Sunday, November 9, 2008

Grateful Days

I usually think of bad things being associated with the phrase "when it rains it pours," but the opposite is true as well. It's not raining good or bad things--it's autumn. It's cold, busy, and dark outside, but there are also heavenly moments where the wind is blowing softly with a warmth that just can't be imitated and the leaves are brightly glistening. Your electric AND gas bills are low. It's even nicer when someone else rakes your lawn.

So everything's not perfect in my life, but there are some subtle nice things going on:

-Gas is below two dollars. This hasn't happened since 2005 or so for me. I feel young again.

-I got an A- on an essay that took forever to write.

-The collaboration room I have been working on designing is close to being finished. I talk about it here.

-My finally moved to Verizon, so my wireless bill is lower and I get to talk to them for free, which is also good since I talk to them the most.

-I know how to change the home page in firefox: 1) navigate to the page you want for your home page 2) click on tools in the menu bar 3) click on options in that menu 3) Click on the button that says "Use current pages."

Monday, October 20, 2008

Labels II: Why Skittles are Skittles

Okay. The reason I think Chocolate Skittles are the sign of a doomed economy (please read in SOME exaggeration)is that when people think of Skittles they think of fruit or at least a lively vibrant flavor--that reminds you of a rainbow!. The rainbow on the label of these Skittles ends up in the mud! Plus, Chewy chocolate has been done already. They're called Tootsie Rolls. Mars, you went too far. You got greedy. Now we are confused. Maybe it was the blending idea. I can blend the chocolate pudding skittle with the vanilla skittle or even the s'more skittle. Even better with the brownie skittle. No! All that blends is not Skittle!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Labels: Or Chocolate Skittles = Doomed Economy

So I've come across several labels over the past few days which have made me frustrated. For some reason, frustration is easy to remember. This is probably a good thing. If it weren't we would probably keep stubbing our toes and forgetting our keys in the doorway and feeling like life was heaven at the same time. Anyway, here are the labels I've been thinking about in order of most frustrating to least.

1. Friends bot to get more friends! (from an automatically generated gmail add)
Look at this:
Auto accept pending friend requests
• Auto message, comment, or just aprove!
• Sends real friend requests!
• Import users from comments, friends and more
You know what these features sound like to me? You know what I would use as the tag line?

Dealing with your friends has never been easier--streamline your friends to-do list today!!


Losing the friend count competition? Get more friends faster than ever!

And it only costs $55! Certainly worth every penny when I consider how much time I save managing my friends!

What would be really sad is if it autogenerated comments / messages:
- say happy birthday to all your friends on their birthdays!
- tell them they look good in the pictures they're actually in!
- auto reject invitations to certain friend's events and auto accept to others!!
- auto congratulate them on getting married/ having kids/ fill in the blank!!

There are people out there that likely end up having dozens or even hundreds of meaningful friendships out there. I understand there is a need to keep in touch with people. I think it is a very real and important emotion to be able to feel happy for someone when they (finally) get married or get the job they always wanted. Or to tell them that you were thinking of them. But there is something lost when, just because we can keep in touch with friends that we start feeling like we have to. Of course I don't think anyone wants to feel that way, but when time is short and we are thinking about our friends that are actually around us, we will eventually have to prioritize somehow.

I think most of the meaning of friend comes from the time we actually spent with them. I also think we can only really be there as a friend for so many people at a time. I would consider one of my best friends now my red-headed roommate, even though I have had other friends for longer and have considered them my "best friend." Both friends are equally important to me and I would be equally happy for the good things in their lives and sad for the bad things. But I need to know less about my long time friend than I do my roommate. I'll probably get him a present or something, but I won't ever get my long time best friend a present again. Maybe Christmas present. Maybe. If you're reading this friends, I'm making a point, not promises!

I think the problem with facebook / mySpace is that they force us to be there (have to poke, have to write on walls, have to bite this person's vampire) for people, and we just don't have enough time to be sincere. But the expectation is there. So you either spend a lot of time on facebook or you feel disappointed.

Ok, I never got to chocolate skittles or some other labels, but in short chocolate skittles are gross. I might write more about that later.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Humor Can Wait... It's about time, Family Blog!

I've had the idea of starting to share my feelings about the family on a blog or a website for several times now. But I've always wanted to be clever about it. Because the family isn't just nice, picnics, and Mr. Rogers, it's relevant just like the environment, the economy, college football rankings, and technology! I think it's more relevant. Be informed!

It's not just relevant, it's also an ideal like freedom or responsibility or good humor. They aren't tangible--they are just things in our heads that have enough meaning to change what we behave and what we expect. They are at the same time very important, wonderful, and easy to take for granted, unless you realize why they're so important. They're like national parks. You start out just knowing where one is and what it looks like there. Then you start to realize things you like about it when you've visited there because there are things there that you can't experience elsewhere. Like how quiet it is, the fact that you can escape from civilization and reminders of civilization, and the fact that it's going to stay this way for a while. But then you start to realize that in order for it to stay this way, most everyone that uses the place has to feel about the same way about it. You realize that litter is a reminder of civilization and, in fact, even a reminder of uncivilization and, though a small thing, can take a lot away from what the place is. Carving mathematical expressions of love into living things, though they are trees and don't complain, and are surely always signs of enduring commitment, are not appreciated by others. So you don't do those things and you want to tell other people with enough persuasion why national parks are so great it's so nice to have a place look like no one else has been there so they don't want to either. Let alone do things like start forest fires or poison the water holes or paint the buffalo green. You also get upset if people start saying national parks are actually more like amusement parks and therefore one should expect them to be dirty and noisy and have green buffalo.

So that's actually my attempt at being clever about writing about the family. If it wasn't that clever oh well. It's taking too long. It's like waiting forever for the right words to tell someone that you love them or that they owe you money (or both). You wait too long they don't want to pay the money and they don't want to hear about the love.

I have a great family. They aren't perfect, but they've been good enough to me that I really get upset when people carve initials in the trees of them (metaphorically). I've also known people that I really cared about that had bad things happen to them that wouldn't have if what family was was understood.

So this is what I think needs to be understood about family for it to be treated right.

Families aren't just nice. I don't like the word nice anyway. Nice usually ends up being civility on autopilot. It always takes more than nice for a family to work. It takes love. Maybe the family is sometimes seen as boring because people are thinking of nice. Yes, nice IS boring. Doing what you're supposed to when it's easy and when you don't have to think about it. That is nice. But you need love to take the risk to communicate with who has hurt you and may hurt you again. Or still wanting to be there for someone when they've let you down. That's more than nice. People who learn how to love in families will have the courage to make other hard choices for things they love.

Family values aren't nice. Morality isn't nice or restrictive. I heard in a conference talk today that virtue is strength--not snootiness or naivite but something you can stand for. I always think of this cannon object lesson I saw once. You light some gun powder out in the open and you don't even have to cover your ears. You light the same amount of gun powder inside a cannon and you get a really nice report (sound). AND the cannon ball blows something up. All because the explosion was contained. That's what happens when someone actually has morals. They gain strength and confidence by containing the decisions they make.

It's a lot tougher to have morals or love without the help of Heavenly Father. Both take grace and guidance. I don't think it's a coincidence that enduring values are all found together in the same place. I also think that love is something we learn by being loved. Love just doesn't come from nowhere. I think as times get tougher,
people will want to find other people with values. And people with values will want to find God.

I also think there are more people like that than I realize or anyone who feels that way does. I think that's why it's important to tell other people how you feel.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What's in your... mailbox?

So I get a letter from Richmond Virginia in one of those orange serious looking envelopes. The kind that have classified material in them. Well this one was actually half that size. But still. Could this be a tax refund that I don't know about? Have I been called for jury duty? Is the FBI trying to contact me about that Moroccan who kept calling me over Skype?

No. Indeed not. I open the letter and there are two huge 0%'s staring back at me. Capital One. My old nemesis playing games with my head. Again. Apparently I've been marked as a tough customer who never opens their mail, unless it looks important and I'm tricked into thinking it's not from them. I got mail from capital one at least once a week for an entire year. Addressed to my name spelled correctly. I also used to get enough mail from them to maybe even prove that Aron Reid living at the same exact address at the same time actually exists. Aron Reid is a fictitious entity created by Dell when I ordered and canceled an order for a laptop from them. Over the phone. Dell told Big Brother mine and Aron's addresses and Big Brother told Capital One.

What I'm really wondering is why so sneaky? And why more than once or twice? Will I eventually be subdued into needing another credit card? Will I change my mind in a week? Maybe if I get a credit card from them, they will stop sending me junk mail?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Introducing... the Generic Evil Hacker

I pulled this off of the website about David Kernell's hacking into Sarah Palin's email* (before they updated it with a real picture of him). Of course a hacker would be wearing a hoodie!! Hacker says to self: Perhaps hiding my true identity in the real world will somehow help me mask my identity in cyberspace!!

It's emperor palpatine's fault that when people wear hoodies and you can't see their faces, you think of nefarious deeds. And death's fault as well. Because of them, when we see people masked behind hoodies, we think of PURE EVIL.

*I think this is pure lamo. First of all, I think the scandal they've found on Palin so far is way weak. Go ahead and talk all day about it. And second of all, I think it's very malicious (in addition to the fact that it's hacking into someone's email). A new face on the larger political scene isn't going to be as cautious about securing her communication as others would be. Way to go for picking on the little guy (gal)! Next thing you'll be hacking into Fort Knox!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Not a Big Seller

I still get emails from Out N Back in Provo to see what kind of fun camping stuff there is out there to buy. I was really tempted by this week's offering, but somehow found the wherewithal to resist.

"Hey Joey, you're back on Loo Lugging duty! Make sure the lid's on tight!"