Girl: Hi. Well, it was nice talking to you. See you later.
Walking home from the rec center without putting my pants or jacket or coat back on was a mistake. I had just run the equivalent of five miles on the treadmill, speeding up quite a bit near the end so that I could finish just as the place closed, so I felt no need to put them back on because I felt as warm as anyone could ask for. But later that night and over the next week my throat felt like crud so I couldn't go to the rec center. Lesson learned.
I won't give a summary of President Russell M. Nelson's CES devotional because if you didn't see it you should just go see it instead of reading a summary. I'll just mention a few things that popped out to me even though they weren't the main focus. The only part that the secular news cared about, of course was his description of how the controversial policy changes of late last year was decided after much intense deliberation followed by revelation to the prophet. I had already assumed that much. Why would any policy change be made without examining the potential repercussions and seeking the Lord's guidance? I'm pretty sure this is standard procedure. But many people seemed to think it was done on a whim, and this explanation has predictably done little to change their minds because their minds are determined not to be changed. But that's none of my business.
One of his points was "accomplishing the impossible", and he missed the opportunity to put in a plug for his book of the same title, which I got for Christmas and read through in an hour and a half. It's full of footnotes, but a couple times he plagiarized his own General Conference talks and apparently thought no one would notice. Anyway, in the introduction he went into a little more detail about his assignment to open Eastern Europe to the preaching of the gospel. My favorite bit – and I'm paraphrasing without even looking at it so as not to violate the copyright – was when he and Elder Hans B. Ringger went to meet with one official in one country who scowled at them and said, "Nelson? Ringger? Mormons? I've never heard of you." President Nelson responded something to the effect of, "Well, then that places us on equal footing. We have never heard of you either. It's time we all got acquainted.” And then everyone laughed and became as good friends as Mormons and Communists could ever hope to be.
In both the book and the talk, he said something to the effect of "It will become less and less popular to be a Latter-day Saint." I don't think it takes a prophet to figure that out, but I hate hearing it. I hate it because I feel that I've had quite enough of not fitting in for most of my life and given the choice would like to minimize that sort of thing from here on out, not invite it. Oh well. To be realistic though, Latter-day Saint or not, I would never really fit in unless I played along with society's asinine script, and that wouldn't be worth it, so I may as well have a cause at the same time. My main concern is just that people won't buy my books.
From BYU's Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship:
Check out this nice little graphic from the forthcoming February issue of the New Era! It reminded us of a something LDS biologist Steven Peck once wrote:
"I felt this [anti-scientific pressure] directly in growing up in Moab. I remember my seminary teacher expressing his belief that there were no such things as dinosaurs. On my mission I actively taught that evolution was wrong, and I remember my surprise when I arrived at BYU and found that the book used in the zoology evolution class actually seemed to favor the idea. I also remember, after being 'converted' to evolution while studying biology at BYU, being told by a religion teacher, 'You will go to hell if you believe in this damnable doctrine.'”
You can read more about Peck's story (and a lot more about science and Mormonism) in "Evolving Faith," available now at bit.ly/evolvingfaith.
Though brief, I think this worthy of commentary for two reasons. First, I'm highly impressed that they thought to put feathers on the dinosaurs. Most people still don't know that dinosaurs had feathers, and don't want to know because they don't want to imagine T. rex looking like a giant turkey. The dinosaurs in "Jurassic Park" probably would have had feathers if people had known better at the time, given that actual research and paleontological consultancy went into the film, but they didn't and it didn't and that's where the popular perception of dinosaurs still largely comes from. After that it would have been kind of weird to just suddenly add feathers in the sequels. I think Henry Wu's remark in "Jurassic World" to the effect that the dinosaurs were engineered to be crowd-pleasing, and that if they went for accuracy they would look much different, was intended to address this discrepancy.
Classes look as though they'll be decent this semester, with the exception of Latin, which I'll probably fail now that my ex-crush is no longer here for me to study with. But Statistics, which I was worried about because I detest math, has been pleasantly surprising. It started off with the professor saying in her mixed British/New Zealand accent, “How many people in here love math? Get out right now.” And so far it's been mostly about controlled randomized double blind studies and stuff, and I can dig that. It's enough science for me to be interested but not so much that I lose interest. And on top of that her accent really helps me pay attention. The last time I took a math class, the professor, bless his heart, had one of the most boring voices I have ever heard from a human being. It was the aural equivalent of paint drying. Between that and the actual subject matter, the clock and my eyes became opposite-poled magnets.
Today in Literary Analysis, this girl touched my wrist. The context was that I said the Langston Hughes poem we were analyzing had an abcdcefeghh rhyme scheme, while she thought it was abcbdedfgg, and I pointed out that she had skipped the first line, and she thought that was amusing. It was such a light and brief touch that I didn't realize until like twenty seconds later, when I was like "Wait - what?"
Maybe she was flirting with you.
Hahahahahahahahaha. Seriously though.
I don't know. I am, after all, not really a sentient entity in and of myself, but merely a projection of your own mental processes, and so it is highly unlikely that I can figure out anything you can't.
I have this friend who used to be a mellowing influence on me, but now I'm afraid I seem to have been an exacerbating influence on her instead, as she is now also letting trolls goad her into arguments. At least she picked a more worthy cause than I did last time.
On that note, I got into a (much milder) argument about whether one should respect everyone. I say no, that while we should love everyone, respect must be earned. I don't think Jesus respected the Pharisees and I don't think He respects everyone today either. But some people said that everyone is entitled to respect just because they exist. I asked if they respect Hitler. One of them said "I respect him but not what he did." I was speechless. Another chimed in "Besides, Hitler thought he was doing the right thing." What does one say to that? Well, I find that hard to believe, but even if he did, guess what, I still don't respect him. Also, I myself don't even want everyone's respect. If I was respected by the people that I don't respect, I would feel the need to seriously reevaluate my life choices.
In the unlikely event that I ever have to buy an engagement ring, I know where I'm not going, aka to either of the local establishments that pollute the airwaves with their nauseatingly shallow commercials. There are few tactics lower than attempting to convince people that love = buying your overpriced and functionally useless product. Granted, at least the ones here aren't nearly as bad as the Belden Jewelers commercials I remember from New York that literally started with a guy saying in a soft, low voice, "What would you do for love?" I don't know, but I would kill him for a Klondike bar. And then they ended with singing, "Straight to the heart, Belden Jewelers..." I actually just Googled them to see if I was spelling their name right and the third result was a list of complaints from "pissedconsumer.com", so there's that too. If there's a jewelry store somewhere that doesn't do commercials like that, I might be so overjoyed at their integrity that I can more easily overlook how very stupid the tradition of engagement rings is in the first place. Not going to lie, though, I might never have noticed if not for Bloom County.
Or, you know, just tell him you'll be happy with whatever you get because you aren't an entitled brat.
Mike Oldfield's debut on my blog is delayed once again, this time by the passing of David Bowie. (Interesting how sixty-nine doesn't even seem quite old enough to die in this day and age. Alan Rickman was also sixty-nine. Donald Trump is also sixty-nine. No comment.) So, of course I could just choose a David Bowie song, but that would hardly be original, and besides I try to go for somewhat more obscure things that people are less likely to be familiar with, so that I can expand their horizons. Thus I instead chose a song that's a tribute to a David Bowie song, and admittedly this one is kind of famous too but not nearly so much so it counts. I first heard it on the radio last semester while I was up past midnight working on a cut and paste poetry assignment, and I wondered why they waited until after midnight to play the stuff that I hadn't heard 237,648 times already before.