Sunday, December 28, 2008
To know the future, some people get visited by the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, others use time machines. I personally, like to rely on good old fashion future seeing websites.
The first thing I learned was that I will be successful. I visited sites that promised me they could predict my future, and each one told me that. Some said I would be rich and famous, and generously help build houses for the poor in exotic places. Others told me I would be rich and famous, running a fortune 500 company. In fact, one went as far as to say I would invent glow in the dark office supplies right before a huge black out, which would make sales go through the roof. The point is, all websites agree, I will be rich and famous.
Let's see...in your future I see success...riches...and is that a glow in the dark stapler?
I learned something else from these future predicting websites. While they are obviously pretty accurate with the longer term, they appear not to give many short term warnings. For example, it would have been wonderful if one of the websites had told me: "You will be rich and successful. Also, be warned, the next website you try and open is going to cause your computer to crash and all of the websites you have open are going to be lost." Sadly, no such warning. So I guess I've learned my end destination in the future, but I don't know all the twists and turns, bumps and potholes that the road leading there will have. If there are many more serious trials like computer programs locking up, I may just call it quits and just live at home eating junk food. I've been trying it out this last week, and it seems about as good as being rich and famous.
Where were you on this one, future predicting websites?
Sunday, December 21, 2008
So, Tuesday started the same as any other Tuesday, except that I had a final (this changed the day quite a bit, so essentially it started different from all other Tuesdays). I got up, studied, and went and took the test. It was painful, but pain is my middle name. Not a day in my life passes that I don't regret that my parents named me Michael Pain McMurtrey. Afterwards, did some adventerous stuff for a while, and left to wait for the bus around 8:40. I take the city bus to school, so as to save the environment. Not because I am too lazy to go and buy a parking pass.This is Captain Planet. We have a lot in common. He's saves the world by fighting polluting super villains. I save the world by taking public transportation.
While waiting for the bus, two classmates drove up and offered me a ride home. I accepted. Carpooling is also on the list of ways I save the environment. If not for me, this world probably would have been destroyed years ago. I was being dropped off second. After we got to the first guy's apartment, I moved to the front, rather than continue awkwardly sitting in the back. We continued on. We got to my place, and I went to my apartment. Chalk me up for another success at finding my way home at the end of the day. Then it happened. I felt lighter than usual. I did a quick check. I hadn't lost weight due to some sort of miracle diet. I emptied my pockets. Sure enough, I lost my cell phone. I checked the apartment. No luck. I checked my friend's car. Failure and frustration resulted. Did I leave it at my desk on campus? I thought not. But thinking isn't always my strong point, so I decided to ignore what I thought, and go check.
I decided it must have fallen out of my pocket. Either when I was getting in the car, or when I moved to the front of the car. I searched through the feet (feet should be read as inches here) of snow where I had gotten in my friend's car. No luck. My coworker who had let me into the building saw me and offered to call my phone for me. We went to the parking lot where I had switched places in my friend's car. It took about 3 wrong turns, and 4 checked parking lots before we found the right one. I looked in the snow and saw it. My poor frozen phone, covered in ice and snow, yet still alive, if just barely. I quickly cleaned him off, warmed him by the fire, and got him a steaming cup of hot chocolate. All's well that ends well...except the hours of frustration, cold and humiliation...
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Yup. This is me. And someday I might be a nuclear engineer. Speaks wonders for the profession, doesn't it?
Sunday, December 7, 2008
"So I've got this great idea, what do you guys think?" (By the way, if you're worried someone will think you're crazy if they catch you talking to yourself...that's nothing like the fear that a roommate will think you're crazy if he sees you taking multiple pictures of yourself on the couch...)
"So, I've got to maneuver between the cars, hope no more cars come, dodge the parked cars on the other side, and watch out for the guy shoveling the walk. This may not be a good idea..."
Then you would run around yelling hey, this guy/girl is crazy, watch out. He/She thinks he/she is me. People would look at you, and probably think you were crazy. At least that's my theory of why people think you're crazy if you talk to yourself. A few crazy people ruin it for the rest of us.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Everything's clearer with a graphic.
So, I've gone a while in my life without any real goals. I have vague long term plans that could possibly be called goals, but if so, they're wishy-washy-prone-to-change goals. I recently realized I needed to set goals, so I set my mind to it. To start off, I set a serious goal for Thanksgiving break. I spent Thanksgiving in New Mexico where my brothers both live, and I set the goal to stop my three year old niece from calling me a little girl whenever I talked to her...especially on the phone (my brother taught her to call me that, he gets a kick out of it, and she's come to love it. She gets so excited to talk to me and call me a little girl that I almost felt bad trying to break her of it).
I once thought I would never learn to ski...especially after my one and only attempt at it. And I can't ski and never will be able to because I didn't set the goal to learn. Some day, when my kids want me to teach them how to ski, I won't be able to. They will cry and be disappointed in me for years after that. Their strongest childhood memory will be that I couldn't teach them how to ski. And why? Because I didn't set the goal to learn. So set goals.
So, time to be motivational. Setting goals can be discouraging. You can feel your time running out. You will most likely run into setbacks. For example, when you try to change one niece, you may suddenly find that another niece and nephew catch on that it's fun to call Uncle Mike a little girl, even though it's obviously not true. Some setbacks can be painful, such as small children jumping on you and kneeing you in the stomach/legs/face/neck while happily calling you a little girl. At times it can seem like there is no way to accomplish your goal. You don't know what to do, you have no idea how you teach a three year old, and when you were three you were always polite and kind to everyone so you don't relate to name calling at all.Goals should be measured. If you don't put people after the ramp, how will you ever know how many you could have jumped over?
But persevere! Somehow, things will work out if you persevere. I can't pinpoint exactly what it was that did it, but eventually I got through to my niece. By the time I left New Mexico, she was calling me a big tough man, which is obviously more accurate than a little girl. And as an added bonus she started calling my brother a little girl. Accomplishing goals can be so sweet. So go set some goals and accomplish them!
To sum things up, sometimes goals can be like getting a drink from a drinking fountain when you're two feet tall. Even doing all you can do (climbing stools, pushing buttons, the works) your goal will still be out of reach. But if you just start crying, other people will come and lift you up so that suddenly your goal is easy and takes no work on your part. At least I think that was the moral of the story.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
1) Birds, namely ducks and geese, migrate south for the winter. False. They do not. This was a recent realization for me, but I noted at BYU there was a pond that had ducks in it year round. I've been paying attention to the flying V's that I see in the skies this winter. I have noticed geese flying north, and geese flying east, but I have not seen any flying south. People just see geese and ducks flying in V's and they say, oh they're flying south for the winter. Check next time someone tells you that. They are probably not flying south.
Is it a bear? Is it Bigfoot? In my opinion, either one is equally likely...it's probably just a hairy man in a bad fur coat...though the photo is a little blurry, so I could be wrong. It may be a pretty nice fur coat.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
It was dark, and I'm not the most skilled photographer, but, I think you still get the general idea from this picture. Well...maybe not, but the idea is, this was a concert for cool people to go to.
So, thinking my coolness was secured, I continued on in life, not realizing I was missing key components to being even cooler. I had only been to one concert in my life (I'm not talking like a symphony or orchestra concert, I've been to those...and for the record, I also am not counting local bands, though I've been to one of those when my roommate was playing in one), and that was Neil Diamond. It's a long story, but the short of it is a friend, who is a huge (huge) fan of Neil Diamond, had an extra ticket, invited me, and I went. Average age at the concert: 63. It was fun, but I don't think it did much to raise my coolness level. So this week, a friend, who knew I like Jack's Mannequin, and who also had found out that they were playing in Michigan, invited me to head up and see them. Only she didn't tell me what we were doing at first, and it wasn't until we were on our way up that I found out. I don't think I've actually been that surprised since the day I found out you could microwave a potato in a ziploc bag. It was a lot of fun to go hear them, and I could actually feel my coolness level raising.
I want this to be me. Sitting in front of a mansion with a top hat and a cane, doing nothing. But doing nothing in a rich and classy like manner.
Also on the rise this week was my sophistication level. I went to Eugene Onegin, an opera by Tchaikovsky (yes, I had to look up how to spell his name). I feel it is important to be sophisticated and cultured. That way, if society ever goes back to a more divided class system, where the upper class lounge around in mansions all day and go to balls and such at night, I will be classy enough to fit in with them. I would much rather live in an estate and not be stuck cleaning chimneys or something. While talking about different concerts and shows that I went to, I could also mention that I went to a high school rendition of A Christmas Carol. I'm not sure what good characteristic that increased, but I'm sure it made me a better person.
Here's a summary of the week for those who didn't want to read the post. Coolness has gone up, sophistication has gone up, and it should be generally understood that manliness/toughness goes up every week.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
An adventurous life needs an adventurous logo...and an adventurous color scheme helps.
So a while back, I got an email asking me to go to a luncheon on Saturday. It was for prospective engineering graduate students thinking about coming to Michigan. There was a guy visiting the nuclear department from BYU (where I did my undergraduate work), so they asked me to come and talk to him. Obviously they need to do more screening before sending out these invitations. I cracked after the first question. It went something like this. Him: "So, how's everything going?" Me: "Aagghh, what are you doing, why are you thinking of more school? Get out while you still can! You're getting a degree, why aren't you happy with that? They suck you in and they'll never let you go...do you want to be in school for the rest of your life? Please....take me with you....I'm small, I'll fit in your luggage....you've got to get me out of this place. Don't make me go back to class, I can't do it, I haven't understood a word in 5 weeks. You've got to help me..." By the end I had dropped to my knees, cradling my head in my hands and looked like I was going to pass out. He seemed like a nice guy over all. I also met another guy from Idaho who's looking at nuclear engineering and considering working for my adviser. After the initial outburst, I tried to compose myself and remember that I was trying to convince people to come out here for school.You need to be prepared before you go shopping. I would suggest printing off some floor plans, taking a compass, maybe a sleeping bag and some matches just in case. Oh, and plenty of granola bars.
The luncheon was right across the street from a mall here in Ann Arbor. I've been somewhat in desperate need to go shopping, but not the usual kind of shopping for milk, bread and whatnot that I get at Kroger. I needed things like clothes and such. Someday, Kroger will start making Kroger brand clothing and selling it in their stores, and that will be a happy time...but until then, I knew I had to give in and go shopping somewhere else. The Sears entrance caught my eye because they had an auto center too, and I wanted to get a price estimate on something for my car. So I went in, found the auto center desk, and then went looking for the actual mall entrance. I wandered lost in Sears for a while. It's a big store. A man came and asked if he could help me find anything. I almost begged him to show me the exit, but I didn't trust him. He had those shifty eyes that said "I will not help you, instead I will mock you". So I told him I knew what I was doing, and busied myself pretending to look at whatever was closest to me. Purses. After he turned his back, I bolted...in a casual, walking manner, not to draw any more unwanted attention. Charlie Chaplin in "The Gold Rush", doing a dance with rolls...genius.
Eventually I found my way out, bought things I needed and ended up back in Sears. I bought more things there, and finally found the doors that looked like the entrance I had come in. On my way to those doors, I found the doors I had actually come in and went out those. Later that evening, I went to a friend's and watched some old classic movies with a bunch of people. It was fun, and educational, as these were actual classic movies (Charlie Chaplin, and a Buster Keaton), not movies that I usually refer to as classics, such as Labyrinth, The Sandlot, or Mighty Ducks. Afterwards, we played some Dr. Mario. I finally won something after doing doing a fair amount of trash talking...which is unusual for me...usually I trash talk and then lose horribly. That also happened in my last Dr. Mario match, but the point to focus on is that I also won sometimes.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Not only was Jen the first (and currently only) to post a Halloween picture that I could steal, she also helped me with the costume. She gets all the credit for the awesome sunglasses that pretty much made my costume (a rockstar for those that may be confused).
The song I did for the talent part of the activity was based on Love Machine, a song written by some of my old BYU roommates...is is also the only song we ever actually performed (at a church talent show last year). We usually just made songs and recorded them for the fun of it, but it worked out for the talent show. We even had something for everyone of us to do, including a couple of dancers.
Pilgram in the music video for Girl in my Closet. Sadly, the hair is not real.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Don't worry, we did not discriminate between male or female. Either sex could be voted cool guy of the week, though some thought it unfair that we refused to allow the title to be changed to cool girl of the week, or anything like that. But let's be serious, guy encompasses both male and female.
I was voted in as cool guy during a week of civil unrest. The previous cool guy, outraged that one of his cool mandates had not been met, refused to return the cool guy shirt and sweater. During this time of turmoil, a cool guy coat was created (bought in Mongolia by one of my roommates). I have never gotten so many angry looks on BYU's campus as when I was wearing the cool guy coat everyday. I suspect people were angry and jealous of my coolness. I did not wear the cool guy hat that is shown in this picture, I didn't think the world was ready for that kind of coolness.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
This is my mom and her friend playing cello for Boo at the Zoo. They love to dress up in somewhat elaborate costumes, they went as ghosts this year. I don't know why, but my mom completely changes when she's around some of her friends. She gets kind of crazy...and I mean that in the good sort of crazy way, since I assume she may read this.
So I went to Ohio this weekend, that was fun. Friday, after finishing up everything that needed to be done with school (I use the term finishing somewhat loosely here...), I left Ann Arbor, picked up my older sister and my youngest sister from the Detroit airport (they had flown there...it's an airport, it's what you do.) and we went down to Cleveland. This was no random trip back to my childhood home. We went to see my mom, who had also flown in from Texas where my family's living, play cello at the Cleveland Zoo. The more I try to explain this to people, the less sense it makes to me, but it happens. My family hasn't lived in Ohio for like 5 years. My mom used to play cello with her friend every Halloween for "Boo at the Zoo". Even though my family moved many dozens of hundreds of miles away, my mom still flies back to Ohio every year around Halloween time. It's kind of like a vacation for her I think...but they pay her to take it, which seems like it would make any vacation better. I am willing to travel to Hawaii if anyone reading this would like to pay me to go there.
Again, Boo at the Zoo. So, they've taken up playing these funky looking cellos. They're electric cellos. It's because by day my mom plays at the zoo, but by night she rocks out with some pretty hard core bands. You should hear the electric cello, electric banjo, and electric kazoo all play together, you get some pretty rockin' tunes.
On the way to Cleveland, my sisters and I stopped at Cedar Point, which is a pretty awesome roller coaster park. Then we continued on to the east side of Cleveland, where I grew up in a small town called Chesterland. We stayed with some family friends who treat us like we're their kids. Only I wonder sometimes if they don't treat us better, so maybe like grandkids. Let's be serious, I've seen my parents around my nephews and nieces...they definitely treat grandkids better than kids. Saturday I went to Columbus to pick up a friend from BYU who was interviewing for dental schools, then went up to Boo at the Zoo. My favorite part, besides the cello playing of course, was looking at all the kids costumes (apparently this event is for kids like 8 and under, so if you are, say 24, and do not have any kid with you, you actually tend to feel slightly out of place). Halloween's coming up and I always struggle coming up with a costume. So I figured I scope out what was hot, and just copy the most popular costume. Turns out fairy princess is pretty popular. I may not be that.Picture of Ohio where we stayed. I've got to say, I'm pretty proud of this picture, got the sun just right through the trees. Had to cut down 7 trees to do it, but it was definitely worth it.
Sunday was fun too, went to church with a lot of people I knew growing up. Plus it was the primary program, which means the entire meeting was done by kids younger than 12 (and a few adults to help them). I also sat by a friend who had two of his kids with him that were too young to be part of the program. So, yeah, needless to say I enjoyed the meeting a lot. Kids are funny, and I seem to relate pretty well to them. Turns out we even have about the same length of attention spans.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Yup, it's week two and I have not given this up yet. That's a good sign. I took up running a little while ago. Ran almost everyday for a week...and then stopped and haven't been out again since. So, two weeks in a row without quitting is pretty good for me.
I was going to just write about my week, but I realized I have one major problem. I have no pictures from anything I did this week. And since some people (namely my brother...possibly others) tend to only look at pictures, I realized I was going to have to do some improvising. So I think I will show random pictures that tell one story, while here in the text I will talk about something completely different. This will most likely be very disorienting and confusing, but my mind's made up, so it's too late to change anything. This week I did some country dancing at a church activity (and possibly even did it right...well...small little parts of it right). The whole activity was fun, even though there are rumors floating around that the chili judging was rigged. By rumors floating around, I mean I hope to start some by mentioning this in my blog. I did not win, nor did I take second...or third. On top of that, the guy I was taunting all week took second place, completely thrashing the credibility of any future trash talking that I might do.
We didn't realize it at the time, but some of these sites were famous...well, more famous than other ancient indain ruins. The top picture is one taken with my camera. The bottom one is not. This may be the closest I ever come to being in a famous movie. For those who don't recognize the bottom picture, it's from Star Wars (Return of the Jedi I think...). Please note, I thought of many lame Star Wars related jokes for this caption, and I held off on putting them. That should be worth extra credit in something...do we get graded on our blogging skills?
Also this week was my first ever visit to a cider mill, followed by many hours wandering in a corn maze (It was actually very similar to Lord of the Flies. After so many hours of wandering lost without water or food-not counting the hundreds of ears of corn that surrounded us-our group started to split into tribes. Then the tribal wars started. Things got ugly for a while. There was much backstabbing, friend turning on friend, life long enemies made, then unmade...and promptly made again due to said backstabbing. It was definitely a lot of fun and I would highly recommend it to anyone.) Cider mills are apparently very important in Michigan. There are tons of them around and everyone has their favorite one to go to. In fact, I'm told you can tell a lot about a person by what cider mill is their favorite. I'm trying to figure out which cider mill says "I'm cool, tough, and ruggedly handsome". That's the one I plan on making my favorite...which may shake many people's faith that you can tell anything about anyone based on their favorite cider mill.
After spending a few days in the jungle, we went to the coast and went snorkeling (first time I've ever been). I had mixed feelings about it at first. I had recently watched shark week on the discovery channel and had seen a "harmless" reef shark bite a camera man. The mixed feelings came from my fear of being attacked in contrast with my hope of losing a sister or two to feed the poor, hungry sharks. Neither one of these happened...nor was I able to ever catch...or even touch...a fish despite the fact that there were many that mocked me by swimming close, only to dart away when my hand moved.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
I'm kinda new at this blogging thing. In fact, until recently, I considered blogging for older, married people (these two go together, being single means you're young, married: old, and married with kids: really old - Sorry Kip and Katie, but congrats again on becoming really old). Recently, however, I stumbled upon an underground movement of hip, young, cool people who have blogs. So I thought, I'm hip, young and cool, I like underground things, maybe I could blog. Then, after talking with some of these bloggers, I decided I'd give it a try. So that's the basic story of my starting a blog.
It turns out, starting a blog means lots of decisions...some of which I wasn't really ready to make-this includes naming your blog and choosing a template. I'm told I can change these later, so that made it less stressful. I picked a random template, and called the blog "This blog was made for reading", mainly so I wouldn't make two mistakes. One, so I would remember I should probably try and make it at least somewhat interesting since people will (possibly) be reading it, and two, to remind myself that this is not a private journal, if I write it, people may actually read it, so be careful self, don't write too much of what you don't want known.
My plan for this blog will probably change pretty often. Secretly, I'm not much for talking about myself, which is what I think you're supposed to do on a blog, so I decided I would ramble about nothing instead. Then I remembered this blog was made for reading, and random ramblings might get old. Since I recently started a new phase in my life (graduate school at Michigan), I decided maybe I could use the blog to keep old friends and family (old refers to friends, not family, I still hang out with the same family as I did when I was younger) up to date, and also, it could be used to help people in Michigan get to know me better (which may be a bad idea, if people start avoiding me, I may stop blogging, or just start telling outlandish lies to trick them into thinking that I am cool to hang out with, and should not be avoided).
Again, family, couple years old. The main reason for this picture is that there was a lot of text without any picture, so I threw this in to break it up a bit. It's in San Antonio, my family moved to Texas about 5 years ago.
I believe there is an "about me" or something like that on the side bar, haven't really looked at anything on the blog yet before writing this post, so I figured I'd summarize my life in this first post. There are 7 kids in my family, I have two older brothers, an older sister, then three younger sisters. Despite being surrounded by sisters, don't worry, I grew up very manly and tough. My mom is a musician, my dad an engineer, so I guess I got a bit of both...making me a poor musician and a bad engineer. I spent most my life growing up in Ohio, just east of Cleveland. I was a distance runner in high school, and did many other very important and wonderful things I'm sure. Really I was somewhat quite (somewhat may or may not mean really) and possibly even somewhat nerdy (somewhat here should give the impression that this is not very likely, but there is a small, very small, possibility that it is true). I did my undergraduate studies at BYU-Utah in Chemical engineering. It was a pretty fun time for me, freshman year I lived in the dorms and got to know the guys on my floor pretty well...after spending about a month only doing things with my roommate. The original plan was not to get to know anyone and eventually move to the mountains and become a hermit, but eventually we got to know everyone else on the floor and decided they were cool enough that we could hang out with them.
"Family" picture of roommates - this caption is above the picture because I am somewhat struggling to get the captions to do what I want...
I would be roommates with some of the guys I met freshman year for my entire time at BYU, and stay pretty well in contact with most of the rest. I went to Argentina for two years after my first year at college as a missionary for my church. Then I came back and finished my degree in April 2008. It seems like a lot of time at school was spent trying to figure out a get rich quick scheme with my roommates so that we could drop out of college and be rich. A few were really good ideas, but we always ran into snags. One of my favorites to talk about was a very simple idea, we only needed the use of our apartment complex's pool, and a killer whale. And, as luck would have it, one
of my roommates was going to Alaska that summer, a prime place for capturing killer whales, or so I believed. Basically the idea was to keep the whale in the pool and charge people admission to swim with a killer whale (a good date idea if I've ever heard one, but also fun to do with a group of friends). I'm pretty sure we could have made a lot, I
know it's one of my dreams to swim with a killer whale, and if it were in a swimming pool that was small enough that the whale would have trouble eating me, all the better. We even realized we could start up a collection for people to donate money to get a larger aquarium for the whale, thus making us look humane and caring. We would then promptly pocket the donations. Sadly, my roommate failed to bring back a killer whale, thus wasting his trip to Alaska. He has still not been completely forgiven. Since none of these get rich quick schemes took off, I am still going to school, studying Nuclear Engineering at the University of Michigan, waiting for the day when I can drop out and get rich quickly, with minimal work. If all else fails, I may eventually take my own trip to Alaska, and show my roommate how whale capturing is meant to be done.
I've liked Michigan so far. I moved here in the middle of the summer (July 9th) so that I could start working in my advisor's lab before classes started. This worked out well for two reasons. One, I got to know my way around the lab a little bit before getting bogged down with classwork, and two, I got to know a good amount of people out here during the summer when people tend to do more (good weather, less school for those in school, and...I don't know, people just do more in the summer, it's true, so I don't have to justify it with reasons). That second point was important, since there are no mountains in this area of Michigan, I couldn't fall back on my original plan to become a hermit living in the mountains, shunning all human contact. Luckily, there were a lot of activities I could go to with people from my church, so all I had to do was pretend I was social, and I got to know a good amount of people pretty quickly.
My first apartment in Michigan. I lived here by myself for two months...this is at the end of the two months after I furnished the apartment with an air mattress a stool (technically, my mom came and visited, and had pity and went out and bought the stool).
Well, that does a decent job summing up my life...well, at least as well a job as I'm willing to type right now, and probably more than most people are willing to read. The plan is now to go back and figure out how to put pictures in this thing so that it at least looks interesting. I will try and put pictures of family, Utah and Michigan. I will probably not put any of Argentina, because I have no pictures on my computer. They are all stored in a man book. For those that don't know, a man book is similar to a scrap book, but much more manly. Where a scrap book looks nice, has colorful pages, cutely written captions, and cleverly cut pictures, a man book has white pages, messy, short captions written with a black sharpy, pictures crudely cut so that they would fit on the page, sometimes cutting people in the picture off so you can cram more in, and it just has a general manly feel to it. It is a very tough thing to have, and portrays a strong sense of manliness about the person who is skilled (and manly) enough to make one. Well, that's it for now, until next time (probably next week, the plan is to be a weekly updater).