29 November 2007

Dad's first publication

This photo of the Veil Nebula was taken by my dad. The premier space photography magazine, Sky and Telescope, recently purchased it and will be publishing it in the February 2008 issue. I just wanted to brag a little.

You can check out the rest of his beautiful work at his blog.

25 November 2007

bulbosaurs and bulldogs

Today I was teaching the 7 and 8 year-olds in Primary at church. The lesson was on fasting. I asked them, "If you could ask Heavenly Father for one thing -- just one -- what would it be?"
After the class had engaged in what appeared to be some serious and careful reflection, I went around the room and asked them to share their soul's deepest desire. The first three answers came from the boys in the class:

Boy #1: "Um, I would ask him to transform me into a clone. A medic clone."

Boy #2: "I'd like to be Mr. Dog or a Nintendo DS."

Boy #3: "I would ask for a Bulbosaur!"

Amused, but also concerned that these boys would be fasting for bulbosaurs and the like, I asked Boy #3, "Do you think you could manage to give me a serious answer?"

He just cocked his head to the side, pointed to himself, and said, "Why would a boy my age try to be serious?"

I couldn't think of anything to say.

Canine update: While talking to Kristen today, I happened to look out the window and (what did I see?) I saw a man walking a dog. What kind of dog, you ask? Oh, an English Bulldog, that's all. And where do this man and his dog live? Just right across the street from us. Happy happy day.

Kristen now calls me a dog-stalker. I try to retort, but, deep down, I think she might be right.

24 November 2007

I feel compelled to spread the word when I come across real genius. I thought I knew how talented Imogen Heap was, but I was wrong. So wrong.

proto-brains and boston terriers

Daniel: "How was work today?"
Kris: "Well, I have a co-worker who was telling me that marriage is a bad idea and that we should spread our genes as much as possible -- that limiting ourselves to one partner is working against evolution."
Daniel: "That's a sad understanding of evolution."
Kris: "Yeah, and I told him things might seem different if he ever has a relationship that lasts more than a year. He said that he has always felt this way and didn't expect to change."
Daniel: "How old is he?"
Kris: "Eighteen years old."
Daniel: "He doesn't even have a complete brain yet."
Kris: "That's true -- I should be like, 'Come back when your frontal lobe is done developing.'"
Daniel: "He only has a proto-brain. A pre-brain."
Kris: "I think we just discovered the ultimate wild-card for winning arguments with our [future] children."

I think this is something that parents have suspected since the dawning of time. How unfortunate that our lives are so short that we feel compelled to make the most crucial, defining decisions at a time when the part of the brain that is responsible for rational thought is almost done developing. Most of the time, it all works out. No doubt because of patient, loving parents. Anyway, for more on this topic, see this article.

On the other hand, while parents may have the ultimate come-back now, it's also true that their children have the ultimate excuse now.
"Maybe if I had a fully developed brain like you, Dad, I would've thought twice about going four-wheeling in your Bentley."
Even though these are ominous thoughts, I do rather like pretending that someday I'll have a Bentley.

Canine news: We have a neighbor who owns a 10 month old Boston Terrier named Billy. Billy is a "free-range" dog -- i.e., he tends to sneak out of the house. Whenever I see Billy out and about (okay, it has only happened twice), busy claiming every object in sight, I always run around with him for a few minutes before bringing him back to his home.
Anyway, Billy's owner must have seen how much I love hanging out with him. Last time I returned him, she told me that if I could find a mate for Billy, I could have one of his puppies for free! Kristen has already agreed to it. Now, we wait until the timing is right. I'm pretty excited about it. I'm even thinking about offering to walk Billy on Saturday mornings, just for practice.

Sure, Billy isn't a bulldog. But he's close enough.

This is what Billy looks like.

p.s. Because she knows it makes me laugh, Kristen has taken up the habit of adding the word "chutney" to every list that she makes.