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Showing posts from October, 2012

Being an Enabler

When I attended Dragon Con, I listed to a speech about polyamory, and mentioned that briefly in this post.  I was just thinking about this concept and how I feel about it.  Personally, I think that what consenting adults do together is their own business, and unless they're spreading disease, it's really of no concern to anyone else, and certainly not to me.  But, I'm just thinking that if I had a friend who was in some sort of polyamorous relationship, I would want them to feel comfortable being open about that with me.  I would not want to make a friend feel like they need to hide the people who are special to them from me.  I think it's sad that most polyamorous people feel like they do need to hide from society, because there is so much judgement from society.  And sadly, because that is how society is, any polyamorous friends that I have (now or in the future) are going to be less likely to be open with me about it.  But there certainly are things that I can do to…

Who has the need of help from me?

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Nearly every day on my walk from my car to my office, I come across at least one homeless person.  This is a very difficult thing for me.  If I had unlimited resources, I would offer each one of them a bed in my house and a place at my table.  But I can't.  And it is difficult for me to make that realization.  To see someone who is without even the basic necessities of life and to acknowledge that there is only very little that I can do to help is painful.

I have been very privileged in life.  In fact, it could even be said that I've been spoon-fed my whole life.  My parents raised me well.  They provided for all of my needs, from birth to adulthood.  They paid for my shelter, food, and clothing.  They paid for my entertainment.  They gave me a loving environment in which to mature from childhood to adulthood.  They paid for my LDS mission trip to Japan.  The federal government paid for my undergraduate college experience (it's a little more complicated than that--I got a …

Voter Education

There are many things about the electoral process in the USA that I find to be unfortunate.  First is the fact that people focus on the presidential election.  Many times we forget that there are many other issues and offices to vote on in the election, and we only talk about who's running for president.  Secondly, we pretend that there are only two people who are running for the office of president.  This is far from the case.  And the only reason the two-party system is still in effect is because everyone believes they're "throwing their vote away" if they vote for a third party.

I cannot in good conscience vote for either Obama or Romney.  I don't think that either one of them is the best person for the job.  I admit there are many things that Obama has done that I think were good, and many things he has done that I think are terrible.  He signed the bill to repeal DADT, and that was one of the good things he did and it has been great for the military.

So, I…

Showing love

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I saw this video floating around the web the other day and I think it will help to illustrate the sentiment I've been trying to communicate in these twoposts.  Before I get to the point of this post and the reason why I'm sharing this video, I just wanted to relate a couple thoughts I had that are tangential.

1. The "touchdown Jesus" statue looked really creepy to me.  The newer one looks much nicer.
2. Shouldn't this be a case of insurance fraud?  The new statue is clearly much nicer than the old one, it must have been far more expensive, and yet they say that they paid for it all with insurance money they collected from the first one burning down.
3. You have to admit it's ironic that a Jesus statue got struck by lightning.  And then burned.



Anyway, the point that I wanted to make was something that the protestors (seen at around timestamp 2:00) said.  In particular, the man who says "They can believe what they want.  We're here because we love the…

Heart to heart

I just woke up from a nap where I had a very poignant dream.  I don't remember my dreams very often, and when I do I don't always remember very many details.  That's why this particular dream stands out.  It was very vivid, and I remember many details.  But I mainly want to share it because it shows what's been on my mind lately and because I think that it is a good lesson.  (As a side note, this is about the 4th or 5th dream within the last week where Magic cards have appeared in the dream.  Clearly I think about it too much.)

There was an event that I was going to participate in.  It was a sort of musical performance kind of thing.  In fact, Conrad and I were going to sing in a choir, so we attended choir practice together.  Also, many of the members of the ward (Mormon congregation) I used to belong to were asked to participate by doing some dances and musical numbers.  It was a rather big event, actually.

Anyway, I remember on the actual day of the event, I was sit…

D-d-d-d-drama queen

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This won't come as a surprise to anyone who knows me.  I just want to talk about it.

I'm dramatic.  Sometimes, I think I feel tenfold the emotion that other people might feel when experiencing a certain stimulus.  I love acting.  In fact, in high school I did it quite frequently in my everyday life.

I played a card game called Magic: The Gathering when I was in middle school, after a couple friends introduced me to it.  Then I stopped for years.  I casually picked up a deck last year when Conrad said he wanted to play with a deck he had put together, so we played a bit.  Then when I went to DragonCon this year, one of the vendors was selling big boxes of 2,000 cards for only $20.  I figured I could probably put together a fun deck with that much variety, and that I could even make a profit if I sold some of the rarer cards.  Well, that was the trigger into the two of us getting heavily involved in Magic.

We went to a prerelease event for the new expansion pack "Return t…

Racism

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A very good description about the racism presented in the Book of Mormon and which explains how the concept is very fundamental to the religion's beliefs.  And, please don't jump to conclusions.  Not all Mormons are racist (the guy in the video admits that in his 27 years of being Mormon, he never met one single racist, and I'd have to say the same thing).

Pacifism

I'm a pacifist.  I can't say exactly when I decided that I didn't like war at all, but I've never enjoyed physical violence and I have a hard time understanding people who do.  I have friends and family who talk about how exciting a movie is when there're a lot of fighting scenes and explosions.  I don't enjoy that at all.  I don't like people fighting, I don't like watching people die, and I don't like seeing things get blown up.  That's just my nature.  I'm not bragging about it, I'm just stating it as it is.  But, this is all fantasy violence, and I certainly see the point people make when they say there's a difference between violence in movies and violence in real life.

I've had many discussions with people about real-life violence and wars.  I used to be republican.  I used to believe what my dad would always say about politics and what the republicans would say.  I used to think that we were noble for fighting "the wa…

I shall write on

I haven't reached any solid conclusion yet.  I have considered the feedback that has been given.  To the person who wrote the anonymous comment on my previous post, I would like to continue the discussion anytime that you're available to do so.  I do allow anonymous comments because I would rather hear from someone who has something they'd like to say but doesn't want people (even me) to know who's saying it.  However, I would prefer that you identify yourself if I do know you personally because I often do want to converse about your comments--either here or in private.  I'm asking for feedback again--any thoughts anyone might have concerning what I said in my last post or here.

Anyhow, the main purpose of this blog has always been for me to share my musings with other people and I mean to keep that as my main purpose.  I don't mean to have a scientific blog where I post only things which are solid fact.  Yes, I do mean to refrain from posting false things-…

To write or not to write, that is the question

As I said in my last post, I watched some of the LDS general conference this last weekend.  As I was doing so, I thought of many things that I want to write about--and I probably will.  But I want to take a minute to talk about why I write.  In fact, I want to take a minute to find out why I write.

I get worked up about something--perhaps something a Mormon leader says, or something that a politician says or whatever--and I want to tell everyone about it.  I want people to understand my position.  I want people to agree with my position.  I want to be right.  I want the truth to be known.  I want a lot of things.  But I need to stop for a minute and think about what effect my writing has on people who read it and whether that's what I really want to be doing.

There are so many ideas floating around out there and so many of them seem wise to me.  Some people, like Richard Dawkins, say that you should just say what is true regardless of whether it hurts people's feelings.  He&#…

Salves from hurtful teachings

This weekend was the LDS General Conference, where the leaders of the church gather and give speeches about the church's doctrine, policy, and commandments.  I'll probably make a few posts about the things that were said during this conference, and this will be the first.  If you would like to read/watch/listen, you may do so here.  At the moment, they have all of the video content available to stream.  During the course of the next few days, they will be putting up video/audio and transcripts for each individual speaker for download or streaming.

Elder Shane M. Bowen spoke in the Saturday Morning session.  He's a member of the Quorum of the Seventy, which is (basically) the third-highest body of leaders in the church, right underneath the First Presidency (consisting of 3 men) and the Quorum of Apostles (consisting of 12 men).  One of the things he talked about was the doctrine of infant baptisms.  One of the major ways wherein Mormonism differs from Catholicism (and many…

Not quite so firm as the mountains around us

I remember one time during my first year of college, a girl that my roommates and I were friends with was having a rough time.  She came over and talked to us about what was going on.  She cried a lot.  After a long discussion and comforting her and everything, she apologized for being emotional.  One of my roommates said "It's okay.  No man's an island." and then he added "Except Keith."  I took pride in that.  I've always viewed myself as someone who can stand alone.  I can handle my own problems, etc.

I wonder if the reason I feel this way is because since a young age I was taught that I had to stand alone.  I had friends in my neighborhood, that lived down the street, when I was a child.  But at school I had very few friends.  People picked on me a lot.  So, I learned that I couldn't rely on other people--I could only trust other people to hurt me, not to care about me.  All through my public school years, I had very few friends until I started…

With whom to share

Oh, how often I have been working on a particular problem in my research and after weeks of beating my head against a wall, I make a breakthrough and I feel so excited and elated, only to make the deflating realization seconds after the fact that I have no one to tell about it.  Yes, I can tell Conrad, but he won't have any clue what I'm talking about and he won't appreciate why I'm so excited.  I can tell fellow grad students, but they are all working in different fields and still wouldn't fully understand what I'm talking about, although they would be able to empathize with me on the joys of making a breakthrough.  Why is it that telling someone about an emotional experience is so compelling?  Why do we have this need to tell people what's going on?

My fiancĂ© is my confidant.  I tell him everything.  I tell him what I'm feeling and thinking.  I tell him things people do that have caused me to be angry, sad, frustrated, happy, and so forth.  I talk to …