Thursday, May 31, 2007

Some more anecdotes

Kathy accidentally spilled flour all over herself and on the floor today by the pantry. I heard this little thud, then Kathy saying "Zut!" It was pretty funny. Flour's terrible to try and clean up. It takes like 7 vacuumings and 10 sweepings. Then you find some more.

I really like washing clothes by hand. I squirted cherry juice on myself today and had to wash a shirt by hand in the sink. My how I enjoyed myself. If I ever build my own house, I want to install something like this, or like this.

I babysit the cutest girl ever. Her name--well what I call her--is Norinha (Noriña).
I have altogether too much fun while I babysit her. So much so that I get nothing else done for those three hours. She makes me laugh out loud. She's really friendly, rarely cries and not for very long when she does. She's extremely amiable.
One of her favorite things are spools of thread, as you can see in her left hand of this picture:

Her mom's my friend from the master's program. Today her parents took me out to lunch at Tucano's as a thank you for babysitting her. It was pretty tasty. Norinha's old enough to eat big people food, and she sure had tons of it. It was really funny. She liked the shrimp. She also enjoys sucking on limes and lemons a whole lot. Doesn't even make a sour face. Pretty impressive if you ask me.
Have you had a Brazilian BBQ (churrasco [shoe-HAS-coo])? It's really, really, really tasty.
And their pineapple is to die for! Here's the trick: a light glaze of honey and brown sugar. Try it.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A couple of questions

How does one quantify the quality of a good lesson at church?
I mean this from the view of the teacher as well as the ward member listening?

How about how much milk is too much to drink in 6 days? Is two gallons okay? Because I certainly enjoyed them. Got one late Wednesday night, another on Saturday after going 8 hours sans milk, then just bought another one tonight.

Kathy's most ubiquitous nickname is Stick (she used to be stick thin). Gretchen's most common nickname in her family and around here is Newt (long story). Sometimes when they think they're being so funny, Gretchen calls Kathy "Stick-er." Kathy responds in kind by calling Gretchen "Newt-er." Say both of those out loud. Yeah, they think they're so funny.

Oh, the garden's growing. Here are some pictures here, here and here.
I'll get some more garden updates soon with more pictures.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

For an hour

That is how long I spent laughing while reading this. The entry is funny enough, but the comments. WOW.
I was in my front room at the computer and Gretchen could hear me out back, down three floors and across the parking lot.

Friday, May 25, 2007

From the Latin for 'dashed together, violently shaken'

I love softball. It is a beautiful thing. I especially love 3rd base, called the "hot corner" because it gets so much action and it keeps you on your toes. BYU softball intramural play has an out-of-bounds line about 10 feet away from the 1st and 3rd base foul lines. If the ball goes over the 2nd line, the runners advance a base. Well a girl from the other team was barreling into 3rd and the ball got thrown into pitch from the outfield. I could tell that the ball was going to sail over Larissa's head so I went sprinting (not the Swenson slows defect) for the ball, so that it would go over the line and the girl on 3rd would have to stay put right where she was, no run scored. Well, I ended up diving after it, stopping it one foot from the out of bounds line. I wheeled around on my back and tossed the ball to Larissa to make sure that the girl stayed at 3 bag. Then I realized how hard I had impaled by bun into the back of my head when it had slammed against the ground. I went to get off my knees, and uh, sorta fell over. I then tried to get up again and realized that it was a no-go. The ump came over and I realized that if I didn't get up, they'd begin to suspect something. So I popped up and said that I was fine. I actually got one of those courtesy clap/cheer thingies that you see in college and pro games. I've lived a full life now.
So I played the rest of the game, because it was an AMAZINGLY FUN game. Laws almighty, it was fun.
After the game I talked with Riss for an hour+ by my car. By the end I realized that I wasn't exactly standing up anymore, but leaning. Not the While You Were Sleeping type of leaning, as there was no hugging involved, nor a goofy guy named Joe Jr. So Larissa followed me home to make sure that I'd get there.
I made it upstairs and then promptly was flat on the floor. After Gretchen going thru a long list of symptoms on WebMD, we determined that I probably had a nifty little concussion of the occipital lobe. It was also at this time when Gretchen read, "However, don’t ever get back in the game until your doctor says it’s OK" and then glared at me for playing the inning and a half left in the game. It was a fun game! G and K kept me up, checking my eyeballs for random dilation problems while we watched Batman Begins.
I finally was able to go to bed at 3:00am. Gretch came into my room at 6:35 to check on me, again. "OK, Venom, open your eyes, let me see the dilation." I guess I passed the test.
Right now I'm in my pyjamas, still, at 2:11pm in the middle of Fellowship of the Ring, the extended version. I'm thinking about texting Gretch something about passing into the Shadow World.

Also on a totally unrelated note, I'm craving Chinese food. Before anybody passes this off as unimportant, remember that I've had 5 feet of roast beef, provolone, cucumber, lettuce, tomato, pickle, mustard, oil & vinegar, salt & pepper on wheat sandwiches in the recent days.
Wait, maybe this is related. It could be due to a bump on the head and a switch in craving. Hmmmmmm.

Lucy: [to Jack] Okay, um. What do you mean by the leaning thing? You mean because he gave me flowers?
Jack: And then you *leaned*
Lucy: And then I leaned.
Jack: Yeah.
Lucy: Okay, how did I lean when I leaned?
Jack: It was a lot different from hugging. Hugging's very different. Hugging that involves arms and hands; and leaning is whole bodies moving in like this
[leans toward her suggestively]
Jack: . Leaning involves *wanting*... and *accepting*. *Leaning*...
Joe Jr.: Hey Luce! Is this guy bothering you?
Lucy: [Laughs] No, no.
Joe Jr.: Are you sure? Because it looks like he's *leaning.*

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A few anecdotes

On Friday night we were writing out runner's bibs. I had a couple of bags of Jelly Bellies in my cargo pants pocket. I wanted a juicy bear Jelly Belly, but accidentally grabbed an advil liqui-gel and popped that instead. I crunched it and the gel exploded into my mouth. Oh my laws, it tasted uber nasty. Then my mouth went numb and I had a hard time controlling my lips for a few minutes. It was dang funny.
At church on Sunday I tried to convince Gretchen and Kathy to intro me as their *non-member* roommate. Gretchen refused. But then she proceeded to share her scriptures with me, holding them for me and pointing to where we were on the page. She did the same for the Spencer W Kimball manual. She thinks she's so funny.
Tonight we had a softball game. There was one inning where I couldn't field the ball to save my life. Anyway, one of the outfielders threw me the ball and I tried to get it on the hop. It took a mad leap and went right off of my mitt and hit me on the crown of my nose. It was great. I wandered around the field for a bit after I tossed the ball into the infield. Good thing I don't get nosebleeds. Or bruises. The nice thing is that after I get hurt or dinged I usually play a little bit better. I smacked a nice hit the next inning right into the center fielder's mitt. It was a pretty hit. The center fielder barely had to move.
I had another sandwich.
I can't stop eating LifeSavers Fruit Tarts.
The garden's looking pretty. It's got some sprouts. I'll post a picture.
Those are today's anecdotes.
How many of you think that Portuguese is a weird language? I'm taking a poll.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

P4 (as I wipe away a tear)

Ahh, P4 how dear you were to our hearts.

A nice weekend in Laramie

Some of you know my two roommates, Kathy and Gretchen. They are excellent people. I went to their family's house this weekend in Laramie to help out with the 5K that their dad runs, as I mentioned last week.
Anyway, when I go up they always put me in their older brother Karl's old room. In that room there's this cute picture of their family. I put Gretchen at about 3 or 4 and Kathy at about 6 or so.

Isn't it a cute picture? The funny thing is that they both still make these faces. I think that's why the picture's so funny to me. Anyway, I posted that up for those of you that know K & G.
Kathy runs the 5K every year that she's actually in the U.S. She improved her time this year over the last couple of years. But she was still beat out by a 77-year-old named Dorothy who has had 2 reconstructive knee surgeries. We can't hold this against K too much because the Dorothy tends to be in the top 25% of the racers. She beats out 25-year-old men.
They did spoil me with some good German food: Schnitzel for lunch and Rouladen for dinner. Rouladen was my request. You should all try it. Or you could try it with some mustard. It's really good stuff.
So we're back in Provo and that's frustrating to me. We were this close to staying for an extra day. But then we were responsible and came home. Oh well.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

With my eyes closed

I realized something about myself a while back that I think is sorta goofy. As many people know, I don't go to bed until it's really, really late. So late in fact that there are times that I'm going to bed and my mom is just waking up. I've told her she should give me a call so that we can chat. But I digress. Since I'm the last one to bed every night in my apartment, I'm the one who turns off any of the lights that are still on. We have a hall light whose switch is just to the right of Kathy's room and my room is just to its left. Often this is the last light that I turn off before heading to my room to go to bed. When I turn this light off I also shut my eyes once the light is off and walk to my bedroom with my eyes closed and don't open them until I've turned on another light. I've realized that I almost always do this at my apartment. When I turn off the last light, I close my eyes until I arrive at my desired destination, choosing to be totally blind. It's the weirdest thing. I'm pretty sure that I've done this for a long time.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Off to Laramie

G, K and I are off to their hometown of Laramie, Wyoming. The Hapi-Ness 5K is this weekend and G & K's dad's in charge of it. The Rimmasches are fun people, but they have this rabbit. I tell you, she's a hater. She seems all nice and what not, but really all she does is hide from you unless you're a Rimmasch. Her name's Ruthy, and until she hated on me last year, that's what I called her. But after the hating and hiding, I now pronounce her name in Portuguese, which sound a whole lot like "hoochie." I garner the ire of G & K every time. She's a real hater. But "she's so pretty," as Gretchen likes to remind me.
Have a fun weekend. Maybe I'll get a chance blog. I'll let you know how the race went.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Action, moving, doing something and being okay

A couple of days ago FoxyJ wrote an excellent post about the "The Celestial Perpetual Motion Machine." It struck me as very fascinating. She always would say fascinating things as we would gather at the computers in the office. The biggest reason why it hit me was because I'd been thinking about the same things as of late. Honestly, though, I've been thinking about this since October or so of 2000 when I was a greenie in the mission field.
A while back I was talking with a friend of mine about his fear of not moving forward and acting because he was so afraid of making a wrong decision that he was tied down by catatonic, "I-might-make-a-wrong-choice" fear. While none of us want to make wrong decisions, inaction is just as damning. Why? Damnation means a stop in progression. When we're not moving forward, we're at least stopped, even if we're not taking steps backward.
Thinking back to my parents and the way that they raised me has taught me how the Lord helps us. My parents were really good at teaching me to make my own decisions and then at letting me make them. They were also very good at holding back for a little while to see if I'd correct myself and come back to a good path in life. (I mean this spiritually and well as everything else.) If I weren't coming back to where I should be, my parents would bring me back.
Have you ever felt this with our Father in Heaven? We're all given the Light of Christ to help us make decisions that will bring us happiness. In my mind this also teaches us that when we stray a little bit, we know. And when we've wandered off a short distance or a long way away, God will try to bring us back.
So what does this have to do with inaction and moving? Well, if we're not moving, we're not going forward on the path to happiness, we're not making decisions that will help us draw closer to our Father in Heaven. We're not even making the wrong choices so that we can recognize them, come back/be brought back and then learn from them. Now don't go off saying that Vanessa said that it's okay to sin a little and we'll get our stripes and then we're hunky-dory. What I'm saying is that we're human and we're going to make mistakes. Why not be moving forward when we make these mistakes? Then when we're brought back we'll have some good, forward-moving inertia.
The crux of my run-on blog is that we should have the courage to move forward. I really feel that our Father in Heaven trusts is to make right decisions, otherwise why would He have sent us here? I also believe that He knew that we'd make mistakes, so we have a Savior. But have you ever noticed that the more that you move forward, the more you make use of the Atonement of the Savior? I think it's just that we're becoming more sensitive to better choices and recognize more often how to correct our behavior.

And honestly, this belief that I need to keep moving forward--if for nothing else to someday have things be alright--this belief that acting and doing something has been what's kept me going over these last few, somewhat turbulent weeks. Even though I really enjoy my thesis (see here), it's not easy. It can be really hard. But I'm forcing myself forward because I refuse to stop anymore. I want to be happy. One of my favorite scriptures is 2 Nephi 5:27 And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness. I think that scripture encapsulates everything. Maybe I should've just posted that. Remember that 2 Nephi 5 comes right after Nephi's psalm and "O wretched man that I am!" in chapter 4. Nephi's bemoaning his mistakes. And they're fleeing from the Lamanites. And their family's been torn in two. Yet, they're happy. I think this is a very telling part of the Book of Mormon.
We can be happy too, even in all of our struggles. I think that a lot of this is simply desire to be good, looking to God and then having the courage to go forward.

There. I'm done. Sorry about the hugely long blog entry. If you're reading this sentence right now, I'm really impressed that you made it this far.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Monday, May 14, 2007

Life Goals and sandwiches

Over the weekend I had two more of those yummy sandwiches, btw. But I think I'm going to try to be a little bit more moderate. (wink wink)

My sister Laurel shared us the list of her life's goals. Some were serious like, get married in the temple, graduate BYU w/ a certain GPA, etc. But she also had some funny ones like own a Kate Spade purse and a Kate Spade diaper bag. She's a funny kid.

So I've started thinking about some of my life's goals. I've decided to periodically blog about them as I figure out (or remember) what they are. I'm not a big goal setter, so this might not be that big of a deal. Oh, and these aren't going to be in any particular order. (like #11 being #11, and #12 being #12)

1-Go to Portugal
2-Go to Spain **The link is to Madrid's POST OFFICE!!
3-Go to France
(I put those there so I can cross them off)
4-Finish my thesis
5-Defend my thesis
6-Do a good job defending my thesis.
7-Be sufficiently organized
8-Own a 6-speed manual transmission
9-Own a more responsible car, like a hybrid or something
10-Learn more languages
(I think I'll make a separate blog for language wishes)
11-Get married in the temple
12-Have a family
13-Play baseball with this family
14-Go to a lot of baseball stadiums like Camden Yards, Fenway, Arlington, Shea, SBC Park, Wrigley Field, Dodger Stadium, Minute Maid Park (even though it has the stupid center field hill), and, if all were right in the world, Ebbets Field, and the Polo Grounds. But alas, all is not right in the world.
--Now before anybody freaks out, I've been to The Coliseum, Yankee Stadium, The Metrodome, and the old Tigers Stadium already.
15-I'd have my very own field in my backyard to have family games and invite the neighbors over.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Nerdiness and Blog Changes

I have a tendency to fidget around with colors and set-ups on things like blogs. Well, pretty much with anything techie. Let me know if my color scheme, picture, writing or anything is thoroughly annoying. Oh, I don't like the color of the "venom is blogging" header, so if anyone has a suggestion, let me know. Should it stay blue, and change to a different shade? Or should I change the color. Keep in mind the trickiness of the green and grey background.
Also, I am a nerd. I've been working tons on my thesis as of late. I realized today as I was reading another thesis while sitting out on my porch with my legs resting on my hammock, that I was grinning happily. I wasn't grinning happily because I was on my porch with my Brazilian hammock, no. I was grinning because I was enjoying the work that I was doing on my thesis. Sometimes I get so excited while I'm working on it that I lean forward toward my computer all excited-like. I am a bona fide nerd.

Friday, May 11, 2007

My Springer-Verlag Graduate Mathematics Text

If I were a Springer-Verlag Graduate Text in Mathematics, I would be Kenneth Ireland and Michael Rosen's A Classical Introduction to Modern Number Theory.
Bridging the gap between elementary number theory and the systematic study of advanced topics, I am a well-developed and accessible text that requires only a familiarity with basic abstract algebra. Historical developement is stressed throughout, along with wide-ranging coverage of significant results with comparitively elementary proofs, some of them new. An extensive bibliography and many challenging exercises are also included. I have been corrected and contain two new chapters which provide a complete proof of the Mordel-Weil theorem for elliptic curves over the rational numbers, and an overview of recent progress on the arithmetic of elliptic curves.
Which Springer GTM would you be? The Springer GTM Test

Found by Gretchen

roast beef, provolone, mustard, cucumbers, pickles, tomatoes, lettuce, oil and vinegar on wheat

i have had four, yes FOUR, 6-inch subs in the last two days with exactly what the subject of this post says. one yesterday at 5pm, another one that was left over this morning at 11:30, another this afternoon at 4:30, and finally one after i got home from softball at 7:40. and do you know what i'm craving RIGHT NOW at 12:30am? yes, another one.
does anyone know where i can get such a sandwich at all times of the day? this is becoming dire.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

travelling softballer

Larissa called sent me various emails this morning and had her friend call me a few times this morning while a was dead-to-the-world asleep, all to be able to play softball. So tonight I played hot corner. Do you know how happy this makes me? Last summer when I was contemplating going on the study abroad to Brazil, I was all stoked for the trip, and then I realized that I'd be missing Co-Ed Softball. It made me stop and contemplate what I really wanted to do. I obviously went to Brazil, but that's how much I love softball. Oh, and I got to play hot corner and be the 3rd base coach and I batted clean-up (which is actually sorta funny because I've never been a power hitter). Effulgent joy...
I also spent a good chunk of my afternoon with the nice travel ladies. They're so helpful. After spending who knows how long trying to fumble our way thru the Eurorail junk, Eva had the great idea for a rental car. I love driving, so I'm happy about this. We now get to control our own schedule instead of living and dying by the trains. I mean seriously, 12 hours from Santiago de Compostela to Bilbao??? It's because of the crazy train routes. We'd have to go from the extreme northwest of Spain to central Spain, only to have to hop up to Bilbao. Blech and double blech.
Now my goal is to convince Clark that we could go from Bilbao to Barça via southern France. It'd add only a couple of hours (if that) onto the trip and then I would have made it to southern France.

Random concoction

I really like to paint--not the artsy stuff, but the house painting stuff. Julie Rae and Brian have bought a condo in WJordan and Scottie and I went up to help them paint. I also really, really like applying the blue tape. I find it extremely satisfying.
Tomorrow I'm going to get two tickets to Lisbon. Clark and I are going on a whirlwind of Iberia. My excuse is the conference in Braga. Oh, Clark is my dad. I'll do my best at keeping you all updating, and perhaps slightly jealous, about my Iberian trip.
The weird music at the end of the FHE video posted a few days ago is by this quirky music group from Utah called SHAKE YOUR PEACE!. My friend MO gave me the crazy song Juss a Little Bit Mo.

The garden's going strong, I'm sure. But it hasn't done anything yet. Gardens teach patience.

Also, since posting 8:47 I have not woken up at 8:47.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Lunch at

Working on the thesis today for hours and hours, without moving that much meant that I had no desire to eat. Clearly instead of eating dinner tonight it was MUCH more important to watch the great Jazz game. By the time it was 12:30 in the morning I realized that I should probably go get something to eat.
Wendy's has this really funny guy who works nights at the drive-up window. I know this because I went thru a Frostie phase a couple of weeks ago. Anyway, he's great. He's always got a green bandanna under his Wendy's cap. He's a lot of fun. Kathy and I have enjoyed going to Wendy's and having him help us. Those of you that live around here (being Provo) should go to the Wendy's down the hill from the Y late one night. He really is funny.
And I don't think I'd dare wink at royalty--unless of course this is the princess in question.
And one last thing. Have you heard Mason Jennings? Dan introed me to him while we were in Brazil. I'm up to 10 hours of his music now. But the best news ever is his tour. Guess who will be here on the 2nd of June??!!!
Oh, I lied, there's one more thing. We planted a garden out back tonight under the tree at the corner of the parking lot. I'm really happy. G&K said that we could plant one if I behaved and went to a ward activity last week. I'll keep you all updated on the garden.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Good Night

I hate saying goodnight--in English--when talking to people. I don't know why. I actually recognized this aversion while on my mission in Brazil. I wouldn't saying "boa noite" to my companions before they'd drop off to sleep. I'd usually just say "tchau." I accept that this is weird. But I still don't say "good night" to my roommates now, or at least rarely, even if they're wishing me sweet dreams. And when I do say "good night" before they're off to bed, I feel all queasy inside. Now if people are leaving my apartment and I say a full sentence like, "Have a good night," this is okay, because it's buffered by other words. I think it might also have something to do with the lack of immediacy of sleep.
Go ahead. Psychoanalyze that.