Being Happy Today

Reasons not to procrastinate:

  1. If you care about your grades at all, you will miss out on wonderful, spur-of-the-moment activities with friends. If you don’t care about grades, you will fail all of your classes.
  2. Even if you don’t think you get stressed about the things you procrastinate, you do. That stress carries over into everything you do, and impedes you from fully enjoying the moment, whether it’s a movie, marathon run, making banana pancakes, mountain climbing, or whatever else happens to be you hobby. Fact is, it sits there, gnawing a little hole in the back of your mind, and you can’t focus 100% on the now.
  3. In the end, you will not succeed in procrastination.
  4. Avoiding the problem is as good as trying to stick an elephant in the fridge. Sure, you might get lucky and have a fridge with alternate dimensions inside, or maybe it’s even a fridge of holding, but most of us don’t walk around having those in our homes now, do we?
  5. No matter what you may think, you can’t make more time in a day than there already is. There are 24 hours, no more, no less. Once each second is gone, it’s gone. There’s no getting it back. Why waste what little time there is in a day being boring, mediocre, and underachieving? Do something awesome.
  6. You can’t do anything awesome if you have a lab report, homework, or a paper due.
  7. No really, you can’t.
  8. Everyone has something they really want to do, and the only way you’re going to be able to get to what you want to do and enjoy it is if you
    • Get through all the things you have  to do
    • Do so in a timely manner, and
    • Have extra time due to good planning
  9. Life is to be enjoyed, not endured. If you’re going through every day afraid of getting out of bed, you’re probably doing something wrong. It may well be procrastinating something you know you should do, which is just stressing you, and you don’t even realize it! Do the things you know you have to so you can stop beating yourself up about how big of a failure you are – which you know isn’t true, so just stop the negativity altogether. I give you permission to.
  10. If you’re not married, you’ll have more time to date, meet awesome gals/guys, and eventually get married. If you are married, you’ll have more time to spend with your wife/husband and kids, who should be the center of your world. If they’re not, you’re doing it wrong. (Besides, who wouldn’t want to spend time with this little guy?)
  11. Putting off ’til tomorrow what you can do today is essentially deciding to put off your happiness ’til tomorrow. You may think you’re happy, but unless you’re getting rid of your stressors along the way, it’ll be hard to keep that level of happiness in the long run, and the crash will be much, much worse.
  12. You have much better things to do than worry about what you’re not doing.

So what’s new?

Well, I haven’t written absolutely anything at all in pretty much forever, so apologies to anybody who’s actually reading this. Life’s been pretty intense, but isn’t it always like that?

Anyway, I got bored today, so I decided to find a project to work on. I found something like this that I plan on building in the coming weeks. I think I’ll do a lapel mic, though. If it actually works halfway decent, it’d be sweet to use it for live shows.
Anyway, I’ll put up some photos and stuff as the work comes along.

Multilingual dilemma (and subsets)

I have this terrible dilemma that makes me hesitate to write in my blog: a lot of what I write, I write for friends in Chile as well as here in the States. A lot of them don’t speak English, so I’m hesitant to write at all.

Not really a good situation to be in, because I rather enjoy writing, as it helps me relieve stress. I’ve tried using simple free tools to translate, but short of hiring a translator, or simply translating and posting again, I don’t really have a solution. Anyone have an idea?

Maybe a separate blog?

In any event, life sure has been crazy! Things have finally calmed down, which means I have time to spare, meaning…

  • I’ve started running again! Oh how I’ve missed that.
  • Chris and I made shrimp tacos yesterday. So good!
  • I’m finally getting a grip on my classes, and things make sense. Linear algebra has been a beast. Yesterday I finally understood linear maps, which led me to make this comparison in my head:
(As a side note, yes, Emma Watson is pretty. No, she’s not my celebrity crush. That’s Taylor Swift.)
(As another side note, a special thanks to wikipedia.org, http://harrypotter.wikia.com/, and http://www.fanpop.com/ for the images above)
  • …and I finally have my sense of humor back, as you can tell.
That’s really it for now!

A Lot to Catch Up On, Part 1: Android Apps and Music Production

So I’ll be the first to admit I’ve been incredibly lazy in writing. I have a lot of ideas to write about, and frankly, I don’t have them all organized super well.

First and foremost, I’d like to give a review of some totally awesome Android apps I’ve found in the market. I’m big on productivity and such, so you can bet how incredibly thrilled I was to discover when I got home that my phone was literally my new best friend, not because I would be talking to lots of people (I used to be really phone-phobic, but not so much after two years of calling people and talking to them in another language!), but because it would help me keep track of everything I wanted to!

Since I haven’t talked about music in forever and a day, I’m going to spend some time to introduce you to my favorite music apps in the market. There is an AWESOME potential here that is definitely untapped as of yet.

  • http://chordbot.com/ is the developer of the chordbot app. This thing is super handy, even in the free version! It basically is an automatic accompaniment that you can set to perform various chord progressions (and it’s got lots of options, mind you), and then pick a comping style to play them in, and then hear how they sound! This is great for songwriting, especially if you’re on the go and don’t have an instrument with you.
  • FingerPlayMIDI is another great app that can be found at <http://thesundancekid.net/blog/fingerplay-midi/>. This thing literally lets you turn your phone into a MIDI controller for use with various audio production workstations (DAWs) like ProTools, Ableton, Reaper, and a whole slew of others. I haven’t gotten much into using it, but the capability is there, and frankly, I’m excited to get it working well.
  • A similar app is called TouchDAW, can be found at  http://www.humatic.de/htools/touchdaw/. I know, I know, I’m throwing in tons of links and info, but this stuff is really cool! Honestly, who ever dreamed of the capabilities a phone would have ten years ago? I was stuck fascinated with my totally hardcore Gameboy Color and Pokemon. TouchDAW is similar to FingerPlay, but has a much more developed interface – which unfortunately, to get the best of it, you do have to pay. But it’s definitely worth it. In fact, it’s made me want to save up to get a tablet…just to use it as a dedicated MIDI controller and mixing board for my computer.
  • Also available is Wireless Mixer, which is exactly what it says it is: a handy app that lets you work on mixing projects wirelessly (apparently that isn’t a word…yet).
  • Heck, there’s even a free four track recorder you can download. You can literally write your music wherever you are! I haven’t got the pro version yet, but to be completely honest, the free version is all I’ve needed so far.
So there you have it: the results of my personal crusade for the best apps in the Android market for music production. Granted there are some bugs to work out in a few of them, and maybe advertisements and cripples in the software can be a pain, but stop and think about what this all implies: this is literally a revolution in the music production industry. Especially more so since the Android market is open for anyone to use, and most of the programming is done in Java, one of the easiest languages to learn.

The dreaded ‘f’ word: finals

So it’s finally finals week. I’d like to take a moment to tell everyone DON’T PANIC.

And don’t worry, for those of you paranoid students with serious insomnia like me, here’s Gandalf to provide you some study motivation: YOU SHALL NOT PASS.

But in all seriousness (or non-seriousness, as it be), take a moment to put things in perspective. Your life does not hinge on whether or not you pass a class. If the worst thing that ever happens in your life is having to repeat a class, you have a pretty durn awesome life.

Everything happens for a reason! Trust that. If you’re trying to do the best you know how, things will work out. Not maybe how you want, but always how they need to be. Don’t be afraid to fail. To take chances. To jump when you need to. and hold back when you need to as well. Trust that there’s a higher power driving things. Call it what you will.

And don’t stop believing!

Pet Peeve

I don’t ever talk about things like pet peeves much. In fact, I really try not to have pet peeves at all. But recently, I came to the conclusion that I do, in fact, have one pet peeve that drives me crazy, and that is people who are “nice guys” and “nice girls”.

Let me explain. Being a nice guy isn’t nice at all. In fact, it’s usually downright fakery. A charade. A masquerade. A hoax. A sham. KaBLaM! (It rhymed…I had to do it!)
For example, people who shrug off compliments by criticizing their own work, e.g.,
“Hey, you did a great job on that painting.”
“Thanks. I kinda feel like it’s a bit dull though.”
TAKE THE DURN COMPLIMENT AND MOVE ON. Don’t take it as an excuse to degrade yourself, which really indicates low self-esteem, and you could even just look at it as fishing for compliments, even if that’s not what you mean to do.
Life’s hard enough without you beating yourself up over your own mistakes. Feel free to tell that obnoxious voice in the back of your mind that it can shut up and go jump off a cliff. After all, it’s just an annoying voice. If has no feelings. You’re the one with the feelings, and quite frankly, you have the right to be as happy as you choose to, and Mr. Stupidface McDegrading can go fly a kite. On the moon.
So choose to be happy and stop being a nice guy. Be yourself. Be the best you you can. Be the kind of person that makes everyone else want to be a better them. That’s all anyone really wants from you.
Being “nice” isn’t nice. It’s frustrating. Why does this frustrate me so much? Because I do it. So if you catch me being an obnoxious nice guy, go ahead and call me out on it. I really won’t mind. And everyone – you, me, Mr. Rogers, Mr. T, Mr. Mister, and even your imaginary pet cat Mr. Fluffycuddlekins – will be happier.
So please, do everyone involved a favor. Choose to be yourself. Stop beating yourself up. You’ve got enough problems as it is without becoming your own worst enemy.
Instead, read this. No, really, read it. It inspired this post, to some extent.

Man’s Manifesto: Life, Love, and Michael Bolton

So I was totally convinced that I’d already written something on this incredibly important topic: love. Apparently I was either dreaming, daydreaming, or had recently taken some melatonin…not sure which.

In any event, I’ve given a lot of thought on this subject, and my thoughts on what it means to be a real man. I almost considered the approach of quantifying it – bringing it all down to a list of what you do…but fact of the matter is, you can fake it and still not be a man. You can be a total jerk and still come off as everything you’d imagine in the perfect man – charming, cute, funny, chivalrous, strong, with a dashing mustache, or whatever you may imagine.

But being a man isn’t about what you do. You can be an auto mechanic, businessman, factory worker, schoolteacher, entertainer, or anything else you can imagine, and still be a man. It’s about who you are. And what is it that really makes a man?

I always find it funny when experts come out with some sort of new idea as to why it is that people in our generation don’t marry as often or as young as previous generations. There was an article a couple of days ago in the Daily Universe that talked about technology being a possible reason.

I disagree.

The reason our generation doesn’t marry as young or as often is because we don’t understand what love is.

More than anything, it’s a real understanding of love. Not mushy, overly-emo, ridiculous Hollywood story ‘love’.


“When a man loves a woman…” (Thank you, years of listening to Michael Bolton…)

Hollywood and the rise of entertainment in general has led us to think that our lives have to be storybook perfect. That if there’s a snag, we have to abandon ship. That sparks have to fly, entire nations have to crumble, and the world has to completely turn around when we fall in love.

Wrong. When a man loves a woman, he doesn’t turn his back on his best friend. That’s not real love. Fact: your grandparents understand real love a whole lot better than you think.

Chemically, people ‘fall in love’ – that crazy rush that you probably confuse for love. That chemical rush can last, at longest, for about two years. But what happens when that’s over? Things fall apart. Period.

Think about every other kind of love now. Or what you think is every other kind of love, because what the world has gotten you to believe is that the crazy chemical rush is true love, and that other stuff is, well, other stuff.

Wrong.

All that other stuff is true love. That rush is a part of it, but it’s nowhere near everything. Here’s an example in my life: my mom. I know my mom truly loves me. How? Well, as a kid, I got sick…a lot. And when I say a lot, I mean that I remember once in fourth grade I had pretty nasty pneumonia and missed a month of school straight. I had ear infections at least three or four times a year. Strep throat was common. I don’t even know how many times I had tubes.

All those times when I was sick as a dog, with a fever, I remember my mom was there, every time, to help me. In big or small things, she was there. When I had my tympanoplasty, when I had the jaw surgery, my tonsils, a fever, a cold, a broken arm, a wasp sting on my ear, or even a black eye from flag football, my mom took care of me.

Real love isn’t about always agreeing. We disagree all the time, my mom and I. But I know she cares about me.

The key to real love, in the end, is the ability to inspire greatness in others. To bring out the best.

I think of teachers who have inspired me. My parents. My grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and even random people on the street who just make me want to be better. That right there is real love.

A while ago I found a short story that talks about how to recognize real love. In it, there’s three questions that rather easily sum up how to do so. I use it as a sort of litmus test for love. They are:

  • Does this person inspire me to do better in school/work and help me in my efforts to be better?
  • Does this person inspire me to be a better friend, father/mother, husband/wife, man/woman, son/daughter, etc?
  • Does this person inspire me to draw closer to God and be a better person overall?
If you can answer yes to all three of those questions, then that is true love. Period.
Once you understand that true love is what it talks about in 1 Corinthians 13, you start to understand why a guy who beats his girlfriend/wife doesn’t really love her, and the sheer absurdity of a woman saying, “It’s okay, because he loves me.” Physical and psychological violence have absolutely nothing to do with love.
Perfect love casteth out all fear.
You realize the absurdity of a couple who is pretty much nonfunctional when apart because they’re so obsessed with each other that they can’t do anything but think of the other.
You see how ridiculous it is to quantify what your ideal mate would be, or even start making a list of what they have to be like. Real love isn’t a checklist. It’s about what’s in your heart, and each and every one of us have unique and different ways of expressing that love.
A real man understands how to bring out the best in others. That’s what it means to love. So a real man knows how to love. A mechanic, drive-through worker, businessman, schoolteacher, or even a musician can do that. The end.

I know I said I’d write about music. But I lied. I’ll randomly post music reviews and updates when I find something interesting to update on. Today I feel like talking about physics. No, not the boring, dull, waste-of-time highly theoretical physics that makes you (and me, for that matter) fall asleep while the teacher lectures. Not the math either. Just some interesting things I’ve learned from it.

  1. Physics cannot solve all your problems.
  2. If a ball is falling from geosynchronous orbit, and air resistance is proportional to the square of its velocity, then why did you put the durn thing up there anyway? It’s just going to catch fire.

Ek skop die perd.

It’s time for a shameless plug on my part for anyone who’s trying to decide on what classes they should take. So today I got bored and decided to take a look at easy languages to learn, and guess what I found?
Apparently Afrikaans is one of the easiest languages for English-speaking natives to learn. The Afrikaans program at BYU is currently floundering as far as I understand, and frankly, having taken just one semester of it, I find that saddening. Afrikaans is kind of what I’d call a gateway language. It’s basically Dutch for kindergartners. It’s only got three verb tenses, so learning it is almost entirely vocabulary – which is to say it’s super easy. Easier than Spanish. For real. I’m currently brushing up on my Afrikaans using Google Translate and the Book of Mormon. For pronunciation, Google Translate doesn’t work well, but it’s really good for getting just what you need – the vocab.
And since it’s a Germanic language, you can understand several other languages – my brother is currently learning Norwegian, and a lot of the words carry over. Checking out that same list, you’ll be able to understand the Danish and Swedish to some extent, not to mention the Dutch.
So for those of you who’re still struggling with class selection and have a huge hole to fill, pick Afrikaans. Do it. Nine times. Even a single semester of it you won’t regret, because it gives you a huge in to other Germanic languages.

Today could be awesome. It’s your choice.

Your choice is simple: happiness or sadness.

You can complain all you like about your situation. That won’t change it. You can think about all the things you wish you were. That won’t make you them. You can compare yourself over and over and over again to everyone you know — and everyone you don’t know — and always find yourself coming up short. You can live life relative to everything else, measuring distance relative to the landmarks around you, relative to the distance traveled, the miles covered, the milestones achieved, and the monuments left behind. You can live looking back in the rearview mirror, seeing everything disappear, or staring at the horizon ahead, always afraid of what’s coming. You can live paralyzed by insecurities and doubts, internal and external, and let yourself get caught up in perceptions of the truth, living vicariously through the criticism and negativity, letting it determine who you are. You can let your future be determined by everyone else and what they expect from you. You can be the loser. The drug addict. The drunkard. The failure. The lazy one. The fake. The melodramatic. The jerk. The quiet one. The loud one. The paranoid. The overly busy. You can let the world tell you what makes you happy. You can spend your whole life chasing the dreams you’re fed from others’ imaginations, invented so they can make a quick buck, and find, after years of chasing, that you’re nowhere near anything that matters, anything recognizable, or even anything remotely beautiful. You can live your life and be acted upon, like a prop. You can be the tool, the chump, the manipulated, the gullible. You can watch the television, day after day, channel after channel, and find that after all you’ve seen, you really aren’t any better for it. You’re still just as empty.

The choice is yours.

The only thing we really have in life is our ability to choose. To choose what we do, what we wear, what we think, and, ultimately, who we are. Some choices really don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. What color of umbrella you buy is probably not going to determine the outcome of your life. But there are choices that matter.

The first thing you need to do is understand that you can’t control everything. In fact, there’s a pretty limited scope of what you can control: your actions, reactions, thoughts, and feelings. Can you control somebody else? No. Don’t even try. Can you control the weather? Good luck.

Things will happen. Some of those things will, well, suck. Some of them will be totally awesometastic and make everything worth it and make sense. Not every day is going to get a 0 out of 10 or a 10 out of 10. Face the facts. Most days are probably somewhere in the 5-7 range. At least, for me, that’s where they fall. They’re not awesome, but they’re not terrible. They’re just days.

So what are you to do? Make excuses as to why today can’t be awesome? “It’s raining. I hate rain.” “I didn’t get my homework done, so I’m mad.” Think of it. How often do we qualify our moods on things that we have absolutely no control over? What’s the use in wasting your already short life by purposely making it worse and wasting time complaining about something that you’re never going to be able to change? Really, there isn’t. So stop complaining about things you have no control over. Be it, “So-and-so doesn’t like me! WAA!” or “I hate the cold!” or “I hate it when people do/don’t do such-and-such!”

You control your reactions. If there’s something to be done about a problem, instead of wasting time complaining, DO SOMETHING.

If you’re really bothered by people who don’t recycle, start a recycling campaign. If you wish people wouldn’t complain, start a positivism movement. If you want people to be happy, give them a reason to be happy!

You define your life. You. Yourself. Nobody else does. Not your mom. Not your dad. Not your brother or sister. Not your uncle, aunt, cousin, grandma, or grandpa. Not the bullies at school. Not your defects. Not your insecurities. Not your fears. You. You are so much more than what you think. Don’t limit yourself. Be  different. Make a difference. Make a decision. Don’t be afraid of failure. Everyone fails. Every day.

What separates the happy ones from the sad ones is that they pick themselves up and keep going. They have a dream and they stick to it. They decide they want something – something good – and they go after it with everything they are.

When’s the last time you did that?

Make the choice. Choose what you think about. Focus on what matters. On what’s good. Surround yourself  with it. Dive into it. Get away from what drags you down. As far away as possible. Choose your words wisely. Build, don’t break. Would you rather be remembered for the kind words you choose to say, or the unintentionally rude words you unthinkingly utter? The choice is yours. Today could be awesome.