Thursday, October 25, 2007

I Chipped My Tooth

And by 'me' I mean a student in the gym class I was subbing for who was not looking where his arm was going as he wildly threw a frisbee, and by 'chipped' I mean a barely visible crack. And moments after I had doubled over in pain, I felt a little deja vu. I've been here before! Oh wait, it wasn't me, it was Cabeza. And it wasn't an arm, it was a hockey puck. And it wasn't a faint crack, it was a large chunk of tooth.

So while that traumatic experience was not mine, it was still hard for me to witness since I have this thing about teeth. When I was in Argentina, a good 50% of all adults (and many children) had visibly rotting teeth. Some would just be brown, in the early stages of rot, but some would be so visibly rotted that they would look strikingly like exhibit A here over on the left. Some were worse. And the breath- just imagine the breath. So on my mission I started having these nightmares where I'd just be sitting there, and then suddenly all my teeth would crack and fall into my hands. These nightmares have subsided somewhat in the 7 years I've been back, but I still get them occasionally. I think I had several after Cabeza's "incident", and as I was hunched over holding my precious, unstained, beautiful teeth, those dreams and those rotting teeth were all I could think of.

The dentist says it should be fine (though he didn't see the crack, and I didn't discover it until later), but if it starts TURNING BROWN (!!!!!) to come see him again for a root canal. I asked him if, after it turns brown, will it be bleachable or something. Nope. It would need a veneer glued onto it.

So the moral of the story is: Nick is tooth-breaking-or-rotting-o-phobic. And don't stand next to teenagers throwing frisbees, or anything else. And duck when hockey pucks are flying at your head.


Sunday, October 21, 2007

Mormon Eschatology

Or in other words, I like to use big words to pretend I'm smart. But seriously though, I learned the word eschatology back in a New Testament class at BYU and it basically means the study of the last days, the second coming, or the end of the world.
I just finished reading/skimming a book on early Christian history that covered the apostolic period through the papacy of Gregory around 600 (the same Gregory of Gregorian chant fame, but not the Gregorian calender- that was Gregory the 13th). I was struck by how obsessed the early church was about the second coming. There is evidence that even the apostles believed that Christ would come again soon, possibly within their lifetimes. The doctrine of an imminent second coming was ever present on the minds of early Christians, from what we can tell from the writings of the period. This focus on the second coming died down a bit with the realization that maybe He wasn't coming back right away, but tended to flare up again around significant dates like the year 1000 ad (and more recently, the year 2000). Many Christian sects and individual Christians tried to predict the time of the second coming using the Bible and sometimes other extra-biblical sources like astrology or Nostradamus.

It seems to me that the history of the Mormon church's belief in the timing of the second coming has mirrored the beliefs of historical Christianity, only in a much more condensed time frame. When the church was restored, language of building a Zion was common. When the early members spoke of building this Zion, they were not speaking of a nice place where they would all get along and were free to practice their faith, they were thinking of building the city were Christ would reign during the millenium, which would probably happen within their lifetimes (see any good book on early Mormon history- like Richard Bushman's bio of Joseph Smith). This belief in an imminent second coming provided an additional fervor to their belief in the restored church. It was appealing because of all the biblical prophecy in which the Lord promises to gather up his elect before the end times, and lo and behold, here is God restoring His true church, so He must not be that far away from coming! This was reinforced by all the passages in the D&C which say something like "Lo, I come quickly..." or "The time is soon, yea even at the doors, yada yada..." (yada yada not in original but meant for comic effect).

Then came section 130 of the D&C. Joseph inquired about the timing of the second coming- since the church had been expecting it for years and it had not happened yet. God says: "Joseph, my son, if thou livest until thou art eighty-five years old, thou shalt see the face of the Son of Man; therefore let this suffice, and trouble me no more on this matter." After Joseph died, many church leaders and members interpreted this to mean that Christ would return in the year in which Joseph was to turn 85, ie 1890, including, I believe, Brigham Young, John Taylor, and Wilford Woodruff. When it did not happen, no one lost their testimonies because that passage of scripture was sufficiently vague and did not come right out and say "Yea, verily I will return in 1890. Prepare ye a hearty feast for my arrival!". But the habit of trying to predict exact years for the second coming (doable since it only says we can't know the hour or the day, right?) persisted.

My grandpa was apparently one of those who persistently was trying to predict the second coming (at least according to my dad and an uncle). He was always paging through the scriptures, trying to find obscure references, tie them to current events, and from there calculate a date.
His patriarchal blessing, as I've noted before, even led him to believe that it was within his lifetime, to comical effect when he finally died in his mid 90's. And if you've ever been to church, you've probably met people who do the same, saying things like "Hey! Did you see what happened in Israel? Any day now!"

And so I come to the poll question of the week. Most of us seem to think that it will not be in our lifetimes. A few others think that if it does, we will be very old. Only a brave few think that it will happen when we are in our primes (40's or 50's). For those who voted, why do you think it will happen when you voted for?


Saturday, October 20, 2007

A Peck of Pickled Peppers

We're getting our first winter storm tonight, so I picked the rest of the garden except for the few things that can tolerate a frost. I've never tried it before, but I canned some pickled jalapeno peppers. I put in some garden carrots, garlic, onions, and red peppers for some color too. The liquid is mostly white vinegar with olive oil and salt.

We have enough green tomatoes to last us a month or more if they all end up ripening. Some of them have split because of the cold and rainy weather we've had.
I've been trying to think of what else we could do with them. I've never tried fried green tomatoes, and they don't sound very good. I some some recipes for green salsa that I might try, though.

I also tried picking a bunch of parsley for drying. It worked really well by just putting it on the oven rack at 200 for about half an hour, and then crushing it. I got about 2 cups of dried parsley- which saves me about 20 cents than what I would have spent on store parsley. Woo hoo. I justify the time I put into it by saying it tastes a lot better than the store bought.


Friday, October 19, 2007

things about me

I guess it's my turn.

4 random things about me
1. My left pinky finger is crooked from being shut in a car door as a child
2. I have nine rubber duckies on my shelf at work
3. I can say the alphabet backwards (quickly)
4. Our garden grew one 1” tomato and one 1” hot pepper this year

4 favorite jobs that I have had
1. Babysitting
2. Tutoring
3. TA in electrical engineering class
4. Accounting intern at a construction/development company

4 places that I have lived
1. Kirkland, WA
2. Bellevue, WA
3. Provo, UT
4. Heaven (yeah, that means I’ve never lived anywhere on earth but 1, 2, or 3)

4 TV shows that I watch
2. CSI
3. Bionic Woman
4. Tennis (Wimbledon, US Open, Australian Open, French Open)

4 places that I have been on vacation
1. WA coast
2. Oil City, PA
3. London/Paris (in one trip)
4. Yellowstone

4 favorite foods
1. York peppermint patties, especially frozen
2. Oatmeal chocolate chip cookie dough
3. Apples
4. Homemade ice cream

4 websites that I visit


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Someone else is it

I did this awhile ago...for the original you can go to my personal blog:
8 Random Things about Me:
I have never had a cavity or been stung by a bee
I hate cats (no offense)
I still secretly like Ace of Base
I witnessed a wild buffalo birth in 8th grade
My favorite color is purple although I hate that it is
I hate being stereotypical. See No. 5-I still hate the fact that I got sucked into loving Harry Potter, and I refused to have my wedding reception at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building...not to mention my major...
I have an obsession with Sharpie markers but I have no artistic talent
I know one of the basketball players in High School Musical
Favorite four jobs I've held:
Jamba Juice
Day Care Center
CFO...I mean secretary... of Fitzgibbons and Associates
Four movies I can watch over and over again:
Forrest Gump
Life is Beautiful
Little Women
Disney's Robin Hood
Four places I have lived:
Saint Louis, MO
Provo, UT
Las Vegas, NV
Four t.v. shows I watch:
The Office
Gilmore Girls
I'm not going to admit to any more...
Four places I've been on vacation:
Fargo, ND
Four favorite foods:
peanut butter
ice cream
Four websites I visit:


You're It

Muriel over at Her Own Private Idaho Too tagged me (I've never been tagged before--I feel pretty special :)

4 random things about me
1. My left knee has been creaking lately. It's really loud.
2. I think naps are a really good idea for adults but I hardly ever take them. I would like to begin a new napping habit.
3. I have a scar just below my right thumb where I was pricked by a particularly pernicious rose thorn when I was 21 and it's never gone away.
4. I secretly want to take an improv comedy class/workshop. Really, really bad.

4 favorite jobs that I have had
1. teaching literature at BYU
2. editor (among other things) at Scandinavian Studies
3. summer office temp for a company where all I had to do was sit at the front desk of an office no one ever came in. I could read whatever I wanted. I made my way through a book every few days. It was my dream job.
4. musical theater accompanist (BYU)

4 places that I have lived
1. Sandy, Utah
2. Montevideo, Uruguay
3. Provo, Utah
4. Bellevue, Washington

4 TV shows that I watch (on DVD for me ...)
1. Whatever's on at the gym when I'm bored of the cd in my 1996 discman
2. Everbody Loves Raymond
3. Scrubs
4. The Original Star Trek

4 places that I have been on vacation
1. London
2. Paris
3. Vancouver, Canada
4. Disneyland

4 favorite foods
1. Butternut squash soup
2. Chicken masala curry (the thai kind)
3. Rosemary and sea salt crusty rolls
4. Eggs

4 websites that I visit
1. (latest addiction)

People that I want to tag
1. JulieC
2. Amy Jean
3. All
4. y'all (I'm lazy--but if it sounds like fun for you, put up a post)


Nothing substantial

I recently discovered the webcomic "Savage Chickens" and I've been enjoying it thoroughly. Just thought I'd share today's feature, as it pertains to Jenny's recent post. Enjoy!


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A Non-Political Reason Why I am Very Satisfied With the Republican Field

Just the thought of millions of bigoted anti-mormon evangelical Christians being faced with the choice of voting for either a pretty liberal pro-choice Giuliani, or a Mormon "cultist" who basically shares their values makes me laugh with admittedly unchristian glee. This video basically sums up what many of them must be going through:

And as I was searching for "head exploding" videos, I found this one that nearly made me pee my pants:


Sunday, October 14, 2007

I Hate Fast Food! Oh Wait, No I Don't...

So it turns out Lucy loves McDonalds ("Donalds", as she calls it) and as a result I have broken my 10 year boycott of it. Ok, so I wasn't boycotting it- I mean I was perfectly fine with other people eating there (as long as you thoroughly wash before coming around me), I just swore it off for myself. I think the last time I ate there was in Buenos Aires, and then only because of the novelty of it being "American". My true fast food loves have been Burger King (home of the whopper- which must be the only real reason for going there because it sure ain't for the fries), and Wendys (which has better fries, but to get refills you have to go ask for a whole new cup, and the whole point of eating at fast food restaurants is to minimize contact with the hired help).

I banned myself from Mcdonalds mainly because everything they made reminded me of big macs, whose secret sauce started disagreeing violently with my stomach (who is not easy to get along with in the first place). As I knelt at the porcelain Mcgod after my stomach won the argument, I swore never to return. Friends in high school would suggest we go out to eat at McDonalds and I'd always suggest somewhere else.

So Jenny tells me one day that Lucy really likes McDonalds because they have an indoor Mcplayground there, and she'll actually eat a hamburger, fries, and chicken nuggets. Not too sure about the whole idea, I come along for the trip, and find that in my absence they have come up with a new burger- the Big n Tasty. Its actually what you would call a regular burger- buns, meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato... but its new because Mcdonalds finally caught on to the idea of serving regular food. It was good, and I realized that Mcdonalds really has the best fries around. So it turns out that Mcdonalds has become a weekly trip for either me and Lucy, or all three of us. Well, actually it has become a triweekly trip for me, since I usually go once by myself, once with just me and Lucy, and once with me, Jenny and Lucy, sometimes with an extra McSundae trip thrown in too. Hence the poll in the left sidebar- just curious if I was alone in my Mcgluttony.

Final poll results:
never 4
1-2 times 4
3-4 times 2
5-500 times 0


Saturday, October 13, 2007

This is Last Year's Tree

This year's tree will be completed the weekend of Nov. 3-Stay tuned for more pics.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

An Abomination

Deseret Book's Christmas catalog came today, 75 days prior to Christmas. That would be roughly 20% of a year.


Sunday, October 07, 2007

What I've Been Doing

So I have been deliberately avoiding blogging for several months now, due mostly to my dissertation and partly to looking for a job. Whenever I sit down at a computer and feel the urge to blog I tell myself that I can't justify doing any writing that is not for my dissertation. So a few weeks ago I got sick of feeling like my hands were tied and I sat down and wrote 60 pages in a week, and about 10-15 pages since then. The rough draft is finally finished, and I'm just waiting on my professor to finish reading the last chapter so I can make some more changes before I declare it done. And then, after that... its Doctor Nick! Hi Everybody!

But I have been doing other stuff besides the dissertation and job hunting (another thing that has not gone according to plan). The garden was amazing this year. We had nearly as many tomatoes as our first year that we planted a garden in Provo- the garden that gave birth (a pulpy, tomatoey birth) to salsa night. We harvested hundreds of tomatoes, and more sweet and hot peppers than we could use. So after making several batches of the fresh salsa, which seems to disappear within hours of making it, we made some cooked salsa and canned it. Along the way we also canned chopped tomatoes, peaches, peach jam, spaghetti sauce, cilantro lime salsa, super hot salsa (like 100 jalapenos distributes among 7 quarts of salsa), applesauce, and hand picked and pressed grape juice.

We have enough salsa to give us over a quart a month for the next year. The grape juice (5 quarts) will be our celebration beverage for thanksgiving, Easter, and maybe christmas. We're so domesticated it makes me sick.

On the employment front, I thought I'd have a job in Seattle by now, but when you have a PhD its like the company doing the hiring wants you to have specialized in the exact project the company is working on. So I'm looking into some of the national labs that like to hire physicists with broader backgrounds. In the meantime, I'm a substitute teacher for the local high schools in the southern half of the salt lake valley. Last thursday was my first day- I "taught" AP european history, and by teach I mean I showed a movie for all three periods. Substitute teaching has taught me several things in the one time I have done it so far:

1. Movies get boring after watching just 85 minutes of them, then starting over and watching the same 85 minutes, then starting over and watching the same 85 minutes...

2. Especially if the movie is "A man for all Seasons" (which was great the first time, but not after the process described in 1.)

3. I don't like most teenagers.

4. I especially don't like teenage girls. If Lucy turns out like some of these girls that were in my class, she will go to a military school.

5. I'm glad I'm not in high school anymore.

6. High school bathrooms are worse than old, run-down gas station bathrooms. I already knew that, but it was sobering to see it again after 10 years.

7. Teenagers are for the most part evil little plotting liars who despise doing anything that resembles learning or acting like an adult. This might be responsible for numbers 3 and 4 above. 4 is there because for some reason the girls were just really *itchy about it.

8. This experience has only strengthened my resolve to get a job, even if its in Iraq, or Mississippi.

That is all.


My Dirty Little Secret

You know how everyone has something (or many somethings) that makes them, well, just a bit wierd? Here's one of mine.

I love to reorganize my bookshelves. Seriously love it. Approach some kind of zen-like peace love it. There's something about handling books that calms me. I've been encouraged by several "bookish" friends to "keep my books at the library" (aka, sell all but the most precious--no more than one shelf full for the entire house--and then rely on the library/interlibrary loan) and I actually think that's a pretty good idea except for the fact that I can't quite seem to give up the possibility of rearranging my own bookshelves now and then.

Lately, I think I've found my new favorite way to organize books: by color. When I read a book, I tend to become rather intimmately aquainted with its size, shape, and color. I remember those physical details almost instinctively, and often far better than I remember little details like titles and authors. Plus, there's the added bonus of having a sense of visual order imposed upon the normally chaotic bookshelf. So color organization really seems to work for me.

Today, during the morning session of conference, I was watching Lucy and thought "hmm, why not take the plunge?" I'd experimented with sections of shelf in color before, but today I decided to fully commit: three whole shelves. And I love it. Wierd, huh ...


For the Confused and Downtrod

I wish something like this had been around when I was in middle school. It would have seriously upped my popularity quotient.


Friday, October 05, 2007

Hot Salsa

Star in Your Own JibJab! It's Free!

Check out our famous dance moves!