Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Keep the F in KFC

Do not - I repeat - DO NOT fall for KFC's grilled chicken. The other day was their "free piece of grilled chicken" day, so Deidra and I gave it a shot. It was SOOOOO greasy and nasty. It wasn't worth standing in line for five minutes to get it free, so it's definitely not worth paying money for.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

No PhD this year

I officially heard from the last school today and I am not going to be starting a PhD program in the Fall. So I am now fully immersing myself in the job hunt. I will probably try to get some experience under my belt, and might take and retake the GMAT and GRE (respectively) to boost my chances for acceptance next year. In addition, I will be able to more fully study PhD programs and find those that are the best fit for me. So, all in all, it may not be a bad thing to have to wait another year.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Woohoo - 100 miles

It took about nine months, but today I finally hit the 100 mile mark running/jogging/walking with my Nike+.

Monday, April 06, 2009

I know . . . I'm a nerd

So, I've been reading the book Angels & Demons by Dan Brown. A lot of the action revolves around ambigrams, which are words/images that are the same right side up and upside down. So I decided to see if I could make one. The results are as follows:

Right side up:

Upside down:

Not too bad for a certified non-artist, wouldn't you say? :-) (By the way, it says "Hartwell," in case you couldn't tell.)

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Bicentennial Post

It took just under a year for me to hit 100 posts.

It has taken nearly two more years for me to add another hundred.

At this rate, I'll have 300 by the year 2013.

March books

Month number three of my book goal did not find a huge amount of progress. I completed only three more books, mainly because the first one took me so long to get through.

Richard L. Bushman

I started this book in early February, and it took me until late March to finish it - over six weeks. It is an extremely thorough and thought-provoking book on the life of Joseph Smith. The author is meticulous in his research and fairly portrays the man that some followed as a prophet of God and others scoffed as an egocentric fraud. Bushman himself belongs to the LDS (Mormon) church, and the book is somewhat apologetic in favor of Joseph Smith, but he does not shy away from the little-known, controversial parts of Joseph Smith's life. All in all, I think the book gave me a greater respect for Joseph Smith and confirmed my faith in his calling as a prophet. It did, however, also give me more understanding of how people outside the church view him, and where some of the ideas they get about him come from.

Orson Scott Card

I decided to start reading the Alvin Maker series from Card after reading a short story that goes along with the series in Card's book of short stories that I read last month. And when I found most of the books in the series on my dad's bookshelf, they jumped ahead of the other books on my list. 

The series could be considered "historical fantasy," as it takes place in the early history of the United States - complete with references to founding fathers and other historical figures. It is based around the idea that the superstitions, belief in magic, and rituals of some early settlers (as well as Native Americans) could actually work. For example, Alvin (the main character) is the seventh son of a seventh son - which some view as an evil thing while others hail him as a miracle child.

The book itself is somewhat slow-moving, and has the feeling of an exposition to a much larger whole. Knowing it was the beginning of a series of books, I was not surprised when Seventh Son left a lot of openings at the end.

Orson Scott Card

The second book in the Alvin Maker series, this book continues where the first book left off. In fact, it retells a portion of the first book through a different set of eyes - a tool that Card also used in the Ender's Game/Ender's Shadow series. As mentioned, the book contain accounts of historical figures that interweave with Alvin's life. This book contains characters such as Tecumseh, William Henry Harrison, Andrew Jackson, and Napoleon. 

The author is a good, descriptive storyteller, and the plot of the book is very interesting. The downside to his descriptive storytelling is that there was not a lot more movement in this book than there was in the first. And, of course,  he leaves plenty of directions for the series to go in  the next books.

Next on my "to read" list:
  • Angels & Demons - Dan Brown
  • Prentice Alvin - Orson Scott Card
  • The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People - Stephen R. Covey
  • The Five People You Meet in Heaven - Mitch Albom
  • The Stand - Stephen King
  • Dune - Frank Herbert
And for anyone counting, that's 13 so far for the year. Pretty much right on track to hit my goal of 50 by the end of the year.