lot nicer. The calendar app in particular has been improved so that there is a landscape mode to view multiple days at once, and you can now just click on a time to start and entry, this all makes it much more convenient. One of my favorite updates to iOS5, which I've been waiting for since I first got an iPod, is the ability to create and manage playlists and photo albums on the iPod instead of on a computer, it is just much more convenient. Over all its been a great improvement to have the new iPod with the new OS.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Technology dichotomy

In this last general conference I noticed a theme emerging which we've heard about before but which is becoming increasingly important. This theme is the dichotomy between the good and bad of technology. A certain hesitancy is often found, especially among the older members of the church, when a new technology emerges. They wait, as is often proper, to see the way the brethren are leading on new issues, at time decrying them without instruction. I think we all remember the days of YouTube being blocked on campus and the bishops teaching that FaceBook was the realm of Satan. Now there church owns their own YouTube and Mormon.org posts to my news feed everyday, and missionaries in my mission teach lessons on FaceBook.
The work of the Lord moves forward through new technology, but those that worry about it are not without basis for this belief, both YouTube and Facebook have been used to send terrible messages and illicit material, MySpace was essentially a creeperfest, and text messaging has become a physical addiction for some people. This is why we have prophets and apostles now, so that as the world changes we can know how the an unchanging God wants us to act and react.
The church has always been at the forefront of using technology, Music and the Spoken Word is the longest running broadcast of all time, General Conference was transmitted via telephone, radio, television, and satellite as soon as those technologies were available, prophets were among the first to make audio recordings of themselves, the Church owns its own T.V. stations and produces its own smartphone apps (in fact they were producing apps back in the days of PalmPilots), and while I was reading the Ensign yesterday (on my iPod) I found QR codes are being introduced to it for the first time.. So we shouldn't necessarily be surprised at the developments of these recent conferences.
Because technology is becoming such a part of our daily lives we need to know what is expected of us in relationship to us. I'm so glad the apostles are speaking on it. This past conference was the first, I believe, to include a web address posted to the screen. This was during Elder Bednar's talk to the youth on family history as he encouraged them to use their technological skills for this great work. He told the youth that "Your fingers have been trained to text and tweet to accelerate and advance the work of the Lord—not just to communicate quickly with your friends. The skills and aptitude evident among many young people today are a preparation to contribute to the work of salvation." In the second mention of tweets and texts in a single session of conference Elder Arden of the 70 gave this warning "There is much that is good with our easy access to communication and information. I have found it helpful to access research articles, conference talks, and ancestral records, and to receive e-mails, Facebook reminders, tweets, and texts. As good as these things are, we cannot allow them to push to one side those things of greatest importance. How sad it would be if the phone and computer, with all their sophistication, drowned out the simplicity of sincere prayer to a loving Father in Heaven. Let us be as quick to kneel as we are to text." This echoes Elder Bednar's own prophetic voice from a few years ago when speaking to the young single adults. Here's a video from YouTube on that:

This is a real danger, I spend most of my life on a computer, I have an iPod (4 actually), a cell phone, and a kindle. Everyday at work I see people so absorbed in the electronic that they no longer know how to interact with human beings but treat you as part of a machine that will spit out smoothies for them. Especially those of us of the rising generation have got to learn how technology must be used correctly. We can't just hide under a rock, pretend to be stuck in the 1980's and not use it, its to valuable a tool for the spreading of the gospel, imagine if that had been done with print or broadcast media? No, we have to use it, but we have to use it correctly, and we better figure out what its about so we can teach our children. All of my younger siblings use iPods, iPads, and kindles. They have no idea there was a life before we had computers in our homes. If this group is not taught how to control technology it will destroy them, but if they are taught to harness it for good it will cause the gospel to be spread faster than ever before.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I'm lazy, make me your leader

"Some men are born leaders, some become leaders, and some men are too lazy to do anything else" to paraphrase the blessed playwright.
After taking the leadership of my PR class group in an unintended coup, I was brought to ponder on the things that make a person a leader. Having spent most of my life leading in one group or another, sometimes formalized and sometimes not it has caused me to wonder why. I mean what really makes somebody a leader? Some people may think it has to do with being willing to do everything, but I contest that it is exactly the opposite. I believe that the amount of time I have spent leading is directly related to my attitude of not wanting to do anything, or at least not to much of it, in other words, my laziness. The abilities required of a leader flow naturally to those who are lazy. Now don't misunderstand me, I don't mean lazy in the sense of sitting on the couch watching television, no these people are involved, that's what puts them in these situations to begin with. But we are lazy when it comes to long term application of advanced skills. We like to learn, but in a lazy fast kind of way. As a result of this we of this type tend to have a wide variety of amateur skills. The only areas the excel in are organizational and communication skills.
These skills are not in spite of but in fact are in response to our laziness, we need to be organized in order to work the least amount possible, the faster we can get things done, or the longer we can push them off means the more time we have. And what do we do with all this time once we have it? We socialize, hence expanding and improving our communication skills.
This leads us to an important point, there are a lot of highly skilled people in many areas that because of strong work ethic have developed master level skills in their field, but as a result of the time spent have lost their ability to communicate with others and to see their skills fit into a broader picture. This is where lazy people come in, the non lazy people won't make assignments because they don't have the socicommunication skills to do so. The lazy people will make assignments because every assignment you hand out means one assignment you won't get and because you've made friends because you had time to, people will listen to you. And so we see why lazy people fall into leadership roles, and oddly enough it works. The organizational and communication skills carry the day in the end bringing together specialized individuals, by someone who has just enough random knowledge to know whether things are getting done or not. I'm lazy, make me your leader

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Of Pianos and Popcorn Poppers

Hey folks, I'm back, I'm gonna try and get back into this blogging thing. I don't know if I will be detailing weeks all the time again. This time I'm going to do a topical post.
One day this past week Anna and I were at Gordy's house for dinner and we turned to talking about two of the most important Nielsen traits: popcorn poppers and pianos. This was mostly brought on by two of Gordy's friends coming to steal popcorn from his much beloved stir crazy and that Meagan and I had delivered Anna's piano to her after general conference. Like some kind of genetic trait or an early inheritance these two items have followed every Nielsen to leave the yellow house on West Sunset Drive. They are distinctly Nielsen, separately you rarely find them among college students, but in pair it is never found except in the offspring of David and Bonnie. Anna and I had actually talked about it earlier that week and then we found ourselves explaining this phenomenon to Gordy's friends when they asked if we also had stir crazy popcorn poppers. We explained that yes, we were Nielsens.
While this is humorous in that it is interesting and true, it has caused me to reflect on the true character of being a Nielsen and the legacy we follow. The mere fact that we carry these items with us wherever we go has a reflection on the things we just can't live with out. We have pianos because music is ingrained in the very core of the worst pianist amongst us (me). We all took piano, it wasn't an option it was just something you did. Music and extremely powerful tool and we were all taught how to make it. If there was one cardinal reason we were taught piano I would have to say that it was so we could serve, the church will always need pianists and mom thought we should be prepared in case that was us. We've all played for church meetings (even myself), and of course the other three have often served in callings involving the piano or organ (Anna is currently). Music was always prevalent in our home, and I think we can consider it one of our greatest blessings there. This of course extends back beyond the single dormer home in Akron, it stretches back to our Grandparents and what they taught and had taught to mommy and papa that prepared them for us. Truly we follow a legacy as our pianos follow us.
The Popcorn popper is also an item that says something distinct about the Nielsen culture and values. Why a popcorn popper? What made the stir crazy such a central part of the Nielsen childhood? Its simple really, there were a ton of us, and we are mormon. The ton of us means that we naturally fell to a food that was simple, tasty, and cost effective, something we didn't have to worry about dividing 8 ways because there would always be more of it. The mormon part meant that we kept food storage, so we order popcorn 500 pounds at a time and kept columns of it in 5 gallon buckets in our basement. It was a food that showed the importance to us of a shared family experience because we could gather together and all eat popcorn as we played games or watched movies. Many people we meet know popcorn only as something they had at the theater, but we knew it as part of the sustenance of daily life.
In short I think this pair P words represents four core values we've taken with us out into the world: Faith, Family, Fun, and Frugality. These have been a driving and carrying force to the four of us in our adventures away from home.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Lotsa Lotsa Homework

That's pretty much it for this week, just a lot of homework. I have a lot of papers due here at the end of the semester, so aside from class and work that was pretty much all I did.
Tuesday I had my last class in both Film and Communications, and Thursday was the last film lab. I'm kind of sad to see these two classes end, they were both really interesting. For our final lecture in Comms we had a guest speaker who was a public relations specialist, he was actually the man who handled PR for the Smart family during Elizabeth Smart's disappearance. So he talked about how it was to do that, it was all really interesting.
Most of the week was spent trying to work on my final paper for my international relations theory class, it took me a long time to get any traction on it. But I finally finished up the draft yesterday, it is due on Tuesday the same day that final film analysis is also due, which was my other major project this week. I did it on the 2003 live action Peter Pan. Both of those papers will have to revised on Monday, plus I also have my Comms final on Tuesday, So Tuesday should be pretty horrible, but hopefully it will get better after that.
Most of Saturday was spent working on my paper, but in the afternoon we went to a baptism for a man in our ward named Phong, he is Vietnam. After the baptism we had the ward closing social which was a Luau with a full pig roast. So that was fun.
Anyway, looks like its going to be another super busy week for me, but it is almost over now. Hard to believe.
you all have a nice week.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Stuff that happened this week

Well another week has come and gone, we are getting close to the end of the semester now. A scary thing, much to do.
Monday we had a ward family home evening at the BYU planetarium, we have a member of the ward who is an astronomy major and works there so he did it for us. It was a lot of fun.
Tuesday was another long day as all Tuesdays are apt to be. The choirs did the devotional so that was really nice. Tuesday was also the day that Tangled came out on DVD so in the evening Liz and I went up to walmart and got it and then watched it that night. It is a really great movie.
Wednesday nothing to exciting happened, just work and class. I've been working a lot on a paper on Marx's communist manifesto for Political philosophy.
Thursday the were classes and such. In the evening we had a roommate night. Casey, Warren and I went up to the temple on our bikes and did confirmations and baptisms. That was really nice. Then we all went and got cheeseseaks and after that made cookies and smoothies.
Friday work was super super busy for some unknown reason, except that it was pretty warm. I took out the money draw to count at 1 o'clock like normal and did not finish until I left at three, and the count was short so Lyndi had to do it again after I left, I guess things had slowed down a little by then. Friday night Liz and I went and watched citizen cane for my film class. It is rated the #1 movie of all time by the MPAA, it was a little weird, and Liz thought it was depressing but it was still pretty interesting.
Saturday was General Conference of course. Liz and I watched the morning session at her apartment and then we went to her family's house for the afternoon session. In the evening Gordy and I and our cousin Erin's husband Sam went to priesthood at Gordy's stake center, then we all met up with the girls at Brick Oven, my Aunt Mary was in town for conference and she wanted us all to get together for dinner. It was really fun.
Note: mom their are pictures of this last event but you will have to get them from your sister.
Anyway there you have it.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

lots of stuff

Busy week, on Monday there was work and class, then Liz and I met up with my family who were in town visiting. It was nice since it is daylight savings time now so the light lasts longer. We all (15 total) went to Golden Corral for dinner, that was a lot of fun.
Tuesday I didn't have class in the morning so I finished up my paper and Liz and I drove up to campus for the forum where we met up with my family. The forum was really good, it was Michael Flaherty the founder of Walden media which has done the narnia films as well as a lot of other really good movies. That night Liz and I went up to Bryce and Nicole's wedding reception, it was really nice. Bryce is an old friend of mine from back home and my family was in town to go to his wedding.
Wednesday nothing two exciting happened. Work and School.
Thursday we had Doctrine and Covenants, then I went to my film lab and Liz took a test. Later that night we made tacos and watched the movie Ink heart which was pretty good.
Friday I worked in the morning and got down to work on my paper for communications in the afternoon. In the evening Liz and I went and watched a Chinese film called Iron Monkey for my film class, it was pretty interesting, it was mostly all superhuman kung fu fighting. We were watching it for editing.
Saturday most of the day was spent on the communications paper, turned out I had to cut lot of stuff cuz it was too long. That night we went to see the Young Ambassadors show Harmony, it was really, really good. I hadn't seen the young ambassadors since I was kid so it was fun to see them again.
Well that was pretty much it for the week. hope you all had a good one. Sorry no pics, mom has them all.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Singing in the Spring

Hello fans, welcome back, it was a pretty good week. Pretty warm all week long.
Monday was the day we'd all been waiting for: The SPRING SING. I went to work and class and then ran over to the JSB to meet up with the rest of the cast and get my hands painted with glow in the dark paint. I donned my U of U shirt to complete my Scar costume. The road show went off wonderfully, I don't want to brag but we were by far the best. You can see a picture of me and my hyenas below.
Not too much else happened Tuesday or Wednesday, lots of school and work. I have a big paper due in international relations this coming tuesday so I spent a lot of the week working on that.
Thursday I woke up to find that my international relations class and my political philosophy lab were canceled so Liz and I went to the them temple earlier than planned. While we were at the temple we ran into our friend Tess (who directed the spring sing).
Friday night we went to the movie for my film class which was Notorious, kinda weird, not much resolution. After that we went to Tess's house along with a lot of the spring sing cast and we all watched the lion king together. It was lots of fun.
Saturday I spent the morning finishing my paper which is on the democratic peace, hopefully this one will be better than the last one I did for this class. We went on a walk because the whether was so nice. Then I took the last two parts of my political philosophy test. Which were essay questions so hopefully that went well. Saturday night we went to Liz's families house for dinner.
anyway, that is pretty much the week, below you can see some pictures. Me and the hyenas, Liz playing the piano, Me and Liz on a walk, Max at his birthday party.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

mmmm... Cheesesteaks

Well, it was a busy week for Ben. He had so much to do.
Monday morning I went to work, my good friend and co worker Jenn had made me a batch of granola, which is fantastic and she brought it to work. Monday was my good mission buddy Cody's Birthday and we have a Political philosophy together so that evening I took him to get Cheesesteaks at the new shop they just opened up at Brighams Landing which is right across the intermural fields from Wyview. It was so good, tasted just like philly. For FHE Monday night we played uno, and then I went to Hilary's for a while to study for the international relations test we had the next day.
Tuesday was really super crazy, first thing was the IR test, which was just two essay questions which we only had an hour and 15 minutes to right. Then it was off to devotional, on the way I ran into Cody and asked him if he had to do presentations in his comms class, and he says "Yeah, thats why I'm dressed up today" thats when it hit me that I was suppose to be dressed up because I was presenting in my comms class and I was suppose to meet up with my group the hour before class to practice, uh-oh. Devotional was on spirtuality in the class room and was really good. Then to D&C with Liz, where we worked out that she would rush me home right after film so I could change, somewhere along here I got a voicemail from Will at Jamba juice saying they wanted to meet with me, but of course I couldn't meet Tuesday because I was in class straight until 6:30, this worried me because I still wasn't sure what I would do if they offered me the job. But I went to film and during the 5 minute class break ran into Jamba Juice and told Barbara that I couldn't meet that day. Then right after film Liz rushed me home, actually she was a little late because she finally got to pick up her computer which the computer people had been trying to fix for weeks, I changed into my formal clothes and then she rushed me back to the JKB where I met up my group and we practiced our presentation a couple times. Then we went to class and presented. Later that night Liz and I went up to Lindon to return her mom's laptop that she had been using while hers was being fixed.
Wednesday was a much better day than Tuesday. I was worried when I got off work because I had a message from mom saying that I needed to call papa because Joel had gotten funding to hire summer work. So now I was still in quandary about what to do if I was offered the job at Jamba. I met up with Liz at the Science center to eat before going to my meeting. When I finally met with Will, he ended up telling me that they had offered the job to Jenn (she hadn't been allowed to tell me) but that they would like to promote me into Jenn's now vacated spot of team lead. This was really the best thing that could have happened because now I didn't have to make the decision between jobs, I work more hours at better pay at school now, and I can go home and work for the summer. Also on wednesday we got our grades back for the test we took on tuesday, I got a 100% so that was happy.
Thursday the only thing exciting that happened was the elders quorum temple trip that night. It was fun. It was Casey's second time to go to the temple.
Friday night we watched another silent film for my film class, The General, it was pretty funny. Then it was time for the Spring sing dress rehearsal and cast party.
Saturday there was another Spring sing practice in the morning. Homework in the afternoon. In the evening Liz had the pleasure of having a real philly cheesesteak for the first time and we went to Megamind with Gordy and Brooke.
Well I think that's it for another week. Hope you all have fun |\/|

Sunday, February 27, 2011

oh look, Pictures

Hello, and welcome back to another week in the life of Joe, ha, just kidding, this is Ben. So this week was kinda interesting, because Monday was a holiday so Tuesday was Monday (this feels like the non-linear week again) and that made it so I only went to four classes all week. However there was still lots to do.
Monday as previously stated there was no school so that was nice. Took the time to get some homework done, I made flash cards on my ipod for all the terms and concepts for my comms test this week. Then there was Sterling Party with the old gang. That was a lot of fun to see everyone and have a good time. It's a good thing Liz was going with me though because I kept forgetting that it was happening even though I was the one who had planned it for that day.
Tuesday was Monday so I went to work in the morning and studied and went to class in the after noon. I turned in my application for the office assistant position at Jamba Juice. After work I went and took the comms test, I came out with a 92 which has presently been raised to a 95 because of miskeyed and thrown out questions. I kept forgetting that it was Tuesday so I was afraid that I would forget to go to work the next morning since I work earlier on Wednesdays. Tuesday evening I had a meeting with my Comms group to plan our presentation on the yes side of whether advertising is ethical.
Wednesday I fortunately did not forget what day it was and made it to work on time. Nothing to interesting happened on Wednesday.
Thursday I only had the two classes in the morning since we didn't have film lab because we didn't have film lecture. Besides that not too much took place on Thursday.
Friday I had work and then later in the afternoon I had an interview with Barbara and Will for the office assistant position. They said we would know sometime next week who got the job. In the evening Liz and I took her little brothers Mathew and Jacob to see Tangled. That was a lot of fun, the movie was really good everyone should see it.
Saturday in the morning we went to spring sing practice. Tess decided to change my role to Scar for good since her second Scar bailed on her, I was a little sad to give up being Timone with Casey being Pumba, but that's the way it roles, included below are pictures of me a Scar with Ashley (who is a guy), who is Simba, and also me and Liz in our roles as shakers during the finale song. Saturday night there was session of stake conference which was very good.
hope everyone has a nice week. |\/|

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The titleless post

Welcome back to another week in the life of Ben.
Monday, as some of you might know, was valentines day. First though I had to go to work and class. Then that night Liz and I went out to dinner at Costa Vida and then we went ice skating, after a short incident with a set of spike strips.
Tuesday was anther super busy day with all my classes. We've moved on in film now to production design which is really interesting, although Liz might not appreciate my commentary during movies these days. In Comms we had interesting presentations and a discussion on whether or not print media is doomed. Tuesday night we went to Liz's families house for her little brother Matthew's birthday.
Wednesday night there was a showing of the Princess Bride in the varsity theater so we went to that and had a good time.
Thursday was pretty uneventful. Just school stuff.
Friday I had work, it was quite slow. I forgot to mention that we've been wearing honor week t-shirts at work all week for honor week, but because I work I missed all the honor week events so I didn't get any other free t-shirts. Friday night we went to the film for my class which was a danish film called Babbettes feast, it was a strange film that is probably going to be difficult to write on.
Saturday we had practice for the spring sing. I had to play Scar again as well as Timone because our new Scar didn't show up, but a lot of people were gone for the Holiday.
Anyway, it was a good week, this next week should be pretty short with the holiday, in fact I will only go to four classes, so that will be nice.
anyway have a nice week all of you.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

in which I discover why you get arts credit for watching movies

Sorry this is a week late, this covers Feb 6-13.
This week began on Friday and presently became Monday until I had a vision of Wednesday in which there was a flashback to Tuesday, which hadn't happened yet. If you are not yet confused then non-linear/non-traditional film may be the thing for you. Thats what we were studying this week in film class, hence I discovered why BYU will give you arts credit for taking TMA 102. We saw some very abstract stuff, for your benefit however I will put my new hifalutin artsy insights aside and give you the week in a linear manner.
Monday was normal, work and class, then FHE. I gave the spiritual thought and we played the Great Dalmuti.
Tuesday was normal and busy like always. This is when we began our discussions of non-linear film and we watched so really strange stuff in class, including a film that was just scratches on film set to music.
Wednesday I took the test for doctrine and covenants, so far that is the only test I've had all year.
Thursday we went looking for housing. We went with Robbie to see his grandparents basement where he and Josh and I might live. Then we went and looked at park plaza where we had a less than satisfactory reception by a student manager there. Thursday night Liz and I watched Kung Fu Panda because she had never seen it before.
Friday I went to work and in the evening we went to see a film for my class called the
Spanish Prisoner. It was quite the piece of work, you never knew what was going on or what in the world was happening. Anyway it was crazy.
Saturday I had to go to worldwide leadership training in the morning, and then we had spring sing practice, at which we were suppose to be learning the dance for the finale. It turns out I'm not very good at dancing, so since we had too many dancers to begin with Liz and I eventually changed to being shakers (meaning we will have like marraca's or something and shake them). That night we went to a birthday party for Liz's roommate Abby.
Sunday was church and in the evening we went along with Gordy and Brooke to Erin and Sam's for dinner and games, that was a lot of fun. While we were playing cards their downstairs neighbor came up and told us we were making there light shake and he didn't know what we were doing up there, so be careful the next time you are sitting around a table playing cards that you don't make anybody's light shake.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Papers and Personal Plans

This week flew by so fast its hard to remember what happened. The whole week was part of the wards Personal Plan Palooza which I was on the committee for. It involves focusing on one of the eight areas of Christ center living that the Stake President has asked us to do, everyday from last Sunday to this. Also my first major paper of the semester was due this week in my international relation theory class, it was a pretty obscurely written assignment so it took a lot time to figure it out and get it written, and we shall see how it ends up.
Monday I had work and political theory, we have been talking about Hobbes and Prof. Gilchrest instructed us in the finer points of the crab apple wars they had a children to illustrate the points of equality and the Leviathan. For FHE we went on a food drive as part of the personal plan's care for the poor and needy day. That was fun, I haven't gone up and knocked on random people's doors for a while. Spent a good portion of monday working on my paper.
Tuesday was busy as always. Still trying to work on the paper when I got a chance to breath.
Wednesday I mostly just worked on finishing the big paper.
Thursday was a busy day, Hilary and I proof read each others papers in the morning before class and then we had to run and catch the bus so we could get to campus and print them off, unfortunately this was during the time that BYU's network was not recognize anti-virus software from microsoft security essentials so I couldn't log into the network and e-mail my paper to myself to print off so I had to put it on a flash drive and get it off that way. We did make it to class on time and get them turned in. Thursday night Liz and I went to them temple and did baptisms and confirmations, they were short endowed brethren so I performed quite a few confirmations and then when we were still two rows back from doing baptisms they asked me to come and baptize, so I baptized everyone until Liz came through, somewhere around thirty people.
Friday I went to work, some people came in like an hour before I left and they just sat there and they were still there when I left and Jenn texted me like an hour later and said they had finally left, just FYI but if you are going to have yourselves a little reunion, there a probably better places to do it than Jamba Juice. Friday night I went to watch "Went the Day Well?" for my film class, its a british film about world war II made during world war II. anyway we are sitting there and nothing is happening and finally ten minutes after it is suppose to start one of the TA's finally comes in and is like, I don't have the dvd, so you are either going to have to wait 45 minutes for us to get it or come to the showing tomorrow." well that was no good because the next day I had practice for the Spring Sing, thank goodness someone there said that the whole thing was up on you tube and he pulled it up on the podium computer and we were able to watch it that way. Friday night Liz and I went shopping.
Saturday morning was Spring Sing practice, we are doing a BYU lion king version, I am playing Timone and Casey is being Pumba. During practice I also had to be Scar because the person playing him didn't show up. We did home work most of Saturday afternoon and then watched Hercules, which we got from the BYU library, so far we haven't been having the best luck with Library dvd's as they seem to have trouble skipping.
Well there you have it folks, another week in the life of Ben.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Keeping Careful track

Well Another week has come and gone, crazy to think.
Monday, I went to work, I went to school. We finished the section on Machiavelli in Political theory, so now I know how to be a very amoral self serving prince. Monday night we went to the RB and played Wallyball for FHE. That was fun.
Tuesday I went to school, devotional, school, school, school. This week is international film for film class, we watched part of a movie about lepers in Iran, pretty crazy. Afterward Robbie, Josh and I had lunch (if you can call it lunch at 3 o'clock). Tuesday I also began my Media Consumption Diary for my communications class. I have to keep track off all the Mass media I consume for five days. In my expectations I put that I never watch t.v., but what should happen but the night I start is the state of the union and I watched it on t.v.
Wednesday was work and school. Wednesday is my early day for work. After work Liz and I studied and then I went to Political theory to start the section on Hobbes. That night we went and saw BYU's production of Peter Pan. It was really good. I still was keeping track of everything I saw or heard in the mass media.
Thursday during my afternoon break Josh, Liz and I went and looked at a couple apartment complexes trying to figure out housing for next fall.
Friday I just went to work then did homework. Friday night Liz was gone, I went to the film for class, which was a chinese film called To Live, it was good, different though, and some very sad parts. I also had to put that in my media diary. Then I caught up with Jenn, Melissa and Casey at the end of the v-ball game. BYU won, but of course no surprise there. We hung out the rest of the night, the adventure of the night was putting Casey's bike in Melissa's trunk and trying to tie it shut with Jenn's string. Casey eventually got it and we made it back to Wyview w/out losing the bike. While driving the Radio was on, so that had to go into the mass media diary as well.
Saturday, lots of home work was attempted. In the evening Liz and I went to the Library to get a movie and finally settled on Meet the Robinsons which we were informed was on a 4 hr check out, so we had to run back and watch it and then run back to the library to return it, and it had to be recorded in the media diary.
Well that's it for the week folks, have a good one.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

3 days of School

Well, here's another week in the life of Ben. Nothing to crazy to report except that I only went to school 3 days this week, so that was nice.
Monday was off from school(hence the three days of school) most of the day was spent doing homework and stuff. In the evening Liz and I went to a presentation for Martin Luther King Jr. day up on campus.
Tuesday was another crazy busy day. Elder Kikuchi(that is spelled wrong just so you know) came and gave a devotional. That night I finally saw all of UP.
Wednesday was uneventful, I now work earlier on Wednesdays though.
Thursday I had classes and then in the evening went to the Stake Leadership training.
Friday I went to work. That night Liz and I went miniature golfing at Trafalga, which was quite and experience. Since it was friday it was pretty full so we decided it would be a good idea to do the outside course since there was hardly anybody out there(hmm... I wonder why) and it wasn't that cold. Well that was well and good until about the third whole which involved a school house, Liz was a better shot than me and hit it through the school house(what you are suppose to do to get a hole in one) there was only one problem, the pipes led to an ice covered putting green, and apparently the schoolhouse pipe had ice in it because Liz's ball was nowhere to be found. We went back and got another ball and counted that as a hole in one. Similar adventures ensued as we traversed the course. Some greens were completely impassable and we had to make those holes up on the other outdoor course to even our scores. Anyway it was a blast, albeit a somewhat chilly one. Liz ended up winning by about four strokes(although her ethics are somewhat questionable). After that we attended our wards Book of Mormon Readathon for a while (they were reading from 7 oclock pm to 7 oclock am).
Saturday we went to see the documentary Promises for my film class. It was pretty good.
Well, I'd better get this post up since it is very late. hope y'all have a good rest of the week.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Rice and Dinner

Welcome back to another week in the life of Ben. This was the first full week of School. It was pretty chill on the homework front so that was nice.
Monday I went to work in the morning, things seem to have picked up a little bit down there this week, we were running a welcome back week promotion where people could get an oatmeal for a dollar if they bought a drink. We have one regular customer who comes everyday who we call carrot juice man, because he always orders a 30 oz. drink of pure carrot juice(that's one of those huge cups). On Monday he also got a wheatgrass shot, sometimes I just don't know how people can survive being that healthy. Monday evening I went to Political theory, and that night to Liz's FHE since mine wasn't happening.
Tuesday was super busy, as usual, except there was no devotional so I actually got to eat lunch. Upon arriving home Tuesday night I had a presidency meeting and after that a committee meeting for a special activity the ward is doing.
Wednesday was fairly uneventful. Work, studying and class. I ran into my old companion Kevin Reese for the first time, so that was fun. That night Liz and I did D&C homework.
Thursday was the big day of the week, Condoleezza Rice (Yes, that would be the former secretary of state) came to give a forum address at BYU, I happen to have international relations class right before that time, which was interesting because Prof. Stiles happens to be on the opposite end of the political spectrum and he was none too keen on letting us out early so we could get to devotional, fortunately Liz didn't have class and she went early to the Marriott to get seats. It was an excellent address. Later Josh and I had our intro to film lab, and Robbie was able to switch to our section so that was good. That night we went to Liz's house(like her home home, in Lindon) for dinner, which was very nice.
Friday I only had work of course, and homework. That night for film class we went to see City Lights which is an old silent film by Charlie Chaplin which we have to write on this week, it was quite funny and enjoyable. Then we went and got dinner at Panda Express after finding that Angels of Philly was closed.
Saturday not to much happened. I did home work in the morning. We went shopping in the afternoon.
Well folks, that's it from the life of Ben this week. Have a good one

Monday, January 10, 2011

Here we are again

So last Saturday I returned from home with Amy and Mike and their boys. I had a wonderful time back in Colorado but it was good to be back in Provo again. Upon returning home Saturday night I met my new roommate, Warren Chatwin, from Oklahoma. He's a pretty cool guy who just got back from his mission to California. Sunday was a busy day for me as I was the only member of either elders quorum presidency at church so I had a lot to do.
Monday Liz and I hung out most of the day, I made waffles for breakfast and then we went to campus and figured out where our classes were and tried to make it into the bookstore but decided it wasn't worth the fight against the crowds. That night we went to the Ward Home Evening activity where we participated in minute to win it challenges. Gordy and Brooke got back in town that night and brought me my suit case and my beautiful blender. So we made a smoothie later. Casey finally got back from Washington just before midnight.
Tuesday was the first day of class, and what a day it was. Tuesday's are definitely the busiest days of the week for me and so starting out on one was a little on the exhausting side. I arrived on campus shortly before 9:30 when my first class started, Hilary and I have Pl Sc 370, theories of international relations, with Professor Stiles. That ran until 10:45 at which juncture I ran to the Library and quickly deposited all my books in my locker before running to the Marriot Center where I met up with Liz and Selina to hear pres. Samuelson's opening address. Then Liz and I were off to D&C with Bro. Perkins at 12:00. From there I ran to Intro to Film with Professor Duncan, which I have with Josh and Rob by random chance. That ran from 1-3 and we watched and interesting film called the Man Who Planted Trees. If you have been following closely you will find that it is now 3 o'clock and I have yet to mention eating anything, when arranging my schedule I neglected to pay attention to the fact that there was no break for lunch in all this, so at this point I am famished. So I quickly eat something and attempt to find out what's wrong with my laptop because it has been dying all day after being unplugged for less than five minutes. I accomplished the first goal, but not the second, before running off to the JKB for Communication 101 w/ Professor Swenson which was suppose to rung from 4-6:30, fortunately she let us out early. Upon arriving back home I made some more food and then it was off for Presidency meeting. Whew, its a little crazy, but fortunately its the only day like this.
Wednesday I had my first day back at work, Jenn and I have been moved to the smaller store in the Student Athletic Building on the south side of campus. Its pretty slow down there so were they only have two people at a time working it. From there I got some food and then met up with Liz for some D&C studying until class at 4:00, which is Political Theory with Professor Gilchrest, I have this class with Hilary and Cody and several other members of our old Pl Sc 200 entourage. Gilchrest is the nicest college professor I have ever encountered.
Thursday is my second busiest day but not nearly as bad as Tuesday. Basically just school and stuff on Thursday.
Friday was work in the morning, but there are no classes on Friday, so that was nice, I used some time to work on my school calenders to make sure I don't forget about anything. Friday night Liz and I went to Amazing Grace for my film class, it was pretty good.
Saturday Liz and I went to the temple. It was very full in the baptistry and the needed a lot of help so I actually performed a lot more ordinances than just Liz's, it was a really nice time. After that we worked on some homework. Then in the evening we went with Amy, Mike, the boys, Gordy and Brooke, to Los Hermonos in Provo for dinner to celebrate Amy's 26th Birthday.
Sunday I went to Presidency meeting and then church. In the evening Liz and I went to the Marriot Center to hear Elder Christopherson's fireside, which was really good.
Well that looks like it's it for the week folks, hope you all have a good one.