Archive for October, 2008


Carbohydrates and The Atonement (or the hope thereof)

October 18, 2008

(Note: Cristina and I are getting back into our running thing again. This time we’re training for a half marathon sometime this winter. In the spirit of this training, I thought I could re-post a few of the items that I wrote for the Mormon-themed blog I founded a couple years ago, and have since left to other authors.. I wrote a series of posts while we were training for the full marathon during the summer/fall of ’06. Hope you enjoy…)

Last Saturday, we ran ten miles as we continued to plow our way through our condensed marathon training schedule. It was approximately 105 degrees outside by the time we were finished running. My marathon lesson last week was consequently thus: At the last day those who do wickedly shall be forced to run up hills in hot weather.

Typically on our long Saturday runs, the coaches map out routes that are along the coast for two reasons:

1.The ocean breeze is cooler.
2.The topography is much more conducive to avoiding excessive hills

This past week however, was designed intentionally to condition us for hills (seeing as how the marathon is in San Francisco).

Now, up to this point I have been able to coast through these runs without too much difficulty. The combination of (relatively) short distances and the absence of hills had successfully convinced me that I was nothing short of a super endurance athlete. I was quite… proud… of myself.

So on Saturday I packed my fuel belt with some shot blocks (gelatin blocks loaded with simple and complex carbohydrates) and some Gatorade and jogged triumphantly over the first hill of the run… and then the second hill…only sorta as triumphantly and then by the third hill, I had shed all my triumphantiness and had settled into a much slower than normal pace. I realized, after we passed a distance marker, that I was only about 1/3 of the way through the course and I had used up about 2/3 of my energy. This was an unbalanced equation and I was lookin’ to end up as a fraction of the superhuman I had once thought myself to be.

Enter the shot blocks. Shortly after the halfway point I started pounding those little gelatin blobs of condensed energy and prepared myself to explode with power… any second now all my pain would disappear and I would catapult to the finish line.. any second now… it’ll just…. Kick in…… sigh.

The magical burst didn’t come the whole time I trudged up the largest hill. The hot sun baked my face and the bottles in my fuel belt soon ran dry. That hill, the one which I had expected the shot blocks to carry me through, was the longest ¼ mile I’ve ever run in my life.

Shortly after I had completed that hill on sheer willpower, the shot blocks finally came to my rescue and I finished the run comparatively triumphant and energetic considering the whimpering shell of a man I had been reduced to earlier.

In light of some of the recent posts and comments regarding the Atonement and “all we can do”, I found a new perspective last Saturday. I was able to summon the ability to push myself a little bit further than I really thought I could go. Why? Because I had hope that those Shot Blocks would eventually bail me out if I could just hang in there for another few steps.

I used to wonder about the concrete effects of the atonement in our lives prior to the advocacy for us on Judgment Day. It’s crystallized a bit for me now. The effect that a hope in the atonement can have on us whether we struggle with sins, grief, unbelief or some other malady just might be all that we need to carry us to the end of the day. It doesn’t quite give us the will to press on, but like a derrick over an oil well, it draws that power out of us, the power that was instilled by our divine heritage.


What a moral trainwreck…

October 17, 2008
You probably know who the Parker family is even if you don’t know their names. They have been highlighted in recent videos supporting Prop 8.  The family tells the story of their kids being exposed to same sex marriage curriculum.
It seems that the father was recently arrested for refusing to leave school grounds until school officials acquiesced to his demands about how his children were taught.
More on the late breaking news from the National Review online
The latest press release from the Protect Marriage Yes on 8 campaign in California rather cleverly points out the same groups now charging its a lie public schools will teach about gay marriage whether parents like it or not — were just in court in Massachussetts filing amicus briefs arguing parents don’t have any right to opt their children out of the pro-gay marriage curriculum.

From the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Amicus Curiae Brief:

“In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, where the right of same-sex couples to marry is protected under the state constitution, it is particularly important to teach children about families with gay parents.” [p 5]

From the Human Rights Campaign Amicus Curiae Brief:

“There is no constitutional principle grounded in either the First Amendment’s free exercise clause or the right to direct the upbringing of one’s children, which requires defendants to either remove the books now in issue – or to treat them as suspect by imposing an opt-out system.” [pp1-2]

From the ACLU Amicus Curiae Brief:

“Specifically, the parents in this case do not have a constitutional right to override the professional pedagogical judgment of the school with respect to the inclusion within the curriculum of the age-appropriate children’s book…King and King.” [p 9]

Which side is really telling the truth here about its aims?

Even more damning evidence than the amicus briefs is the preliminary court findings…

“Turning back to the Parker’s case, although the court refused to recognize the Parker’s constitutional claims, the court provided evidence that – as feared by same-sex marriage opponents – schools will begin teaching their children that same-sex marriage is “normal” upon the legalization of same-sex marriage.  The court stated:

‘Given that Massachusetts has recognized gay marriage under its state constitution, it is entirely rational for its schools to educate their students regarding that recognition. Parker, 514 F.3d at 92.'”

Isn’t that funny? I’m pretty sure that opponents to Prop 8 were swearing up and down that same sex marriage wouldn’t infiltrate the schools. Now it has not only penetrated Mass. schools, but parents are getting in legal trouble for insisting that they be notified of this curriculum ahead of time and be given the opportunity to opt out. Read the entire case if you can, it’s very illuminating.


You have got to love this

October 11, 2008


Note to Sariah: You are never allowed to date a boy like this (we’ll call him Seth) for two reasons:

  1. I would be obligated by Man-Law Code of Conduct (M.L.C.C. 1028.1.2) to beat Seth up every time he came over to pick you up and take you to hang out with the other Calculus camp Math-letes
  2. The inevitable heartbreak that would result when Seth finally decides to leave you for Juan-Carlos (the strangely fashion conscious pool-boy) would be devastating. 

Okay, Okay I’m just kidding. I actually thought the video was great (and those are some wicked awesome piano skillz). I am hoping, though, that Seth intended it to be a mockery of some of BYU’s most noisome zealots. If he did, this is satire at it’s finest.

If it isn’t intended as a joke.. well.. then I will weep for our church, our youth, and our future. Armageddon truly will be upon us, only instead of flooding the earth with water, God will have chosen to flood it with geeks, and there will be no rainbow to save us this time.


LDS Church Prop 8 Broadcast

October 9, 2008

See related post below

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Mormon Leaders on Prop. 8

October 9, 2008

Last night leaders from the Mormon church spoke on the Prop 8 issue and the role that members of the church should play in supporting the legislation while being as sensitive as possible to the feelings and opinions of others (see video excerpts below). I agree with this stance wholeheartedly.

I suppose that some may say that this is hypocrisy (the idea that we can be sensitive and Christ-like while institutionally excluding a vast group of people). But I think that the hypocrisy argument falls flat for this reason:

I find, in my reading of scripture, that Christ was actually quite quick to exclude those who didn’t want to play by His rules. Inversely, He was quite welcoming to those who struggled with sin but wanted to make changes. Those who didn’t want to make the changes necessary to follow Him (I’m looking at you, Pharisees) were not exactly dealt with in a warm and fuzzy way.  Since none of us are blameless in our lifetime, walking around issuing stern “whited sepulcher” rebukes to those who reject Prop 8 or celebrate/support a gay lifestyle would be far beyond our rights and would be an egregious display of unrighteous judgment. There is a stark contrast however, between rebuking individuals for exercising their free agency as they see fit and trying to mold the moral standards that the societies we live in publicly promote.



October 8, 2008

Well, we were hoping to have Sariah walking by her first birthday. This didn’t happen of course and we will forever be disappointed (Sariah, if you are reading this post years from now, you should know that none of your accomplishments will ever erase this, the first time you fell significantly short of our expectations).

Read the rest of this entry ?


1 down 17 to go….

October 2, 2008

Note:  There were some tchnical difficulties with uploading pictures. I may need 24 hours or so to fix this. Sit tight.

So as of last Saturday, we officially have one year of babysitting Sariah under our belt. Only 17 more years until we can kick her out of the house and into the world to fend for herself. To commemorate this memorable occasion we threw Sariah an “almost-going-away party” which we cleverly disguised as a one year birthday party. 

Now I have been to, and helped with, quite a few one year old birthday parties and had seen how stressed out many parents can get as they try to plan and run the perfect party. A couple months ago I told Cristina, “Hey let’s keep this thing pretty low-key so we don’t spend her birthday too wound up”. We both agreed that this would be the wisest course of action.

Somehow, though, that didn’t quite happen. It’s funny how one little idea adds onto another and another until before long you’ve spiraled into a full-blown fiesta. It started with sending out some email invites. The website we used happened to have themes for the invitations and “just for fun” we picked a Hollywood theme as a joking reference to Sariah’s modeling career which has currently not even earned enough to be considered taxable income.

Then we saw some Hollywood decorations at a party store… yeah, gotta get those. Then we started telling more people about the party. Then we started buying food, then more decorations, then we reserved our clubhouse, and more people started RSVP’ing and before long the stress monster was hanging around our house so much that we had to get out an air mattress just so he would have a place to sleep.  

So on Friday night we realized that we forgot to go to the management company to pick up the clubhouse key. This was a problem because the company isn’t open on Saturday! I tracked down the security guard for our complex and spent about 20-30 minutes trying to convince him to leave the clubhouse door unlocked, or loan me his key or something. Frankly there was no way he was going to do it (and I think he loosely suspected that I was some kind of criminal trying to work a scam).

So I finally called the emergency number for the property management company at 11:00 pm (yeah, the same emergency number they have for reporting legitimate property threatening emergencies like blown water mains and electrical fires and stuff). The poor lady stuck with the emergency number cell phone had to make several calls and wake up several people until finally they authorized the security guard to give me his copy of the key. The catch was, he couldn’t do it until 1:00 am (the end of his shift. So, at 1:00 in the morning: Mission accomplished.

Saturday morning prep wasn’t as bad as I envisioned, just a bit of last minute scrambling. Cristina went to pick up all the stuff that was on order (cake and balloons and such). And the guests began arriving. Overall it seemed like everyone had good time. A couple highlights:

  • Michelle brought a hot tray of yummy Chicken Katsu (kind of like asian chicken nuggets). They were a huge hit and at one point I saw little Audrey Dixon with one in each hand. She looked at me and said “I can’t stop eating this chicken”
  • Sariah enjoyed her cake, but she started with the little bit of decorative black frosting. The resulting smearing made it look like she had either just eaten a piece of charcoal or was prepping her halloween makeup for her costume as The Joker.  
  • I had help Tami carry her food out to her seat because Mrs. Preggers couldn’t handle all 17 plates she had made. “You can take this plate to Brent” she tells me… yeah sure Tami, whatever you say.
  • During the opening of the presents, all the children were more than happy to help Sariah practice sharing her toys (by force if necessary). Strangely they were less inclined to play with the clothes that Sariah received.
  • All in all, lots of good friends and family were able to come and Sariah seemed to enjoy her first birthday celebration. I am especially glad for this because sometimes I get the feeling that the child’s enjoyment is sacrificed for some kodak moments and posturing by the parents. I think we were able to narrowly avoid falling into this trap. But who knows, maybe we are the epitome of neurotic suburbian parents who consider children to be a fashionable accessory and/or as tools for climbing the social ladder.