Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Personal Narrative Draft

There were more pocket protectors in the room than you could could on the fingers of one hand, and there wasn't a single person in the room who couldn't give you the first 20 digits of pi. With a state championship on the line, every nerd had their pride to defend.

The Scholastic Team at my school was a gathering place for the intellectually elite. Less prestigious than debate, Scholastic Team was the invisible escape for those who wanted to share the speed with which they could return trivia. However, the Scholastic Team would be invisible no more.

“We made it to the Finals!” exclaimed Mr. Call, the coach for Scholastic Team. He was wearing bulky glasses, and a Star Wars tie. “We will be on Idaho Public Television for our match tomorrow morning!” True, that wasn't a very large audience, but a public appearance of any kind made us almost a sport.

Our opponents for the championship the following morning would be Hillcrest. They were the reason we hadn't made it to the championship last year. But this year was different. We had defeated them at the qualification tournament a few weeks ago, just to make it to where we were. We rested easily on this knowledge that night.

“Which author, in the play Our Town, defined. . .”

“Thorton Wilder.”

“Whose assassination in 1968. . .”

“Robert Kennedy.”

The bus ride to the Television studio was filled with the sound of random trivia. In ideal situations, we would be able to answer the question before it was done being asked, so the other team would have less of a chance of being able to answer the question.

When we got there, the buzzers were lined up, and Hillcrest was waiting. The reader for the match walked in with a big cheesy grin. He was wearing a suit above the waist, but jeans below, because the camera was designed to catch him at an angle so no one else would see what pants he was wearing.

“That is so tacky,” we all whispered in turn. We took our seats and prepared for the match to start.

“Today, we will have the Idaho State INL High School Scholastic Team State Championship!” The reader had a charismatic “TV” voice. “On the left, we have Madison High School from Rexburg, and on the right, we have Hillcrest High School from Idaho Falls!” He continued to explain the rules of the event. The rolling cameras made us all nervous. We were all anxious to get started. Finally, it was time to begin: “On with the first question. Your category is 'Eye Examination.' What instrument. . .”

Buzz! Hillcrest knew the answer after 4 words. “Ophthalmoscope.”

“Correct. I'm glad you said that, so I didn't have to!”

Ophthalmoscope? I didn't even know that was a word before this point in time. That was only the first question though. We could come back. But Hillcrest got the next question. And the following one. And the one after that. It wasn't until the forth question that we got a chance to answer. And the answer was incorrect, resulting in a subtraction of 5 points.

“We are now halfway through the first half of the round, and the score is 55 to 5, Hillcrest!” announced the reader. Mr. Call in the back of the room was giving us exaggerated gestures from where he couldn't be seen by the camera. He was desperate for us to get Hillcrest off of its streak. And at that point, something with our team clicked. An obscure Russian history question was asked, and quickly answered by the history buff on our team. After that, our team was ready. We started answering every question. By the end of the first half, we tied up the score, 80 to 80.

“It is now time for the lightning round! The score is exactly tied, so we will need to toss a coin to determine who will go first!” Madison lost the call, meaning we would compete first. Mr. Call was the most nervous of all of us. He looked like he has started to hyperventilate during the last question that tied the score. After both teams answered the lightning round questions, the score was 115 to 135, in favor of Madison.

From that point forward, Madison remained ahead. Our team left the studio as State Champions. We were all content in knowing that we were the biggest nerds in high school in the entire state of Idaho.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Eating like a Hobbit

Okay, I could've sworn I wrote this blog entry last night, but it didn't show up on my blog. So I'm going to rewrite it. Which is a good thing, because it was terrible last night. Anyway, yesterday (Actually, a while ago now. I found this post half finished), on a whim, I decided to eat like a hobbit for a day. In retrospect, not one of my better ideas. I feel really sick right now, and I don't know if it was from that, or not. Either way, I still have not eaten since supper last night, and I hope to never eat again... The following will be a documentation of my day as a hobbit
I woke up at 6:30. This was very convenient, because, in accordance with missionary week, all residents of Herritage Halls were encouraged to keep mission hours that day. So I got up, got a large bowl of cereal, checked Facebook, got in the shower, etc. Completely normal day. The bowl of cereal filled me up in its own artificial way, but I didn't have a whole lot of time that morning, so it fulfilled its purpose.
After class, I returned home, hungry again. So I warmed myself up some lasagna. I had 2 pieces. And after that, there were only 2 pieces left, which was hardly worth putting the pan back in the refrigerator for. It wasn't worth the space. And it definitely wasn't worth making more dirty dishes by putting it on something smaller. So I ate the other 2 pieces. Satisfied, I updated my status to talk about my second breakfast. It was then that I spawned my idea. After a little research, I found out that hobbits had 7 meals (not including snacks) every day. At that point, it was 10:00, meaning I only had 1 hour before it was time for elevenses. That was right during devotional, so I cooked myself up a couple of quesadillas for the trip over there, and a bag of cereal to eat during the talk. A most hearty meal.
Luncheon was right before my 1:30 class. I didn't have much time, so I got a granola bar and a bag of goldfish out of the vending machine, and ate them during class. I wasn't even that hungry yet. But I ate them anyway. I was ready for a nap during class, because I was comfortably full. I daresay I might've dozed off a little that day, because the auditorium was strangely warm and comfortable. My next class was English at 3:00, which left me with just enough time to get Afternoon tea on my way to class. I went back to the vending machine and got grapefruit juice and a danish. I figured that was about as close to an afternoon tea meal as I could get here at BYU. As Elder Holland said, "You shouldn't be serving tea anyway."
At this point, I was stuffed, and still had 2 meals to go. I decided to have breakfast for dinner, and I made myself 4 large scrambled eggs, and 3 medium potatoes worth of hash browns. That was a lot of food. I went to ward choir that night, very uncomfortably full, and planning one more meal. I decided to make some fried rice to top it off. I probably ate 3-4 cups of (cooked) rice with chicken and eggs and veggies. I invited my friend over to my apartment, and we both shared this meal together.
And thus ended my day as a hobbit. I don't think I'll do it again anytime soon, but it was a fun experience. And if there is a next time, maybe I'll work on snacking more.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Research Is Like Dating

Or so they say. They being the unmarried librarians at the Harold B. Lee Library. Something about looking around for desirable characteristics before deciding on a topic that you want to be with. And if research is like dating, then the paper is like a bad girlfriend that you just can't shake. If you're lucky, you will find a topic that you really like that you will dedicate your life to, and be with for time and all eternity.
In my opinion, research is like homework. And the paper is like an assignment that you can't skip, or else you'll fail the class. But that's just me. For my English class, we are required to write an 8-10 page research paper on a new media topic, which is, all at once, too broad, and too narrow. After much contemplation, I thought I had found a good topic. It was about the transformation of the English language through social media. The original motivation for the topic was a comment on a Facebook wall post between myself and a couple of people whom I consider to be intellectuals. One of the contributor's little sisters then posted the following comment: "You guys talk wayyyy to formally. This is Facebook, not a spelling test! Say... Yo ya I would love ta!" Needless to say, this left a bitter taste in my mouth, and I left a very sarcastic reply (One that was not perceived as such...). However, as I began to research, I began to realize that I had little scope for what I was actually looking for, and no idea of how to narrow it. So I reluctantly left the topic. I definitely had a crush on it, but we just didn't understand each other. There was never a real relationship.
It then occurred to me to research a topic about video games. Truth be told, this topic occurred to me much before this moment in time, but I was now behind, because of the failure of my first topic. I really didn't want to do video games though. It was (is) so cliché... and I didn't really like either side of any video game argument in existence. So I set it aside, judging it to be a thing of naught. I moved on to education. How does new media effect our education? Well, that one might've worked out, except it was hard. And I don't have time or willpower to do hard things. So I dropped that idea. The day of a deadline came, and I needed a topic to work on my annotated bibliography with. With about an hour to work on it, I chose to do a video game topic. It took me about 15 minutes to find 8 working sources, and another 5 minutes to put them into a works cited page. Another half hour to scan and annotate my references, and then I printed it. So my research topic is about violent video games as a cause of aggression in teenagers/children. And that's about it. Once again, the easy course of action overcomes the best one.