Tuesday, January 29, 2008

President Hinckley's Last Words

I'm not sure what the prophet's last words were. As tired and worn as he was, he still spoke during the Christmas broadcast, and his words there could be regarded by some as his last words, at least to the church in general.
Less than two weeks ago, however, church leaders met with Utah lawmakers to discuss the church's concerns. I'm not sure who these leaders were or how many of the concerns came directly from the prophet, but they're certainly interesting.
Health care, drugs (meth), and alcohol were some of the concerns.
Another was illegal immigration.
I have been unable to find direct quotes from the church or church leaders, except the official word from a church spokesman: "We communicated our policy ... The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has taken no position regarding currently proposed immigration legislation." So they didn't address any specific current legislation.
Here is what church leaders did say, according to lawmakers.
LDS Church officials "used the word 'call,' they made a call for humanity in immigration" debates and legislation, Litvack (the House Minority Whip) said. "We should not demonize" illegal immigrants. "In some cases, the debate has become so ugly, I heard, so hateful and dehumanizing. Let's bring back the element of humanity."
"I interpreted what was said as this: 'Take a step back, be calm, and above all remember that we are dealing with human beings here,"' said Litvack.
Dave Clark, the House Majority Leader, reported that church leaders said that "we all need to approach this subject with compassion."
If this was said according to President Hinckley's instructions, it's a fitting last message from the prophet.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Wedding pictures

For those of you who missed seeing us all dressed up for our wedding (umm...that would be just about everybody except for the Barbarian and Caron), I've finally gotten around to posting pictures at the blogspot of April and Tim (AprilandTim).
I don't want to post the URL here, but I'm sure you can find it :)
Oh, and no hard feelings. I do realize that a couple of you were in India, another in Asia, another couple on the east coast, etc. etc. So you're excused.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Right out of the Twilight Zone

I awoke this morning, read the news online, and got ready for work.
I snuck a peek outside (like I usually do), hoping that it had snowed a foot or so during the night, and my long weekend could be extended to four days instead of three. No such luck. I kissed April goodbye and stepped out into the frigid Idaho Falls air.
My wet hair froze almost instantaneously, and my usually cooperative car was a bit sluggish. I drove to work (about a 12-minute drive), and pulled into the teacher's parking lot. Only one other car in the lot, which is odd...normally, this close to 8:00, there are more. I dig around for the watch I keep in my car, hoping to confirm the time, only to find that the battery's dead.
I walk quickly to my back-door entrance that leads straight to my classroom. The clock on the wall reads 7:49, which means all teachers should be in the building within the next 11 minutes.
Something's definitely wrong. Daylight-savings time change? No...
While my computer boots up, I go look around. No one is around. No one. A bit freaky, to say the least.
Confused, I wander back to my computer and look up Idaho Falls news.
Yep. Every school in the area is shut down.
Apparently they cancel school when the school buses can't start because it's -18 F.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

BYU Bookstore is in denial

I cut and pasted this paragraph from the BYU Bookstore website this morning:

Sticker shock
Textbooks are free for most students until they reach college. If their book buying experience is limited to paying $9.95 for a paperback, having to buy three or four $40 or $50 texts is a shock. After paying a substantial tuition bill, families are often unprepared for an additional $200 to $400 textbook expense each term.

$40 or $50 a book? Maybe if you're an English major (but then you're probably buying dozens of books, not just three or four). I seem to recall that most of my books were at least $80 a piece (often considerably more), and that I bought them used!
The $200 to $400 is also a joke (try $400 to $600), as is the "families are often unprepared" bit (my family certainly didn't pay for my books--I did).

Just thought that those of us who are thinking we miss BYU would be grateful that we no longer have to deal with some of their logic. Fond memories are grand, but the good old days aren't always as good as we remember them.

By the way, I don't think BYU's buying the following items back, but if any of you know anyone taking basic chemistry at BYU, we have some CDs they might appreciate (chem tutor, chem tutor II, and virtual chem lab).

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Life as an outsider in Idaho Falls

One of the first things I noticed here in Idaho Falls is that they don't believe in right turn lanes. Well--unless you're turning into Walmart or the technical college (both nearby...and both places I avoid). I mean, you have two lanes going each way, you intersect with another two lanes going each way, and there is no right turn lane. If you haven't experienced such madness, it's really a pain. Over one half of the cars in the right lane want to turn. But one car that wants to go straight holds everyone else up on a red light. And when traffic's flowing, most of the people in the right lane are slowing down to take the turn. Traffic in many places is actually quite busy, and right turn lanes would alleviate much of the problem.
Four-way stop signs is another issue. When cars are backed up twenty or more at a four-way stop, you know it's time to get a better intersection. Fortunately, that's only a problem when we're heading out towards the in-laws during rush hour. Elsewhere, they've recognized the intelligence of traffic lights.
And then there's the half-mile stretch where two lanes turn into one. After a half-mile they turn back into two. It's called bottle-necking, and it's just plain stupid.
K-Dog, when he came and visited, mentioned the right turn lane thing (which is by far the worst road problem). Sweet validation. As I was giving him directions (while he was driving) he told me, "We just passed a high school". It was actually the technical college.
Oh, and next to right turn lanes, my biggest pet peeve has been the fact that you can't buy cheese fondue. We've looked all over for it. It just doesn't exist. Until yesterday.
Smith's had some. And even though we had one in the fridge from Pirate O's (in Draper), I bought another one. I'm all for financially supporting good taste, especially when it's been lacking in the past.

Friday, January 11, 2008

2007 movies

Looking back at last year, I'm a bit surprised by how many movies I watched.
Here's a list of ones I saw that came out last year.
Dan in Real Life--a good movie. A bit of a chick flick though (April liked it a lot more than I did).
The Bourne Ultimatum--great movie. I also saw the second movie in the trilogy this year (for the first time). Jason Bourne is very real...and the action's great too.
Bridge To Terabithia--this one is very underrated. A great movie with lousy advertisements and poor box office showing. If you haven't seen it, now's the time. It's a great children's story, with lots of depth. April really liked it too.
Pirates of the Caribbean 3--fun, but overrated.
Spiderman 3--not as good as the first two, but still a good movie.
Ratatouille--I was excited about this movie when I first saw the previews, months before it came out. Besides being one of the best cartoons ever, the scenes of Paris were fantastic. It's the real Paris. Trust me. I've been there. It may seem like a small detail, since most people have never been to Paris, and most who have just saw the Eiffel Tower and stopped by the Louvre for a quick visit, but the shots of the river and the river bank were so real that they actually brought back memories. Fantastic movie.
Harry Potter--good. I like the movies, but I don't get as excited about them as a lot of other people.
I am Legend--I was really excited about seeing this. Will Smith's a good actor, and he usually stars in good films. The movie was different than I expected--darker, more intense, and definitely not a standard action flick. Good, and I'll recommend it to the guys. The girls probably won't be interested.
Live Free or Die Hard--I like Bruce Willis, and have always wondered about the Die Hard movies. This one's the first PG-13 one. Fun, yes. Am I going to recommend it? No. I understand now the "Die Hard" part--Bruce Willis can't die. Lots of unrealistic action and a plot with lots of problems.
Stardust--The best movie of the year. A bit of British humor in a fantastic fantasy. If you haven't seen this, you need to. It's got action, romance, comedy...and it does it all well.
Enchanted--April and I saw this last night. It's fun. More of a chick flick (April enjoyed it quite a bit more than I did).

The following is a list of movies that came out that I still need to see:
Golden Compass--ya, I know it got horrible reviews. But it has some good actors, it's fantasy, and religious right hates it almost as much as they hate Harry Potter. So I definitely need to go see it.
Hairspray--I'm not sure about this one. Everyone says it's good, and April really wants to see it. Even Eric Snider gave it a good review. We'll see.
Lars and the Real Girl--it's supposed to be very good (and, somehow, clean).
An edited version of No Country for Old Men--This one has gotten fantastic reviews from the critics. It's done by the Cohen brothers (think O Brother Where Art Thou?, Raising Arizona, and, of course, Hudsucker Proxy) and it's supposedly their best work. Unfortunately, it's rated R.

My overall top picks (in order):
Bridge to Teribithia
The Bourne Ultimatum

Any recommendations? Comments?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Law School

Lately I've been doing a lot of thinking about what I want to do with my life.
I'm married to a beautiful woman. So that decision is finally made, and I'm definitely happy with it.
But as far as a career goes...
For some reason, the idea of going to law school has recently snuck into my head. So I've been looking into it, reading several books about it, applied to half a dozen law schools (or, am in the process of applying), and I'm studying for the LSAT.
Turns out that BYU is ranked the most competitive law school. That's right...it's more competitive than Yale or Harvard. And turns out that there are two other schools that are ranked more conservative (see Princeton Review for the rankings).
All the schools I'm applying to are first tier (U of U and BYU both easily fit into that category, but University of Idaho doesn't).
Anyway, I'm hoping something happens here. Teaching's fine, but the money's crappy (and I'd like April to have the option of not working, which right now is not an option) and I'd rather work with people one-on-one. And I really want to do something that requires more thinking.
And with BYU's ranking for competitiveness and conservativeness, I'm not sure I'd attend even if they accepted me...
But a few other schools, including the (gasp) U of U, are looking real nice.