Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Random Thoughts on the English Language #2

Who decided that a good word for the opposite of "constipated" would be "regular"?

Dating Thoughts #1: Blind Dates

A few years ago, for no specific reason, other than that they were rolling around in my head, I wrote down some thoughts I was having on the current state of affairs in the dating world here in Utah. A recent conversation with someone prompted me to go back and find them. I have decided to present them here for your enjoyment (as far as I know there are only 2 people who even know of this blog). Please take them with a grain of salt, and don't hate me for anything I might say that offends you. As I said these were all written down a few years ago, so aren't not related to, inspired by, or in reference to anything recent.

My plan is to post them one a day until they run out (I think there are about 3).

Anyway, here's #1:

Blind Dates: There's a reason its called "getting set up"

If one of your friends that is a girl wants to set you up with someone, its probably going to be one of their friends that doesn’t get asked out. Secondly, if she thinks you are such a great guy, and she is single, why does she want her friend to go with you, instead of asking you out herself?

If one of your guy friends wants to set up you up, it’s probably with someone good, although you ought to think, “Why is my friend not going out with her if she’s so great?”

This leaves married people as the only potentially safe sources of blind dates. However, married people seem to be of the philosophy that marriage is so great that we’re going to jump at the chance to go on a date with anyone they know who doesn’t happen to be seeing anyone currently. Pretty much the only criteria they go by is “they’re single and they’re LDS, it’s a match made in heaven.” Because married people love to play matchmaker. Despite the fact that its highly unlikely that they met each other on a blind date they just assume that their incredible ability to meet each other and fall in love qualifies them to be social coordinators for the rest of us.

A lot is said about how you could get lucky on a blind date and meet someone great. Problem is: you will probably know within a few minutes if you would consider asking this person out again. Unfortunately, you still have to spend a whole night if, and this is the most likely probability, they aren’t someone you are interested in.

So… here is some advice for those who like to set people up. Have the people meet beforehand in a no pressure social setting. In order for it to be no pressure, you need to make sure that neither one of them know that you want to set them up. Let them meet, and get to know each other without the pressure of either of them thinking, “Oh, I need to be not myself so that they will be interested in me” etc., etc.

Then, once they have already met each other in a non-dating situation, ask them if they are interested/would be willing to go out with each other. This way if they go, they already know the person, and what they are getting into. And if not, then you have avoided putting your friend(s) through a torturous night.

Technically speaking

I was just watching the Daily Show and Howard Dean was on as a guest. He was trying to say that Republicans are not really in touch with moral values. He said "I don't think it says anything about gay marriage in the Bible." And got a lot of applause. And technically he might be right. I think that the Bible comes down so strongly against homosexuality that the writers probably didn't think it was necessary to also add, "Oh, and don't marry people of the same sex, either." Thanks for pointing that out Mr. Dean. You are soooooo in touch with America's moral values.

He also added that he was a Christian. I thought that the Republican party was the party of "whites and Christians." I'd like to see both sides of an issue. But the democratic party is making it so hard for me to even consider voting that way. Of all the possible alternatives to the GOP, this is the best competition they can come up with?

Sunday, June 26, 2005

To the alarm clock makers of the world

How long does it take for your alarm clock to wake you up? And I'm not talking about when its set to radio mode and maybe you lie there listening to the music for a while. I'm talking about the jail-break, prisoner-escaping, air-raid siren, screech mode. 1 second? 5 seconds? 10 seconds? Maybe a minute if you are made of stone?

The reason I ask is that I happen to live in an apartment building, and this morning, which happens to be a Sunday morning (one of the days that most people happen to sleep in), I was awakened at 7:30 to the sound of an alarm clock. Obviously it was not mine. I thought, maybe it is my roommate's alarm clock, since he is out of town. I got up to go see. Unfortunately it wasn't his. Slowly I realized that it was the alarm clock of our neighbors through the ceiling.

And how long did it happen to keep ringing? For the next hour! Apparently alarm clock manufacturers have decided that if the alarm doesn't wake them up right away, keep trying for the next 60 minutes. Who needs that in an alarm? If that thing doesn't wake you up in the first 5 minutes, you're not getting up. You are a dead body, a deaf person, or someone confined to their bed who will be deaf soon after an hour of that screech.

So two suggestions:
1) If you live in apartments have a little consideration for those who you don't know, but with whom you share a wall. If I owned a shotgun, I would have considered firing it repeatedly at the ceiling in the hopes of somehow stopping the alarm from going, saving the last shell for myself, to put me out of my misery.

2) If you are someone who has a lot of clout in the alarm clock world, suggest that perhaps 10 minutes of screeching be the maximum amount of time before the auto-shutoff.

Thank you and good night.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Enjoy the Moment

My biggest problem when it comes to girls is that I want to wait for some kind of sign that she's totally into me before I can overcome my shyness to ask them out. In the meantime, while I wait for something that probably won't happen, things tend to happen that discourage me. So before I even give her a chance to know that I'm interested I've decided that she isn't interested.

With that in mind I got a txt tonight that made me feel really good. And I'm not going to try to think ahead to what it might or might not mean, but I'm just going to go to sleep and enjoy the fact that things feel like they're leaning my way if even slightly. And maybe next week I'll have a date. Who knows?

Papa's got a brand new hat (two actually)

I just ordered some new hats the other day, and for some reason I feel really excited about it. I guess thats a good thing. As always with my hats, I tend to choose them based on how they look rather than what they represent. Which isn't to say I would buy a BYU hat. Of course, I probably have some kind of internal bias that makes me not like the way a BYU hat looks. Maybe.

I Love...

What follows was originally an email that I sent to some friends, but I thought it would go great here as well.

In the spirit of a bunch of recent emails that I have received with
the intent of getting to know your friends better, combined with
digging through my mission journal looking for addresses to send a
good friend who is getting married and finding this, I have decided to
share a list of things that I love.

It was inspired by a companion of mine (thanks Jared) who had made his
own, and even though I made it about 6 years ago, while I was a
missionary mind you, it pretty much all still rings true. Which isn't
to say I could probably come up with a few more things to add to it,
but I was impressed upon finding it and seeing how well I did listing
things I really do love.

Feel free to make your own and send it out. It certainly made me
realize how many small things there are that can make me happy.

Without further ado, I give you.....things that Jake loves:

I Love…

Watching the previews before a movie starts, knowing all the lyrics
in a song that's hard to understand, the smell of air-conditioned air,
Sunday afternoon naps on the couch, big libraries, being alone in the
house with a cool new video game, eating breakfast in a restaurant
after midnight, the way your shirt smells after dancing with someone
pretty, organizing things, getting up early and eating my dad's
muffins, Grantsville High football games, reading a stack of
magazines at Barnes & Noble, Media Play, bike stunt
competitions, when your favorite song comes on the radio,
remote controls, the trippy feeling you get when they move
the stars around on the Planetarium ceiling, well-thought,
well-rhymed rap lyrics, when your favorite team plays
amazingly, sleeping in a freshly-made bed, car CD players, cookie
dough shakes, coming out of a test knowing you kicked its butt,
messing around on computers, music videos, getting invited to
birthday parties, shopping at the mall with my brother, holding
hands, lazy Saturday mornings, Bacon Egg & Cheese biscuits,
getting my hair shampooed by the beauty salon girls, the smell
inside a new sneaker, going to sleep Christmas Eve, hooded
sweatshirts, dancing, teaching families, reading the Book of
Mormon, Priesthood session with my dad, when she starts
the conversation, hot tubs, getting hooked on a book,
praying out loud alone, the slam dunk contest, Plays of the Week,
extended family Boggle games, bowling a strike, going to bed
exhausted, good music on a road trip, the temple, playing with dogs,
a clean, neat bedroom, receiving letters, Wendy's Monterrey Ranch
Chicken Sandwich, soccer chicks, ham and cheese empanadas,
listening to a new CD, laughing gas high at the dentist, recliners,
T-shirts with sleeves that come down past my elbows, the
Nickelcade, the "spiritual aftertaste" that you have after
listening to a good talk/conference/fireside/etc, the way your arms
get all big after a good workout, Phil Hartman, playing in the snow
on a sunny winter day, watching my football highlight films, Alma 5,
reading my patriarchal blessing, baggy jeans, new car smell,
Chuck-A-Rama's mashed potatoes and gravy

Monday, June 13, 2005

Blog Namesake

I thought it might be interesting to briefly discuss the name of this blog. I originally started this blog under the title "A Life More Ordinary", but then at lunch the next day, somehow the topic of conversation turned to watches and I commented on how much I liked mine with its big numbers. My roommate Chris suggested that my new nickname should be "The Big Digital". While that may or may not stick, I thought it would make a great name for this blog.

I happen to have purchased this exact model of watch three times now. Obviously it isn't the sturdiest of watch models, or else I wouldn't have purchased three of them over the past 5 years. The plastic face gets big white streaks on it when it gets banged against something (they come off if you just get your finger wet and rub it). But the fact remains that it is quite the watch. I love the big numbers. Easy to read with the green background.

I got the first one just after coming home from the mission. My best friend from the mission, Dan, also had the same watch. It was purchased from Fred Meyer for $15 (Regularly priced at $20).

The first one lasted for quite a long time. Pretty much the whole two and a half years I lived at Foothill Place. Which is not to say that it lasted in great shape. The biggest problem is with the little plastic doo-dad that holds the end of the band in place. It tends to wear out in the first year or so. I first tried to mend it with some black electrical tape that my roommate had. Then I tried just making my own out of tape. Finally I settled on using a rubber band. In the meantime I looked at replacement bands, but none of them really looked like what I wanted.

At some point I started looking for a new watch. Tried to find one I liked, but never could. Was I ever surprised to find out that the same model was still available and being sold at Fred Meyer's.

A year after buying the second one, I was starting to experience the same kind of band degradation that I had experienced before. I returned to the same Fred Meyer's (which had been renamed in the meantime to Smith's Marketplace) and way back in the Armitrons after a ton of searching I was able to find one, and only one, of the model that I have come to love. Who knows what will happen next time I need a new watch?

Its pretty much a part of me now. Can't live w/o the thing. We've been through a lot. I have a nearly complusive need to know what time it is, which tends to get me in trouble when people think that by looking at the time it means I want to leave. My ex could always somehow tell when I was sneaking a peek at the old reloj when we were making out. Maybe thats why things didn't work out between us. Or maybe not.

I know a lot of people who just use their cellphones when they need to know the time, but not me. I'm sticking with The Big Digital.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Random Thoughts on the English Language #1: Department of Redundancy Department

Do you ever get annoyed by people who use acronyms followed by words contained in the acronym itself? I used to, and was talking to someone today who does and it reminded me of some great examples. She brought up GPS System, and then I mentioned HIV Virus and ATM Machine. Other examples include such gems as PIN Number, and probably some that I can't think of right now.

On a semi-related note, one time on vacation in California we stopped by the La Brea Tar Pits (I know, probably not on every family's list of favorite vacations spots, but my dad is a huge natural history buff) which if you translate the Spanish portions ends up being The The Tar Tar Pits.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Family...isn't it about time?

Just got back from Aspen Grove. Spent most of two days with the fam. Enjoyed the scenery, hiked around a bit, got plenty of exercise, at least today once the rain went away. Here's a couple pix that I took that turned out pero espectacular:

Aspen Grove Scenery3

Aspen Grove River

Monday, June 06, 2005

The latest in 'Urban' entertainment

If there's one thing I really can't stand its political correctness. I say if something is true then it should be okay to say it. If my car insurance can charge me more or less based on my grades in school (via "good student discounts") because its been shown that better students have fewer accidents, why can't the same kind of evidence-based discrimation be used even if it is based on race?

I mean I realize that at one time in our country race was used as the sole reason behind enslaving an entire race and treating them like property, which is clearly a bad thing. But at what point do we as a country move beyond that?

So, now, instead of calling things the way we see them we have to call them the way we think no will be offended if we call them. A comedy with black leads in it is an "urban" comedy. Check your local UPN listings for all your favorite "urban" sitcoms. Last time I checked, Friends was in a pretty big city, but no one ever called it an "urban" comedy. Rap music is "urban" music. Do kids in the suburbs not listen to rap music? The fact that rap artists are at the top of the Billboard charts would seem to imply that its appeal is universal and not just "urban". It could be argued that it is called "urban" music because it originates in the city. But I would dare to say that Nashville is a pretty big city, but I haven't heard anyone call the Boot Scoot Boogie a classical "urban" anthem. The Mormon Tabernacle choir practices and performs regularly in downtown Salt Lake City. Why isn't that "urban" music?

Basically, urban = black. And no, I won't say urban = african-american because a) The vast majority of black people are not from Africa, at least not anytime recently; and b) Some African aren't black. I don't insist in being called "Euro-American". Partly because I don't have a lot of great feelings toward Europe in general lately. But primarily because I was born in America. But back to my topic sentence. If we are just replacing one word for another without changing the meaning, then what is the point? Does black have a negative connotation that urban doesn't? If we use 'urban' to mean 'black' then any negative connotation for the one will just be transfered to the other eventually. So maybe we should just start treating people as people.


This is my very first attempt at blogging. Kind of sad considering I've spent large portions of the last (how long has the internet been around?) online. Not to say that I waste my time harranguing teens in chat rooms or creating a shrine to my favorite whatever. No, sadly, I have added very little content to the vast web that connects us all now. But at least it keeps me from watching more TV than I already do.

Anyway, I live in Salt Lake City and participate in the LDS singles scene here. I am a graduate student at the University of Utah (Go Utes!) in the Medical Informatics deptartment. Working on my Ph.D. I don't usually say that since I've always felt kind of stigma attached to being smart (not that getting any kind of graduate degree implies that to me anymore having just completed one of the lowest stress years of my post-HS education). But last night someone told me that it might make me more attractive to the ladies. And anyone who knows me can appreciate why I'd want that. Does a man in the desert turn down water if its not Dasani?

I tend to use (overuse?) parentheses in my writing, but only because information rarely seems to be linear in nature. Somehow through a string of words we tend to convey information, but if there's anything I've learned from the internet its that data tend (note the correct plural use of data, my stats prof. said I'd never publish anything academic if I couldn't learn to do that and I guess I'm kind of okay with that now) to be highly interrelated.

My hunch is that this blog will consist primarily of my random thoughts on random topics as opposed to being a journal of sorts. But I'll guess we'll see.