Friday, January 30, 2009

Just FYI...

I just wanted to briefly mention my other two blogs, just in case anyone is interested in them. I used to have a blog called "Progressive Entertainment", but I felt that it didn't work well because I was trying to cover all my interests in one blog and it got confusing. So, I've decided to seperate my two main interests into two blogs.

The first is what used to be "Progressive Entertainment", but is now called "So Many Shows". As the title suggests, this is a blog all about my favorite TV shows from American Idol to Lost. I will try to update it regularly and have something on there on almost a daily basis (when there was a show I liked on the night before).

The other blog is brand new and is called "The Leviathan". This is my music blog where I will write reviews of the newest progressive rock albums that I am able to listen to, and will spotlight older Prog albums that I consider to be classics. I will try to update this blog at least once a week, if not more often.

Links to these blogs can be found to the right of this page. Because of this new music blog, I think I'll refrain from writing music recommendations on this blog and will just refer you to 'The Leviathan' if you are interested. I hope this all makes sense, and I'll have a new post for this week up soon!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I Have a Dream...

The most significant event this week for me was Martin Luther King Day this past Monday. Usually I don't really think to much about it and I'm just glad to have the day off school. But, this year, the significance of the day really hit me. This is mainly because of what I did for my FHE activity. My FHE group went to a special candle lighting ceremony and walk through BYU Campus. Only three people, including me, showed up for FHE. So, we went to the bell tower at BYU and picked up a candle and then everybody helped each other in lighting the candles. Then, we walked with our freshly lit candles through BYU campus to the Wilkinson Center. It was very cold, but along the way people were holding up banners that had quotes from Martin Luther King. It was very cool.

At the end of this walk, we got rid of the candles and attended a ceremony celebrating Martin Luther King. It was very special and helped me to realize how significant Martin Luther was to our country. He helped get rid of the gross prejudices that had plagued this country for so long and made it possible for people of ALL races to share in the same opportunities. The speaker at the this ceremony made the point that there is still a ways to go to achieve perfect harmony between races, but Martin Luther King helped take us a step in the right direction. We need to not judge people by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. We are all God's children and should all treat each other as brothers and sisters because thats what we are.

I think a great manifestation of Martin Luther King's dream is our new president, Barack Obama. I'm optimistic about potential of what President Obama can achieve for our nation. Though I may not agree with all of his policies, I like how he is uniting people together in optimism and hope for our great nation. Here is a great quote by Neal Morse (my favorite musician) that really reflects how I feel about our new President. "I am praying for him and our country that we’ll operate with wisdom and caring and love. I hope everybody’s praying for that. We hope that things go well with his administration and for the country and for the world." I hope this as well.

I really don't have much else to talk about this week, but just know that I'm happy and hopeful about my future.

Music Recommendation:
? by Neal Morse

? is one of my favorite albums of all time and I was reminded of that fact this week. I recieved the latest Inner Circle CD from Neal Morse (his fan club) and it was a different mix of this album. It was really fun to listen to the small differences between the two versions and made me realize all over again what a brilliant masterpiece it is. I love every minute of it and urge you all to listen to it as well!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Remember Lot's Wife

What stands out to me this week was the BYU devotional I attended on Tuesday. I think Elder Jeffrey R. Holland is one of the greatest LDS speakers of all time and he proved it at the Devotional. Basically the message of the devotional was to not look back into the past longingly, but instead look forward with confidence and hope in the future. He used the example of Lot's wife who looked back at Sodom and Gomorrah and was turned into a pillar of salt.

Elder Holland told a touching story of when he and his wife were young students at BYU and reached a point where they felt like going back, much like Lot's Wife. They didn't see much hope in the future because of all the tough times they were going through. Elder Holland was admonished by his wife that they don't go back, and that the future holds everything for them. I was struck by this point: "God doesn't care nearly as much about where you have been as He does about where you are and, with His help, where you are willing to go."

It is important for me to forget about the past and my mistakes I've made. I need to remember only enough to not repeat those same mistakes, and then go forward with a bright hope and confidence for the future. There is a way for me to succeed, and I need to press forward faithfully and forget about my tendency to put myself down by looking at my past mistakes.

Besides that, this week has been pretty average. I felt a little discouraged yesterday because I got some pretty harsh comments on my story I wrote for creative writing. But, I know that I have to look at these comments constructively and see what I can learn from them. I do want to be a writer, so I need to learn that it is going to take a lot of practice and improvement to reach my writing goals. So, I am stronger now in my resolve to pursue writing no matter how many negative comments I receive.

I promised to have some humorous quotes from my Church History teacher, Brother Fluhman, so here they are! Yes, many of these seem random and perhaps a few won't be funny to you since they are taken out of context, but I think they'll give some kind of sense of what his personality is like.

"Update on me first off: I had lunch and got a salad."
"I don't count soup as a meal. If it's in a bowl and runny it's not a meal. Even if the bowl is edible- not a meal!"
"She knows he is delicious." (talking about his daughter's thoughts on Zac Effron)
"If you're in your 20's and a guy, don't sing along to High School Musical."
"Tell us what it's like to have a talent."
"Sunday I made the most delicious cake ever, it was off the hizook!"
"These are the not stupidest people ever."
"Please let me have force powers!" (talking about wanting to be Luke Skywalker as a child)
"I dare you, read Deuteronomy, It'll blow your mind!"
"Get up there and start spreading the word, y'all!"

So, that is my week for you. I wish you all a happy week!

Music Recommendation:

"So Many Roads"
Neal Morse
from Lifeline

I think Neal Morse is the most brilliant songwriter alive today. It is a crime that most people don't know about him. I heard this song this week when it randomly came on my ipod. This song is meaningful to me because it talks about the many choices we have in life. We can go down so many different roads, most of which lead us nowhere. Neal Morse begins the song by talking about the desire we have to know which road we should take. This is when we first hear what I consider the "God's Theme" of this song. This theme shows that our desire to go down the right road does come from God. When the song goes into the second part, "Star For A Day", this same theme is played, but it is distorted, showing that Satan is trying to distort our righteous desires to lead us down the wrong path. But, in the end, behind door number 2, there is another way. We must look in the Eyes of the Savior and go down the road that keeps us on our way to Him. It is a profound song and the ending where God's Theme comes again in all its glory gets to me everytime. Everyone should listen to this song!

Monday, January 12, 2009

My Plug for "Progressive Entertainment"

Hey everybody!

A long time ago I created another blog called "Progressive Entertainment". I am going to start updating it again, so I encourage you all to go visit. The link for it is on the right side of the page. Basically that blog contains information about all my favorite music, movies, and tv shows. You will commonly see posts about my favorite albums, album reviews, and synopses of my favorite shows such as American Idol and Survivor. So, if you have any sort of interest in any of these things, I would urge you to check it out!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Snow! Snow. I Don't Even Like the Sound of It!

What an interesting week it has been! I just finished my first week of winter semester 2009 and it seems like it is going to be a busy one. I actually enjoy each of my classes, but there are a lot of writing assignments required in each of my classes. By far the most interesting class I'm taking is English 318R which is basically an advanced creative writing course. What is interesting about it is that the teacher is a fairly famous fantasy writer named Brandon Sanderson. I went to the classroom for the first day of class about 10 minutes early and the class was completely full! There was absolutely nowhere to sit. Apparently Brandon Sanderson's class is very popular and most of these people were hoping to add the class. I was actually one of the lucky few that actually had signed up for the course. We ended up moving into a bigger room (without knowing if another class would come in). Brandon put everybody's add card in the trash can and drew out five lucky winners who would be able to become part of the class.

The class will involve me writing 2,000 words a week and to read that much from 4 other students in my writing group. I am really excited about this class because it will help me know if I want to pursue professional writing. The class will force me to work on my writing, which has been something I've been wanting to do for a long time now. I am really looking forward to doing this. Besides that, I have an advanced writing class in Psychology that seems like it is going to be a lot of work and a lot more writing. Then I have the ever hilarious Brother Fluhman for Church History, which I'm really excited about. I may put some humorous quotes of his on this blog from time to time just to lighten up the mood. So, all in all, it seems as if this is going to be a great semester.

Besides that, it has been a crazy week because of one thing: weather, particularly snow. I don't believe I've ever experienced such large amounts of snow in my life. It has been very scary to drive and walk this week. I have a funny story to accompany each of these forms of travel. In regards to walking, me and my best friend Kevin were walking out of the Devotional (which featured President and Sister Samuelson). We were talking and all of a sudden I slipped and fell hard! Not only did I fall, but I couldn't get back up because the ground was so slippery. I exclaimed in desperation, "I can't get up!" After much struggling and some concern from others around, I finally got up and we went on our way. As we were walking I heard a lot of people talking about their experiences falling down that day, so I guess I'm not alone.

In regards to my car, that same day I walked ridiculously slow to my car (afraid of slipping again) and got in and put the car in reverse. I pressed on the gas and my car was not going anywhere! I went around my car to inspect what was causing the car to not be able to move. I kicked some snow away from the car and got in and tried going in reverse again. I was unsuccessful, but got a little farther back this time. So, I repeated the process and kept kicking snow out of my way. I was finally able to get pretty much out of my parking space and just needed to go back a little further, but a car was coming and I didn't want to keep them, so I pulled back into the space and the car went ahead. This was a mistake, because now my car was stuck in the space and no matter how much snow I kicked around, it would not move. So, I decided to just leave the car there and walk home (once again ridiculously slow).

Well, that night when Kevin got home from work, he drove me out to my car with determination that we were getting that car out of the space and back to my apartment parking lot. So, I got in the drivers seat and he proceeded to get snow out of the way so that I could move back. What he discovered was that it was the front tires that were stuck and that they were on a patch of ice causing them to spin purposelessly. So, Kevin would scrape the ice behind my tires and then I would go in reverse a couple of inches. So, we repeated this process which was clearly causing exhaustion to set in on Kevin from continually scraping at the ice and pushing my car as I went in reverse. He even fell a few times on the ice trying to push the car back. After making considerable progress, we saw a guy in a truck waiting for us so he could get out of the parking lot. Well, this guy ended up being the hero of the night as he got out of the truck and helped us get my car unstuck. His brilliant idea was for me to go a little bit forward and then start going in reverse as they pushed me back. After doing this only two times, I was unstuck and able to drive out! It was quite a victory and I was careful to not park in that parking lot and instead park farther away from my work and walk (yes, you guessed it, ridiculously slow!)

So that was my excitement for the week. I can't think of anything else that can top the story of getting my car unstuck. I am going to start a tradition right now that I give a small music recommendation at the bottom of each of my posts. This could be an album or a song or even just a particular artist. Since music is something I am extremely passionate about, I figure I'd dedicate a measly paragraph of each post to what music is exciting me lately. So here you go!

Music Recommendation: The Garden by Unitopia

This is a brand new album I purchased on Itunes with gift cards I recieved for Christmas. It is a progressive rock masterpiece, two discs worth of Australian Prog. I specifically love the 20 minute title track and the song that starts the second disc, Journey's Friend. They manage to showcase their influence of classic Prog bands (Yes, Genesis, Pink Floyd) whil sounding new and fresh. I urge you to check them out!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Reflection and Resolution

The new year is always good for two things: Reflection and Resolution. Reflection over what has been done over the past year and Resolution for what to improve on for the current year. So, first I will reflect on my 2008.

In 2008, I continued in pretty much the same routine I had always been in. I guess the biggest change was my major in college. Previously my major was Statistics, but after some difficult stats classes, I knew this wasn't the correct career path for me. So, in the fall of 2007 I took a few different classes that interested me to see what new direction would be good for me. This resulted in me dramatically changing my major to Psychology at the beginning of 2008. I have done really well in school this year with my new major and have actually gotten the best grades I've ever gotten in my college experience thus far.

I have managed to keep my job that I have had for a couple of years at BYU Independent Study and I feel I've done a good job there. There was some question as to whether I would be able to return to work there after taking the summer off to spend time with my family. But, my boss was happy to have me back for the fall semester, so that made me feel like I was doing good work there. I also have been able to be roommates with my best friend, Kevin, during the fall semester and that has been great. Even though he is busy a lot of the time, we have still found time to have fun and enjoy the college experience.

As for negative aspects of this past year, I have had a difficult roommate this past semester and I feel like I haven't handled the situation very well. I have let my anger take hold and have really had negative feelings towards him that are sometimes not fair. I also had a big problem occur with my car over Thanksgiving break. I didn't know about car maintenance and about how often to put oil in the car and this resulted in me breaking down and burning up my whole engine on the way home for Thanksgiving. Thankfully my parents and my best friend were very helpful during the situation, but it ended up costing my dad a lot of money, and I still feel bad about it.

So, that is a quick summary of 2008. Now I am going to take this experiences, learn from them, and set some resolutions for 2009. I feel one of my biggest downfalls in 2008 is simply complacency. I didn't allow myself to grow because I knew it would be too difficult or too uncomfortable to change. So, I don't think I changed much over the past year like I should have. So, I feel I must resolve to change so that I can grow this next year. So, the following are things I want to work on:

1. Health

I am very unhealthy right now. I am overweight and this is due to lack of exercise and bad eating habits. So, I am making a goal right now to lose weight and get more healthy by eating better and exercising more. I will cut out the fast food, desserts and soda, and cut down my portions. I will also try walking more to and from school and explore other exercise options.

2. Career

I am very concerned about my future, and I think the main reason is because I'm still not clear on my exact career goal. I am now solid in my Psychology major, but I need to know what I want to do with that so I know if I need to go to graduate school or get some kind of job experience. So, for the first part of the year, I will explore the options in Psychology and decide concretely what I want to do. Then I will figure out what needs to be done to reach that career goal, and then do it.

3. Confidence

I need more confidence in myself. I often put myself down and this causes me to be shy because I see myself as lower than everybody else. I am in constant fear of embarrassing myself. If I simply had more confidence, I could lose this fear and live a more full life. This will also allow me to be better at asking girls out on dates, which is something I need to learn how to do since marriage is another definite goal of mine.

These are the big three main goals that I plan to work on this year. I know that with a good amount of effort and determination I can and will make these goals a reality. I will end 2009 a healthier, more confident man with a clear career path.

This blog will be a way for me to document my progress this year. I'm sorry if this entry is long and boring- I plan on making future entries a lot more entertaining. I will talk about significant events that occur to me this year and how they affect (or don't affect) my life. Thanks for reading and I plan to share a lot more in the coming year!