Friday, May 29


Who doesn't love hugs?

Who doesn't need them? Touch and closeness with others is in fact necessary for survival. It also lessens the intensity of pain and strengthens the immune system. According to a 2003 study, more hugs are related to better cardiovascular health and less reactivity to stress.

Apparently some high schools have banned hugging, while others embrace it. If appropriateness is a problem there is always the safe "side-hug" to fall back on.

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Here's probably my favorite music video. Music by DMB and a lot of hugs by a guy with some sweet sideburns.

What is your stance on hugging? Close friends and family only? New friends? Weird guys running around on the street? Trees? Personally, I like any opportunity for a good hug, as long as it feels safe. Granted, hugs with my wife are more frequent and last a little longer, but being able to hug someone is a sign that there is comfort there--some kind of positive connection.

Sunday, May 24

Your Favorite Children's Books

Among the many children's books we checked out yesterday at the library for our toddler was Bud and Gabby. I was thinking, "great, two cats, nice artwork, what could go wrong? It was all downhill from there. The idea for the story was decent--the cats are friends, one gets sick and has to go to the vet. Eventually it returns and they are reunited. Almost Zen-like in simplicity.

However, the writing is awful, which is quite unfortunate because my son really likes the book. Again it seemed the author was going for simplicity, but it's quite disjointed and almost painful to get through. I almost wanted to send a note to the illustrator that she should find a new writer, but it's the same person... Even more inexplicable is it received some kind of "Teacher's Pick" award. Has anyone else read this book? Perhaps we are missing something.

There are many great children's books, however. Goodnight Moon won me over with the existential "Goodnight nobody" page. I also like Moo Baa La La La. What are some that you grew up with, or like(d) reading to your kids?

Friday, May 22

LDS-related posts are still moving

I recently deleted my "best and worst Mormon quotes" post, because it has moved (and been improved quite a bit) to Mormon Matters. I realized that one of the reasons I started posting there was that I have many friends and readers of this blog who are not as interested in the Mormon stuff (just as I had earlier moved my personal stuff to a different blog, as well as all the baby photos (if you want links those, send me an email).

So, for the future, I will try to keep the solely-LDS posts at Mormon Matters, although I may at least announce here when I have a new post there. My new MM most: Best and Worst of Mormonism: Quotes!

So, if it's a purely LDS topic, it will be there. If it's a mixture Buddhism, Mormonism, Science, etc. then it may still go up here.


Tuesday, May 12

Home Theater Addiction

I've been slowly building the best inexpensive home theater possible. By best I mean not a set from a box at Wally World, and by inexpensive I mean on a grad student budget. I have also used a lot of credit card points. I also put everything on my Amazon wish list, then monitor the price for a while.

What I currently have:

37" Vizio LCD

Panasonic DMP-BD35 Blu-ray player

Yamaha NS-C225 center speaker

Yamaha NS-333 speakers - these are currently in front, but will move to the back surrounds in the future. There is also a pair being used for regular surrounds.

Yamaha RX V663 7.1 Receiver

Still to come:
Yamaha NS-777 speakers (for the front).
Yamaha 10 inch sub. This will have to wait until we're done with apartment life. Someday the Vizio will also be upgraded to a 1080p projector. Someday when I have something called a salary.

Anyone else have any materialistic proclivities?

Tuesday, May 5

What is a person?

Next week I will be "defending" my Personal Theory of Counseling paper. Defending is in quotes because it's not a thesis. I have been working on the six-page monstrosity for a year and a half though. You can see some of the evolution of this section (progress?) by checking out a similar post I wrote at Mormon Matters last year. If anything this will give you all some insight into my view of earthlings (self included, of course!).

Here is my first section, on what a person is.
I. Nature of the Person
All human beings have individual minds, which vary in temperament and are capable of independent thought and action. These minds are called intelligences, and are eternal and without a beginning. In a natural yet mysterious process our Heavenly Father and Mother gathered these intelligences and combined them with their nature in embryonic form, creating our spirits. This nature includes a basic goodness and the ability to grow and become perfect like them. Our spirit enters our physical body when we are born.

Human Beings:
1. Seek out safety and exploration.
2. Are growth-oriented.
3. Have free will.
4. Are born with heredity from their biological family.

5. Experience happenstance.
6. Have meta-cognitive and meta-emotional capabilities.
7. Seek out structure and values.
8. Get stuck in habitual ways of regulating emotions and managing stress.
9. Are able to create meaning.
10. Have the ability to forgive others and repair relationships.

What do you think? Anything not make sense? What would you add (especially to the numbered section, as there are obviously going to be different views on the opening paragraph)?

Graduation is Saturday!!!

Saturday, May 2

Laser Tag and Shopping Carts

Last night I played (read: attempted to play) laser tag. Other than the exasperating experience of running into packs of 4'0" gun-toters, it's quite fun. I would recommend one game anyway. The second starts to get a little redundant. Kind of like bowling, or kick ball.

I thought I was pretty clever with my code name (yes, you get code names). I was "The Others." I thought for sure that I would win with that name, but no such luck. 11th place out of 24. Most of the rest of the party were law students with names (that only law students would really laugh at) like "J. Scalia."

This experience got me thinking... what else from our younger days have we abandoned? We may not get a thrill from kick-the-can anymore, but in this blessed country of ours, do we still find time to experience some child-like thrills?

I LOVE riding on the back of shopping carts at the grocery store. I don't plan on stopping until I'm no longer physically able. One of my heroes, the chemist Henry Eyring Sr., used to do standing jumps onto his desk in the middle of meetings with students. Even up to late in his life he would challenge other students to a 40-yard dash.

Anyone up for a game of kickball? What do you like to do that produces the same unbridled joy of youth? What do you like to do for fun when you don't think anyone is watching?