Thursday, March 31, 2011

Something New

Hi guys! So, blogger just made it so you can view blogs in five new ways. If you follow this link:

you'll see my blog all different. At the top right part of the page there's a blue box that says "sidebar." If you click on it, you'll see a drop down menu with the options "flipcard," "mosaic," "sidebar," "snapshot," and "timeslide." You can click on them and see the different ways the blog appears. Personally, I think timeslide looks really cool.

Have fun experimenting!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A good week to learn about Mormons

Hi everyone! Sorry I haven't been posting much lately; school has been crazy and my brain has pretty much turned off. Seriously. It's not thinking thoughts anymore. There's no other way to explain it, other than there are empty spaces inside it where thoughts should be.

Other than this last and worst phase of senioritis setting in, life has been good. Jason and I (and Alyse) made chocolate oreo truffles for family night on Monday, and they were delicious. It's really simple, too; you just mash up a bag of oreos with a package of cream cheese, roll them into little balls, and then either cover them in melted chocolate or roll them in cocoa powder or powdered sugar. Sooo good. Mmm.

So, this week is a good week to learn about Mormons. Why? Because General Conference is this weekend! What is general conference, you ask? Well, every six months we basically have one big Mormon party. All of our general church leaders all get together in Salt Lake, and they give talks all about the gospel (what we believe). It's really cool. We believe that these men are true prophets and apostles, and they're inspired by God in what they say to us. So, it's always really relevant and usually very powerful.

You can watch/listen in a bunch of different ways, too (they broadcast it all over). You can actually go to Salt Lake and be there in the conference center, you can go to your nearest church building and watch it from a broadcast, you can watch or listen to it on the internet, or you can watch it on TV (my favorite). And, if you miss it, you can always watch or listen to it from the archives.

General Conference is a great way to learn what we really believe. Why? Because it's what our leaders are teaching us, right now. It's not obscure quotes taken out of context, or things from a hundred years ago, it's right now, and it's to everyone. If you're interested in watching a bit, the sessions are at 9 AM and 1 PM (California time) on Saturday and Sunday, and this page has links to watch or listen to it.

I love general conference. General Conference weekends are seriously my favorite weekends of the year. We get to stay home in our pajamas all weekend, get to be with family, get to eat yummy food, and (most awesomely) get to hear the words of truly inspired men. It's seriously one of the most uplifting, happiest weekends of the year. If you can, check it out! Maybe you can have your own mormon party. :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Ohhh, boy

Our next month-and-a-half:

Today: March 25th.
Tomorrow, March 26: Ogden Temple trip with Jill and Tommy
March 28 to April 13: Last two-and-half weeks of class
April 2 and 3: General Conference!
April 16: First day of finals
April 20: We move to Highland
April 21: Last day of finals
April 21: Commencement (first day of graduation)
April 22: Convocation (I graduate!)
April 23: Our first anniversary!
April 24: Easter!
April 26: Jason starts spring semester
April 28: We drive to California
April 29: Tyler & Sarah's Wedding!
April 30: We drive back to Utah
May 6: We fly to San Francisco
May 6: Macall & Aaron's wedding!
May 8: We fly back to Utah
May 10thish: Eat dinner, and play games with Diana and Austin and violet at their new house!

Need I say more?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Fruits of my Labors

Hey, guess what?! (Hint: If you're trying to guess, don't look down.) 

I made a pie!

A pie! An apple pie, to be exact. (And I'm not entirely sure, but I think this is the first time I've ever eaten apple pie.) (By the way.) (In case you were wondering.)

Mmmm. I'm so happy with how it turned out. I made it in my cooking class yesterday, and then brought it home and baked it. Our whole apartment smelled like warm apples and cinnamon and nutmeg.

Also, Alyse and I had our Tahiti test for Polynesian Dance last night. (We long ago took our Hawaiian & New Zealand tests, but unfortunately we didn't record them. We plan to video tape them soon, though.) And, in case you were dying to see what our Tahitian dances looked like, you have to wait no longer! Here they are, for your viewing pleasure! (Personally, I think the second one's better.)

Happy Thursday!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Books I love - Jane Austen

I feel a little unqualified to write about Jane Austen. I mean, my sister took an entire class on Jane Austen and some other guy (she's an English major). She could tell you a lot more about the history or politics or undertones of Jane Austen's novels. A lot of people can tell you about those things a lot better than I can. What I can tell you, however, is how much I personally enjoy her novels.

Jane Austen wrote and published seven novels - Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, and Lady Susan. Pride and Prejudice is probably the most famous, and you've probably at least one of the movie adaptations. I really like a lot of the movie adaptations of the books; it's the reason I first read any of them. But, while the movie adaptations are good, the books are even better because you have Jane narrating, and she's one of the best narrators I've ever come across.

Jane Austen has one of the most unique, clever, witty narrative voices of any author I've read. There's a reason she and her novels are famous hundreds of years after she wrote and published them. She's really good at what she does. Not only are her plots fabulous (as we know from the many movie adaptations of her novels), but the way she tells them is so enjoyable to read. I mean, she's just so funny. She's witty. And I love that about her novels.

Furthermore, you can identify with her characters. Anyone who's ever liked someone and been unsure of their feelings back can identify with a lot of her characters. I really identified  at times with Anne in Persuasion, to where some of her passages of thought I felt could have come from my own mind. It gave me hope. And, luckily, my own Captain Wentworth and I got together in the end. :)

Jane Austen is awesome. If you liked any of the movies about her books, you'll enjoy her novels. Read them. You know you love romance. ;)

Friday, March 18, 2011

A Story told by an Orange

Once upon a time, our friend Brett came to visit us from California. He brought with him a magical orange. And this is what it said:

Ah, we wish we could. Warm weather, sunny skies...we'll see you in a month!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Truly Divine Comedy

Wow, yesterday was a long day. I was on campus from ten in the morning until ten at night. But, it was a good day and I had plenty of energy to make it through and do everything.

The last activity of the day, and by far my favorite, was the Divine Comedy tech show. As I've mentioned before, I love Divine Comedy. I really do. They are absolutely one of my favorite things about BYU.  I discovered them at the end of my freshman year, and they have provided me with joy and happiness ever since.

Divine Comedy has three shows a semester. To save money, Jason and I have only been going to the last show every semester (where they combine/have the best from the first two shows). But, they also have a kind of run-through the Wednesday night the week before every show, and today we went!

It was sooo funny. The basic setup of the show is a bunch of sketches, kind of like SNL (but better). Most of them poke fun at BYU culture. And. They. Are. So. Funny.

Oh, Divine Comedy, how I love you. (If you want to see some stuff that they've done, click here. Or here. Or here.)

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Going to bed early

Do you guys have daily emotional cycles? I do. I'm always more optimistic in the morning, and I always get more depressed and anxious at night. I have a lot more negative thoughts about myself and everything else at night. It starts kicking in about eleven PM, and continues until I fall asleep. The logical solution (and it works) is to go to bed earlier. When I go to bed early, I avoid this whole nasty cycle.

The problem is, I'm a night owl. I don't get tired at bedtime. In fact, it's 12:30 AM as I'm typing this, and I'm completely awake. I usually don't feel tired until one or two o'clock. At good bedtimes, like 10:00 or earlier, I'm not tired in the least bit. I'm totally awake, and don't want to go to bed. Ten-thirty seems to be the very earliest I can force myself to bed.

It's ridiculous, because I know, logically, that I'll be happier when I wake up, so I should just go to sleep and end my cycle of negative thoughts. I guess it's complicated by the fact that I have a lot of nightmares, so I don't want to go to sleep because I don't feel like it's going to be restful.

I hope I can get better at this when I graduate. Honestly, going to bed earlier would help so much. It really does help me avoid my nightly emotional negativeness. I don't run into it if I go to bed early. I just stay normal, and fall asleep normal.

Sigh. I'll get better at this someday.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


So, at first I was going to title this post "Piiiiiiiiiii." But then I realized, if you look at that word, and you don't know what I'm referring to, and you say it out loud, you're probably going to pronounce it as "Peeeeee." And that would be a bad thing.

Okay, scratch that. I titled it Piiiiiiiii anyway.

So, yes, Pi! I hope you all had a good Pi Day yesterday. If you don't know what Pi Day is, do you remember this guy from all your high school math classes? Well, its numerical value is 3.14 (to like a bajillion digits), which, if you think about it calendar-wise, is March 14th. Thus, a geeky and really fun holiday is born! Usually, Pi Day is celebrated by eating pie and having pi and pie related activities.

This Pi Day, the BYU math department put on a Pi Day celebration in Brigham Square. Alyse, her friend Tanner, and I all met up and got free hot dogs, watched a pie eating contest, threw some sticks on the ground to illustrate some mathematical concept (and got donuts!), played plinko (I won some post-it notes. Oh, math department. I love you and your wild sense of fun.), threw some frisbees, and were like twenty feet away when some guy recited 806 digits of Pi from memory. They had music going and there was a really fun atmosphere. It was a blast.

Later, me, Jason, Alyse, Tanner, and Alyse's roommate Becca all had some chocolate pudding pie together. Mmmm. Jason and I were really glad we actually had pie on pi day.

I hope you had an awesome Pi Day. And, if you didn't get any pie yesterday, don't fear! There's always Pi Approximation Day on June 22! (I guess you could even eat cake for that one. It's approximately a pie, kind of.) Or, if you want some sweetness a bit earlier, you could always sneak in a green grasshoper pie for St. Patrick's Day this Thursday. Yay for math!  ;)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Books I love - Percy Jackson

All right, still building that summer book list? I have another amazing, super enjoyable series for you to add to it: Percy Jackson & the Olympians.

The basic premise of the Percy Jackson series is that the Greek gods are still alive. Throughout the centuries, they've moved to wherever the light of civilization is burning brightest, which, at the present time, is America. The gods are also continuing to do what they did best in ancient times, which is... have kids with mortals. Percy Jackson is (unknowingly) one of these kids. He soon finds out, however, and that is when the excitement begins. (Actually, I can't say that. It's exciting before he even finds out. But you know what I mean - big things begin to happen.)

Percy Jackson is an amazing series. These books have the best pacing out of pretty much any books I've ever read. Seriously, you are never bored. They are action packed throughout, and it's done brilliantly. I can't stress that enough. The plot is awesome, and the pacing is incredible.

The characters are awesome and endearing. You have your three main characters, Percy, Annabeth, and Grover, who are awesome, and a whole cast of truly amazing characters who contribute greatly to the story.

Rick Riordan (the author) does a great job of interweaving Greek mythology in the books. You learn so much, and feel excited every time you knew about a bit of mythologic trivia before he mentions it.

A word of caution if you've seen the movie: disregard it. Like so many other book/movies, the book is better than the movies, in a lot of ways. The movie was decent, but the characters were way too old (Percy starts out at like twelve in the books) and some of the characters were really different than they are in the books (*cough* Annabeth*cough*). So, forget the movie. Wipe it from your memory. And then read the books.

Rick Riordan is starting two new series right now - The Kane Chronicles and Heroes of Olympus. I've read the first book of both, and they're both awesome. When I found out the second book in the Heroes of Olympus series doesn't come out until October, I just about died. They're so good, and I really want to know what happens next. Yay for more books from amazing authors!

So, yeah. If you want to check out Percy Jackson (the first book is The Lightning Thief), I would highly recommend it.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Tetris Battle Gaiden!

So, Jason has this amazing thing called an emulator on his computer, which allows him (and me) to play pretty much any video game we want, from the original Nintendo to Super Nintendo to Nintendo 64 and some other ones. (I pretty sure there's playstation on there, but who cares about anything but nintendo?) (You can probably guess which brand of console we had in my house growing up.)

We have a couple different games we really like playing together (Mario Kart comes to mind),  but right now our favorite game to play together is called Tetris Battle Gaiden. It's a version of tetris that was only ever released in Japan, so it's all in Japanese. We figured out what controls to use, though, so it's no problem. It's a pretty sweet version of tetris. You collect these little "magic balls" as you're playing, and then you can play them and do crazy things to your own blocks or the other person's blocks. It's really fun.

So, many a night in the last couple weeks at the Thomas household has started off like this:

And then you pick your character (they all have different magic attacks):

 And you're off! (See those little yellow balls on the blue side? Those are magic.)

So, that's our favorite game for now. :)

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Okay, so I realize it's a bit late to be writing about Thanksgiving. After all, there have been a couple months and a few major holidays in between the end of November and now. But, I finally just found the pictures (they were on my camera that's been hiding under my bed), and seeing them has reminded me what a great holiday it was! I really want to share it with you.

We had a few days off from school, and we used them to go to Highland and stay at my mom's house for a couple days. It was really enjoyable. Poor Jason got really sick in the middle, and couldn't actually eat anything on Thanksgiving. :( But, it was good to be around family and enjoy their company.

Here's Stefan rotating the turkey... (I don't remember why they had to do it, but I do remember they had to get creative to figure out how to do it.)

Us surprising Stefan when he looked up from the prayer...

Violet being adorable as usual...

And Alyse and Sydney jumping on the trampoline right before our big adventure.

On the last day, we went on a big adventure. Alyse, Sydney, Sydney's friend Claire, Jason, and I all bundled up nice and warm and headed off into the wilderness, down the dry creek bed that runs behind the property. It was really fun. At some point, we switched over to another creek and started coming back. This new creek was full of ice sheets that were incredibly fun to jump and stomp on. We broke them into millions of pieces, mostly because they made satisfying glass breaking sounds. Some had a bit of water beneath them, which led to a couple startling surprises for those jumping on them.

We walked back on this new creek forever and ever, and became convinced we were lost and miles away from the house. So, we abandoned the creek and began to trek through some woods. Very shortly we found the old creek, and realized we were just a few houses away from Mom and Stefan. And so, within just a few more minutes, we were back in the kitchen sipping big mugs of hot chocolate. It was a perfect ending to a really good week.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

An Update on my Anxiety

So, a while back I talked to you about my anxiety. One of my friends asked about it the other day, and I realized it would probably be a good idea to give you an update.

First off, I want you to know that I'm doing much, much better. Back when I wrote that post in November, I was anxious pretty much all day, every day. Now, while I still have moments or times   where I have strong feelings of anxiety, they are much fewer and far between. That all-day-feeling is totally gone. I feel much lighter, and freer.

Some of the most helpful advice I got from the BYU counselor came when he was explaining what causes feelings of anxiety. He said it's a two-step process; first, you detect things that could be threats. (People with anxiety disorders see a lot of things as "threats.") Secondly, you ask yourself if you can handle those threats - and the (probably subconscious) answer is no.

So, to attack my anxiety, I worked on both of those things. First, I really thought about the things I was worried about and assured myself that none of them were earth-shattering, that nothing truly bad would happen if the worst happened in each case scenario. Whatever happened, I would be okay. When I really began to believe that, my anxiety went down a whole bunch. Then, for each thing I was feeling anxious about, I'd ask myself if i could handle it, and I would consciously answer yes. That gave me more confidence, and helped me feel less anxious as well.

I think just recognizing that I have an anxiety problem helps a lot. Realizing that helps me to view my feelings of anxiety somewhat objectively, and realize that they're not real, that just because I feel anxious doesn't mean there's anything to feel anxious about. That's helped a lot.

Like I said, I feel much lighter and freer nowadays. I really think I'm on my way to defeating this entirely. I've come a long way, and the future looks bright.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Harry Potter Wizard Battle

So, on Saturday Jason and I had the opportunity to be in a Harry Potter wizard battle. The BYU comedy group Divine Comedy (who I love and who I'm a fan of on Facebook) sent out a message saying that they needed extras for a scene they were filming for their next show. Jason and I were like, jyah! and headed out. We texted some of our friends, and were happy to be joined by our friend David and our friends Will and Kristen.

It was a blast. We got sparklers (for our wands - they actually looked really cool), and all lit them when they told us to and then ran in and had a big battle. They took seven or eight takes, so we got to do it a bunch of times. It was so fun to be in a group of people all jumping around and yelling spells and waving sparklers at each other. One of the Divine Comedy guys was running around with a stuffed snowy owl (I'm pretty sure he was Hedwig). It made me even more excited to see their show at the end of the semester.  I hope we're in the video. Even if we aren't, we had a lot of fun filming it.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Books I love - Fablehaven

I'm starting to build my summer book list, and I imagine you might be looking for a good book to read as well (when you have time, of course). The hard thing about creating book lists is that you don't know what books are going to be good or worth your time. Sure, it might have an intriguing cover (and I don't know about you, but I do often judge books by their cover) and a somewhat good excerpt, but is it actually good? It's hard to know.

So, while I compile a list of books I'm going to give a chance this summer, I thought I'd recommend to you another one of my favorite books (or rather, five of them): Fablehaven.

The two main characters of Fablehaven are two kids (sister and brother) named Kendra and Seth. The books start out when one set of their grandparents dies and their parents have to go on an obligatory cruise with the rest of the aunts and uncles. Kendra and Seth go to stay with their other set of grandparents, who live in rather rural woods and who they've rarely seen. They soon learn that there's a good reason they've never been allowed to visit before.

These grandparents - as Kendra and Seth come to discover - are caretakers of a magical creature preserve. They learn that magical creatures all over the world have taken refuge or have been forced on to these preserves, so that both they and humans are safe. Caretakers all over the world watch over these creatures and this great secret. Soon, however, they learn of a large and evil group that is dedicated to overthrowing the preserves and creating worldwide chaos. Kendra and Seth, along with their grandparents and other allies, must work to defeat them.

I love Fablehaven for a lot of reasons. The idea is so original and so fun, the characters are all so different and believable and likable, and you wish you were there and are so relieved you aren't all at the same time. The plot is awesome. Seriously, awesome. There are some really cool parts that are - they're hard to describe - cool and comforting and rewarding and just incredible.

I have to admit, the first book is a little slow. I think it's that way because it's Brandon Mull's first book, and he learns as he goes. The books just get better and better. Book one is good, book two is better, and book three just explodes with awesomeness.

Did you know, I got to meet Brandon Mull? He came to the Provo Library before he released Book Five. I brought all of my books, and he signed them. He's really nice; I liked him a lot.

He has a new series starting this month, and I can't wait to read it. Brandon Mull is definitely one of my favorite authors. Fablehaven is fun, exciting, funny, and just plain good. I highly recommend it. It would be a great book to pick up if you're looking for something good to read.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


One of the things I love the most about the gospel is prayer. I love prayer. I know that Heavenly Father listens to my prayers, and I know that he listens to yours. I always feel closer to him when I pray, because I know he's listening and he cares.

This video's really good; a really cute latin lady tells her story of prayer. :) If you have just a minute, it's worth watching.

Friday, March 4, 2011

My Classes

Despite the barrage of midterms I seem to be mired in right now, I really do have awesome classes.

For example, this week in my Marine Biology class I got to watch members of my class dance around with a ginormous crab claw to fiddle music.

Then, yesterday in my Evolutionary Biology class, we played with Betta fish for two hours. We set up experiments to determine dominance in the displaying patterns of males, and then we put their little cups next to each other and saw which ones were the best.

We were divided into groups of four, and each group got five fish. We named our fish Kyle, Steve, Philip, Nephi, and Red Hawk. Nephi (who is blue) and Red Hawk (who is red) were totally the two most dominant. As soon as they saw the other fish, they flared out their gills and their fins and danced around excitedly. Nephi was so good that we put him in the class competition, and he won! (Honestly, he was kind of tied with Megamind, but our teacher had to call a winner because we were out of time).

Sometime during the lesson, my friend Kira and I were eyeing the fish. We both love pets, and were wondering what the destiny of these fish were. "Joey," we asked innocently, "What are you guys going to do with the fish?"

Joey, our TA, answered without hesitation, "Flush them."

We gasped. "Really?!"

He started laughing. He's a really nice guy. "No, of course not. We'll find them good homes."

Relieved that he was kidding, and pushing forward with our plan, Kira asked, "Can we have one?"

"Yeah," answered Joey. "Totally. Come around here at 1 tomorrow when the last lab is over. Right?" He glanced at the other TA for confirmation, and she nodded her head.

So, we totally scored! I am currently sitting in the hall outside the class, waiting for the last lab to get over. Then, I will go inside and pick up Nephi, who I was lucky enough to be able to claim at the end of the lab. I'll also pick up a red fish for Alyse, who wanted one.

Do I have the best major at BYU? Why, yes. Yes I do.