Monday, October 25, 2010

Utah Beauty

Today while walking from one of my classes, I saw this.

Actually, I saw it from over the top of the Smoot Administration building. It was so incredibly beautiful--Mount Timpanogos seemed to be glowing, and the sky was an amazing shade of electric blue--that I did something kind of crazy: I went half a mile out of my way for the perfect shot (be proud of me, mom). Once I got to my vantage point and started taking pictures, I just couldn't stop!I am awed by the beauty of the mountains. Really, I am awed by how incredibly beautiful all of Utah is!
I will admit, I was very worried when I left my home in lush, green North Carolina to come to the desert that is Utah that I had consigned myself to 4+ years of brown and grey.
Yes, there is some brown and some grey. But there is also a lot of blue, and a good bit of white, and even some green and gold.

About this time of year in North Carolina, the leaves start changing colors. This happens everywhere, it is true, but in NC it means the whole world becomes a kaleidescope of reds, golds, oranges, and yellows. While I will always miss my home state, I am happy to find I love my new state as well.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Really Amazing Experience.

A short introduction to "A Really Amazing Experience."
Last week, I won the "cheesiest narrative" contest in my writing class (I think the prize was 1 extra credit point). I think this is perhaps the worst thing I've ever written--I love it. So, here it is!
Note: This is completely made up. No worries, I'm still VL.

A really amazing experience

A few weeks ago, I was at a friend's house baking cookies. My friend, whose name is Patricia, really likes making cookies. I also like making cookies, but more than I like making I cookies I like Patricia; she is the apple of my eye. While we were making cookies she started talking to me about my hopes and dreams, and who I wanted to be. I told her about my dream of taking over the world and being the first ever completely benevolent—and absolutely feared—dictator. I asked her if she wanted to help me take over the world. I don't really remember what she said, but I think she laughed and then we stopped talking about taking over the world.

While the cookies were baking, we walked around Patricia's house. It was a very interesting place. I think when I get to buy a house, I want to get a house that is a lot like Patricia's, because her house was really neat. It may be really expensive, but I think I could get someone to sell it to me because I'm a really good person and everyone loves me. Everyone loves me so much, in fact, that people sometimes throw things at me—I think it's like trying to touch me from far away, since not everyone can touch me up close. I'm just that awesome.

Anyway, that doesn't really have anything to do with the story, so time to get back to business and put the petal to the metal. Patricia and I kept walking around her house, but then the stove timer beeped so we took the cookies out of the oven. I didn't burn my hand on the pan, but I thought it would probably have hurt if I had.

So, we ate some cookies, which I didn't think tasted very good but pretended to so that Patricia would like me. Now this is where it gets interesting. Patricia said that she really, really liked me. I said that I really, really liked her. Then we kissed, and it was pretty amazing, and I get little goosebumps when I think about it now. The moral of this story is, if you are as totally awesome as I am, girls will want to kiss you.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Whirlwind tour of the ESC

One of the classes I am taking this year, Physics 191, is a once-a-week seminar introducing the faculty and programs in BYU physics. It's a pretty fun class (although for some reason I always have trouble staying awake), and one of the cool things we got to do this week was take a 20 minute tour of the Eyring Science Center.

This is one wall of the anechoic chamber, found two floors below ground level. Everything--floor (6 feet below a wire mesh we stood on), ceiling, walls, was covered in these foam wedges. The overall effect was, well, anechoic--we clapped, we yelled, we clicked and whistled, and every single time the sound faded the moment we stopped. It was kind of creepy, but way cool.
This is some kind of particle accelerator... It was in the plasma physics lab. This thing could probably destroy the universe. (Not really, but wouldn't it be cool if it could?)
We took a trip through the planetarium. The wall murals were really fantastic, I want to come back here at length some day soon.

We also got to see the telescope housed in the ESC; the picture after that is the retracting part of the roof.

This is a laser. Cool, huh?
The laser labs (there were a bunch of them) all had really funny signs on the doors. These were a few of my favorite, although the best was definitely a sign that said "This lab free of laser-related deaths for ___ days." I think there were something like 25 scratches in the blank space. Good job, BYU physics!

As our last step on the tour, we visited the reverberation chamber--it was exactly the opposite of the anechoic chamber; a clap sounded like a gunshot. Part of the physics of the reverberation involved these curved plastic plates suspended from the ceiling in apparently random patterns.
So now I have wandered in the HFAC and taken a whirlwind tour of the ESC. What other secrets does the campus of BYU hold?

Monday, October 4, 2010

My Gracenotes

Saving grace. That grace which lifts up a poor, broken, downtrodden soul, a soul burdened by sin and by guilt, a soul that at some times desires nothing more but the end of existence, of feeling, of conscious thought, a soul that desires the mountains to fall upon him to hide his crimes from God… the grace which lifts up this soul, comforts him, heals him, nourishes him, succors him, plants in him seeds of an unshakeable, unquenchable faith, gives him joy where once was pain, gives him hope where once there was despair, which makes him into more than the fallen, lost being he was, which makes him into a Man, which makes him into a Saint, which makes him into a Son of the Living God. That is saving grace.

I walk along a sidewalk, glistening from a recent rain, and enjoy the beauty of the world around me. The trees sway slightly in the breeze, nodding to the rhythm of a song that I cannot hear. Birds chirp in the trees, joy made music, calling to one another and perhaps just to me. In the distance I see a mother and her child, walking up to their front door; the child reaches for his mother’s hand, instinctively, a motion he has made thousands of times before. The sun, temporarily hidden behind a cloud, bursts forth in light and glory and wonder, and I cannot help the smile that comes to my lips, the feeling of joy sharp as a knife, gentle as a cloud, and bright as the son whose light I live in.

Special thanks to Brian Doyle, who wrote an essay entitled “Gracenotes;” little anecdotes, observations, biographies and thoughts related to grace. The idea for this essay was that it could be pulled from his (much longer) essay.

Also, special thanks to Alma the Younger, who gives me a fantastic example of what saving grace is, and of living by grace.