Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Hi everybody! Hi Dr........Jared?!

As some of you know (and by some of you I mean Warren), I am currently working on an application to attend George Mason University part time. I'll start (hopefully) in January and go to evening classes while I work on a master's degree in history. This will take me about three years (because I'll be part time) and I may decide to continue my education further...

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with my life, still. I know I don't want to stay at BAI (my current job) forever. I think I'll probably stay here just until I finish my master's degree (one of my benefits is tuition reimbursement for advanced degrees; a little over half of the cost of my higher education will be covered by my company). Then what?

Ultimately, when I picture myself in my dream job, I'm teaching. I don't think it would matter what I was teaching; I just want to teach. Junior high, high school, college, whatever. A master's is definitely a step in the right direction, especially with programs such as No Child Left Behind stepping up the standards for new teachers. But do I want to stop at the master's level?

It occurs to me that I would really enjoy teaching at a university. And if I'm going to get a doctorate, I may as well do it sooner than later. I think I could really dig getting a Ph.D in American studies. Between my political science degree, my history master's, and a cap-off in American studies, I could teach a wide range of classes and do a wide range of research. Plus the subject simply appeals to me. Some of you may have figured that.

It's all a matter of being motivated to do it. I think a lot of it will depend on my experience in a master's program. I graduated from BYU with a small bit of a sour taste in my mouth regarding political science, mostly because so many of the professors treated it as, well, a science. It's not. I got fed up with a lot of research because it was so quantitatively driven. I'm hoping that my experience with a master's in history will be different, especially since I'll be taking a cultural approach. It's hard to quantify what people were singing about, you know? I think that if I find that I enjoy the type of research I'll be doing at GMU, then there's a good chance that I'll go on for my doctorate.

So what do you guys think? If you've continued reading this far, you're apparently interested in my life and I would like your vested opinion on this. I trust you guys and value your thoughts. I guess I wouldn't really expect any of you to throw stones at my musings and out-and-out shoot me down, but I'm still interested in what you have to say.

To help you formulate your opinion and provide levity, I've made a visual conceptualization of what to expect as far as differences between Bachelor Jared and Doctor of Philophy Jared:

Current Jared

Professor Jared

I hope that helps.



Friday, July 21, 2006


So I'm already getting excited about International Talk Like a Pirate Day, and it isn't even until September. But I found a link that tells you what your pirate name should be after taking a quiz (Brentar, you don't need to take the quiz):

My pirate name is:

Black James Flint


Like anyone confronted with the harshness of robbery on the high seas, you can be pessimistic at times. Like the rock flint, you're hard and sharp. But, also like flint, you're easily chipped, and sparky. Arr!

Get your own pirate
name from piratequiz.com.

part of the fidius.org network


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

New News

So, I passed my actuarial exam that I took in May.

That is really good news. It's a career education milestone, if one that marks a spot still far from the end. That's 4 down, 5 to go not including the one I'm taking this summer to get out of going back to take another college statistics class.
So my stats are:
Actuarial Exams attempted during spring session: 3
Actuarial Exams passed during spring session: 1
Actuarial Exams attempted during fall session: 3
Actuarial Exams passed during fall session: 3
Total Actuarial Exams attempted: 6
Total Actuarial Exams passed: 4
Total kidney stones passed: 0

Just thought I'd update you all on this.


Sunday, July 16, 2006

Random thoughts/my life

Here are some random thoughts

My dad is in Faizabad or Feyzabad Afghanistan (NE part, click on the enlarge button on the map and you can see it). Here’s a clip from an email he sent me. “The airport in Faizabad was ruined by some (stupid) pilot who landed a plane too big for the facility and tore up the runway, or something like that. Apparently the runway is steel plates on packed dirt. Anyway, we fly to somewhere and then drive. The last 106 kilometers takes over 7 hours. It must be some road.”

At first I thought it was worse for him to be driving in Afghanistan instead of flying, but after reading about the runway I think its better that he’s driving, even if it is less than 10 miles an hour (if my calculations are right).

My mom meanwhile is in Argentina for work. She wrote “No one, and I mean no one knows the meaning of the word schedule. It is unbelievable. Time has no meaning until at least two hours past what is written.” I could have told her that.

While talking to someone in our ward who likes Frisbee, she asked me if I knew what a “The Greatest” is. After debating if you can say “a the,” she explained that it is when the disk is thrown to someone on the sideline, who is just outside in the end zone, who then throws it to the man in the end zone as he/she is falling out of bounds for a score, all in rapid succession. I said I did perform a The Greatest, when Aaron tipped the disk to me when he was out of bounds for a score. But I don’t remember who threw it. Was it Jon, or Nick or someone else?

I’m on a league Frisbee team out here. We run stacks pretty well and occasionally play zone defense. Thanks to Nick and everyone else I felt like I knew what I was doing when they were talking about playing “cup” and “end zone stack” and other such things.

Here’s how you potty train children in Japan.

Nick, after you graduate will you please be like this man.


Friday, July 07, 2006

Summer Reading

I've done it. This year will be the first year (and possibly only year) that I will have read more books than Jenny. And I'm not just talking Harry Potter, Star Wars and Lord of the Rings either, I'm mean real, legitimate, big freakin books.
It all started innocently enough, with Lord of the Rings keeping me company on the train. I quickly finished five of those, and then decided that I wanted to "expand my horizons" a little and read stuff I hadn't read before- heck, even read genres I hadn't read before. So I consulted my live-in librarian who gave me several suggestions. For the most part I've been pleasantly surprised- and its nice to have someone there to explian post-modern literary theory to me when the reading gets a little weird.
Heres what I've finished so far:

Holy the Firm- Annie Dillard
Name of the Rose- Umberto Eco
Baudolino- Umberto Eco
Housekeeping- Marilyn Robinson
Cosmicomics- Italo Calvino
Foucault's Pendulum- Umberto Eco (just started)

You'll notice there are three Umberto Eco books. I've found I really like his writing. Those three are historical fiction/mystery. Foucault's Pendulum has been called "the thinking man's Da Vinci Code", meaning that it is actually historically accurate, with much better writing. In fact, one of the reasons I love reading him is that except for the obviously fiction parts, his books are very historically accurate- he is a professor who dabbles in philosophy, semiotics, and medieval history, and fills his books with little bits of medieval trivia that inspire me afterwards to go to wikipedia and investigate more fully the history he alludes to.

Cosmicomics was a fun book to read. It is a collection of short stories that use various physical phenomena, laws of physics, and creatures as a backdrop for exploring lots of 'what if' questions that simulteneously explore things like human nature, philsophy, etc. It was a fun read- I look forward to reading more of his works.

I know Marilyn Robinson is one of Jenny's favorite authors and while I admit that she writes very beautifully, the book I read of hers just didn't sustain or even catch my interest. It felt like the book was written in beautiful writing, but for its own sake. It just didn't go anywhere. Not that I think all books must have a plot, its just that I thought that while the actual writing was phenomenal, the book itself just fell flat. Its like it had all this potential, but it was all pretty fluff and no substance. I guess I'm more of a plot kind of guy.

Anyway, what is everyone else reading/hoping to read this summer?


please just do it for me

Did everyone have a good 4th of July? I had a lot of fun that day - I went to our traditional ward flag-raising ceremony, sung the Battle Hymn of the Republic with the ward choir (we were enthusiastic, if not exactly good), ate donuts, went on a good walk, saw my family, and went to see the big fireworks show in the downtown park. Yes, I realize this is sounding a lot like a journal up to here, but this is all just background.

What's really on my mind is an incident at the fireworks show. After Dan and I found an open spot of grass, we plopped down our plastic bags (it's Seattle - of course it rained at 7PM on the 4th of July) and blanket, and sat down. A family came a few minutes later and sat right behind us. No problem - everyone wants a good view of the fireworks. In fact, the fireworks were even going to be shown on one of the local news channels.

So at 10 o'clock, two fireworks went up and exploded - that's how they got everyone's attention to count down for the TV news show. As soon as the first, and rather mild, firework went boom, the little boy behind me yelled. And he kept yelling - yelling, crying, screaming, and pleading "I want to go home. I want to go home. I want to go home." Maybe he had seen the Wizard of Oz recently, but in my opinion, the little guy was scared of the big, loud fireworks. His mom comforted him, cuddling him on her lap and burying his head under her coat to muffle the screams.

So far, nothing struck me as really odd - I just felt sorry for the little guy. But as the fireworks continued, so did the screaming. After 5 minutes, he was sounding desparately terrified; after 15 minutes, he was sounding in pain; after 25 minutes, the finale began and drowned him out; and after 30 minutes the show ended and the parents began picking up their things and carried the still loudly weeping child off with them.

I was really annoyed - not with the child, not with the noise, but with the parents. I really wish I had turned around at some point and said to them, "Please take your kid home - if you won't do it because he is terrified and screaming and crying, then please just do it for me."


Sunday, July 02, 2006

Garden Journal, Week 13

The rather large pumpkin vines are finally sending out female flowers. I pollinated this one today, and we'll probably try making a soup or something out of it since it will be ready well before Halloween. I'm letting the vines climb along the fence since there is little room left on the soil.

This zucchini will soon become zucchini bread. You know that joke about the couple who visits their Utah relatives and gets a car load of zucchini while in the church since they didn't lock their car doors? We are considering disposing of some of our zucchini that way. We only have four plants, but they are vigorously obeying God's second commandment. Here are some ways we've used it these two weeks:
Zucchini bread
Roasted vegetables (with steak or chicken)
Zucchini/squash chicken cassarole
On sandwiches (very nice when they're still young)
Spaghetti sauce (whole and pureed)

Anyone else know any good ways to use zucchini? We're running out of ideas.

The watermelon vines are FINALLY starting to take off. They'll probably get their first flowers in a week or two. I can't believe how long they took- they were just dormant for over two months.

The rest of the regular tomatos are taking their merry time ripening. It seems like the first batch of tomatos to ripen always takes a lot longer. I wonder if it really is longer, or if it just seems longer to my excited taste buds. Each plant has over ten tomatos on it, some have twenty. Even the brandywines now have at least one each (which is a miracle in itself as I only got one tomato last year from my four brandywine plants)

The strawberries are sending out their runners. I've loosened up the soil underneath all the new plants so they'll establish a better root structure and hopefully survive the summer this time.

The crookneck squash was good in that cassarole. I'm not the biggest fan, but it sure looks nice in the garden and Jenny seems to like it.

The first cherry tomatos are finally ripening. After the first few ripen this week, we'll be drowning in them next week (who could ask for a better death?)

The tomatillos are benefitting from the bees that have suddenly taken an interest in the garden. They need cross-pollination, and they're finally getting it. They are also getting very tall. One is as tall as the corn, which comes up to my chest.

All the garlic tops died off in the last three weeks so I harvested them. They're supposed to last until August, but mine always wither away in June. This October I'll try planting only large cloves.

The onions are getting big, large enough to start using on stuff like sandwiches.

Same with the green peppers. They look scrumptuous. Each of the six plants has a bunch on them.

We've got a few raspberries this year. Next year will be nice since I'm going to transplant them to a better location.

After I pulled up all the garlic I needed to replace it with something, so I bought a bunch of anaheim and habanero pepper plants at the clearance sale. They won't be ready until August/September, but I think I might try canning them. They'll at least be good in salsa.

This Cherry pepper plant has at least 15 peppers on it, with many more to come soon. They'll be good for sandwiches or stuffed peppers.

Every year I think I plant enough basil, and I always want more. The seeds I planted a few months ago are finally growing into larger plants. The package advertised four-inch leaves, and these are only a little over one inch. But the summer is young. When they get a little bigger we'll be able to use some with our garlic and make some pesto.

We just harvested a banana pepper and put it on sandwiches (at the suggestion of Morgan) along with the zucchini and lettuce (which is all gone now, rest in peace). They were the best sandwiches we've had in awhile.

The little zinnia seeds are grown into large plants about to blossom. This one looks like it will be red.

And I love the blanket flower. It's very hardy, and gives the flower circle a nice fiery center.