Friday, June 29, 2007

Spending some time with Leland

Earlier this week I was able to attend our annual NLM training conference at Leland Stanford Jr. University aka Stanford.

Its not always the easiest conference to pay attention during because the topics presented are so broad and specialized as to sometimes be almost unintelligible unless its something very similar to what you are working on. Thank heavens for the USA Today puzzle page.

I know I haven't been blogging much lately, but I guess I've just had a lot on my mind, but not anything coherent enough to blog about. Anyway, here's some pictures from the trip:

Hoover Tower
The Hoover Tower, named for Hebert Hoover, one of the esteemed alumni of Stanford. Apparently he was a Geology major. I made a crack about him getting elected because he was "so down to earth", and offered to let the tour guide use it, but for some reason she declined.

Memorial Court
Memorial Court, leading to the Main Quad and Memorial Church

Classic university look

The Burghers of Calais
There are a lot of casts of Rodin sculptures at Stanford. These are the Burghers of Calais, but apparently "Burgher" isn't pronounced the same as "Burger".

Memorial Church
Inside the Memorial Church, which was really quite impressive.

From the Hoover Tower
Looking down from Hoover Tower, you can see the Main Quad and the front of the Memorial Church pretty good here.

My poster
I was asked to give a poster presentation. The conference organizers set up tables with display devices on top of them, but there were a lot of problems. First, the boards they had to mount the posters on didn't seem to fit right for the posters, so that some of the posters had to span from one board to another. Then the wind picked up and tipped nearly all of these boards over. I was glad that I hadn't pinned my poster to both boards or it probably would have been torn in half. Instead it just tore free of the pins and blew a few feet away. Anyway, in the end they moved us to a different spot, put the boards on the ground and had us stand by them in the hot sun for an hour. Thank heavens for a nearby tree that provided some shade to lurk in while people looked at my poster.

Monday, June 18, 2007

A Peculiar People

In case you've ever wondered what its like to go to a singles ward:

We just found out at church yesterday that our stake is being split, and that the dividing line will be practically a stone's throw away from my current location, and just by moving 3 blocks in February I've managed to put myself in the south half of the split. We're losing close to half of our ward due to this and a few other boundary changes that are coming along with the split, and then picking up some more people as they expand our boundaries southward (for the 3rd time since I've been in this ward).

Anyway, there'll be a lot of people that I'll miss, and right now it seems pretty hard to fathom what things are going to look like when we finally get back to our ward building in 2 weeks.

And let me just say its been quite the 12 months for the 30th ward. Last July, we moved from the stake center to our current building. Then in August we got a new bishopric, then in September our boundaries were changed. From October to January, we kind of got some time off, if you don't count the nearly 250 individual interviews I had to arrange for tithing settlement. Then in February the Relief Society split. In March we got a new Elders Quorum President, then in April we got a new Stake Presidency, and just two weeks ago our Elders Quorum was split. Now two weeks after that, our ward is getting cut in half, and we're getting a (nother) new stake presidency (because we will be in the brand new stake). To sum up, in the last year, we've had 3 relief society presidencies, 3 elders quorum presidencies, 2 ward boundary changes, 1 stake boundary change, 2 bishoprics, 3 stake presidencies, and will have gone in numbers from 170 to 320 to whatever we end up with after all this, maybe around 220 or so.

Needless to say, its been quite the year. I don't know how much more of this I can take. Some of my friends have been in 3 different wards in the last 10 months without ever moving. Hopefully things can settle down a bit now, once we replace all the leadership positions that have been left empty by this change.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Cable Jacked

Yesterday I feel like I totally earned some serious Man Points. I've been living in my current apartment for almost 4 months now and felt like I'd been there long enough to start rearranging some of the furniture to suit me better. Mainly, I wanted to get our TV into the living room instead of in the kitchen were there was barely enough seating to support the four of us who live here. So I spent an hour or two yesterday morning moving stuff around and finally got everything in place in a way that I thought was pretty decent.

Then I went to hook up the cable, and for some reason it wouldn't work. I had already been down to the basement and made sure that the cable marked "West Living Rm." was connected to the splitter that the "Cable" cable came into, but for some reason all I was getting was static. My roommate had said that he'd had some troubles getting the cable hooked up in his bedroom and that he thought some of the cables might be mislabeled, so I tried pretty much every other cable all with no results. Finally, and here's where I really felt manly, I decided it was going to take the cable jack off the wall in the living room and see if there was something wrong in there. And, in fact, there was. Turned out the cable jack wasn't actually connected to the cable inside the wall. A quick couple turns later and I was in business. To quote one of my favorite lines from Seinfeld, "I'm a man!"

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Random Thoughts about Planning

Its been said that, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." Strangely though, if you plan to fail, you clearly have not failed to plan.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Weekend Update

I know its been a while since I posted, but since I did take my camera out with me to the baseball game this week, I thought I'd share some photos from that. (For those of you who keep up with my Flickr account, this is all probably old news, so to you I apologize.)

We sat on the grass and had to try to see the game while looking at the sun for the first while, but in the end it was nice and there was a great turnout, including more friends up in the stands, and at the end, I got to try out the "Fireworks" auto-setting on my camera. The makes for cool shots, although perhaps not what I think of as traditional fireworks photos.

Anywhere, here's some pics:

The first few innings were kind of hard to see:
The Ladies

More Ladies


Which led to my "slipping" down the hill into some people seated below us:
Steamroller - A mosaic

There was some actual baseball played, with the Bees pulling out an exciting 10th inning comeback after giving up a solo HR in the top of the 10th.
Swing batta batta swing

No batta no batta no batta

Good cut

And in the end there were some fireworks. I keep wondering how much it costs them to do fireworks at the game, because they have them almost every weekend they are at home it seems.






Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Threat Level...Blue

Those of you who read this blog out of the desire to glean some small bit of what's going on in my life (as opposed to those of you who enjoy sifting through the randomness that seeps out of my brain to stain the Internet) probably are wanting to know whats the deal with the yellow threat level alert issued recently.

Well if you've been waiting to know whats going on, there's really nothing to say, other than to say that sometimes things just don't work out. Sometimes they don't work out on my end and sometimes its on the other person's end. Suffice it to say that this time it was on my end. I thought there was a chance for this to work out, but for some reason I just couldn't get over the hump from Yellow to Orange, if that makes any sense. It never feels good to have to tell someone that, especially when they seem to think that I'm worth their time and emotional investment, but I guess its just one of the many risks you take when you take a chance on love.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Mom always said I was special

Today I was reading Ken Jennings' blog and there was a brief mention at the beginning about a condition known as synesthesia, which I was unfamiliar with, so I clicked through the link he posted to the Wikipedia article.


Can I just say, by the way, how much I love wikipedia. I realize that its not foolproof, but where else could you learn about synethesia and also find out which tracks have been announced for Guitar Hero 3?)


Anyway, so I'm reading about synethesia which apparently is "a neurological condition in which two or more bodily senses are coupled." Not really making sense of that, I scrolled down to find examples. Among the most common is one in which people see letters and numbers with color. This is known as grapheme -> color synethesia. Also there's a similar one where people experience colors in connection with musical tones. (music -> color synethesia).

Anyway, I thought all this was interesting and wondered what that would be like, and kept on reading, when suddenly I came across this chart:


Apparently one form of synethesia, number form synethesia, is having a mental map of numbers. Until this moment, I never knew that there was anything abnormal about having a mental map of numbers. Or of the alphabet. Or of the annual calendar. I just assumed that everyone has one of those. Because I do. How else would people remember where things lie in relation to each other?

Mine isn't exactly like the one in this image, but I totally have a mental map of numbers. I've even thought about posting them on the blog, but wasn't quite sure how to draw them up, because while they are a map, they twist and turn through 3 dimensions in a way that would make drawing them all together quite difficult.

Even after reading about this, I'm still not sure that this concept isn't something that everyone else experiences. A second Wikipedia article refers to the fact that everyone has an unconscious number line, but mine are very much not unconscious. Anyone out there have some of these mental maps? I'll try to find a way to draw up mine, at least the alphabet and calendar ones, as their finite nature lends itself to a simpler map.