Saturday, November 5, 2011

Let's Have Some Definitions

That's right. 2 posts in the same week. You might want to go to the nearest pig farm and make sure that they are all still firmly grounded.

Anyway, this post has to do with something very near and dear to my heart: snow.

I love winter. I was made for cold weather. I mean, all you have to do is see the not-insignificant amount of insulation (i.e. fat) I have on my body to see that I was built to thrive in a cold environment. One of the best things about winter is snow. Unlike most people, I rarely "get tired" of snow. Maybe if it was snowy for 8 months of the year, I might start getting tired of it, but probably not.

However, I do want to set one thing straight when it comes to snow. You see, my beloved brother and roommate (my mom occasionally reads this and so I had to put that "beloved" in for her benefit) walked outside today and gleefully exclaimed "It's snowing!" As much as I love him, he erred in making this statement, but at least he has an excuse after being in South Korea for two years on a mission. It was not, in fact, snowing. There were occasional little white dots that one could halfway see floating on the wind, but that is not snowing. Much like it's not "raining" just because you feel one drop of water hit your head, it isn't snowing just because a few flakes happen to fall. In order for it to be "snowing," it has to be a consistent, significant rate of precipitation. Similarly, the first snow of the year has some criteria associated with it: it has to be snowing, as I have just defined it; it has to stick and accumulate on the ground; and it has to be at your place of residence. As such, I have not yet experienced the first snow of the year, and I doubt that any of you reading this blog that attend BYU have either. Snowing on the mountains does not count, as beautiful as it is and as much as I love it. The "snowing" that I've heard rumors about doesn't count, either, because not only does each case fail to meet the definition for "snowing", but they have all failed to accumulate on the ground. I can't wait to experience the first snow of the year, but let's not water down the experience by slacking on our standards like we have with words such as "epic."

Why are these definitions so important? Because they are related to the Christmas Music Rule. I love Christmas music just as much as the rest of you. I really do. And you can make all the arguments you want about how we need to have the Spirit of Christmas all year round, etc. but it doesn't change the Christmas Music Rule. The Christmas Music Rule states:

  1. Music having to deal with the Christmas, snow, the "Holidays", or other such material is henceforth designated to be termed Christmas music
  2. Christmas music, as defined in (1), is not to be played outside the month of December, with the following exceptions:
    1. The day of the first snow of the year
    2. Following Halloween (Oct. 31), Christmas music can be played on days when it is snowing
    3. Following Thanksgiving (fourth Thursday of November), Christmas music can be played if there is snow on the ground, or if there is less than 4 days until December
  3. If one must play Christmas music at time not included by (2) or it's subsections, one must provide sufficient reasoning for why they are playing the music (e.g. learning a song to be performed during the month of December)
    1. There are no sufficient reasons for a general body (e.g. Seminary class or ward) to sing Christmas music at a time not indicated by (2) and it's subsections
  4. Failure to comply to these rules will result in ridicule by the Tower of Terror
So there you have the Christmas Music Rule. I truly hope you can all learn and apply these rules in your own lives.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I Owe You Something

So that idea I had about posting regularly again? Yeah, that didn't work out so well. The problem is the whole "life experiences" thing Dania originally wanted me to create this blog for doesn't happen so often. I'm in kind of a rut right now, in large part because of my own apathy, but also partially due to my situation in life. It's all about a waiting game for me right now, as I prepare to serve my mission. It's a great opportunity for me to get some preparation in, but it doesn't offer much in the way of anecdotes.

Anyway, an interesting thing actually did happen to me the other day. I was looking at my face in the mirror (which may come as a surprise to some of you; I do actually look in the mirror and still go out in public the way I do), when I noticed a slight change. Always before, the face staring back at me has looked rather boyish. There's still the puppy fat there, that facial hair is mostly fuzz and not scruff, and it's just got a boyish feel. It's always surprised me that people tend to think I'm older than I am. When people who don't know me learn my age they respond with disbelief. I just don't see it though. Until Sunday, when I caught a glimpse of it. I still don't buy it wholly, especially because I got that glimpse of it in a dimly lit room that was illuminated from one side only, but it was there. I'm not just a kid anymore, a realization that's been coming through more and more lately. Time to start making long-term decisions in addition to the short-term ones. Thank goodness I've got a couple of years to step back and take stock before I proceed too far in any of those decisions.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Regular Posting Again? Also, Sports

It could happen. You never know. The problem is now compounded beyond what it was when I first started this blog (that of having nothing to write about). Now I just forget that I even have this thing. I might start posting on it though. It'll at least give me something to do.

Anyway, I haven't had a good rant in a while. Let me think for a second here...Oh, I've got the perfect thing. The behavior of fans when their team is losing. Take, for instance, the latest chapter in the BYU-Utah football rivalry. Coming into the game, all the fans were pumped. People expected BYU to come out of that game with a win. I, myself, was one of them. BYU has a good team this year--not excellent, but good. With the intensity of the rivalry game, I honestly believed we should have expected to win that game. The stadium was full of BYU pride. By the end of the game, it was hardly anywhere to be found. Now, I get it that it is difficult to cheer for a losing team, especially one that makes as many stupid mistakes as BYU made that night. However, I also think it can be done a lot better than the BYU population did that night. When you start to turn on your own team, you sow the seeds of it's destruction. I have no problem with the chorus of "Riley Nelson" that came up over the course of the game; Jake Heaps was performing poorly, we weren't going to win by that point, and Riley Nelson might have done a better job. I do have a problem with the general feeling that the team was horrible and we might as well give up on the season--losing 6 fumbles is an aberration, not a sign of things to come. I do have a problem with people asking, even in jest, for a red shirt to wear. And I certainly have a problem with people complaining that they paid to watch the team win. In reality, you paid to watch the team. You might as well cheer for them, and you might as well stay the whole time and get your money's worth. Think about it: Would you ever walk out of a movie theater just because you could tell what the ending was going to be? Do you even walk out just because it's a bad (as in quality, not appropriateness) movie? Most people would answer no. You already paid the money, so you might as well get what you can for it. Stay to the end of a game for crying out loud. Is it any wonder that the team gave up 24 points in the 4th quarter alone? A third of the fans had already left by that point, and more were leaving. I can imagine it would be pretty disheartening as a player to see that. Why even bother trying? No one cares and it's not gonna make a difference. Have a little true team spirit, please. "Loyal, strong, and true/Wear the white and blue" (emphasis added). Let's make that reality, instead of just something we sing when our team is winning.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

"Awesome" "Amazing"...Why?

So, devout readership, this post is less of a monologue than my typical drivel. It actually requires some input from you. You see, I've been thinking over the last little while, and I've come to some self-realizations. One of those I'll get to in a minute. Anyway, basically with this post, I'm trying to get an answer to a question I've been wondering about for a while now. You see, I have plenty of conversations with people in which they assert that I am "awesome" or "amazing" or some similar adjective. It has become so common that I question why, exactly, people say this about me, which is where you come in, as readers of this blog comprise a large portion of those who make such statements. One hypothesis of mine (that I think is probably the most accurate) about why I receive such compliments so frequently is that it's just a general trait of friends of mine to freely give such compliments. It's not that I'm necessarily that great of a person, but just that to my friends, most people are awesome.

Now, before you start getting all worried that I'm having low self-esteem, or I'm being self-effacing, don't. I'm just fine. I'm quite comfortable with who I am, and I think I'm pretty much on the right track. I guess I just want to know why I am seen the way I am by others, even more so now than I was before that self-realization I mentioned. You see, several weeks ago, Dania said something to the effect of "You're great at everything you do, David." Now yes, partially that's just due to her tendency to exaggerate. I don't think she really ever thought that I am great at everything I do, but the comment bothered me because she was assigning me superhuman abilities that I just don't have. I couldn't figure out why should we even think to say something like that about me. Thinking about that, in conjunction with several similar experiences accumulated throughout my life, made me wonder why people think I'm so great and so good and so near to being perfect. It hit me, then, that I actually project that image. It's human nature to do so to an extent, I believe, as we want people to think better of us than we think of ourselves. I actively hide flaws even more than most people do, I think, though, because being a perfect genius has become my identity. It's become what makes me unique. If I were to lose that, there would be no compelling reason to be my friend (Yes, I know that's not actually true, I'm explaining my subconscious thought processes, not my actual beliefs), so I hide my flaws, which is actually a really stupid thing to do because then they don't ever get fixed. Anyway, that was my self-realization that contributed to making this a post. Please, any feedback you have I'd love to hear it.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Hello, boys (and girls)! I'm back!

If you can name the movie from which the title of this post--minus the part in parentheses, that's why it's in parentheses and not to be diminutive of my female readership--comes, then you've watched a good movie which is a good enough reward in and of itself. Fitting, though, that I totally coincidentally chose that movie to pick a line from on this particular weekend (and if you've seen the movie and that hint doesn't give it away, shame on you).

Anyway, yes, it's true, members of the blogosphere. I am in fact posting once again. Please, contain your excitement. I'm not sure it will ever again be a regular occurrence for me to post on my blog. I was never all that into it in the first place. We'll see what happens, though. I guess it's not fair for me to read the blog posts of others and not post my own so that they too can get some measure of pleasure, though I'm sure it is pretty small in the case of reading my posts.

My recent hiatus has been due to the fact that, minus my job, pretty much everything of consequence in my life recently I've already posted about. I didn't think you wanted to read another rave about Brandon Sanderson, as good as he is (and, if you haven't read any of his books yet but you are reading this blog post right now, I order you to stop, turn off your computer, acquire a copy of some work authored by him, and read that instead; it'll be a much better use of your time). I actually thought about posting last week after Sean Kang's farewell, but a tribute to Sean Kang, as amazing and wonderful as he is, wasn't necessary like it was for Shane and Nick and would basically be comprised of the same things I said about them.

Of course, there is my job, but there really isn't a whole lot to say about it. I sit around all day answering people's questions, so it feels a lot like high school except that it's all the same subject, the people who ask the questions aren't my friends, and a lot of them are angrier about it than my friends in high school. There is, however, the occasional Australian or funny older lady that makes the job enjoyable for a time. I'm very, very grateful to have a job, it's just not that exciting to talk or write about.

I guess what really has been the object of my thoughts lately has been the changing of the guard, so to speak, going on in my life. With the egress of Elder Kang into the MTC, most of my best friends from high school that have Y chromosomes are out on missions. An interesting effect of living in Provo is that a lot of your friends from high school go on to BYU, so you get to see them pretty regularly. It meant that there wasn't a major shift in the people I spent time with between high school and my freshman year in college. I was still close to many of the same people. Now, however, all the guys are going on missions. Another interesting effect of living in Provo is that pretty much all the guys leave on missions for two years. Being a year younger than most of my classmates, they've all left a year or so before I will. Basically, that means my group of male friends has shifted to the class immediately younger than me (that means you, '11ers). This is not a bad thing, as there are many fine men (read "studs") in that class. It was just something that was made apparent to me last week at Sean's farewell and, I'm embarrassed to admit, that I initially reacted poorly to. Since then I've had some time to think, however, and I am excited by the prospect. As superior as my friends I've bid farewell to over the last few months are, these guys I find myself associating more and more with are spectacular in and of themselves, and it's gonna be great to get to know them better.

I've also reflected quite a bit on where I am this year compared to where I was last year. Who I am today is not the same as I was last year on July 3rd. It's been a good year, and the next few look to have even more in store. Another year of college, two years on a mission, the rest of college, graduate school. I'm starting to get really excited, as daunting as it seems.

Yes, sir, the outlook for David Sorensen over the next year does not look bad at all. I look forward to experiencing it with you.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Two Tower and Return of the King

So I didn't make a separate post for Two Towers after I finished it. Sorry about that. It deserves it's own post, but I was just too eager to keep reading. I actually finished reading Return of the King on Monday, but I've had work, and I realize not everyone loves Lord of the Rings as much as I do so not everyone loves to read about it as much as I do. (By the way, they started filming for The Hobbit on March 21st, I think I haven't mentioned that yet. So excited for it).

Anyway, since I did just do that marathon of the films at Andrew Woodruff's a little bit ago, I found myself noting several interesting differences between the movies and the books and finding things I hadn't remembered but that I didn't like. One of those things is the characterization of the rulers of men, both Theoden and Denethor. In the movies, Theoden is portrayed kind of as a coward, fleeing to the refuge of Helm's Deep with his people in opposition to the advice of Gandalf. Later, he's rather fatalistic, believing there's nothing left for it except to die an honorable death. In the books, however, once Grima is gone he listens wholeheartedly to Gandalf. He is not at all reluctant to ride to the aid of Gondor, like he is in the movie. Instead, he is a courageous and wise king of men. I think largely they changed this in the movie to set up for Aragorn's reign. They didn't want to make Theoden incapable, but they also wanted to highlight that Aragorn was the natural and rightful king. The other thing they did was to villainize Denethor (a.k.a. Susan). While Denethor does not just submit to the wisdom of Gandalf in the books, he does have wisdom and power of his own. He is not the bad, rotten guy they make him out to be in the movies. They set him up as that to provide the full spectrum in the family, with Denethor and Faramir on the ends and Boromir in the middle. It shows that men are not perfect, and they do have their challenges. The changes to both rulers make sense in the context of the films, and both are understandable and acceptable.

The two changes I've always had a problem with, however, are the degradation of Faramir and Frodo chasing away Sam. Faramir of the movies is not the amazing, wonderful person he is in the books. As great as he is in the movies, he's better in the books. This is one change I don't think was necessary. I think they could have been well served to make Faramir as good as he was in the books. There was no reason that Faramir should have taken the hobbits to Osgiliath, and that really bothers me. Even if it does set up my favorite line of the movies, when Sam says "By rights we shouldn't even be here," followed by his excellent speech. That excellent speech, by the way, is an adaptation from one given in the book which I think is even better. As bad as that side-trip is, however, having Frodo force Sam away is just wrong. Sure, Frodo was more trusting of Gollum than Sam was, but he never trusted Gollum more than Sam. He was always aware of the danger Gollum presented. I understand that they needed to show in some way the struggle Frodo was having with the ring and the corrupting influence it was having on him, but that doesn't mean I like it. I think there are better ways they could have achieved the same thing.

By no means is this post meant as a rant against the movies. They are my favorite movies of all time, and, as far as I have seen, the best book to movie adaptations ever. They manage to stay true to the spirit of the books, even as they change these and many other details. You really cannot just make a movie that exactly mirrors a book, because the rules of the media are different. But that's OK, because I love both. If you haven't seen the movies, do so. If you haven't read the books, stop wasting your time reading my stupid blog and go read them. They are worth it. They are really just excellent. Not the best books ever written, but they are pretty high up there on the list.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Ride Your Bike

Today I got out on my bike for the first time in about eight months. For a guy who rode a bike 12 months out of the year for four years, that was a very long break. It felt good to get in and give the bike a good tune up. Get my hands dirty again. While mechanics are not totally my thing, it feels good to just dig in every once in a while and make something run smoothly. I recommend it to you all, yes even the girls. It's worth it. You don't have to make it an all-time everyday thing, but just give it a whirl.

Even more important than tuning my bike up was taking it for a test spin to make sure everything worked properly. I've heard a lot of people talking about how much they love running. Often, they'll talk about getting a runner's high. Well, I'd like to introduce you to the idea of a biker's high. I just got out there and pedaled, and I just felt pure joy. I may not have made it up to Timpview and back in my fastest time ever (eight months off the bike tends to lead to a little bit of deterioration of the muscles involved) but that was one of the favorite times I ever remember doing that ride. I plan on biking the Provo trail sometime next week. I think I'm going to be biking a lot this summer. It just makes me happy.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Fellowship of the Ring

I recently began rereading the Lord of the Rings series. If you haven't read these books, you need to. They belong right up there with all the good classics. There is a reason these books are basically the founding of the fantasy genre, and why so many following books are basically reworks of them. I've just been reminded of these reasons as I've read them.

Today, I finished The Fellowship of the Ring. What a fine example of writing. Tolkien has a way with the English language. And all languages, actually, seeing as he completely invented at least one of his own in Elvish. Tolkien is a true master of taking you out of your own world and into someone else's. Which is the goal of almost all books, if you think about it. Writing is about exposing people to new thoughts and ideas; new perspectives. It takes us from the world we know, and replaces it, at least temporarily, with a new world. The only thing the fantasy genre does different is change more of the rules in the transported world. I get why the fantasy genre gets such a bad rap; let's be honest, there is a lot of really poorly written fantasy out there (Twilight and some Harry Potter books anyone?). But at the same time, there are some truly superb fantasy writers who, I feel, don't get their due in the English canon. Far too few curricula include a foray into Tolkien or Lewis. It's not just a matter of being published for long enough; plenty of books written afterwards have made it into the canon.

Sorry, I really meant to focus on the awesomeness of the Fellowship in this post. But "Rants and Raves" is the title of this blog, so you really can't be surprised that I didn't stay on topic. Truly, though, the Fellowship of the Ring is one of the best books I have ever read. If you haven't read it, you need to. Go out and acquire a copy and read it. It's worth it. It is for fantasy books what the movie made from it is for fantasy films: the standard that makes it no longer just a joke or merely an escape.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Grandpa Cobabe

There's one other experience that happened in the past few weeks that I didn't include in my last post. It's a rather personal thing, and it deserved its own post, not just thrown in with all that other stuff. On Wednesday morning, April 13, my maternal grandfather passed away. Frederick William Cobabe passed away peacefully after a couple of severe strokes Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. With the condition he was in following those strokes, having his spirit freed from his body was the best thing for him.

Grandpa Cobabe has been the first person that I have really been close to and known personally that has died. It's an interesting journey that you go on when that happens. Initially, there was just a pure shock effect on Saturday night. I got a call from my mom just as I was leaving for a ward closing social telling me grandpa had had a major stroke. She told me that at that point, we weren't quite sure what was going to happen. They were doing a couple of things to try and remove the clot, and it looked like he may be able, with time, to get all function restored. I went to the social, ate food, and accompanied my friend in the talent show we had, then left to go on a long walk. The snow was falling. It was a great environment for thinking. I just kind of let my emotions wash over me. Then came Sunday, when I left early for church to practice for our ward's easter program, consequently missing the call from my mom informing me that he had another stroke, and was likely going to die. You can imagine my surprise when I came home from church to receive a call from my brother saying they were going to come pick me up to go to the hospital and say goodbye to grandpa. It was only then that I listened to the message my mom had left that morning. It was a strange amalgamation of emotions. Grief, surely. Shock. But over it all, an overwhelming feeling of peace. It helped that as I was outside waiting for my family to drive up, a light flurry of snow came down while the sun was still shining strong. I took it as an omen of good things to come, despite knowing that I was going to say goodbye.

We held a memorial service for him today. He chose to donate his body to further scientific research, so we didn't have a real funeral for him. It was a beautiful service. I was able to accompany for a couple of musical numbers. I was glad to be able to provide that service for my grandfather and my grandmother. People who know him better and longer than I do said some wonderful things about him. I'd just like to add a few thoughts.

My grandfather wasn't the smartest man in the world. He worked as a plumber for most of his life, and didn't earn a university degree until he was 55. He was, however, a hard worker. While many today spoke of the love that he had for all, which is a trait he certainly possessed, I will always remember him as a worker. It seemed every time we went up to Grandma and Grandpa Cobabe's it was to help Grandpa with some project or another around the house. I remember in particular the project he began to clear out the sage brush across from their yard. Here he had brought up his 18, 16, and 14 year old grandsons. But when we got fed up or tired or bored and left the job for a while or slacked off, he just kept right on going with it. He may not have been the fastest, but he was diligent, and he was diligent in all that he did. The Tuesday before the stroke, he went to the hospital because he had some atrial fibrillation. I went with my father to give him a blessing. In the time we were there, he talked basically about three things: explaining his condition, how proud he was of me, and the flower beds he was working on around their house. They brought him such joy. He never would be content just sitting around. He had to have something to work on. Part of his joy came from doing something that brought my grandmother happiness. She has such an appreciation for flowers. He enjoys them too, but I think he was especially happy to be able to grow them for her. It was a sign of his love for her.

I love my Grandpa Cobabe. I will miss him. I will miss his smile, his laughter, and his sense of humor. I will miss seeing the happiness and peace he was able to bring to those he interacted with. However, I know that he is off doing a work of a different kind. He would not be content just sitting around resting. I'm sure he is persistently spreading the gospel to those on the other side. He wants to spread the happiness he enjoys with others. I know that because of our Savior and Redeemer, even Jesus Christ's, atonement, he will take up a glorified and perfected body at the resurrection. I know that I will see him again in the flesh, and that he has the opportunity to be with the love of his life for eternity through the covenants he made in the temple and worked diligently to keep and renew where he fell short. Despite missing him, I am mostly just filled with the gratitude and peace which come from the Holy Ghost. How blessed I am to have that gift, to be raised by a mother who was raised by a father and mother who knew the truth and passed it on to her who, together with  her husband, passed it on to me.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Been Long Enough?

Did you miss me? I know at least some of you have. I was planning on going as long as it took for Dania to mention it in one of our conversations, but she hasn't. After this blog was mentioned in Andrew Woodruff's fantastic blog, however, I decided my loyal readership deserved a post.

Because of the long break, I actually have stuff in my life that has happened. Let's see...My first ever niece was born on March 15. She's such an adorable little girl. I adore her. Babies seem to almost have magical powers. When I went and visited my brother three days after she was born to see her, I was grinning from ear to ear the whole time. Partially because we were talking about some funny stories, but mostly just because I was holding my little niece. I'm man enough to admit that I love babies. Maybe not as much as girls seem to, but I really do.

Additionally, I was accepted to Phi Eta Sigma. It's the freshman honors society at BYU. I was kind of surprised because I didn't have a stellar first semester of college, but they accepted me anyway. I guess I'm continuing my high school tradition of receiving honors while still giving sub-par effort. Speaking of sub-par effort, my first year of college is done! I finished my last final yesterday morning. It's kind of wake-up call that I really am an adult now. I've moved back home for the summer, and now I get to look forward to the sometimes-arduous process of finding a job. Yippee. Said goodbye to a lot of good friends, some of which I won't see again for another three years due to missions, and some who I may never see again, even though we'll be going to the same school. College friends are just like that. Unlike in high school, you really have to work if you want to stick with the friends you make. Especially with a four month break where you all go back home to various areas of the country and the world, it takes determination. Luckily, we have such ease of communication these days, that it's really not all that hard to do.

Before I started taking finals, though, I spent my "reading days" doing some very excellent activities. Thursday was spent at the aforementioned Andrew Woodruff's house doing a The Lord of the Rings Extended Edition Marathon. It was a fantastic event. Kudos to Andrew, Aaron Wheatley, me, and my friend from college CaryLynn Jensen that I brought along for sticking out all 11+ hours. We even watched to the end of the credits of Return of the King, which took a long time because it listed all the members of the official Lord of the Rings fan club. Lots of good memories from that day. It takes a lot of dedication to sit through all of those movies, so those who do are big fans of both the movies and the books. It was fun to talk about all the things they put in and the little nit-picky details. And we cracked our fair share of jokes too. If Andrew or Aaron ever become general authorities, be sure to pay attention to their talks.

After that lazy, couch-potato day, I went out and played frisbee the next morning. I love that sport. It is the best sport on earth that I have played. It combines the motion of basketball, the precision of football, and the back-and-forth pace of soccer. If you have never played ultimate frisbee, you need to. If you do play ultimate frisbee, let me know when so that I can join. I ran myself into the ground last Friday morning, and to a lesser extent Saturday as well, but it was so worth it.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Sorry about that last post. I was working on doing another blog post about my childhood, when for some reason I typed in "Once upon a time..." and remembered that old story my parents used to tell us. Then I thought of that idea, and I just had to use it. Of course, I had to wait for the right time (namely, when Dania asked me to write on my blog) to publish it, which took much longer than I expected. Hence the recent drought of posts. I've been trying to get Dania to request a blog post, but she just kept on not doing it! It was frustrating.

Anyway, this past week was my father's birthday. To celebrate, my parents took a trip to San Diego (conveniently, my dad just happened to have a conference down there the same week). As a consequence, I was left in charge of my younger siblings. It gave me a chance to reflect on what my dad has done for me. As I thought about it, basically the person I am today is because of my dad. I don't want to diminish my mother's role in my life; she played a huge part. But I followed the example of my dad. He taught me what it means to be a real man. I'm not talking about the "real" men that appear at Timpview every men's week. I'm talking about a man that goes to work every day and spends time doing his job, even on the days he doesn't feel like it. I'm talking about a man who spends his free time playing with his children, even if the things his children are playing don't look particularly interesting. I loved it when my dad used to play Mario Kart 64 with us. He creamed us all, but winning was somehow less important when Dad was playing. It was not unheard of for a controller to be tossed in frustration after a consistent losing streak, except for with Dad. Winning was no longer the focus. Instead, it was about having fun, as it should have been all the time.

I can't say enough about my father. I believe it to be quite literally physically impossible. He means the world to me. People sometimes say that I'm a nice guy; the word "sweetheart" has even been used on occasion. If that's true (which is still up for debate), it's only because of the example my dad set. The little things he would do are reflected, albeit poorly, in what I try to do. Of course, he wasn't perfect, especially as a kid, but that just adds to the example. He's shown me how to repent and be a better person. He's shown me that even though someone might not be the greatest guy in the world right now, he or she can become a wonderful example.

On top of all that, my dad's a really smart guy. He's outright told me some great things. Things I needed to hear. Things I may never have thought of on my own. Things that just help make the world make a little more sense.

Truly, my father is a great guy. I'm sure many of you feel the same about your fathers. I'm glad. But I think my dad might just have them beat.


Once upon a time, there was a girl named Dania, and she asked her friend, David, to write on a blog. This is the blog post he wrote:

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Dania, and she asked her friend, David, to write on a blog. This is the blog post he wrote:

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Dania, and she asked her friend, David, to write on a blog. This is the blog post he wrote:

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Dania, and she asked her friend, David, to write on a blog. This is the blog post he wrote:

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Dania, and she asked her friend, David, to write on a blog. This is the blog post he wrote:

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Dania, and she asked her friend, David, to write on a blog. This is the blog post he wrote:

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Dania, and she asked her friend, David, to write on a blog. This is the blog post he wrote:

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Dania, and she asked her friend, David, to write on a blog. This is the blog post he wrote:

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Dania, and she asked her friend, David, to write on a blog. This is the blog post he wrote:

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Dania, and she asked her friend, David, to write on a blog. This is the blog post he wrote:

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Dania, and she asked her friend, David, to write on a blog. This is the blog post he wrote:

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Dania, and she asked her friend, David, to write on a blog. This is the blog post he wrote:

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Dania, and she asked her friend, David, to write on a blog. This is the blog post he wrote:

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Dania, and she asked her friend, David, to write on a blog. This is the blog post he wrote:

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Dania, and she asked her friend, David, to write on a blog. This is the blog post he wrote:

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Dania, and she asked her friend, David, to write on a blog. This is the blog post he wrote:

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Dania, and she asked her friend, David, to write on a blog. This is the blog post he wrote:

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Dania, and she asked her friend, David, to write on a blog. This is the blog post he wrote:

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Dania, and she asked her friend, David, to write on a blog. This is the blog post he wrote:

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Dania, and she asked her friend, David, to write on a blog. This is the blog post he wrote:

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Dania, and she asked her friend, David, to write on a blog. This is the blog post he wrote:

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Dania, and she asked her friend, David, to write on a blog. This is the blog post he wrote:

. . .

Monday, February 28, 2011


OK, I've mentioned him before. A couple of times, actually. But I just cannot get over how good of an author Brandon Sanderson is. Last night, I came home for about a week to babysit my little siblings while my parents are off frolicking in San Diego (well, maybe Dad's not actually frolicking the whole time; he is at a conference). In conjunction with that, I finally had an opportunity to read the latest in the Alcatraz series by Brandon Sanderson. My little brother Thomas got it for Christmas, but it didn't finish cycling through the rest of the family before I returned to college. Reading this book was an experience I was looking forward to immensely. For those of you unfamiliar with the series, an altogether too large a portion of the world, the Alcatraz series is an urban fantasy series kind of like Harry Potter in overall plot structure: Teenage boy, struggles growing up with his powers and not realizing it for what it was, comes of age and is suddenly faced with the prospect of saving the world. Only Brandon Sanderson does it about 10 times better. One thing you need to understand, though, is he approaches it through comedy. DO NOT attempt to read any of these books while drinking or eating. It isn't safe. About the only books I've laughed out loud more while reading are Dave Barry ones, and probably not even all of those. Honestly, these books are just good to have around for those days when you just need to have a good laugh. Sanderson knows how to write comedy. Admittedly, though, many of the subtler jokes rely on being a well-read individual, but not terribly so.

Besides the humor, Sanderson writes amazing books. While I enjoy them for the comedy, I love them for what he is able to do with the writing. The deeper meanings in his works, hidden behind the facade of the wit, are what truly set these books apart. I could not put any of them down while I read them the first time. Brandon Sanderson does an excellent job at tapping into the human psyche, in a way I hadn't seen since Orson Scott Card's Ender and Shadow series. I quite honestly think that he is the best author currently writing. Period. I don't care if you like fantasy or not, at least give his Alcatraz series a try. If you do like fantasy, and you haven't picked up a Sanderson novel yet, do so soon. It's probably best to start with Mistborn, although I personally favor Elantris.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Toy Story 3

Sorry it's been so long. I've actually had a post ready for a while now, but I need to wait for the right time to publish it. I thought the moment would have come a lot sooner, but it hasn't, and the few of you that actually enjoy reading this blog for whatever reason deserve something.

But first, a message from my good friend and roommate Taylor Abegg-Lawerence: "Dear world: Barf barf barf barf. Love Taylor."

Yesterday, I finally watched Toy Story 3 for the first time. Mock and ridicule me all you want for going this long without seeing it; I know I deserve it. When my family watched it over Christmas break, however, I was off doing something with friends, and, although they watched How to Train Your Dragon three times, they didn't want to watch Toy Story 3 again. Yesterday I saw it, though, and my top 25 movies list needs some adjustment.

Toy Story 3 got me in a different way than Up did. With Up, I was most impressed with the first 15 minutes or so and spent the rest of the movie thinking it was a good movie. With Toy Story 3, I spent the large majority of the movie thinking it was a good movie and that Pixar had managed to avoid the "we have no story, but we'll still make a lot of money off this movie just because it's part of a great series" problem so many films have today, but I didn't think it was something all that special. Then I got to the last five minutes of the movie. It may just be a reflection of some stuff I'm going through right now, but in the last five minutes, when we really get to see Andy as something more than just a static character, I felt that Pixar had modeled him off of me.

Let's do a comparison, shall we? The whole premise of the movie is Andy moving out to college. They mention in the movie that Andy is 17 years old. Well, when I came to college, I was 17 years old. Check one. The opening scene of the movie is a depiction of a typical Andy playtime scenario. While I used sticks and completely imaginary characters as opposed to action figures, I used to create similar scenes. Check two. Andy has kept these old toys, hinting that though he might not play with them anymore, the stories he used to create with them still had a place in his imagination. The sticks I used to play out mock battle scenes fell by the wayside, but the stories I imagined proliferated. Check three. Andy has a great time revisiting those old games when he donates his old toys to Bonnie. Whenever I spend time with a small child, I immerse myself in their games and am able to play their games as fully as they do. Check four. All in all, the ending of that movie hit me like a brick. I was able to see myself as Andy (something that I think is not uncommon for most people). What a great ending to a great saga. Pixar did it yet again.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sometimes, You Just Have to Dance

There are just those times in life when stuff is just going well. And then something really exciting happens. And then your favorite song comes on. Those are the times when you just have to dance. Just get up and bust a move or two. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about.

Okay, no, no, not really. I've never just had to dance in my life. But hey, it was a title for a post, and it certainly got your attention didn't it? Who wouldn't want to read about the sudden transformation of David Sorensen to a dancer? That would be breaking news. Almost like the rumor that spread without prejudice about me having a girlfriend. Let me just clear that matter up right now: David Sorensen does not have, and has never had, a girlfriend. The world has not yet ended. You don't need to worry.

Yeah, basically I have nothing to write about and so I'm kind of just going with any life updates you might possibly want to know about. Except I don't really have a life, so I don't have any updates to tell you about. Too bad. Well, I guess...nope, nothing at all remotely even close to interesting. Sorry. Welcome to my life. It's really quite boring, but I like it. I don't do very exciting things, but it doesn't matter to me because what I do is enjoyable.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


A point that I have come to know many times was reiterated today: I get way, way too worked up about sports. Whether I'm playing or watching, I let my emotions go. Through sheer force of training, I thankfully don't release profanities, but that doesn't make my conduct any more acceptable. When things don't go well, or don't happen the way I think they should, in a game, I get downright angry. As if I wasn't frightening enough already, I become a towering mass of vindictive bitterness. Many of you have seen this for yourselves. And that is what today's post is about. Today, along with that realization that I've had many a time, came the realization that I do a horrible job of apologizing to the people who I affect when I get like that. I'm sure I've ruined the experience of many a person through my wrath, too many for me to remember them all. I wonder how many people have vowed never to sit by me at a sporting event or play a game with me ever again. I'd like, therefore, to publicly apologize to all of you. My conduct is unacceptable. I'm sorry for the games I've ruined, the anger I've caused, and the disturbances of harmony I'm responsible for. I'm sorry I haven't apologized before now. I am working on this; progress has been made, and I hope I will continue to progress. Thank you for those of you who have put up with me despite this, and especially thank you to those of you who have been brave enough to call me out on it. I hope one day to be able to play or watch any game with anybody and not become enraged. I'm not anywhere near that yet, but I will keep working on it.

Monday, January 24, 2011


DISCLAIMER: This is one of my most scatterbrained pieces of work ever. If you thought some of my previous rants and raves were bad, wait until you read this. I could take time to polish it up, but frankly I just don't care enough. I put this down to put my own thoughts into words to help me look at the issue in a new light. Whether or not you get anything out of this is of no concern for me. I wouldn't post this at all if it weren't something to write about, and I want to keep Dania happy with me.

It's a funny thing. On one hand, it can be absolutely crippling. On the other, it can be what gets us through the day. From an evolutionary standpoint, it can be downright baffling. Often, it detracts from the cool intellect that is so great for adaptation and survival. Because of emotion, humans have a remarkable ability for spite. Most observed organisms do not exhibit spiteful behaviors: ones that harm the other individual at the cost of harming that individuals fitness. In a very real sense, natural selection is a very level-headed process. It's a pure cost-benefit analysis. Behaviors are selected for benefits to the fitness of individuals. Spiteful actions seem to not make sense, unless the action would harm the other individual's fitness more than their own and therefore there would be a net gain by that individual. Many human behaviors caused by emotion, however, do not have this effect. For example, I watched the film Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps with my roommates the other day (I do not recommend this film unless you have some sort of filter; although it is PG-13, it has some very strong language). It depicts the story of several Wall Street insiders who, through their thirst for vengeance, cause the stock market to crash--the film is set in 2008, but it is not an actual representation of the events that led to that crash. In the end, everyone involved ended up worse off. Such behavior should theoretically be selected against, yet it persists in humans.

Examples such as this are way I am a firm stoicist. I do my best to keep my emotions in check at all times. It's part of why I am sometimes labeled as a pessimist (part of it is because I kind of am). I rarely express positive emotion, so I must think every thing is not going well. However, if you notice, I also rarely express negative emotions. Emotion often is an enemy of logic, so while I do my best to understand my own emotional reactions and, to be blunt, manipulate the emotions of others, I keep my own emotions in check. I honestly think I make better decisions because of this. At times when my emotions do run away from me, as has happened all too often in the past couple of weeks--to both positive and negative extremes--I try to refrain from action. Passionate emotions tend to impede judgment, and decisions made while under these extreme emotions can often lead to unintended consequences.

I do not wish to put forward a full on condemnation of emotion, however. While emotions can lead to poor decision-making, it is partially emotion that makes good decisions a desirable goal. I also recognize that stoicism can be taken too far. When we abandon all emotional reaction and go based off purely cold intellect and reason, we can arrive at horrible conclusions. Look at Johnathan Swift's A Modest Proposal if you need any proof of that. The work is an wonderful example of satire, but when you look at the idea he puts forth, it makes absolute perfect sense. Removing emotion entirely can lead to horrible ideas like breeding children for food.

The answer, then, is a healthy mix. It is one of life's great difficulties. I know that I have not yet arrived at that healthy balance. The exact mixture between intellect and emotion that we should use is elusive. Much like the old game Lemonade Tycoon, the key is experimentation. The trouble is that likely by now you have found a combination that seems to work pretty well for you. My formula seems to work rather well right now, and adjusting it might lead to a decrease in effectiveness. I am also fairly confident, however, that my current formula is not ideal, and as circumstances change I will have to adjust the balance. In the end, I'm willing to risk it because I'd rather live with a bunch of human beings than a bunch of programmed robots. It makes life worth living. Yes, humans have a remarkable capacity for spite, but they also have an astounding ability for altruism, and the source of both types of behavior is the same.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

D.C. Project

I was sitting in my kitchen last night, just kind of goofing off and relaxing after the week, when Dania started chatting with me. She mentioned the fact that she still hadn't gotten over Dona Nobis Pacem, and I said I felt the same way after the band completed the DC Project. That got me thinking, reminiscing, and laughing about that experience. For those of you who aren't familiar with the DC Project, it was an undertaking of the Timpview High School Band. Dr. David Fullmer, the director of the Timpview Band, received an invitation for the band to participate in the National Cherry Blossom Parade in April of 2008. Previously, the Timpview Band had helped to commemorate the 60th anniversaries of both Pearl Harbor and D-Day. As part of those trips, Dr. Fullmer had every participating member of the band go through a rigorous process to prepare them and help them understand more about what those events meant in the history of the world. Upon receiving the invitation for the Cherry Blossom Parade, he decided it was time for the Timpview Band to do another similar project.

Those that went on the trip met twice a month from September through December at six in the morning, once for a music rehearsal and once for a lecture about various wars. That bumped up to every week from January until we left. Additionally, we had pass-offs for memorization of music and historical documents, and occasionally an extra rehearsal on Saturday mornings. Homework for the project was a significant length research paper on a topic of our choosing and watching several movies depicting the various wars. For eight months, we devoted a large portion of our time and energy into this project. It culminated with a week spent in Washington D.C., which I can honestly say was one of the best weeks of my life.

We had performances at the Air Force Memorial, the World War II Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, and Gettysburg. Each one was special. Because of the time spent learning all the information we did, the entire project meant a whole lot more. It is my most treasured memory of high school. The tenderest moment on the trip was I was walking along the Vietnam Memorial wall, and I happened upon a letter wrote by one Natalie Cooper. She was writing on behalf of her father, Gary. I wish I had remembered the name of the fallen soldier she addressed the letter to. I do, however, remember reading the words "He doesn't know I'm writing this." This young girl, who seemed to be no more than 14, knew what a sacrifice her father and his fellow soldiers made. She understood and wanted to express appreciation. She had the capacity to see how much it meant for her father, and expressed her love of her father in that note. That moment, beyond anything else I experienced on the trip (and believe me, there was a lot), made it all worthwhile. It remains one of the more profound experiences of my life to this day.

There are a multitude of other experiences I could share. It was quite simply one of the best weeks of my life, and a lot happened during it. It had such an effect on me that when I received an invitation to attend the National Youth Leadership Forum on National Security: Exploring American Defense, Diplomacy, and Intelligence, I jumped at the opportunity to return to D.C. I was not going to pass up the chance to go back and visit those places again and relive the moments. I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in that, and grateful that I had a director who did his best to help us young, stupid teenagers discover what it was really all about.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


This semester I am taking a first-year Thai class. When it was time for registration back in October, I had an extra slot in my schedule, and I decided I wanted to take a language class. Unfortunately, the majority of beginning language classes are taught at 9 in the morning. My neurobiology class is also taught at 9 in the morning, and there was no way I was going to give up that class. Luckily, with persistent searching I found a Thai class offered at 12 and decided to take that. So far, it has been my favorite class this semester. It's so nice to have a class that consistently challenges and engages my brain. Most of my classes move too slowly for me, and I find teachers going over and over material I learn the first time around. In Thai, however, we move along pretty well and keep adding new stuff in. For a guy who has pretty much been on cruise control as far as schooling goes for a long time, it is a breath of fresh air. I'm enjoying it so much, I figured I'd share some of what I learned with you. Keep in mind that the romanization is not perfect, but it gives you an idea.

Sawad-dii khrab (Hello)

Phom chuu David khrab. Khun chuu arai khrab? (My name is David. What is your name?)

Khun mii chuu leen mai khrab? (Do you have a nickname? In Thailand, part of the culture is having a nickname given by the parents to each child)

Khun sabaidii mai khrab? (How are you?)

Phom sabaidii/ruay ruay/mai sabai/bpen wad/bpuad hua/bpuad thoong khrab. (I am fine/so so/not feeling well/have a cold/have a headache/have a stomachache)

Chookh dii khrab. Leew phob gan mai khrab (Good luck! See you later. You don't say goodbye much in Thai, but if you did you would say laa goon)

Yin dii thii dai ruu jag khun khrab (Nice to meet you)

Well, that's some of the basic phrases. I've learned a lot of other stuff as well. Bear in mind that if you are a girl you need to replace all the Phoms with Dichans and all the khrabs with khas. Also, I'm too lazy to figure out how to do tone markers, and the tone in Thai can make all the difference, so be sure you get someone to demonstrate it for you before you attempt it. It really is quite a cool language.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Friend Like You

Tonight I say goodbye to my close friend,
But to me you mean so much more.
I don't know when our paths will meet again,
But 'til then I'll be thinking of you for sure.
And when I'm far away and feeling low,
I'll remember times we spent back home
With a friend like you,
Always by my side.
With a friend like you,
We laughed until we cried.
Together you and me,
We were always known as one.
With a friend like you,
I know I can go on.

I knew in time that we would have to part.
Oh, how I didn't want to see the day
When we would stand and say our first good-bye
And I just wouldn't know quite what to say

To a friend like you,
Always by my side.
To a friend like you,
We laughed until we cried.
Together you and me,
We were always known as one.
With a friend like you,
I know I can go on.

With a friend like you,
I know I can go on.

--"With a Friend", Octapella

Today was Shane McQuarrie's farewell talk. Today, I said goodbye to the best and longest friend I've had. I probably won't see him again for three years. We've been best friends since 5th grade, when I was advanced into the Pre-Algebra class that Shane was already in. Everybody else was older than us so we had to stick together. As big of an impact on my schooling that advancement had, it does not compare to the impact it's had on my life through having Shane as my friend. Because of the best elementary school principal in the world, I was able to get the greatest friend. I'm not good enough with words to adequately express what he means to me. I can explain any logical concept I can understand, but I've never been able to say how I feel. That's why I posted these song lyrics. As much as I don't like relying on the words of others, I can't say enough on my own. Shane has been with me through so much and for so long, words honestly fail me. Compared to saying goodbye to Shane, saying goodbye to Brodi, and even Nick, was easy. I didn't know Brodi long enough, and I my final goodbye to Nick was at the temple and therefore full of peace and joy. With Shane, basically a part of me is leaving. Shane has been one of the columns I lean on for support all my life. No matter what was going on in my life, I always had Shane. And now I don't for three years. Thank you, Shane, for all that you have done. For being an example and a rock in my life. For sticking with me, even in the times when I wasn't sure I wanted to stick with you. For showing me what I was doing wrong and helping me see how to fix it. For being, all around the best friend I have.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Home Alone

No, this is not a movie review. This is actually going to be about the actual position of being home alone rather than a silly movie about it.

As I sit here writing his post, a dance is going on in the Wilkinson Student Center. It'a big to-do, and all of my roommates have gone over to it. Those of you who are at all familiar with me will know that I do not like dances. I have only truly enjoyed myself at one dance. Accordingly, I declined all invitations extended to me for this dance. It follows, then, that I am home alone. I've found myself in this position all to infrequently since I've been at college. I love my roommates, but it seems to be party time in Broadbent 23 almost 24/7. At times, I'm OK with this; sometimes, I even enjoy it. A lot of the time, however, it bothers me. I, if you couldn't figure it out, am an introvert. As such, interactions with multiple people at once can be stressing to me. In order for me to be content with my situation, I have to have a significant portion of time where I can be by myself. I wish people would understand this better. Sometimes people who are alone actually prefer it that way. It seems our society is too focused on including everybody that we forget that sometimes some people need to take a step out and be alone for a bit. The idea of going and sitting by somebody that looks lonely may not actually be an act of service. Being alone gives us introverts a chance to rest and recharge. Some of my happiest times come when I am by myself. For example, every Monday morning I go to the temple at 5:30 (Dania got me started on it, and I just can't stop).  At first, I made the relatively short walk by myself. Now, there is always at least one person accompanying me. I don't begrudge them the opportunity to go to the temple; I'm glad they're coming, but at the same time that used to be some of my highest quality alone time. Sometimes I wish they would just sleep in 5 or 10 minutes so I could go by myself.

The next time you have the opportunity to spend some time at home alone, try it. You may surprised with how relaxing it is. You may also freak out and need something to do. Different personalities respond differently to being alone. As for me, I sit by myself, doing almost nothing besides thinking (and listening to the music I enjoy). So next time you see me sitting by myself seemingly doing nothing, don't worry. Most of the time, that's all I want to do.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Too Much Complaining

Sorry it's been so long, loyal readership. I understand that for some of you it is important that I write on this. I still don't understand why. It's not like I post anything that's of actual value, but whatever floats your boat. Anyway, the long absence was unintentional, unlike some of the others have been. No, I was going to post something on Friday or Saturday, but I just couldn't think of anything to write about. I don't want to post those top 25 lists too often. You'd probably get sick of them, and I know I would get sick of coming up with them if I did them all the time.

This post is going to be a little different than many of my posts have been. Because of my personality, I tend to comment on the bad more than the good. I am a natural critic. I rarely remark on the positive aspects of something, and when I do it usually is only a very terse acknowledgement. I do not consider this a negative aspect of myself. I still recognize all the good in the world, I just don't expound on it. It's already good, so discussing it doesn't really help to improve anything. It is rather in fixing the stuff that isn't good that we can make improvement. In order to fix the bad stuff, we need to understand it, so it is expedient to discuss in detail negative aspects.

However, today I'm going to take a break from that. A confluence of events has caused me recently to reflect more deeply on how great my life is. I may not have exciting experiences that are worth sharing about on this blog, but in the end that doesn't matter. Just because I live a boring life does not mean it is not a good one. I honestly live in what I believe to be one of the most beautiful places on Earth, with the great snow-capped mountains surrounding the valley and just a few hours south absolutely gorgeous red rock. I've had the opportunity to grow up in around and on that beauty; so many people never get to experience it at all. Add to that the home and family I grew up in and you've got one kid who was fortunate enough to cheat probability. On top of that, I also have some truly great friends. Some I've already mentioned in earlier posts, but there are many, many more on top of them. Chances are that if you are reading this blog, you are counted in that number. So thank you.