Saturday, June 30, 2012

Three. Spiritual, failure.

Once ,when speaking with a very attractive woman, I found all of my social ability draining from me, in a most frustrating way. Before you dismiss such as standard male experience, first allow me to accuse you of accepting current female chauvinist cultural tropes suggesting that men are generally buffoons. Shame on you for being so insensitive.

Now that we have that out of the way, I will also relate that this was a particularly frustrating experience because the girl was not someone I of whom I am afraid. Indeed, we are good friends and have enjoyed spending time relaxed time together; falling apart should not have occurred whilst I spoke with her.

In something like exasperation, I said a prayer to the effect of, "Sheesh, please help me out here."

The response was quick, but friendly: 'I AM helping you out here."

And, in the intervening weeks and months, I have seen what He meant; the person is happily involved with someone else, and we would have made a very poor couple had I convinced her to pursue a different route.
One of the few works by MC Escher in the public domain, but
I think it shows what I mean.

Viewing God's hand is perhaps simplest in the positive spaces: we pray for a blessing and we receive it; we see it, and we give thanks.

Yet, there exists an entirely different, and equally important line of blessings in the negative space, in the things the Lord does not let us do; the things He prevents us from experiencing, the times He removes our abilities for our benefit.

This was my experience today. I saw God's hand many times, but primarily in keeping things from occurring; though I do not entirely know  why.

It is a trial of faith, I suppose, to wait for the hand of the Lord to be revealed. Once, I had an opportunity to go to Paris. I had purchased my ticket, a large group of my friends were going, and I was excited to join them. Unfortunately, when I arrived at the ferry station, I discovered that I had left my passport in my apartment... an hour's train ride away. Needless to say, I missed the trip and was rather sad about it. But, I had felt previously that the Lord did not really approve of my going, and so I chalked it up to His action and assumed things would work out.

Missing Paris was a major blessing. My friends experienced criminal negligence and consumer abuse at the hands of the Parisian agents of the travel company; it made my blood boil just to hear about it after they had all returned safely (some of them days later than intended). I would not have kept my composure had I faced such treatment, I think. Moreover, I would have missed several important academic, emotional, and spiritual experiences I had while everyone else was gone.

In sum, the Lord knows what He is doing - and His actions to prevent and protect are just as merciful, and important, as His actions to prosper and provide. It is good to know that when the positive space in my life does not seem to be what I want it to be, there is probably design in the negative, in the lack.

(Non) Fiction:

There are treasures
to be found
in the forgotten pockets
of suitcases.

We publish books. On
our website, see text, not pics.
Buyer verdict? Lame.

Photo-sites, theme sites:
Graphic design makes crazy.
Programming does too.

(And no, the first is not and was not intended to be haiku; the haiku were inspired by the eighteen syllable couplet, not the other way around.)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Two. On miracles.

I witnessed a miracle today. Experienced it, in fact - a breakthrough in my corporate endeavours that came as a direct result of my prayer for a miracle. It was a breakthrough in sales - which, honestly, is the first thing that has gotten me nauseatingly scared in some time. Half the miracle was working through the fear, and the other half was being blessed with success. Not a big deal to some. In my life, this was roughly the equivalent of someone parting a personal Red Sea.

I've heard a cliche'd quote that one can go through life either viewing everything as a miracle, or nothing as one. I'm not sure that's true, but it does bring up a good point: a miracle is a personal experience, not just an objective, transcendental lifting of natural or social or psychological or neurological laws. In this regard, the most powerful miracles are not ones in which mountains depart, but ones in which things we thought impossible are brought to pass.

In the musical, Fiddler on the Roof, the tailor Motel (MOTT-uhl) sings it perhaps better than I can write it.

Of all God's miracles, large and small,
the most miraculous one of all is the one I thought would never be...

 - whatever that thing is.

"Now, what do we hear in the gospel which we have received? A voice of gladness! A voice of mercy from heaven ... giving us consolation by holding forth that which is to come, confirming our hope!

Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory!"
(D&C 128:19-22, emphasis added).

You may wonder why I am titling each of these daily posts with a number, or, indeed, why I am posting daily now at all when my wont has been to post once a week or less. The number is an expression of faith in another miracle I am hoping for; I am sharing the number with the denizens of the ether as an added incentive for me to keep it increasing.

More importantly, it follows a hometeaching message from Pres. Eyring, a prophet of God: as we seek to see the hand of God, in our lives and working through others, we will be blessed to see it increasingly often. These daily posts, the daily count, and the fiction, are part of my record of that.

As with today, I will only record those evidences in appropriately vague terms; I cannot describe the complete effects of my experiences to you, nor am I inclined to try.* But I would be remiss in my duty to my fellowman were I to hide the record of my experiences with God.

This is my search for truth and my associated musings about it.

*(For a more thorough psuedo-secular explanation of this, see Kierkegaard's discussion of man's subjective relationship with the divine. For a more accurate explanation: oversharing things that should be kept personal can offend the Spirit.)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Thus begins a daily post series for the immediate and forseeable future. Though I generally despise fiction writing on blogs, I have decided that I may subject you all to some of it. Excoriating, defenestrating, exfoliating (yes, that was intentional) remarks concerning my writing are welcome, of course.

I will, however, promise one piece of non-fiction to help make the fiction more palatable. A piece of non-fiction a day keeps the shrink away, as they say, so I shall pave the way for my fiction with a brief musing today.

Today: I gained a testimony of Institute. I have not always attended Institute consistently, but today- late, under-dressed, and hungry - I decided to go. I am very glad I did. I missed more than half of the lesson, but the parts I did hear were exact answers to several very intractable-seeming problems with which I've been grappling over the past few days. Scripture study, temple service, and prayer had not been able to dislodge these issues; forty minutes of Institute did. The Lord moves in mysterious ways, indeed.

And now, for fiction:  (repeat: the following is not true in anything but a literary or metaphorical or symbolic sense. Think of it as a thought experiment, or skip reading it altogether.)

I've decided to start a new diet. I know from experience that avoiding meat leads one to feel lighter, happier, etc. ... so, meat is out. I've decided to follow my friend's advice and change my diet for moral reasons. Animals deserve not to be eaten unnecessarily - it's painful for them, and painful for us.

Anecdotal evidence: several vegetarians I know look young for their age. Several vegetarians I don't know and have never seen claim to look young for their age. Advantage: Being vegetarian, coupled with exercise, may help me look and feel better.

Problem: Exercise is difficult to perform on a vegetarian diet.
Solution: Stop exercising. Wait a minute...

Problem: Exercise is necessary for good health. Protein is necessary for exercise.
Solution: Eat ... scratch that, - choke down non-meat protein.

Problem: Eggs are really gross.
Solution: Barbecue sauce.

Expected result: Short term: Meat withdrawal: stomach ache. General grumpiness. Heightened frustration during mealtimes. Sluggishness.

Mid-term: Gastro-intestinal complications. Reduced food expenditures. Social adaptation leading to positively-altered friendships.

Long term: Lean muscle mass. Heightened mental alacrity (if sufficient fat is ingested). Decreased reaction time. Psuedo hipster-hippy-earth-love status.

Very long term: Nirvana. Possible levitational powers.  

Yeah, this will be good. No problem, really.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Purpose of blogging

I had occasion to ponder recently the purpose of this blog. The title is accurate; musings, and a search for truth. I haven't posted much of the truth I've found recently, and I wish to remedy that.

I know with all my heart the only way to lasting happiness is through God, through His Son Jesus Christ. Nothing else even comes close. His teachings and His path are the only way to successful relationships, friendships, careers,  and families, in the eternal scheme of things. No other way even comes close.

I am grateful for parents - and today, on Father's Day, a father especially - who gave me the chance to know that.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Picture preface post

Sunset over Utah Lake, from the Y-hike my ward conducted recently.

Vader is in the process of bailing on this photo.
Careful, Vader - some fans are not as
forgiving as I am.
After a brief blogging hiatus, I will be returning to this project shortly. Prepare, in the next post, for a critique of astrophysics. Also, I may review a critique of feminism.

An update: the magazine and company are coming along swimmingly. The new website is up - thank heavens - at There you can also find a link to an interview I had at CONduit 2012. Unlike other writing conventions I've attended, this one was more fan based. It was incredibly geeky, and a lot of fun.

I had a video interview which will soon be posted on that website as well; I may embed a copy of the file here when the gentlemen at ugeektv put up the video.

I do not have a picture of my new facial hairstyle, though I really like how it is coming along. After another week or two, when I am secure in the idea that I will continue to wear a beard, I will perhaps post a photo.

From April: Graduation

I have also begun to read again, which has been a  wonderful blessing. In the past month, I was able to steam through I am Not a Serial Killer, which was excellent Young Adult fiction, and Eventide which was excellent fantasy. Serial Killer provides an accurate view of a sociopath, as a sociologist would define him, in a supernatural crime/thriller story. Eventide, by contrast, was described to me by the author as "a bedtime story for adults." Both succeed very well as light fiction.

The conclusion to Starship Troopers by Heinlein was far less satisfying. Although Heinlein does an excellent job of imagining and describing a moral world based on exchange theory, the story arc of the book itself doesn't really progress. I know Troopers is considered a classic of science fiction. I don't care. The story was flat, and the main character doesn't resolve his character arc. He doesn't appear to learn anything from his experiences, and the greater storyline itself is left unfinished; we don't know if the troopers win at the end, and even the description of the war itself is more like an extended "year in the life of" snapshot than a narrative. The book is well-written in individual elements, but insufficient as a novel.

The cover of the anthology in which my story will appear,
probably in July or August of this year.

Unfortunately, my writing has taken a backseat to publishing. Now that I have had another gum surgery and I am no longer allowed to work out (for a few weeks' time) I shall schedule more time for my own written work. That said, my first published short story, "Indigo Ocean," comes out in a few weeks from Alliteration Ink in the anthology, Crimson Pact, vol. 4.

Speaking of writing, my next post will include a discussion of astrophysics (seriously!) and, perhaps, a plug for a new power generation method which I think could change the world. I may also include a description of company progress. I planned my next entrepreneurial venture recently, and it has gotten me far, far into a technical mindset; please join me as I search for applied truth as well.

Life is advancing and I feel I am making progress in many ways. Best of all, I feel my relationship with my God is deepening and strengthening. In that, as in the rest, I am blessed - and happy.

Sunset in the Midwest. Dec 2011.