Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Okay, second to last post. Which means this is my last free post. I need to make this quick, because it is due in an hour. So I think I'm going to talk about Golden Sun. Golden Sun is a video game that I really like that I can talk about for quite a while. So it will make an easy blog topic, right? Anyway, Golden Sun is an role playing game for the game boy advance. It is all about a magic power called Alchemy, and summonable Djinn. Your main character has a magic power called Psyenergy, and he is expected to use it to protect the 4 stars in the Sol Sanctum, but some people come and steal the stars, and intend on lighting the 4 elemental lighthouses with them. It is your job to prevent them from getting to the lighthouses. Along the way, you make friends, and collect more Djinn that make you powerful. I really like this game because it has a really good plot, and awesome gameplay, not to mention captivating music, and impressive visual graphics for the time of its release. The worst part of this game is the fact that it ends on a cliff hanger, so you had better have the second game ready to play if you plan on playing this game. And if you wait too long to play the second game, you will forget a lot of important things about the plot. And I just really like this game. I'm going to play through it again after I make it through finals. So with that, I'm going to tie off this post, and send out my final evaluative conclusion. Good work Daniel :)
Last Sunday, in sacrament meeting, someone in my ward bore his testimony on the secular side of Christmas. This was really interesting to me, because everything you hear over the pulpit is always, "Think about Christ this Christmas season." However, this guy expressed how this is a time when we promote a lot of unification and other values that we don't alway exercise the rest of the year. A time when Grinches get larger hearts, and when Scrooges have their eyes opened. And I guess that that part of Christmas is probably really important too. I'm going to go home and be with my family again, and spend some time with them. That probably wouldn't really happen until summer if it weren't for Christmas. I'm really happy to spend family time, and to take a break from studies. I'm also reminded of a story during World War II, when trench warfare was stopped for a day during Christmas, when Axis and Allied powers got together to share stories, and carols, and trade goods. Even though they were there to kill each other, Christmas brought them together for at least that one day. The spirit of Christmas is a really good thing. Even the secular side that is often scoffed by religion. I think we could all use this season to become better people, and love each other a little more. Drink your fill of eggnog, and play in the snow (if you must . . . ), but don't use that as an excuse to forget Christ. Just keep that in mind this Christmas season.
Is anyone else sick of work? Maybe I'm just being a whiner, but I feel like I've been working non-stop for several weeks now. And I have not been eating or sleeping healthily lately. At all. Personally, I blame C S 142. I feel like that class gives out way too much work. On top of that, I got homework over Thanksgiving that I didn't do, and I missed a couple assignments in some other classes that I'm doing my best to finish before the semester is up. I'm worried about my finals, but I don't have time to study for them quite yet. I was considering pulling an all-nighter, and getting most of my work done, but, I got a flashback of my last all-nighter, and it wasn't worth it. So I traded six hours of miserable time that I would've spent doing half an hour's worth of homework, sleeping instead. And now I'm starting to feel guilty about it, because I have a lot of stuff due today that is not yet done. But no worries. It's almost Christmastime, and I feel like I've done all that I can for this semester, and as I explained in another blog post, I feel better prepared for next semester. I am so excited to go home! I will be done with my finals on Tuesday, but my ride home doesn't leave until probably Saturday, so I have a while in Provo yet to just relax, and recoup while there isn't really any work that I could do, even if I wanted to :)
Facebook is really smart. Not only does it know all the things you tell it (Which is often quite a bit more than you should), but it also seems to know what websites you've been to, and other random information like that. Because it does. Sometimes this seems rather creepy (Okay, it is), but it can be really convenient sometimes. And sometimes it isn't so convenient.
Monday, December 5, 2011
During the semester, my roommate and another guy and I started a tradition called Corn Dog Wednesday. It is a weekly event that we hold (usually on Wednesday) where we make corn dogs from scratch. As in we mix up batter, and put it on the hot dog, and fry them ourselves. We don't actually kill the animal or any of that. But we have developed some mad skills for creating corn dogs. And it's actually pretty fun, so I'm going to make a link to the recipe I use. I take out the pepper, and add a bunch (to taste) of honey, but other than that, I just follow the recipe. There are a lot of intricacies to the process, but after a couple of tries, it get's pretty easy, and the corn dogs are pretty good. We have even been investing in various types of sauces to better enjoy our corn dog experience. We recently got some J Dawgs special sauce, and some Famous Dave's sweet and zesty barbecue sauce.
Provo woke up this morning to a wintery surprise. And not the good kind, in my opinion. I didn't even see the fresh white blanket until I left my apartment. I hadn't planned on walking through it that morning, which made me pretty grumpy (I seem to feel that way a lot lately...). Back at home, my mom is very particular about the language we use around the house. And one of the words she doesn't like to hear from us is the 4-letter "S" word. She tends to get downright nasty toward my siblings and I when we say the word "snow." She doesn't like it, you see. It is a vile thing. You have to shovel it, and avoid slipping in it, and it makes everyone drive like they're in bumper cars. Also, the snow sunburns your eyes, and makes everything wet. Especially when it all melts off in the spring.
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Last Saturday, whilst going to and fro on campus, and from walking up and down in it, I found inspiration in the form of a quote by N. Eldon Tanner. I didn't have any paper on me, so I wrote it on my arm. The quote was this: "Service is the rent we pay for living in this world of ours." I thought about this quite a bit, because since I've been at college, I haven't been that into service. Sure, I sit at my computer to index for family history every once in a while, but besides that, everything is about me. I need to do my homework, I need to feed myself, etc. This has been a huge change since my last year in high school. I had 2 callings in church, and I volunteered in different organizations. But it just doesn't seem like I have time anymore to take care of anyone else's needs along with my own. Well, last night was FHE. I wasn't going to go, because of all the homework I had (still have . . . ), but we were doing a ward FHE, where we all came together to do indexing together. And there was free pizza. That might've influenced my decision a little, considering I hadn't eaten anything that day except for a bowl of cereal at 8:00 that morning. When I went, I saw that they had a paper up of the top indexers in our ward, and I was sixth place. Which surprised me, considering I didn't think I had actually done that much of it. But apparently, everyone else had done less. It felt kinda good to be doing service though. I was glad I went. I ate an entire pizza while I was there, which was nice too. I think next semester, I'm going to do more service. I can definitely apply myself to do more in that category, especially toward the beginning of the semester, I think. And honestly, I think indexing is a really cool thing. I definitely feel the spirit of Elijah when I'm going through name, groaning at how young the girls got married, trying to figure out what occupation they had, and trying to make out the old fashioned hand writing. As hard as it is, I really feel connected with my ancestors when I do it. And I recommend it to everyone else.
Friday, December 2, 2011
Thursday, December 1, 2011
This is the final (and mostly true) draft of my personal narrative.
There were more pocket protectors in the room than you could count 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 random 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, and had the largest bug collection I had ever seen. He was, in every way, the epitome of the stereotypical nerd. “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. “Just remember that whether we win or lose this match tomorrow, our sportsmanship will be the most important thing.”
It was true. Our school, Madison, had just won a state championship in basketball, and while we didn't have a single “star” on our team that year that was particularly impressive, the coach of every team that our school had played had noted that we were their favorite team to play, because our basketball team had such great sportsmanship. It was our turn to defend this legacy.
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. . .”
“Whose assassination in 1968. . .”
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. Haylee, our captain, was issuing commands and strategies. We reviewed hand signals, levels of aggressiveness while playing, and specialties of the front row players.
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.
It was hard to remain composed. Why did we miss that one? We knew what the answer was. We just didn't pronounce “Oedipus” right. And for that matter, neither did the judge. But we all thought about the many talks about sportsmanship that we had had in school, in practice, and at the end of the last round. No one likes a bad sport. Pronouncing the answer is part of the game. We all stayed competitive, and respectful.
“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!” The tension in the room was almost tangible. 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. Both teams answered the lightning round questions, which brought the score to 115 to 135, in favor of Madison.
From that point forward, Madison remained ahead. We switched our game tactics from “catch-up” to “stay ahead.” Mr. Call was almost in tears as our team became 30, 40, 50, 60 points ahead. The final score was 225 to 165.
“And that's it! We have a Class A state champion! Congratulations, Madison!” As soon as the camera was off, we broke into excited cheers, and gave high fives all around. Mr. Call, looking somewhat frazzled, ran up to hug us all.
“I knew you guys would win the whole time.”
“Wait, guys,” came Haylee's voice, “Can we get 3 cheers for Hillcrest for being such great opponents?” Most of us had forgotten about Hillcrest already. We all cheered and applauded them. After all, they had just given us the best match we had had all season. It was clear that they were disappointed about the loss, but they smiled in acceptance of our appreciation of their performance. We then shook their hands individually, and, instead of congratulating, thanked each other.
Our team left the studio as State Champions. We were all content during the bus ride home in knowing that we were the biggest nerds in high school in the entire state of Idaho, but that wasn't the most rewarding part. We had defended our school's honor, and our principal, who had been secretly watching from the other room, came out and congratulated us. He told us how impressed he was of our performance, as well as our sportsmanship afterward.
The bus ride back to Rexburg would be about 6 hours long, but none of us cared. For many of us, this would be the highlight of the entire year. But instead of sitting by ourselves in the back of the bus, like we had on the way up, we sat intermingled with the Hillcrest team. Instead of awkward silence in the bus, we shared stories and smiles throughout the return trip.