Wednesday, October 26, 2011


what is most interesting?

based on traffic to my blog, there are some things that my readers tend to find more interesting than others. this is not surprising. also, i tend to be nearly equally interested in thousands of topics, so i want to write about things that you find interesting. solution: this questionnaire

that took like 45 seconds. easy, right? thanks for doing that.

now a few thoughts and an anecdote before i depart.

i was talking to some friends the other day, and i was complaining about how it is difficult for a guy to let a girl know that he likes her. if a girl likes a guy, the worst she gets in return is, 'oh sorry, i don't like you like that.' which can hurt a lot, but at least it is straightforward and honest, and she can move on. but when a guy likes a girl and she doesn't like him... that is a different story. some girls give all kinds of excuses why they can't go out with a guy, or they just complain about the guy to their friends and call him a creeper. i never understood that. i mean, i understand that guys can be creepy, but i never understood how a guy who genuinely cares about a girl gets labeled as a creeper. my friend gave a fitting anecdote:

i don't know the girl's name, so i will call her suzie. suzie had two prospective suitors. she was really interested in one and not at all interested in the other. since she was aware of their interest, she would often talk about how much she liked the first boy, and how great he was. she would complain about the other boy to her friends and called him a creeper. the interesting thing was, the two boys showed their interest in her by doing the very same things. they would both write suzie notes, ask her on dates, come over to her place and talk to her, and basically let her know that they were thinking of her. the two boys were not consulting with each other, they just did what they thought was best to let suzie know that they were interested. they boys were not very different, the difference lay in her opinion of them. the first boy could do no wrong. anything he did for suzie was appreciated and praised. suzie was so happy whenever he contacted her. but the other boy, despite all of his affectionate gestures, was a creeper. none of his actions meant anything to her. and the worst part is, she didn't even realize the similarity between the two boys. her preconceptions of the situation blinded her to considering them equally.

i'm not trying to blame suzie, i just think it is interesting. there is a fine line between being exactly what a girl wants, and being a creeper. i guess there are similar difficulties girls face. there is also a fine line between getting out there and showing that you are available, and looking desperate.

as usual, i don't have the solutions. but i hope i have given you something to think about.

Monday, October 24, 2011

what is attractiveness?

a few thoughts...

one thing that i hate the most is when people (especially girls) think that they have little or no worth because they think that they are not attractive. i don't hate the girls, i hate our materialistic and perfectionistic society that tries to define beauty as something so shallow.

i think i can honestly say that i find all girls attractive. i find them attractive for a variety of reasons. sometimes physical appearance makes an impact, but it is not a deciding factor in my evaluation of an individual.

unfortunately, it has become all too common for a person to be judged by their looks. it is understandable, to an extent. after all, the first impression you get of someone comes from seeing them. whether we like it or not, it is impossible to understand a person after a first impression. when we try to make a judgment of an individual after seeing them for the first time, or perhaps after only a short conversation, the only judgment you can make is based on physical appearance.

while it is understandable that physical appearance is used as a basis for judgment, it is not a good indicator of a person's beauty or worth.

when i say that every girl is attractive, some have raised the criticism that i am doing the same as those that say 'everyone is special.' apparently if everyone is special, that means that no one is actually special. i disagree. in his book Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card writes about Ender's character as he studies his alien enemy. Ender says, "In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him." i agree with Card. it is impossible to truly come to know someone, even an enemy, without loving them. and in the case of members of the fairer gender, finding them beautiful.

perhaps there are many others that feel as i do. but sometimes girls' don't feel appreciated because they aren't told that they are beautiful. and perhaps they don't feel beautiful when they aren't asked out but the next girl is.

as usual i feel like i have few answers. but this much i know--we should treat all people with love. we should also treat all people as equals. no one is "better" or "cooler" because they have certain physical features. we don't get to decide how we look, so we should not let it affect who we are or how we treat others. nothing is more sad than a person who has allowed themselves to become limited because of their looks or because of the way they have been treated because of their looks.

additionally, we should treat ourselves like we are beautiful. we might not look like the "perfect" guy or girl, but who does? i have big ears and i'm balding. who cares? we are all blessed with life, and we are created by a perfect God. any imperfections we have are a part of us, and who am i to complain about what i have been given?

i am glad to be who i am, and i am grateful for all of the beautiful and amazing people around me. i hope that we can look for and find beauty in all people, and treat each other as we should be treated.


i like the following video. i don't know if many billboards are made this way, but this is an interesting insight into our world. we are obsessed with physical perfection, but none of us are perfect in this way.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

dating difficulties

as a semi-unsuccessful dater, i have discovered some problems with dating that i have been unable to find solutions for. these problems may be specific to lds people living in utah valley, though they could probably be applied in some limited or altered way to other situations.

what i am looking for: a lds girl who is (a) serious about her religion, (b) has goals and dreams, (c) thinks highly of herself and others, (d) takes care of herself spiritually and physically, and (e) has a good mix of intelligence, humor, and sobriety.

my situation: i am from a small town in arizona where there is one singles ward for two stakes. to people from the east, that sounds like a big mormon area, but to me it was normal; not big or small, just the way life was.

in my small town with its small ward, there are lots of opportunities to get to know each other. i love my little singles ward, and it is easy to know everyone. if i never left my hometown, i could have dated a girl in that ward and married. there were several attractive girls, and knowing all of them, it would have been fairly simple to narrow down my interests and choose between three or four girls (assuming they would choose me in return :)

since january 2010 i have lived in provo, where there are hundreds of singles wards and thousands of single women. it is hard to quantify exactly, but if you exclude all of uvu, and ignore all of the other singles outside of provo/orem area, i’m still looking at a lot of options. According to their website, byu has 32,947 full time students (2010). with 48% female, this gives me 15,815 female students. if we assume that an equal number of married students are female as are male (which is inaccurate, but close enough), we have 26% married, leaving me with 11,703. since i want a lds girl, i will further exclude the 1.5% nonmembers (again assuming that we have an equal number of male nonmembers as female nonmembers), leaving us with 11,527 single lds girls. now this is the extent of my statistics, because this is the info that byu actually records. that is a lot more than the three or four i was thinking of from my home ward in arizona.

if i wanted to get more specific i could make further assumptions, that are not at all grounded in statistics but are pure guesswork. out of the 11,527 single lds girls at byu, i could assume that 40% are engaged or dating someone exclusively (i’m trying to estimate high rather than low, but i really have no idea). now i guess i could go around trying to break people up, but that isn’t my thing, so i’m left with 6,916 girls. then if i wanted to be really extensive i could try to split this group down into subcategories; e.g., girls that go to the gym, girls that go to institute, girls that want to have a family, girls that have nunchuck skills, etc.

now lets make some assumptions about these 6,916 girls that are lds and actually single. we’re going to assume that they are serious about their religion. they should be, right? they are at a lds owned and operated school, and they have to regularly get endorsement from their ecclesiastical leader. we will also assume that they are at least moderately intelligent, because they should be--they are university students, and with a God-given mandate to seek knowledge (D&C 131:6, D&C 88:118). we should also be able to assume that girls at byu will be taking care of themselves. we have all been commanded to care for our bodies and our spirits. (For some great talks and info, see this talk by Boyd K Packer about the importance of the body, or this lesson on the Lord's commandments regarding health, or this info on personal testimony from Spencer W Kimball)

am i assuming too much? probably. but these are sound assumptions to make about byu students, because this is what is expected of us, male and female.

now all of this puts me in a quandry. and now i get to my point--as you increase the number of choices, the choice becomes increasingly hard to make. i find nearly all of these 6,916 girls attractive, and they all are (or should be) intelligent, goal-oriented, spiritual, incredible girls. so what do you do? i see only two options:

  1. hang out with a whole lot of people until you find someone you like, then ask them out.
  2. ask someone out without knowing whether you like them, and then evaluate your time with them.

let me discuss these options briefly:

  1. if you hang out with a lot of people while trying to get to know them, you will find yourself having lots of acquaintances and few friends. you will also find so many impressive people that you will be unable to date them all. this leads to a constant state of wondering whether you have met the right (or best) person yet. if each girl is incredible, but each has her own faults (as we all do), it is hard to decide to pursue any specific individual. result: you keep looking forever, thus developing few lasting relationships, and never marrying.
  2. if you ask someone out just because they are attractive, you will go on a lot of first dates that do not lead to second dates. this isn’t surprising, but it is a problem--if you don’t know someone well, you can only base your decision to ask them out on general, shallow appearance. is it bad to ask someone out because she is cute? no. but someone’s appearance has very little bearing on who they are, what their potential is, and what a relationship with them could be like. result: you waste time and money on lots of people that are not actually compatible with you. and since you are dating people you don’t know well, it never works out.

sorry for the bleak picture. i am not really that pessimistic, i promise. but this is how i feel. also i feel like you ought to be friends with someone before you date, and i think it is hard to move from friendship to relationship successfully.

now the positive note: the wonderful news is that it only has to work once. that should give us all hope. if every relationship you have ever had has failed, that is okay. dating teaches us who we are and what kind of person we want to be with. some of these dating failures we have experienced were necessary for us, and we should be grateful for them.

nevertheless, my questions remain: what do we do? how do you narrow it down? how do you know when you’ve found someone that is worth all of the time and attention i want to give to an eternal companion?

if you have ideas and opinions, comment below!

Monday, October 17, 2011

purple tape and like stickers

we had a housewarming party at our house on oct 14th, which was really fun. the theme for our party was 'facebook in real life.' Here is a photo album from the event.

we had a lot of people come by, and it was a lot of fun. i even had a good time, though i don't generally enjoy parties very much. also i was pleased with the many clever things that were either planned by the committee or created by our partygoers. Here were some of the better ideas:

1) everyone had a white t-shirt that was their wall, with name, relationship status, comments, likes, etc.
2) pin the 'like' sticker on the mark zuckerburg
3) throwing darts at a google+ logo
4) happy birthday wall posts irl w/Erin Wright
5) relationship requests and drama
6) poking irl with a foam hand
7) facebook 'layout changes' where everyone had to turn their shirts around
8) mark zuckerburg masks
9) dance party
10) smores

here are a few of my favorite pics from the event:

i don't know if they really hate google+, or if they really like knives

this really creepy mask was a big hit.
my favorite: staring contests while wearing the mark mask


dance party in the back! i think this was a line dance...

everyone was issued 'like' stickers when they arrived and were encouraged to 'like' comments, statuses, and photos. people also 'liked' the fridge, our cutlery, my iPod, our doorbell, my forehead, and all over mark zuckerburg:

i don't know where we were supposed to put the like stickers,
but he got them all over his body...

we also got attacked by the color purple. in addition to the ubiquitous 'like' stickers, our house was purplified by Carissa Mills. i keep finding new pieces of purple tape as time goes on. just this morning, i saw that there is a piece of it on the front door handle. i must have walked through that door 20 times since friday, but i never saw it until today. thank you carissa . . .

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


words are so funny! when i talk, i like to do funny things with words. i pluralize things that should be singular, make superlatives out of everything (even superlatives), and use made-up words as if they were real. one of my favorite made-up words is the word 'stunbucket.' let me share with you the etymology:

stunbucket (pronounced stun-bucket) is a compound word originating from the usage of the word 'stupid' with the word 'bucket.' perhaps this harks back to the historical phrase 'stupid as a bucket,' but i am not certain. as recently as 2001, the word 'stupid' was (quite logically) shortened to 'stun.' the genius of this excellent linguistic innovation is unknown. however, this quickly resulted in compounds such as 'stunface' and 'stunbucket.'

i use the word stunbucket to mean just about anything. some people, when looking for a word just beyond their grasp will say, 'can you hand me the... the... thingy?' i just ask for the stunbucket. stunbucket is also useful when referring to individuals (disclaimer: this does not mean that usage of the word implies any amount of unintelligence). for example, 'hey stunbucket, did you give the stunbucket to stunface at her birthday party?'

unfortunately, this very useful word is unappreciated, unvalued, and unknown. when used around people familiar with the term, stunbucket is accepted, applauded, and encouraged, but in some settings stunbucket can cause confusion.

to help you understand stunbucket, i ask you to watch this excellent video produced by our favorite news network:

there you are. with your newfound knowledge and skills, you will be able to discuss things far beyond your vocabulary by using the words stunbucket and pronk.

you're welcome.

p.s. the congressional discussion of HR 766 has resulted in further linguistic permutations such as, but not limited to, pronkface, pronkbucket, and somehow, stunbucketeer.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


have you ever stuck your foot in your mouth? i have. both literally and figuratively. actually just the other day i found out that i am capable of sucking on both of my toes simultaneously. it isn't comfortable or tasty.

in an earlier post, i mentioned something called a BMSF. this is a feature that most civilized, socially appropriate people seem to develop on their own. not me. when i was 16, i took part in the eagle project of one Eric Campbell. his project involved building a trail in the Prescott National Forest in Arizona. it was a pretty sweet project, and a lot of fun to be involved in. as we tried to make a flat, smooth path, we met with many obstacles. like icebergs, these rocks and roots only showed a small percentage of their actual size above the soil. rocks that looked like you could just pick them up turned out to be large boulders that took considerable effort to remove. after some time and effort, i commented to those working around me that my back hurt. one of the men standing right next to me said, 'well, if you need it, i know a really good chiropractor.' being the idiot i am, i responded, 'oh, no thanks. i went to a chiropractor as a kid, and it didn't help me at all. i don't trust chiropractors.'

(at this point, insert foot into mouth)

he responded, 'oh, i'm sorry to hear that. i'm a chiropractor.' yeah... way to go jeremy.

my best friend growing up often complained about my apparent lack of a BMSF. i am really good at saying funny things that range from scatological humor to politically incorrect racial and gender jokes (for one of my great gender jokes, see my post on gender equality.) it is pretty immature, and i enjoy it. i guess there is a time for professionalism and a time for being silly, and i like to have those silly times where i can just say what comes to mind.

so how do we avoid the embarrassment of accidentally calling a chiropractor a lier? i guess we all have those times where we regret the words we speak as we are speaking them. sometimes we wish we could reach out and grab those words in midair before they reach the ears of those around us. i don't know the answer. but if we are careful, and make use of a BMSF we can avoid giving offense or receiving embarrassment. just be wise. that's what jacob said.

if you want to share an embarrassing foot-in-the-mouth story, post it below!

Sunday, October 2, 2011


i like anecdotes. i also like traffic lights. no matter where they've been. but only when they're green.

today i want to share with you a few short stories from my interactions with other people.

there is this old guy i work with at the temple. old people say the funniest things sometimes. he was telling me about his son in law who is 6'7". Apparently he is considered tall, and people ask him about his height all the time. Rather than responding with the traditional, 'oh i'm six foot seven,' he responds by saying, 'i'm five foot nineteen.' i just thought that was so clever. i could be five foot fifteen you know . . .

this same old man was telling me about his nephew. he is married and has 8 kids, 2 girls and 6 boys. when talking about his family, people often ask how many kids he has. he responds by saying, 'oh i got two and a half dozen.' clever.

the other day i was at headstart where i work with a class of four year olds. after snack time, one of the kids was leaning up on the counter with his feet off the ground balancing his weight in order to reach the faucet (and this is a sink that i can use while on my knees). he was doing such a good job balancing that i asked him if he was a gymnast. he said 'no.' i said 'are you sure?' and he said, 'yes! i'm not a gymnast, i'm a kid!'

in mafikeng south africa, the first city i lived in on my mission, i arranged for my follow-up trainer to be mugged during his first week. we had a meeting with the branch mission leader to discuss the missionary work in the branch, and i told him beforehand what route we would take. i asked him to meet us on the corner and call to us. being the nice missionaries we were, of course we were going to stop and see what he needed.

and so it went. as we pulled around the corner we heard an excited voice say, 'missionaries!' we moved towards him and stopped our bicycles. my companion spoke next, 'hey man, how are you?' 'i'm good, i just recognized you as the missionaries.' 'oh cool, so you know the church?' all of the sudden, he grabbed my companion by the collar and pulled out a knife. 'give me your phone and your money!' 'alright, take whatever you want.' he took everything from my companion, including the phone and his wallet, american drivers license, passport, and missionary nametag. he then told us to ride in the opposite direction. we went away, and circled the block. my companion was freaking out and said we had to call the cops. i was like, 'how? we just lost our phone!' 'well, lets get to the mission leader's house and then we can use his phone to call.' so we started towards the mission leader's house from a different direction.

at this point, we saw a police truck just ahead of us. it was cruising along slowly, going the same direction we were. my companion was like, 'hey! we gotta stop that police officer and report what just happened!' my jaw dropped. this was the worst turn of events. well, i guess it would have been worse if the mission leader had stabbed my comp, but that is the only worse thing i can imagine. so my companion sped off after the police truck. i grudgingly accompanied him, trying to go as slow as possible while looking like i was peddling quickly. my mind was racing looking for a way to stop him if we got really close to the truck. luckily, just as we were getting close, the truck turned the corner onto a more major road and sped off.

relieved, we turned back towards the mission leader's house. as we arrived, i made sure my companion was standing in front of me at the door. we knocked, and the mission leader opened the door with a bright smiling face. he was wearing a white shirt and tie, and was wearing my companion's name tag. 'welcome to mafikeng elder!'