Thursday, August 25, 2005

On Devon Call

People who know lots of my friends may be surprised that I probably laugh the hardest when I remember activities of Devon Call. He wasn't your typical class clown, or the guy with all the witty come-backs. Here are two scenes that illustrate for me why Devon makes me laugh.

One thing that is absolutely essential for you to know about the Call family is that they are always on the serious cutting edge with regard to telephony technology. For example, they had conference call before the rest of us even had such a concept. An entertainment activity Devon would do went like this: He would call up two people, sometimes they were boyfriend and girlfriend, sometimes they were a couple that had recently broken up, sometimes they were strangers that maybe had heard of each other. Devon would get one member of the couple on, and immediately say: "Oh, sorry, one second..." Then he would get the other member on and immediately say: "Oh, sorry, one second..." Then he would patch the two together and we could listen in on a muted phone. It was usually awkward (in an entertaining way) for the couple to start talking, neither daring to ask why the other called. And it was entertainingly awkward for either to say anything like: "Thanks for calling." Because the other would say, "Wait, did you think that I called you?" etc.

*****
At his welcome home from his mission to Australia, Devon shared the meeting with another returned missionary, Twila Newey, who had recently returned from Hawaii. Twila was the first speaker. How did she begin her talk? Of course you know: Brothers and Sisters...Aloha! And the congregation responded in unison: Aloha! And as I recall, she gave an impassioned and spiritually uplifting talk.

Then it was Devon's turn, he got up and said: "Brothers and Sisters...G'day!" Most of the congregation shifted in their seats, then maybe 10-15 members hesitantly and questioningly responded: "G'day?"

I'm just a regular guy

Yeah, I just wanted to tell everyone that I'm just a regular guy. I know that's hard for some to imagine; but believe me, I'm just a normal person with normal wants and needs. It's really not all that complicated at all. I'm just a regular person!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

last blog was a jerk's perspective

I had a new post up most of today that was taking a jerk's perspective. I took it off because too many people thought I was really advocating a jerk's perspective. Not that I'm NOT a jerk, but I will re-work it for another day.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Three tasks of language learning

So, here is the most generic entry into how I think about language learning: Three general tasks enable a student to learn a language, they are: massive amounts of input in the language (exposure to the language), massive amounts of output in the language (opportunity to use the language), and plenty of opportunity to adjust understandings and utterances to closer match those of native speakers. Though these three tasks seem fairly obvious, it is surprising how routinely they are misunderstood, or misapplied. The third task--opportunity to adjust understandings and utterances--is critical, but many teachers overdose on an ugly step-sister to this task: the dreaded grammar drills. Such drilling before a student has a sort of feel for what is being drilled is a waste of time and effort.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Impressive/obscure things

I find that blogging can often be reduced to sharing impressive/obscure trivia/experiences. I started my blog with a list of chocolate bars, expressly saying that I'm not looking for impressive/obscure ones, or that sharing such is evidence you're a nerd; then what do I do? I give an example—Milka—to demonstrate that I am familiar with some impressive/obscure chocolate bars. In an effort to skip past the silly, childish games we play to get to the crux of what blogging is all about—sharing my impressive/obscure trivia/experiences—here is a list of my impressive/obscure trivia/things/experiences. Tell me you're impressed, comisserate, and/or impress me with yours!

1. Kant, Nietsche, MacIntyre, Arendt, Sartre: guys, these guys are really influencial philosophers, and I've read some of their stuff.
2. New York City (aka NYC), like for example 5th avenue, oh, and a little street I like to call BROADWAY, 56th street (I know LOTS of streets and avenues; hint: they roughly corollate to our numbering), Rizzoli, The Village, Strand, Labarynth, Bergdorf (the store, not my son), West side, Upper West side, Financial district, Midtown, Upper East side, Morningside Heights, Midtown, Chelsea, TriBeCa, etc. etc. etc.
3. creme broulle
4. The Silent Way language teaching technique
5. Goblin Valley
6. Peter Luger
7. Did I mention I hiked the Sawtooths, and Gospel Hump?
8. Latin
9. Freshly squeezed orange juice is the best drink on the planet.
10. Mother Hips, Jayhawks, the Strokes, Gillian Welch, Richard Julian
11. Gadamer, or how I often use in sentences: Gadamerian hermeneutics
12. Latin
13. The Denver Broncos drafted Clay Brown, the receiver of Jim McMahon's Hail Mary in the 1981 Miracle Bowl
14. Buffalo wings at the Trolley
15. I made eye-contact with Emmanuel Lewis when he was the guest celebrity at the Stadium of Fire
16. Diglot weaves--would you like me to tell you un cuento?
17. Constructivism: guys, seriously, it's rad.
18. Witahemaway, and Aluat Sukhema
19. Munschworks
20. Cinema Paradiso--or any foreign film, really--Toto le hero, Jean de Flourette, Ran, Das Boot, etc.
21. Quark Xpress, Illustrator, Photoshop, Flash--what's that? MS Office? Nice.
22. A scout is hungry!
23. Michel de Montaigne
24. I was hit on the head by a foul ball hit by Cory Snyder while he played for BYU. He signed it: "Sorry, should have been a home run. --Cory Snyder" I lost it playing in the back yard the next week.
25. When you first enter the MTC, dude, lose the dork dot.
26. Milka, Dolfin (au lait & noir), Chocolat Bonnat, Milka with yogurt
27. I am the reigning singles and doubles ping-pong champion at Wasatch Elementary school.
28. I saw Julia Stiles exit the Journalism building on Columbia campus.
29. Erin Robison won the Wasatch Elementary school spelling bee by correctly spelling 'arctic'
30. "How about a nice game of chess?" "No. I want Global, thermal, nuclear war."
31. I got out on the word 'jeep' in a spelling bee.
32. Cheese tortellini vinaigrette
33. Rootbeer New York Seltzers
34. My kingdom for a good shake source in Westchester, something like Stans in Provo.
35. Gabby cried at the Haagan Dazs commercials
36. I backpacked 11 miles tough terrain less than 24 hours of having 4 wisdom teeth pulled
37. Paul Hewson, and Dave Evans.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Harry Potter 7: If you want something done...

Like everyone in the whole wide world, I am anxious for book 7 of the Harry Potter series. I have been imagining, and imagining, and imagining what will happen. Then it donged on me. You know what Sebastian says: you want someteen done, you got to do eet yo-self! So here goes!

Chapter 1: Brunch, Be-muggling, and Bragadocio

Anselm's Literal and Figurative Spirits Tavern was by any account a busy but quiet destination on Knockturn Alley the morning after the Half-Blood Prince fulfilled his unbreakable vow. Though a longtime dark wizard destination, the bustle was noticeable, if not to muggles, at least to non-dark-wizarding folk. Quiet, devilish hands shook each other, and whispers of congratulations were growing into a steady murmur. The Dark Lord ordered floating fish and chips.

Alone at his table in the corner, this was the most public Lord Voldemort had been since his return, and yet there were series of hexes, charms, and Wizard cigar smokes occlimating his table. Still many of the dark wizards recognized that there was an air of triumph in the musty corner to which the order of floating fish and chips had just casually floated.

Snape entered Anselm's like a prince and marched straight to the triumphant table. "My Lord, I see you've ordered floating fish and chips"

"Yesssssssssssss SSSSSSnape"

"Come again?" asked Snape

"Sorry--Parseltongue, you know, you just get so used to speaking it, you forget that not everyone can understand, and you just kind of lapse into it! My apologies, Severus...sincerest." replied Voldemort, with care and precision.

"Lord Voldemort, we've not a moment to lose. The Potter boy is vulnerable."

"Oh Snape! Your focus is inimitable! Yes, we are moving on Potter this very moment. He is growing in strength you know Severus. I should like for him to drink from the Goblet of the Gninekaew!"

"A brilliant idea! Might I make a suggestion? If we were to..." (at this point, Snape's voice turned to a thin whisper, and he sketched some drawings with his wand on his tabula rasa) "...and before you can say 'Bob's your uncle'..."

"Yes. Severus. Yes." Voldermort nodded knowingly. Though Voldemort was not one to enjoy the company or friendship of others, he could scarcely contain his excitement now about the clearly realizable prospect of destroying Harry Potter for good. A sheepish but increasingly confident grin swept across The Dark Lord's face. The Dark Lord extended his hand and Snape swallowed it up in his, and the two shared a menacing, evil grimace which grimace's reverberations would be felt around both the muggle and the wizarding world, but most acutely in the lightning shaped remnant of Lord Voldemort on the forehead of one Harry Potter.

*********************************

ubi meli, ibi apes ubique Harry shouted across the table to Fred Weasley as he had been using his Wizard's Beginning Dancing Kit for Kitchen Items to make a jar of honey appear to be dancing with a soft-boiled egg. They both started to smile before they recalled the depressing situation that brought the party together. Times were undeniably difficult for Harry Potter. Very, very difficult. This was not a time to be a simple young wizard. No. For whatever strange reason, Harry had been selected as "the chosen one" and Lord Voldemort had taken it upon himself to rid Harry of any meaningful support. As if it hadn't been enough to just leave him to be raised by the Dursleys, Voldemort had systematically removed Harry's most trusted mentors, Godfathers, and in short all reliable grown-ups. Harry came to the realization over a period of months now: If he is to be successful in defeating Voldemort, his greatest allies were the simple teen and pre-teen members of Gryffindor at Hogwarts; especially Ron, and Hermione.

But thinking about Ron and Hermione only made Harry remember that when he was around them now, he felt more and more like a third wheel. He had tried to read up on how to adjust. He had glanced through Irnesto Hagleby's Incantations, Inflamations, and Infatuations: An outsider's fieldguide to Friend's Who Become Lovers And even Gawain Prince's My Best Wizard Friend is Now Dating my Other Best Wizard Friend—and Where Does that Leave Me?

Harry had been through a lot. One need only review his tumultuous tenure at Hogwarts to see undeniable evidence of that! And yet, Harry Potter was still standing. And so was Lord Voldemort. Harry could sense clearer than ever that his destiny and Voldemort's were on an unrelenting collision course. Unthinkingly, he reached for his glowing, burning scar, and fainted in pain.



Well, it's not quite there. I would love any input, especially with regard to duh! spells, and also: dialogue between Harry, Ron, and Hermione, and Harry and Ginny Weasley, or other portions as you see fitting. If you didn't notice, I pretty much have Voldermort and Snape down, or I at least like the direction things are going for them so far. I am going to try to get this published as the 7th Harry Potter book. I know I will need A LOT more words and chapters, believe me. My friend's say that there is a slim chance, because of copyright issues and such, but my response is:
1. nothing that is of lasting value is easy.
2. You (and in this case I) can do anything you (I) set your (my) mind to.
3. This is something that I have set as a goal, and I REALLY have set my mind to it.