Saturday, August 8, 2009

Teaching Assistant

Recently I have become a wanted man.

A little prelude to set up the opening sentence. I have worked studiously at the U for the past couple of years in order to have a high GPA for medical school and to learn (that would be the reason I am there right?). I have never done anything with my good grades like apply for scholarships etc. My view is do well in school but get out with the least involvement as possible cause really I just want to do medical school. A chemistry degree has been interesting, but I know clearly that it is not a profession that I will pursue.

This last semester (spring semester) I made the decision to take anatomy and biochemistry in order to "pad" up my application for medical school. These classes were awesome, and only made me that much more excited for medical school. Ralph can attest for how much I enjoyed them because every week as we lifted together I would tell all that I had learned that week. To say the least, I did very well in both of the classes. For anatomy you can apply to be a TA for the class which I did. I didn't hear anything back so I figured that I had been passed up. Maybe the professor didn't want me because I was so close to graduation, or maybe I didn't do as well as some of the others in the class (which I doubt for the most part). But I let it go because I wouldn't really have time to devote anyway.

On Friday, July the 10th, I was showering in the afternoon and missed a call. It was from a number that I didn't know, so I wasn't eager to hear the message. Later that evening I listened to the message and it was from a professor at the U who was going to be teaching biochemistry next spring. He called to ask me to TA for his class. I was quite flattered because this was not something that you applied for. He must have gone through student's tests and grades and then looked up my phone number and gave me a call. This was a perfect opportunity. In the spring I will have graduated and so this will give me something to do with my free time, pay a little extra money, and provide me with teaching/leadership opportunities for med school applications if first year applications don't work out. So I called back Dr. Horvath and accepted his offer to TA for the class.

One week later I get an email from Mark Nielson, the anatomy professor. He has emailed to ask if I am still interested in being a TA for his class. For whatever reason, I thought that he would have been setting up his TAs earlier than he did, he had not passed me over. I met with him and made the decision to TA for his class this fall. So from these two classes, anatomy and biochemistry, I not only got to fat A's on my school transcript, I have been given to teaching assistant opportunities that I amy truly looking forward to.

On Friday the 24th of July, I as up in Park City with my family on vacation. Many of us were in a room at the Marriot Suites chatting and I was using someone's laptop to check my email for anything that might have come from classmates I was doing a class project with. As I logged into my email, I had received an email from Dr. Ernst, a chemistry professor up at the U. The email was titled "Chem 3100 TA." I just laughed out loud to myself. I opened up the email, sure enough, Dr. Ernst was asking if I would like to TA for his upper division inorganic chemistry class this fall (I had taken it from him last fall and did well enough to get an A in the class). I would have liked to do it, but I had too much on my plate for the fall and had to turn it down.

That is where the opening sentence now makes sense. I have become a wanted man for being a TA. All of my diligent efforts in class have now been noticed and paid off in some ways besides just getting a good grade. I am excited to do some teaching. It is something that I have always liked to do, but something I have only really had the opportunity to do at church, not with school. I'm most looking forward to holding all the dead bodies in the anatomy lab. My goal is to become like professor Frink.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Pain Train

It is very interesting to see how people deal with physical pain differently. There is a guy on the East High soccer team that Juice and I were laughing about cause he always mumbles cuss words under his breath for like 3 minutes while he deals with the pain. Some people cry (mostly women and kids, hopefully no men). Some people laugh because it feels so good. Others scream. I have tried to make pain one of the joys of my life. When I was younger, I was kind of a wuss. I, like most kids, would cry when I got hurt, but I am sure that I cried a little more than the regular kid. One day in ~6th grade, I was playing basketball with some friends and I jammed my finger. It hurt real bad and I initially thought that I was going to cry cause that was what I did as a kid when things hurt really bad and I didn't want to cry in front of my friends. Then something changed in my head and I thought to myself, why would I cry because of physical pain. It just didn't make any sense to me and now it still doesn't. I don't see why you would cry from getting hurt physically.
Pain has almost become a game now for me and some of my friends. In high school, "pain train" was started in Ralph's pool. Back flops and belly flops came by the dozens. Belly flops never did hurt too much, but a good back flop would sting and send that wonderfully warm sensation deep into the lower back. After that things escalated. A summer night at Laird Park, we were hanging out and somebody had a skinny yellow plastic bat. Pete was swinging it and I told him to swing it right across my bare back. He asked me if I was serious and my response was that if we swung it, I would take it. He got this look in his eye and I knew that he was going to swing it, but first he asked again if it was alright that he swing it. I told him the same thing. He asked permission again and while asking full on swung that skinny bat across my upper back. Oh baby, the intensity was heaven. After a lap around Laird park, I felt great.
Ralph and I have plenty of stories from Applegate's class about pain train. Pain has become like a drug, but we try to keep it reasonable, nothing like what is done in Jackass or anything like that, just reasonable things.
I missed pain train so much that I started it on my mission once I found someone who was man enough to join me. Elder Walker and I were in the MTC together and we finished out our missions together in the same house. In our last two transfers we decided to get to know the Korean culture better through our own study of 태관도 (tai kwon do). While we were mock fighting we hit shins and the pain was blissful. We started laughing and decided to smack shins again. Shins are so sensitive but we recalled a Jean Claude Van Damm movie where he kicks down a tree after beating it with his shins over and over so we were determined to desensitize our shins. Every night we would have shin kick offs. One person would hold out their leg while the other person swung and slammed his shin into the other guys shin. It was too much fun. Everyone got hurt everytime around. The key was to try to find the same spot everytime on the other guy. Elder Walker and I did this a little too much cause it got to the point where I could kick a door frame with my shin and it didn't hurt that much.
The shin kicking only happened between Elder Walker and I, our companions never joined us even though one was a huge O-line man who grew up in Orem getting in fights with Polynesians and the other was a huge lumberjack from north-western Canada and was a professional arm wrestler. Well finally one night they broke. The Orem elder broke first and decided to go against me. I held my leg out first and he struck and I could tell that he was hurt. Now it was my turn. He held out his leg and I struck him good with my shin. He went one more round with me and then gave up. Proud in my victory I went after the other missionary and he tried to avoid my kicks. I kind of got him and he got mad so he came swinging with his leg. I stuck my leg out for him to hit and he swung and hit and then in anger swung and hit again and in anger swung again but this time I didn't wait for him to hit my leg, I swung up into his leg and our shins smacked so hard I still laugh when I think about it now. He immediately dropped to the ground and bowed out. In one night I had taken out two giants by my solid shins. As I look back on it now, I am certainly glad that none of us broke our legs because that would have been beyond embarassing to have to go to the mission president and tell him that story.
Now for pain train I keep it to lifting weights and conditioning with the soccer team. Anytime I can see Ralph hurting in the weight room I know that we have to do a little more. And anytime we can run hills in soccer we run 'em. Seems a little more healthy than shin kicking but I don't know if it is as satisfying but it'll do for now.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Houston Rockets

NBA playoff basketball is getting close again. This is a great time of the year. I pay attention some to the NBA during the months of October to February, but for me, the season really gets going after the all-star break.
My favorite team is the Houston Rockets; they have been since the early 90s. In fact it was 1992 because I remember looking at basketball cards for the '91 all-star team and Hakeem Olajuwon wasn't on the West's team. I was really bugged because I thought that I had chosen to like a really good basketball player. Come to find out that he wasn't on the '91 all-star team because he had missed a number of games at the beginning of the '90-91 season due to injury. But somehow I had come to like Hakeem Olajuwon from basketball cards. I liked him, Patrick Ewing and Tim Hardaway.
I don't know how in my little kid brain I came to these decisions, but Olajuwon was my favorite and I have stuck with Houston ever since. In '94 and '95 it payed off to have picked him, because they won the championship both those years. And they beat the Jazz on there way to both of those championships which made it all the more sweeter for me here in SLC amongst my friends. I still remember game 5 of the first round of the '95 playoffs between the Rockets and the Jazz. The Rockets didn't have the greatest of seasons so they came into the playoffs with the 6th seed and the jazz were the 3rd. With home court advantage I was worried about the Rockets' ability to win the 5th game at the Delta Center. The game was on a Sunday and I missed the whole thing due to church. But by going to church I was blessed (is that a little sacreligious to think that way?) and I found out that the Rockets had won 95-91 (I didn't even have to look that score up, I still just know it). I remember cutting pictures out of the newspaper the next day and hanging them on the wall of my room.
The Rockets have had their ups and downs since those championship years. Highlights were a plenty with Stevey Franchise and Cutino Mobley but the wins were not. Yao was drafted and I remember being worried if they had made the right choice in taking him and not Jason Williams out of Duke cause that boy could shoot the lights out. Yao has been a great choice, I would like him even better if he was Korean though. While I was on my mission in Korea I walked by a sports store and they had a Francis jersey for the Orlando Magic. I was so confused. Somehow I finally found out that he was traded for T-Mac, a huge win for the Rockets. And now they have picked up Artest as well.
It was been a love-hate relationship since. There are times when I just love them. Take last season when they won 22 straight. Or last season for the opening home game for the Jazz and the Rockets came in and T-Mac dropped 48 on them. It was like watching a clinic by T-Mac. Then there are all the injuries that plague them. Who knows if all of their top players on salary have all played together at once this season. If one person is healthy, then another is hurt. T-Mac finally had to have surgery to take him out for the year, but the Rockets are rollin'. The big question that remains is can they get out of the first round of the playoffs. My prayers are for them, and whethere they'll need them or not remains to be seen in the seeding of the playoffs this year. No matter how the seeding comes up, GO ROCKETS!

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Juggling the soccer ball has to be one of the greatest activities of all time. I could honestly juggle for hours on end, whether by myself or with other people. I attribute this love to Chris Matheson. Back in 8th grade, I believe in the spring or maybe the fall, Chris and I were bored and decided to juggle the soccer ball (I don't exactly remember how we ended up juggling the soccer ball, whether we were bored or not). Anyway when we started, getting in the 20s was a big deal. Then after a week or so we were pushing 50. A week later I think we had reached the century mark; anything was possible now in our minds. Chris would set a new record and then I would beat it and then Chris would beat it and then I would beat it. It went back and forth for a long while. It takes a long time to juggle 200 times straight, so when your record is like 250 and you get close but don't break it, you become really mad because it takes so much time to get back to that high a number. Well we finally stopped caring about records somewhere in the 500s. I remember the last time that I counted was in 9th grade and I juggled 578 times before finally succumbing to the law of gravity. Over the spring break, Ralph and I had some extra time at the gym. After lifting we did some juggling and we got to talking about how many we could do in a row. I had not counted while juggling since the 9th grade. Actually that is not true. Last year Jamis got a mini soccer ball as his "senior" present on the varsity soccer team. I borrowed that mini soccer ball because it is far more challenging, and I got over 200 juggles with it. Anyway, the juggling with Ralph and the conversation convinced me that I should break my record of 578. The next day I stepped out the the front yard of the Matthes's house and within an hour I had broken my record. I didn't shatter it, but 608 wasn't anything for me to complain about. A new record under the belt. I just love the juggling.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Video Games

Since returning from my mission and being married, I have done a pretty good job at playing almost no video games. This is not due to lack of interest, but mainly to lack of game system. When Laina and I got married, I purposefully didn't buy a game system because I had and still have school to worry about. Plus, all the new game systems are too much and I don't like any of the games. I enjoy the classics. The most complicated I get is Nintendo 64. Luckily/Sadly you can download emulators for Nintendo, SNES and N64. I have kept my distance but every now and again, during a vacation/break like spring break, I will download some emulators and games and play to my heart's delight.
This past spring break I downloaded the SNES emulator and the original Nintendo emulator. I played and beat The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past in one day; getting all the heart pieces and all of the weapons. I didn't think that I would remember where all of them were, but I pulled it off. That is one of the best games ever, easily.
The other game that I spent a little of my free time on was Super Tecmo Bowl for original Nintendo. That is one of the best football games ever. It is so simple to play, but so much fun. I did a season with the 49ers. I lost one game during the season to the Giants. I couldn't beat them. Montana was in "bad" condition, and their whole team was practically in "excellent" condition. Every time Meggett ran the ball he went for like 40 yards. I reset the game in frustration and replayed and tried to beat them like 5 times before I finally just accepted defeat. the best team to be on that game though is the Kansas City Chiefs. With Christian Okoye as running back (has hitting power of 100, no one can tackle him) and Derrick Thomas and Neil Smith on defense, it is practically impossible to lose if those guys even have "average" condition. I played one game during the season with K.C. when Okoye was "excellent" condition and ran for 561 yards. Everytime the computer punted of kicked off to me I just ran back to my 5 yard line so that I could get about the max yardage for Okoye. Then I would do a run up the middle and just watch all the defensive players bounce off. Too much fun.
But with school starting back up I had to erase them from my computer. I love those games too much that if I even keep them on the computer, I will end up wasting too much time on them. I don't have self-control when I start playing them but luckily I have enough self-control to get rid of them so the temptation is no longer even there. I don't know if there will ever be another time in my life when I have a "break" to play video games, with my boy due on May 9th. I had a good run with it, oh well.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Coaching Debut

I know that it has been a long time. Let's just say that I have been real busy. We'll leave the excuse at that. This year I have been coaching the East High soccer team again. Only this year I have a little more say and a little more respect from the team. I guess that just comes with not being a rookie anymore and knowing the kids a whole lot better (not that I don't know my brother and his friends real well, the ones who were on the team last year). Our first game of the year was a preseason game against Judge Memorial. Rudy Schenk, the head coach, was out of town so I debuted the team with my debut as head coach.
Things went real well with the game for the most part. We had our first game jitters but we got the 2-0 lead. With about 15 minutes left, the ref got bored and decided to spice things up a bit so he called a penalty kick on us, a real soft call. that let Judge get back in at 2-1, but we held on for the victory. It was great to get the victory. I must say that at half time, I really didn't have much to say, I kind of felt like I was too short winded and the kids were expecting more, but other than that, it went well.
After the game they had a reporter there from the Deseret News who talked to me about the game for like 8 minutes. I remember reading the paper back when I played in high school and reading the quotes from our Coach Kernodle, and knowing that he never said anything like that. The article about us quoted me and it was actually words that had come out of my mouth. I was impressed and got my name in the paper...sweet. Here is the link if you want to read what was said about the game,5143,705290281,00.html. That picture I posted with this will hopefully be a picture of me in about 20 years; that or Ralph.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

What I do Best

I am not surprised in the least bit that I have not posted a blog in however long it is. I hate writing and I don't really care to post anything about my life right now cause I live around everyone that I care about or that cares about me. But why quit? I admittedly lost interest initially but I think I can stick this out. I am so good at loosing interest and just letting it go. Trust me, I have done it with hundreds of books. Most of the time I didn't even bother opening the book and reading a few pages or chapters, I just look at the cover and the title and there goes my interest in reading books altogether. But I've made the decision to follow this one through.

So with that I guess I better come up with something interesting to write about so that if there is someone bored enough to actually check my blog can have something to read. Since I mentioned books I guess I'll write about that. For those who don't know me, I have never liked reading. There has not been a good reasons for it, I guess I just didn't prefer it over playing sports, watching TV or playing a video game. Then as I came to realize that there may be something slightly more to life than those previous mentioned activities I decided that maybe I would take up reading books. But things didn't work out cause I couldn't really find any books that I liked to read. I liked reading the sports page of the paper and Sports Illustrated, but other than that I couldn't find anything that could keep me interested for more than 20-30 pages. Then, if I remember it correctly, my dad sort of made me read The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis. What an awesome book and what an amazing author. I started reading a few more books by C. S. Lewis like Out of the Silent Planet, the Screwtape Letters and s few of his essays. I would have read more but I moved on to the Book of Mormon and Our Search for Happiness to prepare for a two year LDS mission. Then on my mission in Korea I of course only read scripture and books published by the church. But during that time I learned to love to read scripture also. Then after I came back I got too busy with school that I didn't really pick any novels/books. This summer I finally decided to read The Bourne Identity. Solid read. Then I reread The Great Divorce...better than I remembered it. Now I am making more time to read the space trilogy novels of C. S. Lewis. I have finally matured to the point where I read books, what an improvement.